Whether they’re contemporary or organic, rustic or glam, outdoor showers have become more than place to rinse off after a day at the beach. Now, designers are creating serene spaces meant to induce relaxation and reflection.
Here, seven leading designers share their favorite shower projects and explain how to turn a backyard niche into a tranquil refuge.
Personal Spa on Long Island
“In Long Island, this sequestered outdoor space designed for Michael Kors and his partner, Lance LePere, connects the ample master shower on one side with direct access to the beach on the other — the best of all worlds,” says Russell Groves, principal at Groves & Co. “Two simple materials — limestone and teak — create an intimate, grotto-like space. Strategic wood slats and plantings provide privacy, yet still allow amazing views of sand, sea and sky.”
Organic Curves in Kenya
“For some people, an outdoor shower is the definition of bliss,” says Atlanta designer Suzanne Kasler. “This one is located at a home in Sirikoi, Kenya. We designed the concrete wall, with its built-in bench, to look very organic. You feel as if you’re one with nature when you stand under a stream of water and gaze out at the view — a true sense of place.”
Casual Cutout on Shelter Island
“An al fresco shower lends beach-house chic to any home, even it’s far from the sea,” says designer and author Jonathan Adler. “We installed a window in ours on Shelter Island to frame the view. It has the proportions of a wide-screen TV, so it’s like you’re always watching Swept Away.”
Stone Cove in the British Virgin Islands
“This terrace bathroom is on a Caribbean beach, so it was really important that it be evocative of its setting,” says Martin Horner, principal at Soucie Horner. “I love how sensual it is. It’s totally outdoors, yet its stone walls offer complete privacy. It’s as luxurious as you can get — the tub is carved from a single granite boulder.”
Zen Bathhouse in Sag Harbor
“This oiled-mahogany outdoor shower is a modern, minimal type of ‘bathhouse’ that takes inspiration from the pure, Zen-like aesthetic of Japanese design,” Michael Cox, cofounder and principal at Foley & Cox, says of this Sag Harbor, New York, space. “It allows guests to luxuriate under a leafy canopy and relax in complete privacy while showering with open sky above. Removing all unnecessary design details allows the bather to focus on the beauty of being in nature.”
Surf Porch in Malibu
“This outdoor shower is part of a Paradise Cove surf trailer in Malibu,” says Frances Merrill of Reath Design. “The shower has built-in surfboard and wetsuit storage. Unlike many outdoor showers that are small and strictly practical, this one is meant to be enjoyed. It is large, stretching the length of the deck, and has a built-in bench, which invites one to relax.”
Forest Exposure in Upstate New York
“What makes this shower special is that it’s an outdoor extension of the home’s master suite,” says Frank Webb, cofounder of White Webb. “Accessed from the master’s dressing room, the shower is minimal and modern, and it’s nestled within a mixture of green hedge walls and a stucco-covered retaining wall. Sculptural green plantings and ground cover soften the stone and cedar elements of the hardscape, and contribute to a simple and serene setting.”