You might not think that bathtubs can be a thing of beauty. But one artist has set out to prove that wrong.
Nathie Katzoff used to build boats. But now, he’s dedicated himself to making some of the most beautiful and practical bathtubs you can find anywhere. Katzoff uses his knowledge of woodwork and building to create eco-friendly bathtubs that make a statement. And you’ve never seen a bathtub like this.
But Katzoff has a lot of reasons why he likes to work with wood.
Not only is it beautiful, but it is intended to last for years.
“Why wood?” says Katzoff. “It is not petroleum-based, casted, or a refined product that involves massive amounts of energy to create. Wood comes from the Earth, and if it is harvested and treated appropriately, it will last to forever.”
Katzoff isn’t sharing the secret of what that actually means.
His formula for treating the wood is top-secret. But he does share a couple of the “ingredients,” so to say.
“We use FSC-certified hardwoods and have done lots of recycling and reclaiming of local trees for much of our work,” says Katzoff. “At the end of the day, beautiful and timeless pieces are the most sustainable, because when they go out of style, they don’t end up in a waste pile.”
It’s the ultimate combination of creativity, skill, beauty, and practicality.
It’s a big challenge to design a wooden tub that doesn’t just look beautiful, but also works well for many years. And Katzoff has it down to a science. But it’s a complicated process that involves making sure the wood is treated to withstand frequent use and, of course, lots of water.
Customers who order a bathtub custom-designed by Katzoff can choose any wood they want.
“We first approached our tubs by coming from a place where we were interested in creating a visually striking sculpture that just happens to also be functional,” says Katzoff. “The first reaction we get from many prospective customers who have not seen something like this before is that they are looking at it as a beautiful piece of sculpture.”
The next step, he says, is to make sure the “sculpture” also works the way it should — like a bathtub.
Katzoff started out as an artist who eventually became interested in woodwork because of sporting trips with his friends, including sailing adventures. This eventually shifted into a career in boat building. But now, Katzoff is building custom furniture full-time at his company in Seattle.
But even his business didn’t start with bathtubs.
First, Katzoff was asked to design a staircase for a friend. The project was so successful, he was approached by more and more people wanting something stylish for their home.. Eventually, his love of wood and water cycled back around to designer bathtubs.
“We build each piece with the presumption that it will be a permanent part of the home it is commissioned for,” he says. “Like many designers and artists, we strive to create timeless pieces.”
The price of the love and attention that goes into each piece isn’t cheap — Katzoff’s custom bathtubs start at $30,000.