A while back I wrote about the top ten most unique freestanding bathtubs, and while I stand by my picks, I’d like to admit today that that list has a pretty huge, glaring problem with it: I focused more on form than on material. I mentioned a few metal tubs – especially copper tubs – which I’m a particular fan of – but by and large I opted to talk more about interestingly designed acrylic and porcelain tubs than ones made of unique materials. Today, I want to rectify the mistake by talking a bit about two of the more innovative types of tubs that aren’t just your average, plain jane white: wood bathtubs and glass-walled bathtubs.
I’m going to say flat out that freestanding wood bathtubs are probably the most unique types of tubs I’ve ever seen (well, okay, I’ll except any futuristic or one-of-a-kind custom designs). Why? You can get as creative as you want with form, but part of what makes a design spectacular is the element of surprise. Wood isn’t a common material in bathrooms, let alone for the tub, so even a simple, rustic wood bathtub is sure to make a big impression on anyone that sees it.
In my defense, wood tubs didn’t make my original list for the simple reason that I didn’t know such a thing even existed until recently. I mean, it seems a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? You want to keep water off your wood tables and floors, so why would you want to fill a wood tub with water? But despite the fact that they are made of wood all the way through, wood bathtubs are more like the wood you’d find in a sauna than your dining table – repeated exposure to water actually keeps it healthy and supple rather than damaging or warping it.
Wood bathtubs are really more of a throwback than an innovation, reminiscent of the kind of tubs you would haul out and fill with hot water from the stove before there was any such thing as indoor plumbing. In fact, many wood tubs are reinforced with broad iron bands, giving it the impression of a barrel or cask. Of course, these are much larger than what would have been used a couple hundred years ago (after all, it’s a lot easier to come by hot water these days!), but a wood bathtub is a great way to add a rustic, slightly old-timey feel to your bathroom without sacrificing any modern luxuries (it even has a headrest and soap caddy!).
Where else would you put a wood bathtub? Well, if you don’t happen to have a cabin, ranch house, or weekend getaway in the woods, that doesn’t mean a wood tub isn’t for you. Wood bathtubs look right at home in a spa bathroom done in matching light wood tones, especially one with a built in sauna room. They also look pretty stunning in Asian themed bathrooms that emphasize the more natural, rustic aspects of the design.
Browse Natural Wood Tubs by Alfi:
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum is an ultra-modern innovation that I’ve seen before in high end custom bathrooms, but very rarely available for purchase to the general public: the glass-walled bathtub. These range everywhere from futuristic designs with cutout-style glass walls to solid, totally see-through glass tubs. Now to be fair, not all of these tubs are made of traditional glass; though tempered glass tubs exist, ones made of translucent manufacturered stone are a little bit safer, while still giving you the full elegant, sensual effect of having a translucent tub.
That said, glass tubs certainly aren’t for the faint of heart (or the overly modest), but if you’re doing a modern luxury bathroom remodel, a glass walled tub is actually a really fantastic choice. Not only are glass walled tubs totally unique looking, they also tend to come jam-packed with extra features, like whirlpool jets, chromotherapy, and built in stereo systems, which means you get everything you could want out of a fully-loaded whirlpool tub but without the same-old same-old acrylic design.
Browse Whirlpool Tubs by Eago:
Plus, even a large tub with a smaller glass peephole is a great way to tie together a glass-heavy modern decor (say, glass tile, glass shower door, and glass vanity top or vessel sink) for a sleek, unifying finish. And, besides, it’s just a little bit sexy. This tub for two is especially alluring, giving just the right glimpse of legs to start a romantic evening off right.
So if you’re looking for a truly unique freestanding bathtub to use as a showpiece for your bathroom, don’t just think about design – think about material, too. Unique materials are always surprising, and a great way to add visual interest to your bathroom.