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Free-Standing Tubs: Pros and Cons

October 11, 2017

To take the edge off the pressures of daily life, many Americans are cultivating ways to relax and de-stress in their own homes by turning their bathrooms into spa-like sanctuaries. New bathroom technologies—from steam showers, body sprays, and hydro-massage shower heads to towel warmers, chromatherapy components, and radiant-heat floors—have emerged in recent years to soothe tired muscles, relax the body, and calm the mind.


Central to many of today’s spa-inspired baths are freestanding soaking tubs, which have replaced the Jacuzzis and sunken garden bathtubs that were ubiquitous in design a few years ago. These old-style soaking tubs forego the noise and vigor of bubbling jets in favor of a deep, quiet soak. The tubs also come in a wide range of materials and finishes, such as wood, copper, and enamel, and often feature accents like old-fashioned claw feet or organic, modern shapes.


Kaya free-standing resin tub at Signature Hardware

According to New York designer Kent Brasloff, vice president of programs for the New York chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), free-standing tubs have largely been a high-ticket item but are now appearing more and more in the middle market. “For those with the additional space, they make a nice change by adding a sculptural element,” says Brasloff, who notes that these tubs are generally better in a non-urban environment due to space and weight restrictions. “This type of tub is a tricky fit in apartments, but in larger condos and single-family homes they can add a feeling of luxury and the sophistication of ‘spa,’” he says.

Brasloff suggests choosing a tub made of a material suitable for your space. Cast iron tubs are extremely heavy, for example, while those made of resin and fiberglass can be light by comparison. “Cast iron, however, retains heat better than any other product on the market and is available in a wide range of colors—it is also among the best at resisting scratching, fading, and chipping,” Brasloff notes. “Fiberglass, on the other hand, is the least expensive option with regard to price and is very easy to install,” although fiberglass products have a “higher risk of scratching and fading, as well as cracking.”


Herbeau Medicis tub in weathered copper and satin nickel. Photo: stylehive.com

Acrylic tends to crack and discolor over time but does provide a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, pleasing to many tastes and wallet-friendly, Brasloff adds. “Wood and stone are both bold choices that make a distinctive style statement, yet both reflect top-of-the-market pricing and require a high level of maintenance to retain their beauty.”

Relatively new to the market are solid surface materials that retain heat well; come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and colors; and can be easily repaired. “Prices for these tend toward the high end,” says Brasloff. “And you can also expect fairly long lead times with this product.”

Old-fashioned copper and brass tubs conduct heat at extremely high temperatures, are high-maintenance and extremely expensive, but they can offer either vintage or contemporary decorative impact and provide a stunning focal point.

Free-Standing Tubs: Soaking Up the Luxury

October 3, 2017

From cast iron to resin, copper, and wood, today’s free-standing tubs may be the ultimate home bath luxury.

  1. Kaya

    Signaturehardware.com 9286 l 400x448

    The sleek curves of Signature Hardware’s Kaya tub bring a soft touch to the crisp lines of a modern bath. Made of white resin, the 70 1/2” x 33” x 19 1/4” tub features a matte exterior surface that is easy to maintain and repair if necessary. Available online for $2,997, the tub is shipped free to your home. For complete info, visit signaturehardware.com.

    Photo: Signature Hardware

  2. The Spa Home Bath

    Designerscollaborativenyc bruce bieman stand alone duravit tub in a palm beach bathroom by bruce bierman

    Looking for a way to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat? Consider replacing your old molded built-in tub with a luxurious new freestanding one. Available in a wide range of materials and styles—from classic and traditional to sleek and ultra-modern—here’s a look at some of today’s best designs, starting with the Duravit bath shown here.

    Photo: Designers Collaborative NYC

  3. Cast Iron Nexus

    Toto cast iron nexus bathtub fbf794s zoom

    Lend a fresh twist to a transitional bath with the Nexus tub by Toto. Made of enameled cast iron with slip-resistant inner surface and acrylic skirt, the 66 15/16” x 2 1/2” x 21 1/8” tub is available in a Cotton white hue in two finishes for $4,578.

    Photo: Toto USA

  4. Abrazo

    Kohler abrazo freestanding bath

    Kohler’s sensuous Abrazo, inspired by the organic shapes of clay pottery and crafted from a unique solid surface material, features a white matte finish like smooth stone that is warm to the touch. An integral overflow slot allows for the deepest possible water level, while a toe-tap drain empties through the center. The 66” x 31 1/2” bath lists for $7,280.

    Photo: Kohler

  5. Margaux

    Waterworks mabt01 margaux curved freestanding tub

    Enriched with the patina of burnished cast iron on the outside and finished with cool white enamel on the inside, Waterworks’ beautiful freestanding Margaux tub brings a touch of luxurious vintage European flavor to traditional settings. The 70” x 30” x 27” tub—wide design enhances comfort and is easy to install. See your Waterworks dealer for pricing.

    Photo: Waterworks

  6. Hammered Copper

    Premier copper products hammered single slipper tubbts67db 300x300

    Add earth-friendly character to a country bath with Premier Copper Products’ Hammered Copper Single Slipper Tub. The 67” x 33” x 32” tub is handmade of recycled 99.7% recycled copper. It also features a 2″ rolled rim and comes with a lifetime warranty.

    Photo: Premier Copper Products

  7. Wave Skipper

    Bagnosasso skipper wooden bathtub

    Melt away the cares of the day with Bagno Sasso’s exquisite Wave Skipper. Made of mahogany and ideal for modern settings, the sleek tub’s unique construction is inspired by yacht design and fits into both small and large baths. Visit bagnosasso.com for showroom locations and pricing.

    Photo: Bagno Sasso

  8. Natural Stone

    Stoneimpressions natural bathtub 1246900808 detail

    Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Stone Forest’s oval-shape natural stone tub. Made to order and available in 60” or 72” lengths, the inspired tub comes in granite, marble, or onyx and a range of seven colors. Carved from a single block, the granite tubs feature polished interiors and rims with chiseled exteriors; marble models come completely polished. Visit stoneimpressions.com for full details.

    Photo: Stone Impressions

  9. Largaro

    Porcher lagaro freestanding bathtub

    Introduce a pop of personality to your bath with Porcher’s snappy Largaro tub. Made of a Euro-Cast material as strong as cast iron but which feels like acrylic, the tub’s legs are adjustable and the factory-primed exterior finish can be painted in the color of your choice. The 67” x 31 1/4” x 21 5/16” tub lists for about $2,650.

    Photo: Porcher

  10. Soaking Bath

    Diamondspas.com craftsmancopperjapanesetub

    Treat yourself to a daily dose of zen-inspired bliss with Diamond Spas’ Stainless Steel Circular Japanese Soaking Bath. Measuring 42″ round by 35” deep, the stunning sculptural tub is equally at home in urban and country contexts. Visit diamondspas.com for more information on fabrication and pricing.

    Photo: Diamond Spas

  11. Happy D.

    Duravit.com happy d. tub 400x423

    Simple, modern, and timeless, Duravit’s iconic Happy D. bath combines high design with an affordable price tag. Created by Sieger Design, the tub comes in white acrylic and may be faced with real wood veneers in a variety of species and colors. Visit duravit.com for retailers and pricing.

    Photo: Duravit

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Faucet

September 26, 2017

Does shopping for a bathroom faucet make you feel like a fish out of water? Expert tips simplify the selection process.

By Marie Proeller Hueston


  • The Perfect Faucet

    Bathroom facuet bhg

    “Changing a faucet can give a whole bathroom a new look,” says Delta Faucet product manager Allison McKinney. Though seemingly innumerable options exist on the market today, you can find the perfect design by focusing your search on three criteria—style, function, and fit.

    Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

  • Shape and Style

    Kohler revival widespreadbathroomfaucet scroll leaves

    When choosing a faucet style, shape is usually the first consideration. Whether curvy and traditional or angular and modern, designs can be found to suit every taste. Here, Kohler’s Revival collection boasts scroll lever handles and a silhouette of smoothly rounded details.

    Photo: Kohler

  • Finish Considerations

    Delta widespreadlavfaucet champagnebronze.tif copy

    Having settled on a shape for the faucet, you must next decide on a finish. While polished chrome and brass are perennial favorites, the old standbys are now sold alongside luxury finishes, such as brushed nickel and champagne bronze, shown here.

    Photo: Delta

  • New Technology

    Delta lahara touch2o singlehandlefaucet

    Among the innovations in faucets today is touch technology, which uses motion sensing to automatically turn water on and off—a plus for families with young children who tend to leave the faucet running!

    Photo: Delta

  • Matching Accessories

    Moen wroughtiron bathroomsinkfaucet accessories

    If you fall in love with a particular sink faucet that showcases an eye-catching shape or an unexpected finish (like these wrought iron designs from Moen), check to see whether matching accessories are available before making a purchase.

    Photo: Moen

  • Practical or Pretty?

    Americanstandard dazzle two handle bathroom faucet

    Select a style based on the amount of traffic the bathroom is likely to see. Chic silhouettes and fanciful finishes are well-suited to powder rooms or master baths, while high-traffic kids baths warrant something sturdier.

    Photo: American Standard

  • Period Influences

    Americanpatriot two lever bathroomfuacet porcelainhandles satinnickel

    Porcelain handles, a high-rise spout, and a beautiful satin nickel finish give Victorian flair to this design from Kingston Brass. If you are creating a period bath, there’s no shortage of historically influenced fixtures available to complement your vision.

    Photo: Kingstonbrass.com

  • Flow Options

    Sumerain led waterfall widespread bathroomfaucet fixtureuniverse

    Eco-conscious homeowners may seek out a specialized low-flow bathroom faucet, some of which feature a luxurious “waterfall” effect, like this one by Sumerain. Saving the environment never looked so good!

    Photo: Fixture Universe

  • Vessel Sinks

    Newportbrass astorcollection englishbronze bathroomfaucet

    A tall, single-handled faucet is the prefect accompaniment to a vessel sink. Shown in English Bronze, this graceful faucet design from Newport Brass is available in 26 additional finishes.

    Photo: newportbrass.com

  • Lasting Quality

    Pfister santiagowidespread bathroomfaucet tuscanbronze

    Faucet models with lifetime warranties may cost more, but considering that your faucet will be exposed to water and wear on a daily basis, insurance might be a worthwhile expense.

    Photo: Pfister


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