The Freestanding Tub: "A Newfound Stature"

We all need that room in our house that serves as our guilty pleasure sanctuary; and for many that’s turning their bathroom into a spa-like retreat. Because the “bathroom” is a wet area, there are a lot more hard surfaces and so it can sometimes be difficult to achieve a relaxing, comfortable feeling you have in other spaces of your home. Nonetheless, new bathroom technologies, from steam showers to radiant-heat floors, leading fixture designs and new materials have emerged in recent years – combined they can be used to calm the mind and soothe and relax the body – creating that spa-like retreat you desperately need.
Central to most spa-inspired baths is the freestanding tub. The freestanding tub sits more like a piece of furniture rather than a fixture – creating a focal point, adding a sculptural element and sense of sophistication to your bathroom. They are very versatile too…  David A Keeps says, in The Wall Street Journal:

 “Whether it’s a traditional design steeped in British country-house charm, or a contemporary model that conjures minimalist spas, the freestanding tub has a new-found stature as the focal point in today’s more ambitious bathrooms.”

In a 2014 report, The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) stated that more than two-thirds of NKBA designers specified freestanding tubs. 

Above: Love how the freestanding tub in the above picture fits perfectly in that nook. The window above it only enhances it as a focal point in this space. It is balanced nicely with the velvet settee and warmed up with the wood elements.

“Because the freestanding tub is more like a fixture, they are finished on all sides, offer flexibility in placement, and give a strong visual statement. In comparison, built-in tubs are unfinished on two or more sides and require installation against a wall or within an enclosure. They are easily and often paired with wall-mounted showers to offer both showering and bathing in the same space.” (Janet Hall, Remodelista)
When faced with the task of choosing between a freestanding tub or a built-in you must consider your bathroom’s space constraints and the user. In a smaller bathroom, a built-in can be more efficient because you can combine the shower and bath and it won’t take up as much space. Also, they tend not to be as high and are against a wall so they can be easier to get in-and-out of (something to consider when thinking about aging in place).
“Because freestanding tubs come in such a variety—cast-iron, high-backed, Victorian-style slipper tubs; Asian-influenced wooden boxes; minimalist Italian-marble troughs—they can set a more distinctive design tone for a room than built-ins, which have a clunky, cookie-cutter look.” (David A Keeps, Wall Street Journal)
Above: The freestanding tub in the above photo is a good example of how the style of your tub can dictate the feeling evoked in your bathroom — which in this bathroom is a very clean, refreshing, and modern space. To me, this tub resembles a cracked egg that will engulf you in warmth and safety! I would love to make this my safe place!
Above: This is one of Ourso Designs’ very own! This freestanding tub is more antique with its claw feet and restored mantel backing. Another good example of how the style of your tub can dictate the feeling of your bathroom, which in this case, is very soft, elegant, and southern traditional. And look at the meditating cat! I could meditate in this space too!
There are many different material and style choices when it comes to picking the right freestanding tub for your space, which is great because you can really get the look you want for your bathroom! For more information on styles of tubs and material choices check out this article.

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