Soak in the sunset. For this bathroom, Crisp chose a vintage black claw‐foot tub. "Who wouldn't want to relax in a hot bath while gazing into the sunset across the rolling hills?" he asks. Highlight the positive. "Prior to its remodel, this master bathroom had a built‐in vanity and tub surround that started at the entry door by the sinks and was carried all the way around to the shower", says Susan Brown of Susan E. Brown Interior Design. "By using a freestanding bathtub and separate vanities, I knew the space would be opened up yet still feel cohesive with the integration of similar colors and finishes". She adds that "having negative space surrounding the tub gives more emphasis to it as the pièce de résistance of the room. I continued to emphasize that aspect with hidden accent lighting that shines through the onyx tub deck and down onto the iridescent turquoise glass tiles, creating an 'incredible soft glow,' as my client put it".
Ensure proper drainage. Not only will you guard against damage from standing water, but you'll also protect yourself from skidding on wet floors. Angle the shower floor slightly so that water flows toward the drain, and think about adding a second drain for doubly effective siphoning. Select surfaces that can stand up to moisture. Even with careful attention to an open shower's design, splashes and steam will escape. Outfit your bath with surfaces that hold their own against moisture: porcelain or glass tile, metal, stone, solid surfacing, engineered quartz and some woods. Avoid fabrics and other materials that are prone to mildew.
Be inspired by your travels. "The perfect way to incorporate my client’s love of his Hawaiian travels into his traditional Craftsman bungalow master bath was to create a spalike focal point with this freestanding nickel‐lined copper tub", says Emily Gibson of Gibson Gimpel Interior Design. "Although the style is completely different from the Polynesian bungalows he enjoys on his vacations, the tub evokes the unique and relaxing atmosphere of the luxury hotel that he experiences every day in his Dallas home". Take an artistic approach. "I think to really make a freestanding tub work, you need space, which is often not available in a standard bathroom, says Jim Zack of Zack/deVito Architecture + Construction. "These clients were very hands on and selected this tub themselves, but we were also thinking about the other materials in the bathroom. The sculptural quality of the stone and the craftsmanship of the stonework is amazing, and this tub has a very sculptural quality to it which is enhanced by placing it on a plinth".