The home's African theme continues in the master bath, and includes river rock flooring, a cedar vanity, and a cedar linen closet. The tub was specifically designed to fit the space and was placed on a cedar and copper deck. The tub filler is in the ceiling.
Stephen Allen Photography The home's African theme continues in the master bath, and includes river rock flooring, a cedar vanity, and a cedar linen closet. The tub was specifically designed to fit the space and was placed on a cedar and copper deck. The tub filler is in the ceiling.

This master bathroom is part of a dramatic, African-themed whole-house remodel of a Florida home. The original house was stuck in the 1970s, with shag carpet and avocado-colored appliances. The well-traveled owners had specific ideas for the remodel, and worked with Jonathan McGrath Construction, in Longwood, Fla., and Marla Greenough of Greenough Designs, in Altamonte Springs, Fla., on this project.

As with the rest of the house, natural and custom materials are used throughout the bath. The flooring is river stone; the linen closet is made of cedar and metal, and has twig handles; the vanity is crafted of cedar and topped with a tiled countertop and porcelain sinks. “There is nothing in this bathroom — other than the four walls — that is off the shelf,” says president Jack McGrath.

The clients wanted a Japanese soaking tub, but the design team had difficulty finding one that would fit in a space less than 4½ feet in diameter. “Most tubs require a minimum of 5 feet,” McGrath says. They could have removed the linen cabinet to make space for the tub, but the clients wanted to keep it as part of the design.

McGrath says it would have been difficult to find a specialty craftsperson to make the tub, and since he has a background working with concrete, he decided to design and build it from that material. “Most of what we do is custom — things we have never done before,” McGrath says. “We're always researching and thinking outside the box.”

Building the tub took about a month. The materials costs were insignificant, McGrath says, but the labor costs to build the tub were considerable. He says the final cost was equivalent to buying a copper Japanese soaking tub. McGrath's joke with the homeowners is that the tub is actually the world's smallest swimming pool.

However it is described, McGrath says, the tub is one of the most talked-about features in the house.