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Focal-Point Bathtubs

Make a statement in your master bath with a tub that turns bathing into a sumptuous experience.

Written and produced by Debra Steilen
  • Erica Dines

    For many homeowners—and their bathroom designers—a fabulous bathtub is the starting point for a master bathroom. Showers can be equally showy, but they can’t equal a tub’s ability to announce the homeowner’s exquisite taste while implying that a relaxing bath is quality time worth taking.

    Toward that end, we’ve provided 30+ examples of fabulous focal-point tubs; they’re vintage, contemporary, freestanding, clawfoot, set on a base, encased by tile, silhouetted against glass, enhanced by art, partnered with a power shower, and more. So keep clicking to nab ideas for making your next tub the star of the show.

    Shown: Along with shiplap siding, an antiqued nickel soaking tub warms this master bath’s cold stone surfaces. (The floor is clad in Calacatta Gold marble tiles.) A striped linen roman shade provides privacy.

    Design: Tammy Connor

  • Werner Straube

    Stylish Sanctuary

    Renovated for a more sophisticated feel, this master bath boasts a shapely soaking tub set in front of an enormous wall of glass. The tub is centered between furniture-style vanities topped in marble; Venetian beaded mirrors sparkle overhead. The vanities’ warm wood tones pop against walls wearing “Ashley Gray” paint from Benjamin Moore. The perimeter tile is Calacatta marble, and the patterned center tile (“Seine”) is from New Ravenna.

    Design: Corey Damen Jenkins

  • Erica Dines

    Check This Out

    Framed by matching French doors, a Waterworks clawfoot tub becomes the center of attention in a traditional master bath lined with dark gray-and-white marble floor tiles from Paris Ceramics. The hanging Cuadro Lantern is from Formations. An iron martini table from Bungalow Classic doubles as a plant stand.

    Design: Barbara Westbrook

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  • Werner Straube

    Shimmering Style 

    Glamorous elements set this master bath (part of a Hampton Designer Showhouse) apart from the norm. Designer Michael Mariotti chose a double-ended freestanding tub from Victoria + Albert as his focal point, letting its sun-dappled surface gleam against luminous grass-cloth walls. The tub is presented on a high-gloss 24-inch-square tile floor into which is embedded a basketweave mosaic of marble tiles. Mirrored wall brackets, silver-color sheers, a Lucite vanity chair, and a crystal-beaded chandelier from Hudson Valley Lighting boost the room’s sparkle quotient. White trim separates the walls from a honed Venetian plaster ceiling. The leather-topped museum bench is from Profiles.

    Design: Michael Mariotti

    Visit this Hampton Designer Showhouse.

  • Tria Giovan

    Star Quality

    “When it came to the master bathroom, [she] wanted some glamor,” recalls interior designer Phyllis Taylor. Her answers to the challenge? Mirrored furniture, high-shine fixtures, and marble-clad surfaces. At the center of it all is a curvaceous tub from which bathers can enjoy views of the elegantly appointed perimeter. Taylor chose a dramatic Murano glass light fixture to suspend from the domed ceiling, directly above the tub. “We had to use that light fixture!” she says. “It has star-shape crystals and was the most Hollywood thing we had ever seen.”

    Design: Phyllis Taylor

  • Dominique Vorillon

    Drawing Power 

    Dynamic modular artwork by Ilan Laks draws attention to the vintage standing tub that rules over this master bath. Both the abstract artwork and the sleek white tub pop against a dramatic wall of small-scale patterned tiles—a custom design by the bath’s designer, Ann Runyon Carter. Heart-pine flooring, patterned sheers, an acrylic table, and an antique chair surround the tub with a multitude of textures—one of the elements that gives the home heart, Carter says. Bathers can look through steel-and-glass French doors into the courtyard outside.

    Design: Ann Runyon Carter

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  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Light, Bright and Beautiful

    Sheathed in a laser-cut, marble-and-glass surround, this Origami tub from BainUltra is the undisputed focal point of Kim and Mark Holifield’s master bath. (The tub, which stands between his-and-her vanities, is silhouetted against a marble-clad shower.) A white coral-inspired Diallo chandelier from Arteriors adds just the right amount of bling overhead. Calcutta Gold marble tiles cover the floor.

    Design: Tish Mills

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  • Brie Williams

    Privately Posh

    English country style dominates other rooms in this vacation home, says designer Moe Draz. “But when it came to the master suite, we took a different approach: more romantic, more French,” he says. “We built the bath around the classic French feel of the tub.” With its polished-iron exterior, the chosen tub joins tiled walls, limestone flooring from Walker Zanger, and a tall leaded-glass window overlooking South Carolina’s Lake Keowee in creating the desired ambiance. An antique silver-plated chandelier gleams from on high.

    Design: Moe Draz

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Blue-and-White Bliss

    A heated surface warms the bather’s back and neck in this master bath’s 72x42-inch VibrAcoustin bathtub from Kohler. Along with its spalike amenities, the tub wears a marble deck and navy-blue surround that help it stand out against the large-scale navy floral print on walls and draperies. The latter are part of a design technique that “adds a cosseting effect,” says designer Danielle Rollins. A tufted ottoman and an armless chair offer comfortable seating on dry land. The Oslo chandelier with pleated shades comes from Circa Lighting.

    Design: Danielle Rollins and Bill Ingram

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  • Werner Straube

    Center Stage

    Gleaming like the Holy Grail, this shapely tub sits in front of an enormous Palladian window framed by floor-length drapes cut from luxurious metallic fabric. “The shape of the tub is like a piece of art,” says bath designer Jeff Jones. “It’s a sculptural element that draws you into the bathroom.” A marble hallway leads through from the master bedroom to the tub, while a marble-tile mosaic (see detail on the next slide) adds interest at the vessel’s base. Warm gray walls and creamy white woodwork complement the Calacatta marble surfaces.

    Design: Jeff Jones

  • Werner Straube

    Mosaic Detail

    A marble-tile mosaic at the foot of the tub lends the visual interest of a rug while doing its duty: adding a slip-proof surface for wet feet. This sophisticated feature echoes the tile mural installed in the steam shower (not shown).

    Design: Jeff Jones

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Burnished Beauty

    Set in front of a ceiling-high window, a burnished cast-iron tub from Waterworks marks the center of a symmetrical floor plan. Flanking custom vanity cabinets with a distressed finish enhance the tub’s kingpin status. A pair of industrial-style console tables complements the layout. Salvaged-wood flooring with a wire-brush finish provides a textural foundation for the bath’s rustic components.

    Design: Susan Ferrier

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  • Richard Leo Johnson

    View Master

    You know a bathtub is meant for lingering when it sits right below a parade of tall windows. That’s the case with this soaking tub, which offers bathers endless views of marshland, trees, and sky from within its elegant embrace. A wide Carrara-marble ledge wraps around the tub, offering ample space for soaps, shampoo, and perhaps an occasional glass of champagne. The walls wear Carrara marble tiles; the floor boasts a traditional basket-weave pattern constructed of Casa Bianca Turkish white marble. Deck-mount tub fixtures are from Rohl.

    Design: Dee Simmons

  • Laura Moss

    Exotic Destination

    A pewter-look soaking tub (Camelot from Devon & Devon) achieves stardom in this master bath thanks to a tile backsplash configured within a curved framework. A large shower is concealed behind the tub wall, with access from each side to one of the twin vanities. Next to the tub, a Klismos chair provides a handy landing spot for towels. The chandelier is from Niermann Weeks.

    Design: Patty Burdick

  • Michael Garland

    Refined Reflections 

    Once a dark space lined with red marble countertops and dark wood floors, this master retreat now features a burnished Waterworks tub surrounded by antiqued panels and white marble-mosaic flooring. It was all part of the designers’ plan to lighten a room built with dramatic proportions and a steeply pitched ceiling. “I felt this [1950s Colonial] house had that vintage Hollywood glamour,” says homeowner Cristan Reilly about the whole-house renovation. “We wanted to bring that out.”

    Design: Heidi Bonesteel and Michele Trout

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  • Laura Moss

    Handsome Haven

    “We just looked outside the window and made a connection,” says interior designer Caroline Tyler DeCesare about the master bath she designed for a Scottsdale vacation home. Drawing on the colors and textures associated with a Southwestern landscape, DeCesare created a layered space highlighted by a slipper tub with an aged, hammered-copper finish. Above the tub, windows allow bathers to soak in nature’s splendor. The ceiling of burly, hand-scraped Douglas fir beams and dark paneling is punctuated by an ornate pendant.

    Design: Caroline Tyler DeCesare and Kelsey Hunzeker

  • Michael Partenio

    Quiet Interlude

    Positioned at an angle, this sleek slipper tub basks in sunlight from tall windows as it overlooks the rest of the room. The polished-chrome tub filler from Hansgrohe adds a contemporary touch. Practical luxury comes in the forms of a nearby wall-mount towel warmer and porcelain-tile flooring enhanced by radiant heat.

    Design: Bobbie Sue Smart

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  • Eric Roth

    Comfort on the Cape

    Part of an expansive master suite, this tranquil Cape Cod bathroom is highlighted with what designer Daniel Reynolds refers to as a “floating sculpture”—a freestanding tub handsomely encased in walnut. A generous stone deck provides ample room for bathing supplies and fresh flowers. The bathroom’s walls are covered with 12x24-inch porcelain tile.

    Architectural and interior designer: Daniel Reynolds

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  • John Merkl

    Earthy Allure

    A vintage copper tub—complete with green patina—stars in Jonathon Rachman’s design for a texture-laden bath located within a 1920s cheese barn.  Natural stone walls and a beamed ceiling complement the tub’s feeling of history. But there’s also a touch of today, brought in with sophisticated Kallista plumbing fixtures and crisp fabrics from the designer’s line for Bolt Textiles.

    Design: Jonathon Rachman

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  • John Merkl

    Simple Sophistication

    Overscale lighting, one of Hillary Thomas’ design themes for her family’s Napa Valley home, joins natural textures and pale colors in every room in the house. The master bath is no exception, as shown by a dark blue square-drum chandelier from Charles Edwards Antiques that draws attention to the rectilinear marble-clad tub below. To the right of the tub, his and her showers are separated by a steam shower. 

    Design: Hillary Thomas

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  • Jean Allsopp

    Elegant Comfort

    A gently rounded soaking tub from Waterworks exudes a cocoonlike feeling in this serene, marble-floored bath by Mary McWilliams and Kenson Bates. Farrow & Ball’s “Borrowed Light” paint offers a whisper of blue on the walls, while a polished-nickel étagère and tub faucets (both from Waterworks) add sparkle. A quatrefoil chair from Hickory Chair contributes a feminine touch. Sheer curtains create privacy when desired. 

    Design: Mary McWilliams and Kenson Bates

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  • Colleen Duffley

    Luxurious Lines

    "Having a spacious master bath with storage and a great big bathtub was more important than having a big bedroom,” recalls homeowner/designer Bob Williams. “So we turned the old master bedroom into the bath." That decision resulted in a jaw-dropping, supersized Kohler tub wrapped in marble floating atop a matching marble floor. Above the tub, a polished-nickel chandelier oversees the blissful bathing experience promised below. A black metal table adds an exclamation point at tub’s end. Palladian Blue walls (Benjamin Moore) create a tranquil envelope for the marble-clad tub and linen-lined closets on the bath’s perimeter.

    Design: Bob Williams

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  • Dustin Peck

    Traditional with a Twist 

    Colors, patterns, and textures fuse to create this memorable master bath anchored by a built-in tub. An 18th-century chinoiserie panel highlights the tub surround, which is topped with Calypso Nebula Alpha quartz surfacing from Silestone. The walls wear “Praying Mantis” wallpaper from Bob Collins & Sons Inc., while the ceiling is covered in “Shang Extra Fine Sisal” from Thibaut. A Nichols rug stands in for a bath mat. 

    Design: Jason Oliver Nixon

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  • Emily Minton-Redfield

    Dark and Handsome

    Highlighted from below by honed black marble flooring, a freestanding “Margaux” bathtub from Waterworks stands at attention within this handsome master bath. The tub’s heirloom appearance is complemented by a vintage-style washstand and “Easton Vintage” tub filler and sink faucet. The light fixture is from Fortuny.

    Design: Rochelle Warner

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  • Stacey Brandford

    Absolute Peace

    Comfort rules in this tranquil master bath, where a spoon-shape soaking tub (ergonomically designed to encourage full-body soaks) is silhouetted against a stacked-slate wall. “The tub was at the top of my wish list,” says homeowner Richard Perng. “A long soak helps clear my mind after an intense workday.” A surround-sound system generates soothing music, while a wall-hung television keeps bathroom occupants up-to-date with the latest news. Soft, sensual lighting is generated by diamond-cut crystal uplights recessed into a heated marble-tile floor. A heated towel rack keeps linens warm and dry.  

    Design: Nathalie Tremblay

  • Werner Straube

    Alone at Last

    With four children, Andrea and Ben Leshem often found it hard to include relaxation time in their busy schedules. Their designers’ solution? Adding an elegant clawfoot tub from Toto to the new master bath. Not only does the tub promote relaxing soaks, it delivers a relaxing view of the couple’s private wooded backyard. A custom console grounds the oversize window (in place of drapery) while providing a dark, shapely backdrop to the tub’s gleaming surface. An exquisite crystal chandelier points to the tub showcased below.

    Architect: Scott Renken
    Design: Theresa Sterbis and Janet McCann

  • Sam Gray

    Effortlessly Elegant

    Simple lines and a limited palette of colors and materials make sure this master bathroom beckon its owners to unwind. Of course, it helps to have a large soaking tub positioned by a window to let bathers enjoy relaxing breezes in complete comfort. Limestone tiles, countertops, and surrounds (tub and shower) create an air of uncomplicated tranquility. Satin-nickel hardware and fixtures lend a subtle glow. “This bath is so simple and elegant—a space where you really want to take your time and enjoy the moment,” says architect Michael McClung.

    Architect: Michael McClung

  • Werner Straube

    Etched in Stone

    For designers Shea Soucie and Martin Horner, the challenge was to create a master bath that was, above all, serene. They started with a generous floor plan, then enhanced the space with a sculptural tub set in front of a feature wall clad in vertical ribbons of stone. Alternating in texture from smooth to rough-cut, the Aqualinea tiles from Waterworks create an iridescent look that mimics trickling water. From Lefroy Brooks, a polished-nickel tub filler with cross handles delivers a traditional counterpoint to the tub’s modern design.

    Design: Shea Soucie and Martin Horner

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Old World Charm

    A freestanding soaking tub, white marble wainscoting, and a rustic pine floor channel vintage vibes in this master bath. “I didn’t want the master bath to feel like an addition,” says architect Stan Dixon about his choices. “I wanted it to look like an old room that was converted to a bathroom.” The mercury glass sconces and lantern are from Niemann Weeks; the drapery fabric from Lee Jofa.

    Architect: Stan Dixon
    Design: Liz Williams

  • Richard Leo Johnson

    Marble-Clad Cocoon

    The layout of this master bath begins with a circular foyer off the master bedroom. A freeform tub is the foyer’s only furnishing; the fixture provides sensual comforts while offering waterfront views through a curved wall of windows. A semicircular half-wall defines a passage behind the tub that links the bedroom to the bath’s vanity areas. Hexagonal marble flooring complements marble-tile wainscoting and a marble mosaic on the half wall.

    Design: Laurie Lehrich and Melanie Martin

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    In the Pink

    Created by Janie Hirsch for the Atlanta Symphony Decorator’s Showhouse, this serene master bath gets its femininity from an elegantly curved bathtub and pink-patterned linen draperies. Along with the floor-to-ceiling window treatment, a large-scale painting draws attention to the tub—cementing its status as fashionable focal point. 

    Design: Janie Hirsch

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  • Kimberly Gavin

    Beautifully Accessorized

    Although the star of the bathroom is a freestanding tub, a frameless glass shower clad in a marble tiles offers an eye-catching backdrop. An antique Murano chandelier adds a little drama to the tranquil scene. “We try to visualize lighting and hardware as jewelry,” says interior designer Kimberly Jamerson. “We wanted the chandelier to be like adding diamond drop earrings to an already beautiful dress.”

    Design: Kimberly Jamerson and Angela Otten

  • Emily Gilbert