The challenge: Designing and remodeling a bathroom that involved a rotting floor due to water splashing from the shower curtain enclosure. The first question was “How do we keep the water in the tub?” My clients wanted to keep the large bathtub, so swapping it out for a shower was not an option.

I am always looking for inspiration when I travel and remembered a trip to Asia not long ago. The hotel room where I was staying had a “wet” bathroom, essentially meaning everything could get wet. The whole bathroom was tiled and there was no shower door or enclosure. There was a drain in the middle of the room.

So why not take a lesson from our friends across the pond? Problem solved, almost. I just had to figure out how to make this happen in an existing room without going below the floor joists.

After in-depth conversations with my tile installers, we concluded that
if we sloped the floor at a very small grade on all four sides of the bathtub and put in four hidden linear drains, any water that made it out of the tub while showering would drain from the floor. I also had a hinged glass panel installed on the outside of the bathtub to help with the worst of the spray.

The walls are tiled to the ceiling in the shower area and four feet up around the rest of the room. The floor prep was treated just as if it were a shower pan so there is a protective membrane covering the whole floor and up the walls. We used a white marble instead of traditional subway tile, with marble and stone penny tile on the floor.

We needed to add some kind of storage because there is no vanity. By building a false wall at one end of the bathtub, it created just enough space for a custom cabinet for towels, blow dryer, etc. And it’s around the corner from the shower head, so stays dry.

I am continually faced with challenges when I am asked to redesign a room. I am required to think outside the box, to find the missing puzzle piece, to make the space attractive and inviting, as well as functional. This was a space where, when finished, everyone — the client, my subs, and I — felt like we had achieved the ultimate goal…to splash away!

Regular contributor Jennifer Ryan is the owner of Jennifer Ryan Design in Bellingham. See