Elaborate tub decks are no longer the focus of luxury bathroom design. Instead, many homeowners and their designers are opting for sleek, classy standalone tubs that eliminate bulk and play up stylish simplicity.

“We’ve moved away from big whirlpool tubs with oversized decks, and we find we’re ripping out more of those because our clients feel they’re too big,” says Mark Elia, president of Mark of Excellence Remodeling, in Long Branch, N.J.

By virtue of exposing more floor space and lacking a deck to hide imperfections, freestanding tub installations can be tricky. Here, Elia and three other remodelers share tips on working with them effectively.

Monmouth Custom Builders Deal, N.J.

To accommodate floormounted tub fillers, “water lines must have a straight run to the thermostatic valve above,” says president Ike Levy. “For renovation, a plumber’s box must be framed beneath the location, which may disturb the ceiling below. A budget should be factored in for this prior to signing a contract.” In a current project, company vice president Jon Levy says that one client, who owns several international hotels, has requested a bathroom with no doors and a freestanding tub right in the center. .

WrightWorks Indianapolis

President Chris Wright says that his collaborations with designer Matt Harris have involved mostly freestanding tubs for a few years. “Designwise, you have a lot more fl exibility,” Wright says. “You get a much larger sense of the fl oor space, and designing them in concert with windows takes advantage of views and symmetry.” Wright suggests fi nding a showroom with several tubs on display, and “have your client actually sit in them. There’s form and there’s function, and you want your design to look great and work well for the client.”

Mark of Excellence Remodeling Long Branch, N.J.

With windows on both walls and plenty of room, an angled setting made sense for this project, says president Mark Elia.

“The challenge was that this tub is an airbath and we had to hide the pump. We cleared some space in an adjacent cabinet and ran the connections underneath the fl oor. Supply lines are an important consideration with standalone tubs. You have to know right where the tub is going so you can run supplies accurately before putting down the fi nished fl ooring.”

Nip Tuck Remodeling Woodinville, Wash.

Credit: Mike Nakamura

Setting the tub in its own cozy corner gave company owner and designer April Bettinger room to meet her clients’ requests for a large shower and a standalone tub. The need to hide all the plumbing in a tight space under the tub added complexity to the project. “I gave the client 3-D renderings to help her visualize the fi nished design,” Bettinger says. “I knew the installation was going to be complex and not easy to change, and I didn’t want to move forward until she was comfortable with it.”