Private Access: 12 Bathroom Windows That Reveal Only the Views
Be hidden but not hemmed-in with a strategically placed bathroom window that brings an outdoor view but not prying eyes
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City. I have Bachelor of Architecture and Master in Urban Planning degrees, and over ten years experience in architectural practice, split between Chicago and NYC. Currently I'm focused on writing and online pursuits. My daily blog can be found at http://archidose.blogspot.com
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City.... More »
Even though the bathroom is the most private room in a house, it's lacking if it doesn't have a window. Ideally a bathroom window has a view and offers privacy, which may seem impossible but which can be achieved through various means (size and location of windows, coverings, orientation of the window and wall, articulation of exterior elements). This ideabook presents some bathrooms with large windows that look upon enclosed courtyards or pocket gardens. These small exterior spaces, like the internal courtyards I've championed before, create connections between inside and outside that are controlled enough to maintain ample privacy.
This is the bathroom that sparked me to find other examples and write this ideabook. There is a cohesion to the inside and outside spaces that is undeniable: the way the window fits above the tub and the way the concrete-block-lined courtyard is about the same size as the tub. There is privacy in the concrete wall, but somebody soaking in the tub still sees green above it and in front of it.
Note the track in the ceiling for a curtain at the shower, a means of maintaining privacy in that alcove.
A pocket garden adjacent to the bathroom also allows direct access, as this semiroofed space illustrates. The wood lining the walls also shows how important these surfaces are. Some people might like the gray concrete of the previous example, for the way plants pop against it, but others might prefer the color and texture of wood.
One project with a multitude of small courtyards, some of them serving bathrooms, is this residence in Marin County, California, designed by Chicago's Dirk Denison Architects. The single-story, barrier-free plan has about 10 exterior spaces of varying sizes. Here we are looking at the master bathroom and its pocket garden, which is not an internal courtyard, hence the wood fencing. (A shower and toilet on the other side of the mirror are also part of the master bath.)
Even though this house is a new construction, a bathroom with a large view can be part of a renovation. With the right fencing and vegetation (bamboo in this case), a wall can be opened up and a private oasis created just outside.
An internal courtyard elsewhere in the house serves another bathroom.
And an enclosed, glass-walled shower in another part of the house gives the sensation of showering outside but with the utmost privacy.
With physical connections between bathrooms and outside spaces via doors, such as this glass slider, it makes sense to continue architectural features between the spaces. The wood slats in this example are a very nice touch, tying the spaces together and providing an armature for shelves for soap and other items.
Depending on the climate, the connection between inside and outside can be even blurrier, such as with this shower and tub sharing an external space in Brazil. A courtyard like this could also be enclosed from the elements (a glass or plastic roof above the structure) to make it usable in other climates.
As mentioned already, a pocket garden can serve a bathroom as part of a renovation. One natural material choice is bamboo, a grass that grows like crazy and screens really well.
This bathroom is similar to previous ones with the external space off the shower, but it also features a skylight, another way of creating a view (of the sky) and bringing in light.
In some cases a skylight may be the only way to open up a bathroom. In those cases location and size are important. This one sits below the shower, casting light down the wall and allowing for glances up when one soaks in the tub.
But if shaping an outdoor space or internal courtyard is not possible, there is the option of using special surfaces to maintain privacy and give the appearance of nature. This bathroom has resin glazing with a grass pattern for the exterior; on the other side is planted bamboo, so real nature and its image coincide.
Last is a bathroom in Ireland where the window perfectly serves the adjacent tub. In this case privacy results from careful framing and sizing of the window.
And here is the view out that window, a beautiful scene to soak in while soaking.
Share your secret view: Do you have a mini garden view off your bath? We'd love to see a photo.
Ideabook published on Feb. 28, 2013.
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