The Tropical Bathroom Part 1

Be it an outdoor Jacuzzi set in a deck or a fully-enclosed private space, we give you a plethora of ideas for tropical bathing in this chapter. Bring the outdoors in, give precedence to either sink or tub (not both), enlarge with mirrors, create a zen-like spa space whatever takes your fancy, it’s here.

Because it’s the tropics we’re talking about, the outdoors and outdoor elements feature prominently. Borrowing from some of the region’s most talented spa and bathroom designers and decorators, many troppo home owners have incorporated courtyard bathrooms into their homes and villas. But the look is easily extended into enclosed bathrooms too: bring plants, natural materials such as rocks, bamboo, pebbles and the like, as well as plenty of light and air into this most private of spaces and you can transform the dullest of rooms into a full-on bathing beauty. Because of the boom in Asia’s spa business, we’re seeing a lot more variety in bathroom hardware these days. Utilitarian tubs in standard shapes are increasingly being replaced by innovative bathing options entire walk through wet rooms, stand-alone tubs with pressure jets, huge rain showers with their massive roses, for example. LED colored mood lighting is almost de rigeur nowadays, and floor and wall coverings increasingly imaginative. Think large format tiles with a textural finish and glistening metallic sheen or a subtly shimmering wall of tiny pearlescent mosaics; limestone is always stylish for flooring, and if you live in a colder climate, be sure to install under floor heating before laying floor tiles.

Cutting edge technology comes to the closet with digital showering a major trend. Electric showers are particularly cost efficient, with eco-settings and precise temperature controls and programmes. And if you have high water pressure, the aerated showerhead injects air into the water, thereby boosting performance without wasting water. Check out all these new ideas and create a truly indulgent bathroom; it’ll be modern and eco-sensitive too.

Eva Shivdasani, the creative director of this his and hers duo, has opted for raw materials and finishes to create a country-style washroom here. Mirrors, mounted on pillars, are bordered with roughly hewn wood, while walls sport an outdoor, whitewashed look. The glass counter top enhances the free-flowing space.

Outdoor Bathing

There’s something incredibly liberating about luxuriating in an outdoor bathroom, with nature and the natural world close to hand. Obviously, a warm climate is a must for such an experience, as is a profusion of tropical foliage, plenty of natural organics around, and either a clear blue sky or a starstudded hemisphere above.

However, a simulacrum can be created within the confines of four walls, a floor and a ceiling if more than a dash of imagination is utilized. Our selection of outdoor bathrooms is for the most part very much outdoors (often in quite remote, wild places), but, with a careful use of props, they could be adapted within more conventional confines.

Take the use of natural stone, for example. In some cases, here, the bathrooms have been shaped around the contours of large boulders that were originally found on the house site. A similar look can be recreated at home with clever use of river stones, moss-encrusted walls and palms and ferns in concealed pots or planter boxes. Add some sculptural driftwood or a stand of miniature bamboo, a large rain shower and some crazy paving and you can imagine your Balham semi a Balinese villa.

Seriously, though, if you get the elements right, the rest follows. And if you do live in the tropics, take some inspiration from this selection. Don’t be too rigid: a slightly slapdash use of sand and stones, pebbles and plants gives the right outdoorsy feel. Don’t be too particular with the placement of items; you want a wild jungle not a manicured park. Go for rounded contours, irregular shapes and overgrown foliage. Cracked tile mosaics are another idea: they’ll help with cleanliness, but look somewhat thrown together.

outdoor tub
Terrazzo is the perfect material for an outdoor tub, especially one that is fed from a roughly-hewn stone cascade. The textured quality of the “walls” conceals hidden lighting.

outdoor bathroom
A polished wooden deck, rustic chick blinds and a surrounding tropical garden are all that’s needed here for a true back-to-nature bathing experience. Scented rose petals add to the spa feel.

Zen bathroom
A zen-like space is created here with the clever use of natural rocks, bamboo walls, a lone frangipani tree and wooden decking. The crème de la crème, however, is the round tub. Made from cement with a bronze finish via a process known as cold forging, it is a highly original piece.

sunken tub
A Japanese effect is created with the use of geometric wooden trellis work and large sunken tub in Villa Shasa, Koh Samui, Thailand. Of course, the sea views add an extra dimension! It’s hardly surprising that water forms a focus here, as the villa’s name translates as “holy water”.

modern tropical bathroom
Even though this bathroom is found in a Singapore apartment and is fully enclosed, it has the feeling of the great outdoors because of the addition of a small adjacent balcony that doubles up as shower cubicle and garden. Add to that light streaming through floor-to-ceiling glass, beautiful veined marble and a Corbusier lounger and you have a modern, yet tropical, feel.

rustic bathroom
Who would imagine that a rustic verandah could be transformed into something quite so stylish? The Japanese wooden tub and water container are com plemented by unfinished wood counter and large ladder towel rail. Bumpy walls, a thatch and bamboo roof and chick blinds complete the open-air feel.

balinese bathroom
Billowing soft muslin drapes, an adjacent garden and cool, turquoise stone create a disctinctly ethereal al fresco feel in this Balinese villa bathroom designed by Valentina Audrito. Rustic water ladles and bowl by Japanese glass artist Seiki Torige sit on the bath rim while water bubbles from concealed jets.

shophouse conversion bathroom
Arranged adjacent an atrium lightwell, this shophouse conversion bathroom benefits from sliding glass doors that allow for the inclusion of light and air. Large urns containing mini trees are reflected in the wide mirror thereby enlarging what is in fact quite a narrow space.
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