Soak bathtubs are all the rage — here’s how to choose the perfect bathtubs

    When it comes to the unending adoration of freestanding bathtubs, consumers still can’t get enough of the quiet, sculptural utensils—and designers are answering that call.

    New data provided by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) reveals that luxury bathroom trends are heating up, particularly when it comes to statement-making sinks — a trend that’s expected to stay in place for the foreseeable future. These days, in the world of all things toilets, there’s more: Homeowners want separate water closets and bathtubs, an integrated bidet, heated floors, shower seats, and the amenities for multi-generational living.

    Although freestanding bathtubs may not be generationally relevant for the young or old, they are still desirable for their aesthetic impact, and for offering a personalized spa-like experience at home. In this crazy and unpredictable world, isn’t there anything better than special immersion therapy to suck the troubles away?

    Salvesen Graham bathroom design in the home of Aurelia London founder Claire Ferro.

    Photo: Simon Brown

    Heidi Caillier offers privacy in this design by placing the sink in a pocket surrounded by a curtain.

    Photo: kangaroo guard

    If brands have anything to say about it, the new tubs and their tech are slick, colorful, and ready for close-ups for social media. The House of Rohl, a manufacturer of luxury plumbing fixtures, recently introduced new styles of freestanding sinks that are rich in color in shades of lavender, maroon, and black, to name a few. Inspired by the global popularity of smart home devices, Kohler has released its PerfectFill smart bathroom technology, which requires a simple voice command to fill the bathtub to a preset level and temperature.

    Memphis-based designer Sean Anderson says consideration must be given to the day-to-day impact and general continuity of these elements. “Freestanding sinks have become something of a staple for the home, and this is reflected in the older materials in which many sinks are offered these days,” Anderson says. “For people who consider bathing in a bathtub a ritual hobby, these items can be considered an inherited legacy. Consumers need to think about the role the item will play in their daily lives, and how important it is to them in telling their story.”

    “Consider the lines of sight – from what angle or angles will you see the pelvis?” , suggests designer Michael Del Piero in the Hamptons and Chicago.

    Photo: Richard Powers

    Selecting a freestanding sink takes more than choosing your preferred model. “Consider the lines of sight – from what angle or angles will you see the pelvis?” , suggests designer Michael Del Piero in the Hamptons and Chicago. “If it is to be seen from every side, make sure that the tub you choose has a nice, attractive shape on every side.”

    Before making any purchasing decisions, Del Piero says it’s also essential to consider the plumbing mechanics, such as the placement of the grout and faucet and whether they will be wall-mounted or freestanding. “Some forms of sinks go well with freestanding appliances, while others work best with a wall-mounted set.” And pay attention to the large number of physical options on the market. “When designing traditional bathrooms, we tend toward sinks made of marble or standard glazed porcelain,” Del Piero says. “For more contemporary spaces, we often choose sinks made of resin or concrete. Choosing the shape and materials is key when designing an exciting “basin moment” in any bathroom.” Freestanding sinks are also heavy, so they may require evaluation from a structural engineer, and may mean stiffening the floor.

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    Architect Cathy Purple Sherry of Annapolis, Maryland, and her team take a pragmatic and humane approach to the Boy Scouts Basin, helping anyone in the market for a new aquarium. “We focus very much on bathtub length and back slope, and how each relates to client height. We are also very focused on the reach of our clients, and we keep that in mind because it affects where the tub filler is placed.”