When you think of the words "luxury bathing" what images come to mind? Is it a certain fixture, size room, or a feeling? Keep reading for insight into making a space feel luxurious as a whole, with real life examples and products.
Maybe you enjoy the feeling a bathtub evokes, but are not a fan of taking baths. What if you could shower in a luxurious and relaxed setting? Then this bathing escape would be accessible to you on a daily basis and not just when the bathtub stars align.
In a study on how people use their homes, "Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors", the #1 "Must-Have" item in master bathrooms was also the least used item. That enigmatic object? The bathtub. The idea of taking a slow bath with scented candles and a glass of champagne sounds nice. However, like many things in life, if you do not make room or time for what you want, it will not happen. Could there be something worse than wishful thinking? Absolutely. Allowing other people's expectations to dictate your tailored home design. Installing a freestanding bath in a master bathroom "because that's what is expected" is no way to design your home, especially if you have no intention of actually using it.
When I design a luxurious experience, I aim to create harmony among objects, balancing light and space to create a flow which soothes the senses. It is not about checking items off a wish list. What good is it to have all the most luxurious bathing elements crammed into a poorly implemented design?
Consider again the bathtub. Imagine lying in a hot, steamy bath with a ceiling tub filler, a cold drink on a ledge to your side, and yet at eye level one foot away - the toilet. Worse yet, you are at an angle that makes it painfully obvious you did not clean it properly. Not so luxurious anymore, right? The unpleasant view has canceled out the relaxing effects of taking a bath in the first place.
Now, imagine the same scenario again, except this time the toilet is around the corner tucked away in a room of its own. Your eyes are free to survey the room without wincing at the back of the toilet and you can truly relax. Buying the right things can only take you so far. Without a thoughtful design that considers these moments in advance, it is all for nothing. Great design (not fixtures) transforms a space.
Japanese Style Toilets
Speaking of toilets, I cannot recommend enough the "Japanese toilet". More commonly used in Japan than in the USA, they are so nicknamed because Toto, a Japanese company, has the lion's share of the market for bidet or washlet toilets. These are multi-functional toilets that wash/dry your sensitive areas, warm the seat seconds before you sit down, and ventilate all unpleasant smells during use. Many have night lights, automatic flush, and remote controls with personalized settings for multiple users. In addition to all these entertaining features, it is also the most hygienic way to clean yourself. Look ahead, think ten to twenty year from now. These toilets are a godsend when you become physically less flexible, break an arm, or have a demobilizing injury. Two of my favorites: Toto Neorest (the Bentley of Japanese toilets) and the Kohler Karing (pictured on right). Every master bath should have a Japanese style toilet.
The Importance of Quality Fixtures
In support of a thoughtful design, high-end bathroom fixtures can make a huge difference on the impact of a luxury bathroom. Luxury fixtures are tangibly more solid, reliably constructed, and available in a variety of colors, finishes, and styles to specifically complement the demands of your overall design. Are you asking yourself if Dornbracht is worth the money? Keep in mind, that the fixture price is just a fraction of construction cost. Consider how often you will come in contact with it every single day, multiple times a day. Will each interaction give you joy or regret?
Why Not Sit?
While traveling, your senses are on high alert and you notice everything, especially the little things. During a trip to Japan, I stayed one night at a capsule hotel. Everything about that experience was unusual. I checked in by giving the front desk my shoes. Sleeping quarters were single occupant coffin-sized tubes stacked two tubes high. The next morning, instead of showering standing in a "western" stall, I sat (more like squatted) on a low stool in a communal spa-like setting. I had never showered sitting in front of a mirror before. Even brushing my teeth in this position seemed exotic. What stuck with me was a feeling of ease, which I found luxurious. Why not sit while showering?
For deeper insight into the Japanese mentality of bathing, check out Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows. This short gem of a book compares the values of space, food, darkness and ambiguity. There is quite a lot of page space devoted to toilets; a fun and easy read.
In this bachelor's apartment to the right and below, I was seeking a feeling not unlike what Tanizaki was describing in his book - a texture and warmth that gleaming ceramic tile cannot alone provide. The shower floor is an open deck of teak wood, warm and soft to the touch. Black tile with hints of gold line the walls. A teak shower nook holds all the daily showering necessities. The shower's crowning touch is the Axor ShowerCollection ShowerHeaven. (If that is too much shower for you, I recommend the Hansgrohe Raindance Royale. It has the most luxurious feel of any rainhead I have ever tried - like showering in raining buttery goodness.)
Hansgrohe/Axor invited me to their "Aquademie" in Alpharetta, Georgia in 2016. I got to experience every shower fixture in their lineup, including their very first hand-shower which is still one of their best. I also got to tease my wife (then only newly engaged at the time) that I was showering with 15 women. She laughed (keeper). I highly recommend that architects and interior designers visit this shower paradise. There is nothing like experiencing something first, especially when trying to decide if it is right for you. An adventure to shower paradise not an option? Then I recommend visiting a showroom that has functioning showers. It really comes down to personal taste and there is no substitute for experience.
Having been tailored to the desires and values of my clients, each of these bathrooms has their own unique personality and feel. They have been created to indulge my clients with a sense of everyday luxury that fits them like a glove.
What comes to mind when YOU think of luxury bathing? Drop me a note in the comments.
You may also like -
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”