Any remodeling project is a difficult undertaking. Julia Angwin, senior technology editor for the WSJ.com, has been documenting her renovation of her Harlem brownstone in her “Brownstone Diary” column in the Wall Street Journal’s online Home and Garden section. Her recent entry, “Shallow Bathtub is a Deep Disappointment,” highlights some of the potential pitfalls of buying a big-ticket item, like a bathtub, through retail. Mass-produced tubs were not made with your specific visions and requirements in mind. A custom tub, on the other hand, will be made exactly to your specifications and can save you from buyer’s remorse.
When the time came to purchase a bathtub for the master bathroom, Julia discovered that “hunting for a new fridge or bathtub isn’t like shoe shopping, where choices are endless, stores are stocked and the Web is teeming with options. Home stores don’t keep much stock on hand of big-ticket items like stoves, refrigerators or bathtubs.” Even what was described to Julia as “one of the biggest bath showrooms in New York City” had only a dozen or so bathtubs on display.
Large items take up a great deal of valuable space on a retail showroom floor or in a warehouse. You won’t find a great variety on display because mass-produced big-ticket items aren’t made in great varieties. You will typically find whatever sells the most, even through an online retailer. You better hope what sells the most is what you’re looking for.
A custom made big-ticket item, like a custom tub, never takes up space on a showroom floor or warehouse because it only exists in your and your artisan’s imaginations until you make the decision to turn your unique item into reality. Before it becomes a reality, however, an artisan will take exact measurements to make sure it will fit not only your vision but also your available space. You will always find exactly what you are looking for if you go custom.
Since a custom tub never needs to entice shoppers, you will never find that the name of the tub is a far cry from the tub itself. Julia settled for the “Kohler Tea for Two, 66 inch long bathtub.” At 66 inches long and 24 inches deep, with a name that implied two people could fit in it, it seemed just right to her. “But at the last minute,” Julia writes, “our contractor said we probably couldn’t fit the 66 inch version. We asked him to order the 60 inch version.”
That unfortunately rushed decision at a critical moment in the remodeling process resulted in the installation of a bathtub 60 inches long but only 14 inches deep. That is the depth of the 60 inch version.
It was probably no consolation for Julia to hear from a marketing manager who “explained that many bathtubs are built to accommodate a ‘stepover’ into the shower” and recommended instead “some of their deeper acrylic soaking tubs.”
Bathing, soaking, splashing, dipping, dripping, luxuriating in aquatic splendor – instead of decoding what a marketer means when you read an item’s description or analyzing the nuances of bathing as opposed to soaking from a design perspective, why not just describe to your custom builder exactly what you intend to do in your tub? You can hammer out what to call it after the aesthetic, functional, and practical requirements of the project are settled. If you have the budget and the motivation for remodeling, you need to think custom when you “go shopping” for your project.
If a Japanese soaking tub sounds appealing to you, check the ofuro style tubs CustomMade artisans can make for you, like this custom Japanese ofuro made from plantation grown teak by Bath in Wood of Maine, LLC. They can ship their products anywhere in the world. However, if you want to find a custom tub maker near you, check out CustomMade’s “Location Search” page, where you can find CustomMade artisans by state, province, or city. Don’t see your city listed on the main page? Click on your state, like New York, and you can refine your browsing with over 150 in-state locations or search by zip code.