New Directions in Faucets and Fixtures

Woman using Moen MotionSense faucet

The Moen MotionSense sensor allows you to pass your hand over the top of the faucet to start and stop the flow.

What's so exciting about faucets and fixtures? You turn the knob and water comes out, right? Wrong. New innovations in kitchen and bathroom design are giving us faucets that come on when motion is detected, pull out for close-in work and retract by themselves. And that's not all, how about a showerhead equipped with magnets and new styling choices featuring uber-hip 90-degree angles? Now, you're interested, right?

Let's start with a new way to get two uses from one fixture. Everybody loves having a handheld showerhead to direct the flow where you need that water to go. It's great for washing the dog, washing the kids or cleaning the tub. But you also want a shower head on the wall for when you just want to stand there and let the warm waves wash over you.

To get the best of both worlds take a look at Magnetix, a shower innovation by Moen, one shower fixture that functions as a handheld and an overhead. MJ Englert, is a certified kitchen and bath designer and also the Director of Project Development at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc., based in Bethesda, Maryland. She says, “by having an easy to use main showerhead and handheld in one, you eliminate the clutter of fixtures in the shower, which is more appealing."

The showerhead attaches to the wall mount via a magnet, so it's easy to put it back in place, even with soap in your eyes. It may also save you a few dollars. “You get the benefits of two fixtures but only need to pay for the plumbing of one. Installation would be easy since this will work with your existing showerhead location," says Englert.

Everybody loves a faucet that pulls out to let you clean the sink or direct the spray. But what if the faucet would retract itself once you were done? You no longer need to ask “what if," because Moen has developed Reflex technology, which includes a pull-out wand style faucet attached to a flexible hose that works great in one to four hole sink configurations. Once you're done rinsing, filling the flower pot or washing the puppy, just let go and watch the wand retract back into the fixture.

Taking things to an even higher level of convenience, imagine a faucet that you can control two different ways with no hands. What!? The MotionSense sensor on the top of the faucet allows you to pass your hand over the top to start and stop the flow.

Another sensor under the faucet also detects objects—like a glass, or a pair of hands and can also stop and start the flow. Englert says, “it will keep germs and messes to a minimum and also works well for kids helping in the kitchen or those who have a hard time turning a faucet handle." If you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way you can still use the handle at the base of the faucet that controls temperature and flow.

Faucets are by their nature functional but form does come into play. Moen has recently released a suite of faucets that feature a chic looking, 90-degree lines. Forget all about goosenecks and consider something a bit edgier. Englert says, “the sleek and compact design works great with modern and transitional styles especially when paired with a rectangular sink. This single hole faucet helps to maximize your countertop space and the square base is easy to clean around."

So when it's time to think about a new faucet, don't limit yourself to what is tried and traditional because sometimes you just get tired and tepid. Think new technology, new angles and new ways of turning on the tap.