Glass is the new marble for some homeowners searching for the perfect bathtub. Designers say their clients like the aura of luxury that transparent tubs provide. The appeal extends across all ages, from children’s bathrooms to the elegant master baths in the second homes of older clients. Still, the full exposure can be a bit jarring, designers say. “To some people, that might be absolutely unacceptable,” says Anne Fougeron, principal architect of Fougeron Architecture in San Francisco. For certain homeowners, however, the novelty of see-through tubs outweighs modesty concerns.
Here are some examples of glass-bathtub designs from around the world.
The glass bathtub in this Boston residence was designed to be a “playful” feature for the family’s children, says principal architect David Stern. When his clients made the request, he wasn’t sure how to build it. “We rolled up our sleeves and went with it,” Mr. Stern says. His team at Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors developed a watertight system with concealed brass channels. The 2011 remodel spurred more than 100 queries, he says.
At the request of a client, Hungarian designer Szabi Kiss created his first glass bathtub in 2003. After exhibiting the tub around the world, Mr. Kiss realized “this was something that worked,” he says. Since then, his Budapest-based company, Kiss Design & Interiors, has produced a line of transparent tubs branded as Prizma Studio. In addition to the luxury aspect, Mr. Kiss says, clients prefer the sense of extra space that see-through bathtubs lend to bathrooms. Still, he acknowledges they aren’t for all customers. “It doesn’t have to be good for everybody,” he says.
A Modernist Soak
The Le Cob bath by Australian designer and manufacturer Omvivo attracts customers with a “sense of luxury,” says Amanda Robinson, the company’s marketing and public-relations administrator. The sleek, curvy bathtub, designed in 2001, was inspired by the LC4 chaise longue that was created by Swiss designer Le Corbusier. Water from the tub flows over the lower edge into a bed of pebbles, which made for a formidable design challenges, Ms. Robinson says.
Surf and Turf
While designing a partially glass-enclosed home in Big Sur, Calif., Anne Fougeron, the principal architect, was struck by the idea that a clear bathtub would be the perfect fit for a bathroom that looked out over cliffs near the Pacific Ocean. “It’s the million-dollar view,” says Ms. Fougeron. “You sit in the tub and there’s nothing in your way.” Ensuring the bath was waterproof was the biggest challenge, she adds. The tub was mounted on a concrete floor, then the glass was installed with waterproof coating.
Price: Estimated $10,000