Soaking Tub Inspires Zen Bathroom

Designer Matthew Coates creates a luxurious Zen retreat with warm wood and sleek design.
Japanese Bathroom with Views

Japanese Master Bathroom

Japanese soaking tub, or ofuro tubs, are deeper in comparison to the western bathtub, with sides that are square rather than sloped or rounded. The lights are compact fluorescent, and the countertops are recycled quartz. The wow factor is the view!

Photo by: Matthew Coates Ellis

Matthew Coates Ellis

By: Kate Brimer

When a homeowner contacted designer Matthew Coates to create a bathroom retreat in a LEED Platinum house, Coates had to create a space with multiple uses.

Incorporating luxurious details and thoughtful storage, the design includes a Japanese ofuro tub, hidden laundry facility and dressing area.

Coates shares how he designed a multipurpose space while maintaining a spa-like aesthetic.

Zen Bathroom

See All Photos

Shop This Look

What was on the homeowner's wishlist?

The owner wanted a large shower area with easy access as well as a Japanese ofuro soaking tub. We included both items at opposite ends of the bathing area creating a nice dynamic relationship within the space.

What issue did the design address?

We wanted to create a space that was truly "a place apart" from the rest of the world – a place to which the owner could retreat from the chaos. This was accomplished by creating a linear expression with a Zen garden at one end with the shower, and at the other end, a prominent view of the Seattle skyline from the soaking tub.

How did you address obstacles?

Perhaps the biggest obstacle was finding a way to provide built-in storage for everything in the room. The closet cabinets are built into the wall, there is a hidden compartment behind the mirrors and art niches are tucked into left-over space. Everything has its place and when tucked away, gives a clean and clutter-free environment that enhances the sense of relaxation.

How does the end result match the original vision?

Honestly, the space turned out better than I expected, given the circumstances. One aspect of the space that we did not anticipate was that it ended up being somewhat challenging to get into and out of the sunken ofuro tub. We needed to retrofit the space with some grab bars.

What are the hidden gems of the design?

We wanted to give a warm sense to the space by using wood, but instead of using wood flooring we used it on the walls and ceiling, where it is unlikely to come in contact with water. The laundry machines are built into the wall and have a wood panel door. You would never suspect that this is also the laundry room!

Next Up

Main Bathroom Makeover With a Luxurious Tub

How do you make a bathroom a go-to retreat? Include what most homeowners want most — a tub to spend time soaking in, a shower for quick cleansing, good big mirrors, great lighting and a soothing palette.

Sleek, Modern Bathroom Remodel

Designer Joni Spear turned a bath remodel gone wrong into the sleek, modern space her client desired.

Clean, Modern Bathroom

Streamlined furnishings were mixed with sparkling accents for a clean, contemporary bathroom design. The designer shares how it all came together.

Lively Master Bathroom

Designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon creates a youthful master bath designed for aging homeowners.

A Minimalist Master Bathroom

Designer Chris Johnson of Design Tec Inc. incorporates a built-in bathtub and functional bathroom design in this spa-like bath retreat.

Making Space With a Contemporary Bath Remodel

Designer Carla Aston gave this master bathroom a contemporary twist all while sticking to her plan of designing a more spacious, calming room for the homeowners to enjoy.

Caribbean Blue Contemporary Bath

Using smart, eco-friendly materials and a fun, Caribbean color palette, designer Catherine Nakahara delighted her clients with this sleek, contemporary California guest bath, highlighting their all-time favorite color – blue!

Contemporary Bathroom With a View

With the help of designer Chantal Devane, the owners of this gorgeous contemporary bathroom will never again have to leave the house for a spa day.

Traditional, Luxurious Bathroom

Discover how designer Katheryn Cowles transformed a boring, outdated bathroom into a classic space full of elegant touches.

Old World Main Bathroom

Designer Mark Williams shares how he creates a timeless main bathroom using traditional and modern elements.
Matthew Coates

Matthew Coates

Coates Design Inc. 900 Winslow Way East, Suite 210 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 206-780-0876