Homes - Interior Photo Credit: Hansgrohe

Dear Designers: Stop It with the Rainfall Showers

Because life is not a spa, it’s a slog.

I moved houses the other day and, like every other forty-something dude wanting to prove he’s still got it, I hopped right in there with the professional I hired and spent a few hours hoofing overladen boxes up a narrow flight of stairs—and I barely survived. At the end of the day, shoulders slumped, I rolled into my new beautifully designed bathroom, turned on the ultramodern shower and moved from side to side in a vain attempt to get wet. The curse of the goddamn rain shower.

Leaf through the glossy pages or our mag and my guess is that overhead or rain showers probably outnumber traditional showers 2:1. Maybe it’s more—frankly, if a bathroom still has a traditional showerhead coming out of the wall, it’s so likely that the designer didn’t have their way that we don’t even shoot the room. And, in some ways, I get it: overhead showers look amazing.

But even the promo shot above illustrates the obvious logistical pitfalls with having water bear down directly on top of you:

1. You can’t see when you’re using it;

2. You’re screwed if you don’t want to get your hair wet;

3. Even if you do, once your hair is washed, you then have to crane your neck out to do the rest of your body;

4. I’m not going to get graphic here, but the angle is all wrong for the “rest of your body”;

5. The water pressure sucks;

6. The only people who like getting rained upon are dancers in 1950s musicals and couples in 1980s rom coms;

7. The  little nozzles are so small that they clog almost immediately in an environment where the water has any minerals in it at all.

I mean, look at the model above—she’s miserable.

On the plus side:

1. They look cool.

That’s it.

Listen, I remember the first time I went to a luxe spa and came across these newfangled marvels of showering and thought, “Now, there’s someone who deserves a Nobel Prize.” But the spa is great precisely because it’s not the real world: it’s a place of Turkish robes and salad lunches, where the most exertion you take is the race from hanging your robe up to lying in the safety of the covers (before you hear the knock on the door).

In this environment, the novelty of a rain shower works. But throw in a few kids or a few moving boxes, and the desire for the delicate, artful presentation of bathing water quickly diminishes.

So just stop with them. All it takes is one bold designer to stand up and say, enough. Your space will look slightly less cool but, deep down, your clients will sing your praises at least once a day.

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