Calgary Herald  |  Andrea Cox  |  November 29, 2015  | Link

Inspired tubs create bathroom bliss

Whatever look you are going for — luxury hotel room, Belgium farmhouse or something in between — the bathtub, the place where we soak away the ails and dirt of the day, can be an essential ingredient to creating that wow factor.

“Tubs really set the tone,” says Mark Cayen, design consultant at Empire Kitchen and Bath.

Often dissed by shower lovers and once thought of as a utilitarian element to be tucked away in the corner of the bathroom, the bathtub is making a strong come back, taking centre stage as the unsung hero of bathroom design. Walk through any of the city’s show homes for inspiration. Designers are flocking to the standalone bathtub to make a statement, elevating bathroom design to the next level.

“It’s the bling. The tub has become the focal point of the bathroom,” says Arlene Ladner, lead designer at Sturdy Design Co.

“Before it was all about the shower and the vanity, but now it is all about the tub,” she says, recalling that a few years ago many show homes didn’t even feature a bathtub in the ensuite.

“But now it is the centre of attention. We just put a copper, organically inspired tub into the new Cook Homes’ show home in Watermark. It’s just gorgeous.”

Recent collections hitting the runways of bathroom couture highlight some of the freshest designs embracing function and fabulous form, re-imagining the romance of the turn of the 20th Century cast iron hallmark piece and transporting it to heights of interest with architectural shapes and organic forms. Move over claw foot — there are a whole bunch of new kids in town.

“People are really into that dramatic look. It’s almost more important than actually using the tub,” says Cayen. Shapes run from sculptural and free-flowing to linear, more contemporary rectangular and oval forms, bringing an artistic sensibility and an aesthetic purity to the bath.

And it is not just about shape; it’s also about texture and materials. Copper, burnished nickel and stone — alabaster, limestone and granite — are all big right now. Cayen cites a model by Waterworks coined the Candide — a classic, linear, oval free-standing tub with a white porcelain interior and burnished nickel exterior. “It’s really beautiful. People stop, look and then talk about it.”

While the tub has become the show-stopping design element in the bathroom, Ladner suggests considering all of the pieces in the design palette to really reveal a sense of awe, especially the wall behind the tub. “It is just as important from a design perspective. It completes the look — tile, art, wallpaper, colour blocking, a stunning light fixture — they all just add that extra.”

And the hardware is the icing on the cake.

“You want the faucets to be free-standing and seamless with an organically inspired tub, but you can go more traditional with the linear styles,” says Cayen.

So just how much is all of this inspired beauty going to cost? Cayen says that it’s comparable to traditional built-in tubs. But as with everything, the sky is the limit. Prices of a free-standing tub start at $800 and skyrocket to well over $15,000.

whatsNewBack