The Zen of Bathing
By Toni DeWaal, ncidq, cgbp
May 1, 2008
Homeowners who want to create a soothing
bath suite for relaxation can design a unique bathing space to encourage a special sense of awareness and serenity.
As part of a recent whole-house remodel and large addition, designers Lisa Sten, CID, CGBP, and Beth Leibbrandt, CGBP,
from Harrell Remodeling in Mountain View teamed with local homeowners to create a Japanese-inspired spa bathing room.
The homeowners desired a quiet, peaceful area that felt like a spa and that could be used at the end of a day to
relax the body and rest the mind. Bringing the outside in and eliminating the barriers of specific spaces were also
The Harrell Remodeling design-build team added square footage to an existing bathroom and included space from an
adjacent bedroom to enclose this new spa room. The private bathing room is accessed through a lower-level bathroom in
the house. It’s equipped with sauna; ofuro tub (Japanese soaking tub); curbless shower; ample storage and hooks
for robes, towels, and spa accessories; as well as a door to a private deck outside. The view of the deck increases the
spaciousness of the room and blurs the barriers of the interior and exterior spaces.
The team took great care selecting finishes that emulated the understated Japanese aesthetic. Autumn and emerald-green
slate tile on the floor grounds the space and brings a sense of nature to the room. A centrally located drain serves the
shower and any overflow from the ofuro tub. Jade-green ceramic tiles line the shower walls and a decorative stone
border ties in the horizontal shape of the custom cedar tub. Contemporary chrome plumbing fixtures add crisp accents
that enhance the look.
Both hand shower and overhead rainwater plumbing fixtures are installed in the shower area. A custom, cedar ofuro
tub beckons for languishing in hot, calm water to relax body and mind. As is typical of the Japanese soaking tub
experience, bathers first shower and then enter the tub for a relaxing soak. The tub remains full and the water is
filtered and heated through a filtration and heating system located on the deck outside. Accessed through sliding glass
doors opposite the soaking tub, the private exterior deck contributes to the sauna experience and allows the user to
cool off in fresh air.
An immediate sense of quiet and serenity is felt upon entering the space. This design truly embodies the spirit of
a Japanese spa retreat, and affords the homeowners a great place to slow down and relax.
Roberts Hot Tubs in the Limelight