The outdoor shower moves from utilitarian to work of art.
Outdoor showers are a means for ridding the grit that clings to kids and adults alike after a day at the beach, but today, they are as much an artistic statement as a cleaning mechanism.
Christopher Grubb should know. As president of Beverly Hills-based Arch-Interiors Design Group (archinteriors.com), he’s designed and built an array of outdoor showers, mostly for homes in and near Malibu. For him, the outdoor shower is more than just a tool. “I like to make it stand out,” he says. “It should be a focal point.”
One of his latest projects (above) emphasizes the outdoor shower as part of a backyard escape. The glass mosaic-tiled shower is positioned vertically to emphasize the height, and the tiles sparkle in the light of an adjacent fire pit.
“It was all about, ‘How do we bring this into the landscape as a piece of art that is also functional?’” says Grubb, who is also fond of adding attractive drain covers (he recommends California Faucets—calfaucets.com), which, he says, take on a jewel-like form. “It blends in and becomes a whole nature experience.”
Outdoor showers are usually considered part of the architecture of a house; however, for oceanfront homes, Grubb recommends blending the shower into the outdoor landscape. Grubb, who prefers freestanding showers to wall-mounted versions, uses woods—from teak to redwood—to accomplish the effect.
Options for outdoor showers are also becoming more luxurious. While handhelds and foot washes are conventional, Grubb has started adding rainshower heads and body jets. “It’s like a full spa experience,” he says.
Aqua Adagio and Arc Column
The outdoor shower has become so must-have that many manufacturers are unveiling specific lines. Jaclo (jaclo.com), based in Cranford, New Jersey, manufactures high-end and stylized shower systems and accessories and offers a line of outdoor shower columns through its spa collection (inset). Its freestanding Arch Column and Aqua Adagio are 100 percent stainless steel, which looks sharp and is a bulwark against the outdoor elements.
“Because the surface area of polished stainless steel is smooth, it’s hard to penetrate with outdoor elements,” says Jaclo’s Tim Mullally. He adds that polished stainless steel is the best material to use to keep outdoor shower fixtures looking young and new, though some designers employ copper to achieve a natural patina over time.
Outdoor showers are already part of the environment, but being green is still important. Jaclo’s showerheads can deliver water as low as 1.75 gallons per minute. “Because you can never save enough water,” Mullally says.
JACLO’S AQUA ADAGIO AND ARC COLUMN
What do you get when you fuse minimalist design with high-end technology? Jaclo’s product line of freestanding outdoor showers, Aqua Adagio and Arc Column. The New Jersey-based company has outfitted showers at such hotels as Las Vegas’s MGM SkyLofts and New York’s Essex House and Parker Meridian hotels, so it knows its stuff. The pair of outdoor showers, part of Jaclo’s Spa Collection, are made from brushed or polished stainless steel and, when not in use, double as outdoor sculptures. Aqua Adagio has a waterfall and aerated foot-wash function, while Arc (left) has a rainshower spray function along with the aerated foot-wash function. Both are equipped with side mount controls. 800-852-3906.