Photos by Laurie Black
Designers are loving round cedar soaking tubs, which bring a more naturalistic vibe to the backyard while recalling self-care cultures from abroad. “If you have ever experienced the bathing culture in Japan or Korea, that really opens up a lot of unconventional thinking about an element like this,” says Michael Howells, of Portland-based Howells Architecture + Design, who has used the tub in several projects. Howells first worked with the cedar tubs to get away from the conventional molded-plastic versions, and employed one here at a recent backyard remodel in the Irvington neighborhood — for its aesthetic as much as its function. “The natural-wood interior means a darker, more shadowy look at the water surface, which for me implies something pond-like,” Howells says.