5 Fabulous Freestanding Bathtubs
When it's time to make a splash, create the ultimate watershed moment in your bathroom with these clean machines
Perhaps now more than ever, an in-home oasis has become a necessity—a space specifically designed to provide a daily respite from the never-ending physical and mental challenges presented by life. The good news is you can create a personal sanctuary in a space you already have.
Top interior designers are transforming so-so master bathrooms into stunning jewel-box retreats with a mix of natural materials, high-end finishes and the true star of the show: a dramatic freestanding tub.
These days, luxurious bathing beauties come in a variety of colors, materials and shapes, so there’s a soaker fit for every design aesthetic and architectural style.
BATHE IN THE LIGHT
Architect Travis Growney of JLF Architects looked to the land when designing a vacation home for his clients in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and that went double for the master bathroom. “The connection to the outdoors here is very important. And in the bathroom, we created a large glass opening that provides a lot of light inside, but it’s also a link to the landscape,” he says.
The picture-perfect portal begged for just the right bathtub—Growney says not just any model would do. “We designed the whole project with a limited palette of materials: steel, glass, wood and stone. The consistency of those materials allowed us to choose a tub that would really pop,” he adds.
Enter the made-to-order Oval tub by Waterworks, which his clients love because it is as substantial as it is sculptural. It also truly stands out against the reclaimed wood on the ceiling and beams, steel-framed windows and porcelain tile flooring. “The tub wouldn’t have been as successful if it had been less sculptural,” says Growney. “There’s a balance here of Old World mountain materials combined with more modern steel and glass. The tub is a key component that keeps the room more ephemeral and feminine.”
Architecture: JLF Architects
“Everything has come together in harmony in a master bathroom,” says designer Rush Jenkins of Jackson, Wyoming-based WRJ Design. “I feel very much that you should surround yourself with beauty, and the more you do that, the more happiness and serenity you’ll experience.”
It’s a philosophy he brings to all his projects, including this spa-like master bathroom. Jenkins framed the space with white moldings and shiplap walls, off-white textured marble floors and beautiful linen drapes, which flank the floor-to- ceiling window—all of which sets the stage for the Toulouse bathtub by Victoria & Albert. “It all comes together for the perfect backdrop for the wonderful curves of this sexy tub,” he says.
But this room is far more than just a pretty space: It is designed for daily use as a restorative touchstone. The in-home retreat boasts open shelving that keeps fluffy white towels at the ready, dimmers provide just-right ambient lighting, speakers pipe in soothing music, and views of the Tetons lie just beyond the flowy window treatments. “The master bathroom should be a place that prepares you and welcomes you throughout the day,” muses Jenkins. “Why wouldn’t you start every day on a great note in a beautiful bath?”
Interior Design: WRJ Design
FORCE OF NATURE
There’s no bigger advocate for prioritizing the master bathroom than Denver-based designer Gina D’Amore Bauerle of D’Amore Interiors. “People always say, ‘Well, no one goes in there but me,’ but you start and end every single day there,” says Bauerle. “If a bathroom is designed specifically to fit someone’s needs, it can be a game changer psychologically.”
That deep thinking made her just the right person to renovate a less-than-luxe master bedroom in a Conifer, Colorado, log cabin. Her clients had three wishes: a freestanding bathtub, separate water closet, and his-and-her vanities “to save their marriage,” Bauerle says with a laugh. The problem? The room was only 90 square feet. So the designer got to work, carving out additional square footage and moving things around. Says Bauerle, “I kept warning them, you might have to give up one of these priorities.”
Spoiler alert: They didn’t. Bauerle was able to make way for everything, including the true superstar of the room, a 600-pound concrete tub by Native Trails. “You can’t do just a regular white bathtub in a room like this,” she says. “The whole bathroom revolves around it. It’s a cool focal point, elevated and surrounded with river stones, and it’s just the right perch for bubble baths and taking in the views.”
Interior Design: D’Amore Interiors
THE ART OF THE HEAL
When it comes to crafting a picture-perfect retreat, it helps to start with just the right picture. Designer Courtney St. John got lucky in that department when she was tasked with designing this Beaver Creek, Colorado, bathroom. Her clients met photographer Ali Darvish on their travels and subsequently fell in love with his piece “Sable Island Horses,” featuring Icelandic ponies. It was up to St. John to create a spot where it could shine.
“There’s a real elevated rustic feel to the entire house, with a lot of natural elements incorporated throughout,” says the Vail, Colorado-based owner of Courtney St. John Studio. Taking her cues from the home’s exterior, St. John designed a wall made of moss stone and added dramatic lighting, creating the perfect backdrop for both the equestrian artwork and an aquatic showstopper: the cast-iron Candide tub by Waterworks in a nickel finish.
“This is a place for relaxation, so this beautiful bathtub really reinforces a feeling of sanctuary, but because it’s a real investment, we had to consider all the other elements in the room,” says St. John. “A freestanding tub is the first thing people notice upon entering the room—it sets the tone and the mood for the entire bathroom—so you want to make sure you’re making the right statement.”
Interior Design: Courtney St. John Studio
AWASH IN WHITE
Stunning views and a pristine palette make for the ultimate healing space according to designer Sarah Latham, of Latham Interiors based in Ketchum, Idaho. Case in point: Latham layered this master bathroom in an abundance of white—crisp paint on the walls and vanities, creamy countertops, cool marble floors and the stunning hand-finished Empire bath by Waterworks. “To me, a sanctuary is quiet, peaceful and limited in distractions,” says Latham.
There was never any question as to where the bath would go during renovation—as the designer puts it: “Who wouldn’t want to soak in their tub and feel like they were in the trees and mountains while they were doing it? The views here are all the artwork anyone could ask for!”
And although the bathtub is certainly the focal point of the space, the restorative benefits of a beautiful basin far outweigh the aesthetic, according to Latham. “A quality tub experience isn’t some- thing new in history. After visiting Japan last year, I found they take soaking in warm water to another level,” she says. “People are learning they can find ways to relax in the privacy of their homes and feel great about having it to look forward to on a daily basis.”
Interior Design: Latham Interiors
As seen in the September/October 2020 issue