Soak Up The Views
Luxurious tubs make the most of their mountain settings
Freestanding tubs have long been a desired amenity in a bathroom for their sculptural beauty as well as their functionality. “They are very sexy in their shape; sensual and beautiful to look at,” says interior designer Skye Anderson of Urbaine Atelier in Bozeman, Montana.
Tubs come in all shapes and sizes, from round and oval to rectangular or square. The same is true for the materials they’re made of and the finishes that are available. Homeowners have their choice of everything from acrylic and natural stone to copper and cast iron, and while white is classic, companies offer a full range of colors.
When placed in front of a big window so the bather can enjoy the scenery beyond, the tub’s appeal only increases. “It’s a way to make a connection to the view and outdoors,” says architect Hans Berglund of Edwards, Colorado. “For a mountain retreat, you want it to feel harmonious and soothing and calm, a spa-like experience.”
“The reality is that people go to their mountain homes so they can be in nature, and our job is to complement the views,” says interior designer William Peace of Bozeman and Atlanta, Georgia.
Here and on the following pages are four such bathrooms worth soaking in.
Photo by Whitney Kamman
When it was time for a major remodel of their Montana home, a couple who were among the first to build at the Yellowstone Club in the late 1990s took a modern, monochromatic and luxurious approach. They enlisted Skye Anderson, owner and interior designer of Urbaine Atelier in Bozeman, for the job. The redesign of the master bathroom suite epitomizes how the home was lightened and brightened, as heavy ceiling beams were replaced with whitewashed planks and dark red draperies were traded for ivory wool sheers. Spectacular mountain views are seen through the curved window.
A freestanding tub remains the room’s centerpiece, with a Blu Bathworks design and Watermark tub filler, both from Earth Elements. Because the shower, closets and his-and-hers vanities and toilets are in separate rooms, the couple had the luxury of space to furnish the area adjacent to the tub with a custom console and faux fur-covered bench, chandeliers and an alpaca boucle rug. “It’s almost like a display gallery,” Anderson says.
INTERIOR DESIGN: Urbaine Atelier
CONSTRUCTION: Highline Partners
Photo by Audrey Hall
With mountain breezes wafting in through the window and a roomy Kallista tub for soaking, a master bathroom in a Jackson Hole home tempts its owners to linger when bathing. It’s just one of many spots in the home that connects residents to nature. Peter Zimmerman Architects of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, was tasked with designing a home that felt like an original homesteader’s cabin, so it was built with hand-hewn timbers, antique oak flooring and wormy chestnut cabinetry crafted by Yellowstone Traditions of Bozeman, Montana.
Photo by Audrey Hall
In the master bathroom, they were able to create the space as a bay so it “almost creeps into the outdoors,” says architect Sean Narcum. To keep the bathroom from being dark, they chose Calacatta Caldia marble for the tub decking and countertops, and Volo fabric from Yoma Textiles for curtains. “We wanted it to feel rustic but still light and fresh,” says interior designer William Peace.
ARCHITECT: Peter Zimmerman Architects
INTERIOR DESIGN: Peace Design
CONSTRUCTION: Yellowstone Traditions
Photo by Gordon Gregory
In a thoroughly modern home at Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, windows abound to take in the views that range from leafy and green in summer to white and snow-covered in the winter. Even for the master bathroom, designer Leisa Kolstad of Pearson Design Group opted not to restrict the view with layers of shades and curtains, preferring natural light to illuminate the space by day. Dual mirrors over the vanity are suspended from the ceiling in front of the windows, while the rectangular tub from Blu Bathworks sits alongside a metal-clad window.
The tub rests on a live-edge oak slab base that dresses up the space while remaining sleek and simple. “We wanted a pure, minimal design for this bathroom,” Kolstad says, noting that the floating vanities are topped with a thick slab of white concrete and fronted with oak. Fixtures for the vanity and tub are from Waterworks’ Formwork Collection.
ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN: Pearson Design Group
Photo by Ric Stovall
Architect Hans Berglund spends a lot of time figuring out how to maximize views and connect the people who live inside a house with the environment outside it. For a Texas family’s Avon, Colorado, residence, Berglund says his goal was to extend the clean and modern aesthetic of the rest of the home to the master bathroom. “It’s harmonious and soothing and calm,” he says of the space, which has floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides of the room. “We wanted to make it feel like a spa.”
The freestanding tub and wood bath tray are from Victoria + Albert and sit opposite a large shower. The tub filler and sink faucets are by Graff, and the countertop material is a Jura Beige limestone slab. Elegant Cabinetry crafted the custom Shaker-style stained rift-cut white oak vanities, and both the walls and floor are vein-cut travertine. “I like the feeling of being part of nature,” the homeowner says. “There are no obstructions, so you have great views out of two windows.”
ARCHITECTURE: Berglund Architects
Photo by Ric Stovall
Planning to make the tub a focal point in a bathroom? Here are some things to think about.
PLACEMENT There are typically numerous options on where a freestanding tub can be placed because it doesn’t have to be attached to walls. If the room has great views, position the tub to take advantage of them. That said, freestanding tubs can be large and heavy, and you’ll need to carefully measure the room so that the tub will fit through the doors, stairwells and halls in a home.
PLANNING & INSTALLATION Freestanding tubs call for different plumbing components, such as a tub filler, that require careful placement and installation. You’ll also need to make sure the floor is level and that there is blocking and support in the floor for the tub. “If it’s on an upper floor, we often wouldn’t finish the ceiling below it first because you have to make connections from underneath the tub,” Berglund says.
CONSIDER THE MATERIAL The room’s design will help dictate what type of tub to install, including porcelain and stone, copper or cast iron. A number of companies have their own proprietary materials, such as the eco-friendly blu-stone from Blu Bathworks, a quartzite product. Design will also help determine the shape you’ll want, from sleek and modern oval or rectangular tubs to vintage-inspired footed styles. Berglund also suggests going to a showroom and sitting in the tub you’re considering to see if it’s a good fit.
PRACTICAL MATTERS While freestanding tubs are popular with mountain homeowners, a big advantage standard tubs have over them is that they have a ledge. “From a practical standpoint, they are easier to get in and out of,” says interior designer William Peace. “And the deck gives you a place to put candles, a book or glass of wine.”