There is an overall trend in design, particularly in bathrooms, to either have part of your bathroom outside or open to the elements, or to mimic the world outside in the design and layout of the bathroom itself. Both trends are very powerful design statements that are intended to make you feel at one with nature, and thus naturally relaxed. There is a genuine attempt to remind the home owner that they are the master of their domain, and having a bathroom in this style is guaranteed to make you feel like the king of the world around you.
This trend is extremely popular in areas with great climates – Australia, South Africa etc – and actually started out in the tourism industry. Game lodges offered rooms with outdoor bathroom facilities, not standing separate, but merged into the room itself. More often than not, the shower or bath itself is located in an alcove that is exposed to the elements. The space is finished in natural materials like wood, slate or granite, and should offer a view of the world outside. Bathing on a balcony that is open to the world but still private is really quite an experience.
If you are designing a home from scratch, then you will need to keep the outside space in mind. You will need access to water and plumbing, as well as ample room – having an outside bathroom is useless if it is cramped. Think luxury and space. Also, you should take into consideration privacy issues, and design some kind of cover that protects the client from prying eyes that can ruin their intimate bathing experiences.
Design the room itself so that it is an extension of the world outside – the bath or showers are portals that bring the outside world in. Use natural finishes, and keep things simple. Large windows will extend the feeling of emersion in nature.
A natural bathroom
If you like the idea of an outside bedroom, but don’t have the nerve or inclination to go all the way, you can use a few of these tips to create the effect without actually having it.
Firstly, detail is the key. Everything in the room should suggest a naturalistic outlook. Go for muted, earthy towels, natural hand and body products, and stone or wood finishes. An arrangement of indigenous flowers can add that special touch. Go for a pebble or slate finish in your shower, that offers a truly outdoor feel, and invest in a wide shower head – you will feel like you are showering in the rain, plus you will save water at the same time.