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Selma setting the trend with outdoor bathtubs

The Marseille Luxury Freestanding Bath in Copperleaf Finish offers guests an opulent outdoor bathing experience.

With more and more people designing their homes to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing, it only stands to reason that this now also involves their outside space. So, the growing trend for outdoor bathtubs makes perfect sense, as it combines all the positive effects of bathing with those of being out in nature.

An early adopter of this trend is Selma Rigney, who has installed a beautiful freestanding bath from Bathshack outside her new Airbnb in Dorset.

Indeed, having just completed a renovation project which saw her convert a detached garage on her property into ‘a boutique self-contained holiday let in Christchurch,’ Selma gave us a virtual tour and explained how it all came about.

Quirky conversion by the coast

Although now an impressive place to enjoy a relaxing stay, Five Trees Christchurch began life as “literally a garage of junk,” said Selma. It is now, however, a compact, cosy dwelling boasting a luxurious outdoor freestanding bath, along with a cleverly designed inside space with all the mod cons.

Entry to this unique guest space is via a front courtyard which leads into a narrow hallway, a double shower located in the bathroom to the left, along with a small vanity and toilet. A large double floor-length cupboard in the corridor offers ample storage space, with the interior then opening out into the kitchenette and living area.

With high ceilings and overhead beams, the interior may be small, but Selma has made it feel as airy as possible and made the most of what space there is. This includes a pull-out bed which comes down from the wall and is then easily tucked away during the day.

“We also had this canopy put onto the back, which is where the bath is,” she said. “We’re really lucky we’ve got the trees outside. Our guests have their own private garden and we’ve put fairy lights overhead. When you’re lying in the bath you can see the trees and at night, it’s full of candles, so it’s lovely. It’s very private but we have curtains as well, which people can use if they want.”

Entry to the Five Trees guesthouse is via a gated front courtyard.

The hallway leading into the living area and beyond, the patio with freestanding bathtub.

The patio area lit up with fairy lights and candles at night – an atmospheric setting for a relaxing nighttime bath.

Luxury outdoor bathing

With Bathshack’s Marseille Luxury Freestanding Bath in Copperleaf Finish taking pride of place in the canopy area, which comprises a raised wooden platform, it creates a stunning feature. The bathtub itself has a sleek double-ended design with a rich copperleaf finish on the exterior which adds texture, along with a contrasting gloss-white interior.

With the waste located in the centre of the tub, this allows for bathing at both ends – or it can easily be shared with a partner – while the smooth curves of the design give it a modern, organic aesthetic. The stunning copperleaf tone, meanwhile, adds an opulence which will instantly elevate any space.

The patio area outside the guesthouse features Bathshack’s Marseille Luxury Freestanding Bath in Copperleaf Finish.

The view from the Marseille Luxury Freestanding Bath.

Made from hard-wearing high-quality acrylic, the Marseille Bath is ideal for outdoor use as it won’t rust like traditional copper baths, so is a more practical choice as it can easily be wiped clean. It’s subsequently paired here with a floorstanding chrome tap which contrasts with the warm copper tones.

“A key benefit for us is that this is a copper bath, but a practical one that I can easily wipe clean which won’t scratch or mark,” said Selma. “When you come into the living area, it’s the first thing you see. It just sings to you and looks so pretty. Copper and green also go naturally together, so it looks great against the garden.”

Having previously stayed in a few hotels which had outdoor baths, Selma was immediately inspired by the idea, saying that she preferred the idea of an outside bath over a hot tub.

“When we were creating this holiday space we thought, ‘Do we put a Jacuzzi in?’ – but I really don’t like them because they’re noisy and full of chemicals and there’s a lot of maintenance and they use a lot of energy,” she said. “The design for this space was done back in 2021. I always had in my head what I was going to do – and what I had on the architect drawings was a copper bath …”

Plenty of room to relax inside the Marseille Luxury Freestanding Bath.

Having originally considered a traditional copper bath – which would have cost in the range of £4,000-£5,000 – Selma had a rethink after building costs soared and she wanted to make savings. After doing some online research she discovered that copper baths didn’t age well outside – and then, she found Bathshack.

“I hadn’t seen this bath anywhere else – and Bathshack had a sale on, so it was an absolute no-brainer,” she said. “In the kitchen it’s all forest-green and copper. Even in my own house the décor is black and copper – and I’ve just done the master ensuite in my bedroom and have gone for brushed bronze there. I don’t like shiny surfaces because you’re constantly buffing them up – so this copperleaf bath was perfect.”

Selma added that, with many people not having a lot of room in their bathrooms for a big freestanding bath, having it outside was ideal. The response from guests to date had also been very positive, she said, with a lot of interest online after she posted photos of the bath on Instagram.

“Comments on the bath have been really strong,” she said. “So many people comment on it online.” Indeed, one happy guest said of their stay: “Just wonderful, the outside bath a special touch,” while another commented that, “the outdoor bathtub leaves room for the imagination.”

“Some people have gone, ‘Oh, a bath outside, I haven’t seen that before,’” said Selma. “They’ve been a bit baffled, but it makes the space different because this is a really small area, so I had to make it special. I wholly recommend it.

“You could have a beautiful hot bath out there or you could do the alternative – someone has asked if you could have ice in it. In the freezing cold it’s really nice as well – it’s actually even nicer to have a hot bath when it’s colder. I just cover it to keep the leaves out when it’s not in use.”

In terms of the logistics of installing an outdoor bathtub, Selma said that as long as you could get the plumbing and water connected up, you could put a bath wherever you wanted.

“We were very lucky with the logistics,” she said. “I prefer it outside to having a bath in the bedroom. I think I’d consider one in my main garden now as well.”

She added that, being located close to the coast and the New Forest, they welcomed a lot of walkers and their dogs – and that the bath was also useful for showering down mucky pups as well.

“I always like things to be a little bit quirky and different when I’m doing a design,” she said. “It’s lovely putting it all together and the delivery from Bathshack for the bath was absolutely perfect – very quick and on time. It’s all just about thinking outside the box …”

Outdoor baths are an increasingly popular trend and can create a relaxing experience, out in nature.

You can follow Selma on Instagram @fivetreeschristchurch or visit her website at www.fivetreeschristchurch.com

If you’d like some help with choosing bathroom-ware or tiling for your home, just email our team at info@bathshack.com or call us on (028) 9077 0188. Alternatively, our online chat is also available if you have any queries – or visit bathshack.com for inspiration.