Friday, June 13, 2014

Attic baths: cramped, or creative?

Having once roomed under a roof and made do with facilities not much roomier than the tent I holed up in at Boy Scout camp, I can relate to those loath to confine their bath to attic-level. 

However, the images below show how an attic's gables, pitches and dormers — as well as the odd, quirky spaces they form — open up endless creative potential for the reimagination of your bath.

The sky's the limit

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The slopes clearly set the limits on cubic footage for these baths, but in doing so they become an asset for light and the illusion of limitless space. The double skylight hovers over the tub in the Prague bath at left, letting users sunbathe while they bathe without peeping-Tom embarrassment. The running skylight cut into the roof's ridge floods light throughout the Danish bath at right, offsetting its triangular "tent" confinement, with help from the linear placement of the tub, vanity and commode along the edges and the shower at center to max out headroom and elbow room.

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Courtesy of Swatt | Miers Architects,
The twin skylights and twin windows at left bask the shower in sunlight, virtually vanishing its glass barriers and broadening the bath's spatial sensation beyond its attic confines. The perpendicular tub/shower placement yields more floor area, and the grayscale palette neutralizes the glare but keeps the atmosphere buoyant. At right, the roof's shallow slope empowers the skylight as a "skyroof," giving guests at the Tea Houses in Silicon Valley, California, the next best thing to bathing out in the open. The deck-like plank floor and bare concrete walls add to the outdoorsy feel.

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These skylights make the shower a separate experience from the rest of the bath. You step into a splash of light — a cheery alternative to the average dark shower stall where you can't find the soap — and get a "sun-shower" that can help you dry off faster at high noon! The skylight at right shines through the shadow of the rafters and defines the width of the shower for greater elbow-room than the average attic shower stall. Glass block sheds additional light on your cleansing, making you forget you're in an attic.

Glass and brick

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Here the common attic features of industrial skylight and chimney actually shape the shower of the master bath in this loft master suite. The shower stall is structured around the chimney that goes through the skylight, emphasizing the solid-void contrast of the two elements and shedding light on your shower experience so the chimney doesn't cast a shadow on it. The brick wall the chimney grants the shower also gives you a bit of the feeling of bathing on Beacon Hill.


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Here the tub not only gets the splash of light it deserves, but the light source is compatible with its recipient in terms of curves and contours. The "eggshell" tub (and matching bowl sink) is customized to fit under the eyelid dormer, for a real eye-opener to sinuous sex-appeal in attic bath design. The common white finishes light up your eyes further as you walk in to soak in the sun and soap.

To each its own

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Here's where tub, shower and floor each gets its own skylight, for an all-around sunbath that makes the attic shine rather than shadow. The yellow wall treatment intensifies the sun as it shines on your soak, scrub, shower, shampoo and shave. The gable also adds quirky roof dimensions to the shower, making it feel like home in itself.
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