The Death of the Whirlpool Tub?


By Ed Roskowinski, CR

Many master bathrooms in the US have a whirlpool tub, and when I ask clients about their “must haves” for their master bathroom remodel, a whirlpool tub is usually near the top of the list.  We all have the romantic image of sitting in a large tub with our partner (or others may have visions of some celebrity), bubbles up to our chin, candles scattered throughout the room and a bottle of champagne chilling nearby.  But, how often does this fantasy really happen?  When I ask my clients, “when was the last time you filled your current whirlpool tub?” The typical response is, “I don’t remember, maybe back in 1997.”

Now of course there are those who do utilize this piece of equipment, maybe even once or twice each week, but I find this to be the exception rather than the rule. When asked why they don’t use their large tub, most often people say they hate the idea of waiting twenty minutes, draining their entire water heater to fill it, only to watch 80-gallons of water go down the drain when they’re done.  Personally, I just don’t like having to clean the thing.  My latest scheme is to fill mine with potting soil and plant it full of orchids.

So why is it we continue to see this high priced, space hog as an essential part of our lives? I believe it’s because most of us romanticize how we use our homes. We have visions of our extended family gathered around the large dining room table, sharing great food and good conversation, yet our formal dining rooms sit vacant most of the year. We fantasize about cocktails with friends in the formal living room or “study,” when we all know we’ll be hanging out in a more casual setting like the kitchen island or family room.

My advice, when purchasing or remodeling your home, wade your way through these fantasies and get “real” about how you live.

Getting back to the whirlpool tub, many homeowners are now trending toward a large walk-in shower, maybe even with a steam feature.  This tends to be a more versatile option, allowing for standard daily showering, two-person showering or the spa/steam experience, all with practically no waiting.

Ed Roskowinski is General Manger and VP of Vujovich Design Build, Inc., a 35-year design build firm specializing in building and remodeling unique Twin Cities homes for unique homeowners.

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