Mood Board: Serenity Now

As women who are guilty of trying to do too much, we’re always looking for ways to add relaxation to our schedule. It’s been proven that taking a bath is one of the easiest stress relievers there is. Bathroom connoisseur, Barbara Sallick, founder of Waterworks, is responsible for redefining how people view their bathrooms and continues to be at the cutting-edge of all things bath décor. She knows better than anyone that a great bathroom means creating a space for yourself in this hectic world. In her new book, The Perfect Bath, Barbara touches on the origins of the bath as a sanctuary and oasis, shares expert advice on the balance of practical consideration and design dynamics in creating a personalized retreat, and offers tips on the comfort factor and how to ensure our baths are what they should be – relaxing. Read on for a brief taste of her views. 

Cover photography by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

The perfect bath… For me, these three words immediately conjure up an irresistible, even timeless vision of relaxation, and restoration. And yet, having said this, I must immediately add that there is no one definition of the perfect bath—precisely because the room is such a singular expression of an individual’s (or a couple’s) own sensibility. Think about it: every other room in a house has multiple constituencies. The master bath is the only space in your home that is all about you—a highly personalized domain that, in addition to being part of life’s daily routine, serves as a private retreat. Thus the true definition of the perfect bath is a bath that is perfect for you.

Photography by Paul Costello.

Going back to antiquity, we started with the Egyptians, whose obsession with cleanliness was such that they discriminated against cultures whose members didn’t follow their own bathing customs; their bathing rituals expressed a view of the bath as a font of hygiene, health, and healing. The Greeks refined the language of tubs and basins to the form that persists today, encouraged the habit of bathing as a means of relaxation, and – in the belief that specific natural water sources had been blessed by the gods – connected the ideas of cleansing and healing…

Modernity, to be sure, offers many advantages over antiquity. But the idea of the bath as a place of relaxation, reflection, and restoration, developed by the ancients, is one that has never been improved upon – all we can do is translate that timeless concept into a personal reflection of contemporary life.

Waterworks, Photography by Gentl & Hyers.

It’s never too early in the design process to consider ergonomics, which is, simply put, the science of comfort. Comfort remains as important a consideration as any impacting bath design: if the space isn’t comfortable, it’s not going to promote rest, reflection, or restoration – quite the contrary.

The smallest ergonomic misstep can entirely derail the bath experience. If a gooseneck faucet is too tall, you will crack your forehead on it every time you bend over to wash your face. If a shower has been fitted with a glass door that opens inwardly, and the door pull us is so tiny that you can’t gain a purchase on it with wet fingers, you will be trapped. Even a shower valve set at the wrong height (so that you have to bend over too far) or in the wrong place (so that you actually have to get in to turn on the water) can affect your comfort. Everything demands attention – the height of the sink or vanity, of the medicine cabinet or mirror – and makes a difference.

Photography by James Ray Spahn.

Also worthy of consideration are the ergonomics of personal preference. I always recommend that people sit in a tub before making a decision about it – not only to be certain that it is capacious enough, but also to ensure that the angle of the back is comfortable and the depth won’t leave you over or under submerged. Do you like your towels hung on hooks or bars? Do you need fresh linens at hand, or can they be kept in a hall closet? Should the plug for your hair dryer be to the right or the left of the sink? Does “visual noise” make you uncomfortable? How much storage space do you need for everything to be put away? Issues of comfort that are specific to oneself are central to the bath experience, so make sure the ergonomics, both general and personal, are as well considered as the way things look.

Design tip: Pooling drapes convey warmth, relaxation, and luxury. Photography by Emily Followill Photography.

The Perfect Outfit For Relaxing

How do you keep that calm feeling going? With this clean white (and yet cozy) pullover from Zenergy. Slip it on with a pair of your favorite leggings, (we love this coated pair), some chic sneakers, and be at your leisure, while looking polished as can be, all day long. 

Click to buy: Viley Cozy Pullover, Vivianne Coated Leggings.

For serious bathroom inspiration, Barbara’s beautiful book, The Perfect Bath, is the ideal respite from the world. Buy it here.  Excerpt courtesy of Rizzoli.

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