Once, when I was about 5 years old, I was having a bath and decided to take a bite out of my mom's pink bar of Lux soap. I thought it looked so pretty and yummy, surely it was delicious? Well, dear reader, it was not. I can still taste it.
Despite this disappointing moment, I love taking baths, especially in the winter when the temperature plummets and I can't seem to get warm unless I have spent at least half an hour soaking with a good book. Recently I've been binge watching The Crown – a fabulous new show on Netflix, chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times. I highly recommend it, it's an elegant and lavishly designed production. And who knew I had something in common with Winston Churchill? Winston Churchill not only napped daily, but took very long, very hot baths. They were drawn by his butler, Mr. Inces, and had to be kept at a particular temperature, measured by a thermometer. Not only were the baths important to Churchill's well-being, but he often dictated from the bathtub (his secretary would sit just outside the bathroom, portable typewriter on her lap) and he took meetings from there, as well.
To me, bathing is a luxury, a moment of relaxation and meditation, and it certainly deserves the right environment. Here are a few of my dream bathrooms:
Let's start with the can't-go-wrong all-white bathroom, perfect for a space with classic architectural detailing and plenty of daylight. Think timeless materials: statuary marble, white subway tiles, wide-plank flooring and - why not – an enormous crystal chandelier.
A more contemporary take on this idea pairs black and white – and little else. Streamline your plumbing and simplify your bathing ritual in this minimalist sanctuary. The only frivolity is a touch of greenery. Buy a few fresh (non-dyed) eucalyptus branches: every time you take a bath or shower, the hot steamy air will open up the eucalyptus leaves and fill the bathroom with the great clean scent of the plant.... instant relaxation! How's that for a $5.00 spa treatment?
If you have the space, nothing beats a classic clawfoot tub. This design had its origins in the mid 18th century, when the ball-and-claw design originated in Holland, possibly artistically inspired by the Chinese motif of a dragon holding a precious stone. In 1883, Kohler’s first clawfoot tub was advertised as a “horse trough/hog scalder, when furnished with four legs will serve as a bathtub.” Weird...
Another retro style that is coming back is the slipper tub, favored for its rolled rims and sculptural présence. Whether new or old, silver-clad slipper bathtubs project an elegant old-world look. One of the oldest styles for these tubs is the pedestal or skirted base, which raises the tub slightly above the floor – like the prized vase it is. Beware though: the sides may be a bit high and steps may be needed for the less than agile among us.
If you can afford it, a major design statement with boldly-patterned marble or onyx-clad walls and floors - by Kelly Wearstler on the left and Studio Sofield on the right - is the ultimate in luxe, chic and glam.
If you've read this blog before, you will know that I never pass up an opportunity to sing the praises of a timeless blue-and-white decorating scheme. I will let these images speak for themselves :)
The very latest trend in tubs is to have the outside sprayed or powder-coated in a bold hue, perfect if your vintage tub has a few imperfections that need covering up anyway. I wonder what this would look like in a deep inky blue, or a hot pink?
Last but not least, there is the copper tub. Though not exactly affordable, this material is on the rise because it adds a feeling of warmth and coziness to your bathroom, and copper is durable as well as resistant to mold and bacteria. In addition, copper is recyclable, so by purchasing a recycled-copper tub, you are doing your bit for the environment.
“I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath but I can't think of one.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar