As a young girl, and budding design enthusiast, one of my favorite things was to go to the Parade of Homes with my mother. I was in awe of all the over-the-top early ’90s design we saw, and particularly in awe of the enormous bathrooms, with their wall-to-wall carpet and luxuriously massive whirlpool tubs. My mother did not share my enthusiasm. Yes, she said—but who’s going to clean it?
As an 8 year old, cleaning a tub did not seem like any big obstacle to having the home of my dreams. Now I am an adult, and I do all the cleaning myself, and I realize that my mother was right—when considering a design, it’s wise to keep maintenance in mind, as well as visual appeal. I still love the whirlpool tubs. And I love these 10 designs, too, although I would not want to be the one to have to clean them.
It was a conversation between myself and Dabney, our Projects Editor, that inspired this post. The folded metal backsplash in this project by Hunting & Narud is absolutely gorgeous—but the idea of wiping it down does not seem particularly fun.
I read your comments, and I know that if there’s one thing Apartment Therapy readers hate more than books organized by color, it’s tile countertops. I’ve never had a tile countertop, and this one, in a Portuguese beach house by Vera Iachia (via Planete Deco) is pretty enough that I might ignore all the horror stories. But I’ve heard whispers that cleaning these things isn’t pleasant.
I love taking baths, and I’ve always thought oversized, freestanding tubs (like this one from Studio DB) were dreamy. But how in the world do you clean one? They seem too big to reach in—do you have to clean sitting inside the tub itself? Owners of very large tubs, enlighten me.
And then there’s the problem of the sunken tub, a design detail I unabashedly love but don’t even want to think about cleaning. (This one from Block 722, via Design./Visual., is a particularly lovely example.) If you have a sunken tub like this, how do you clean it? Do you curse the day you were born?
This massive soaking tub lined in terra cotta tile, a design of PAr, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It is also, I imagine, not very fun to clean. At all.
I love the look of tiny tile—as long as it’s not the dreaded hyper-iridescent early-2000s stuff, it can actually be very nice. This installation by Architect Prineas proves my point—but still, I do get a little nervous when thinking about all. that. grout.
Compared to a tile countertop or a brick backsplash this kitchen design from Brian O Tuama Architects represents a real walk in the park, but I still wouldn’t be super jazzed to clean random food spatters off that highly textured subway tile backsplash. (Who are we kidding, I would totally do it to have this kitchen.)