Why a Well-Appointed Master Bath Is the Key to Selling Your Home

The Luv tub, from Duravit's new Scandanavian-inspired collection, is available at the Bath + Beyond.A well-appointed master bath is a hallmark of the most desirable properties on the market. As Janet Feinberg Schindler of Sotheby’s observes, “People travel a lot, so they are expecting to see the luxury hotel finishes of a Peninsula or Four Seasons: a lot of floor space, a large shower and a soaking tub.” SFC&G spoke to leading style-setters about the latest finishes, fixtures and technologies defining San Francisco sanctuaries.

Just as a hammock in the backyard instantly conveys a sense of leisure, a freestanding tub embodies repose and relaxation. “Even if the tub is hardly used, the thought of a bath and the scale and beauty of the tub are intrinsic to the master bath experience,” says Michael Booth, principal at design firm BAMO and lead designer of the recently opened Chileno Bay Resort & Residences in Los Cabos. To achieve a resort feeling in his residential projects, Booth installs freestanding tubs of cast or natural stone next to a sliding glass door to maximize natural light and views.

A stunning bath in the BAMO-designed Chileno Bay Resort & Residences.Luxurious interior finishes, of course, set the tone of a space. While Carrara marble is a classic choice, its ubiquity has led architects and designers to look for alternatives. “There is beautifully veined stone that tells a story—it doesn’t have to be the plain white stone that is in every white bath,” says Barbara Sallick, cofounder of Waterworks and author of the new book The Perfect Bath. As examples, she cites pale-pink “Plumeria” and bluish-gray “Cielo” in the Waterworks collection of stone tile. Fresh from a trip to Milan’s Salone del Mobile, Austin Forbord, managing director of design showroom DZINE says, “The clearest trend is the integration of stone, from quartz to marble, in all aspects of the bathroom—from bathtubs to sinks to backsplashes.”

As for bath fixtures, a much larger range of finishes is now available. Brass and matte black are becoming more popular, and there’s no requirement to stick to just one finish in the whole bathroom. “Mixing and matching finishes is like layering cushions with different patterns on the sofa—it’s more interesting that way, ” says Sallick. Adding to that mix are industrial-chic fixtures that take their inspiration from factory shut-off valves, including Pipe by Marcel Wanders for Boffi and Watermark’s Elan Vital.

In the realm of new technologies for the bathroom, one of the most luxurious is a recirculating system that keeps the water in your tub consistently hot; Aquatic’s HotSoak is one option. Heated floors and toilets with built-in bidets are an essential: As part of its $40 million renovation, the Palace Hotel in San Francisco installed Toto Washlets in one-third of their rooms, and were pleasantly surprised by the positive response. “The Toto Washlet has become one of the most talked-about luxuries at the Palace,” says Jon Kimball, the hotel’s general manager. Perhaps in researching a bath renovation, a staycation is in order.