When we think of clawfoot bathtubs, we think of luxury: deep baths you could spend all day in, with candles( and maybe a glass of Champagne ). Aesthetically, we is often used to favor freestanding baths over built-in versions: they feel classic and timeless in any washroom.
But there are, we acknowledge, a few cases practical downsides that could outweigh the positives. If the following four 10 applies to you, you may want to rethink springing for a freestanding bathtub.( And remember that it’s ever a good idea to take a test drive: if possible, climb into a tub to check it out before devoting .)
Above: A glamorous guest soak in the NoMad hotel in LA; read more in An Iconic Hotel Debuts on the West Coast, Italian Grandeur Edition.
First, taken due note of terminology: “Traditionally, claw-foot soaks had a Victorian-style ball-and-claw design, but today any tub on feet is often called a claw-foot, ” author our correspondent Barbara Peck in Remodeling 101: Romance in the Bath: Built-In vs. Freestanding Bathtubs. And , not all freestanding baths have feet at all: some of the more modern, sleek versions sit redden on the flooring. Nevertheless, if you’re mulling over a freestanding bath instead of a built-in, most of these considerations apply.
1. You like keeping soap within arm’s reach. Above: Built-in soaks support built-in storage; photography by Mylene Pionilla from Bathroom of the Week: A 1920 s-Inspired Bathroom in a Renovated NY Farmhouse.
Picture this: you’re just getting into a red-hot bath, sink in, lean back, and start to relax, only to realize you can’t reach the shampoo. A feature of built-in bathtubs that’s often taken for granted is the ledge around two or three backs of the bathtub for stashing soap, shampoo, cloths, and candles. If you opt for a freestanding bath, you’ll find you need to come up with clever new ways to keep essentials within reach–a solvable trouble, for sure, but a consideration to keep in mind.
2. You’re envisioning long, hot baths. Above: Photograph by Amanda Kirkpatrick and styling by Anna Molvik from Architect Visit: A Renovated Farmhouse in Bedford with Scandinavian Influences.
Old clawfoot bathtubs are often associated with long, opulent baths, but unless you’re OK with baths that are briefly opulent, you may want to opt for a newer framework. “Some say that the bathwater in a freestanding tub will cool faster, since it’s surrounded by air, ” writes Barbara in Remodeling 101: Built-In vs. Freestanding Bathtubs. “If you be assured long, red-hot baths, consider a built-in, where the insulation added to the wall behind it will keep the sea warm even longer, or an acrylic example, which will maintain the heat longer than cast iron.”( Or, just add more hot water as it cools .)
3. You have a petite bathroom.
If size is a consideration in your bath, keep in mind that older, freestanding baths tend to take up more room: they’re often bigger than built-in frameworks, and are generally installed with some space between the bath and the wall. Plus, hardware will take up extra room( realize: phase no. 4 ). Built-in alternatives can go a longer way towards meeting a soak into a tight space.
4. You like your hardware streamlined. Above: Fittings( and a solution to the storage problem) in Velvet Goldmine: Maximalist Glamour at Hotel Providence in Paris.
Renovators( particularly those with minimalist savour) should be understood that the hardware in a freestanding bath will be more out in the open than in a built-in bath, where faucets and pipes can be set into the wall. The good news: there are plenty of good-looking fixtures on world markets, including sleeker, more streamlined versions for those working with modern tastes.
Thinking of switching from a built-in bath to a freestanding option? “Any tub involves the same basic plumbing: a water informant( faucets can be mounted on the wall or on a deck beside a built-in tub ), a drainage, and, in the majority bathtubs, an overflow to prevent flooding if you leave the water moving, ” notes Barbara in Remodeling 101: Built-In vs. Freestanding Bathtubs. But a freestanding bathtub might need plumbing pipelines come through here through the storey. If you want to switch from one to the other, consult a plumber to see what’s feasible.”
5. You have restriction patience when it comes to cleaning. Above: An eco-friendly floor-cleaning solution: read more in The Cuban Mop: The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You’ve Never Heard of( and How to Use It ). Photograph by Justine Hand for Remodelista.
One circumstance you are not able to have was just thinking about: if you opt for a footed bathtub, you’ll need to clean beneath it( and around the feet ). Even freestanding bathtubs that sit flush on the floor will leave a gap between the wall and the soak that may be tough to reach when cleaning.
On the other hand, freestanding soaks can be accessible from all sides if placed farther from the wall or in the center of the room, shaping scrubbing easier.
6. You have sloping floors. Above: A bathroom in France by Clarisse Prudent, whose household is featured in a volume on French live from the Socialite Family’s Constance Gennari. See more in The Socialite Family Book: Lifestyles of the Young and Chic, French Edition as well as The Bath en Noir: 10 Favorite Moody Black Bathrooms. Photograph by and courtesy of Constance Gennari.
While an age-old, clawfoot bath is a natural aesthetic choice for the purposes of an age-old residence, keep in mind that really old homes with sloping floorings will result in a sloped bath. It’s easier to disguise uneven flooring with a built-in bath, which can be cut to fit( and the shoring-up covered with cladding ).
7. Your bathroom is on the second largest flooring. Above: Photograph by Matt Lincoln from A Historic House Reimagined for a Modern Family in Stroud, England( plus a smart work-around for the plumbing issue: mount the tub closer to the wall ).
Another consideration for owners of old dwellings: load. “Your bathroom floor must be strong enough to support not just the load of the tub you choose, but the weight when it’s filled with water and has someone sitting inside, ” tones Barbara in Remodeling 101: Built-In vs. Freestanding Bathtubs. Pay careful attention to material: cast iron soaks, whether built-in or freestanding, will always be heavier than acrylic. If your heart is set on a vintage cast-iron bath, or if you have an older house, ever consulting with a plumber or technologist firstly: you may need to reinforce the storey( at additional costs ). Plus, cast iron soaks will be extremely heavy, sometimes prohibitively so, to carry upstairs.
8. You’re short.
If you’re petite, have children who will be using the soak, or are planning for the future in your home, you may want to opt for a built-in bath. Freestanding baths are harder to get in and out of: there are no walls to hold onto, they can be deeper, and footed bathtubs are grown an additional several inches off of the floor.
9. You have kids who like to splash. Above: Photograph by Dustin Aksland from An Unfussy Brooklyn Townhouse Remodel from Architect Elizabeth Roberts.
Most of the time, built-in baths are surrounded by tiled walls on two or three backs, while freestanding soaks aren’t always–leaving walls and floors more exposed to water damage. If this is your only hangup about get a freestanding soak, a simple workaround is to tile the storey and walls around the bath for a splash-proof zone( like in the bathroom above ).
10. You’re more a showerer than a bather. Above: A modern freestanding bathtub in A Brooklyn Townhouse Reinvention from Elizabeth Roberts.( For more on the soak, envision Retro Bath Fixtures from the Water Monopoly .) Photograph by Dustin Aksland.
Be honest: how often do you actually take a bath? If the answer is “once in a while, ” and you find yourself showering every day instead, you’ll want to opt for a built-in bath over a freestanding one, hands down. You could rig a freestanding bath with a shower and drapery, but it’s not ideal: water is more likely to splash out, plus being fully surrounded by a curtain are able to obtain irking. A built-in bath will give you the flexible of easy, mess-free showers, plus a soak, for when you’re in the mood.
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