The modern bathroom has become a retreat in today’s busy world, a refuge from the stress of overscheduled lives. The best ones are filled with luxurious touches — steam showers, soaking tubs, TVs and surround sound — plus elegant materials like rich woods and earthy stones.
But if I were designing my dream bath, I know what I’d put at the top of my wish list: a way to bring the outdoors in. I’m talking about adding glass walls and a glass door to the shower, or setting a freestanding tub on a deck (or in a garden) so I could admire the view while I soak. Imagine what it would be like to hear birdsong or the rustle of the trees as you lather up, or smell the roses (or whatever else is blooming) while you loll in the tub.
Not surprisingly, these baths work best in balmy climates. I’m stuck on the snowy East Coast these days, but it’s always fun to daydream. So join me: Check out these 14 bright and airy baths, all designed to showcase Mother Nature’s best work.
Bathers can relax and enjoy the view of the Wine Country in Sonoma, California, from this shapely freestanding tub from Hastings Tile & Bath Collection. (This model is discontinued, but similar styles are available.) The folding black-rimmed metal doors are from Hope’s Windows; they can be opened or closed, depending upon the weather or the soaker’s whim.
This Long Island, New York, house’s spacious interior shower is surrounded by shimmering tiles from Oceanside Glasstile (Tessera in cobalt blue) that pick up the hue of the Block Island Sound in the distance. A door (perfect for letting the breeze in) opens to the deck, where there’s a minimalist wall-mounted shower for rinsing off after a dip.
Fashioned from Indonesian river rock, this solid tub is outfitted with dramatic uplights for bathing after dark. The tumbled-stone wall behind is covered in mesh-backed pebble tile and features a water spout, which was custom made by designer Iwan Sastrawiguna. The handheld shower and faucet are from Kohler.
Although this pretty bath has a wintry feel, with its many shades of cream and white, it’s in Arizona. The room opens up to an adjoining stone patio with a set of narrow folding French doors. Other pluses: a Duravit Philippe Starck soaking tub, a cushy armchair with ottoman, and lighting courtesy of a large Hicks pendant.
This bathroom gets loads of outdoor light from its glass wall, while the shower door, which opens to the deck, is frosted for privacy. Other design details worth noting: the caged shower light, nook for shampoo and sponges, small window, row of chrome towel pegs and elaborate carved storage chest.
In this modern Missouri farmhouse, the master bath has floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the 3-acre spread. A deep tub allows the bather to loll in comfort — and privacy. The roof overhang shields the room from the heat of the sun, while blinds can be lowered to shut out the world.
Designed by DeForest Architects, this shower disappears into its surroundings. The tile is sloped toward the central drain, so there is no need for any curbing, and the floor is heated, so excess water evaporates quickly. The shower wall, made up of strips of water-resistant ipe, continues into the outdoor courtyard.
There’s lots to like about this bathroom: the double vanity lit by shoji-inspired teardrop pendants, the louvered wood doors that filter the sunlight, the garden nook with its stone soaking tub. Plus it’s located on the Big Island of Hawaii!
There’s nothing like a long soak in a deep tub to melt away the cares of the day. In this glass-walled bathroom, a continuous natural stone wall, built from rocks that were harvested from the site, links the interior and exterior.
Dramatically textured lava rock covers the wall behind this soaking tub, and on the one in the adjacent garden. Hard-wearing slate floors also continue into the garden. The lustrous oyster-shell light fixture was designed by Dara Rosenfeld and famed French artisan Thomas Boog.
The star of this bathroom is mosaic glass tile (Hokkaido Natural ½- by 1-inch brick from Global Tile Design). It’s used around the indoor tub as well as the outdoor one, where it appears in a larger size.
Note that the interior windows are glazed for privacy.
Overlooking a tropical garden in Hawaii, this showstopping copper tub is set upon black river stones. This kind of luxury doesn’t come cheap; similar tubs retail for about $13,000. Another thing to consider: Even with a ¾-inch dedicated line, the tub takes a half hour to fill, according to designer Saint Dzier. So this one’s not for impatient bathers!