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leaving water in the tub?

I am an architect in NYC.
I have a project on Long Island for which your tub could be a great feature.
I have one concern that I wonder if you could please address so I can decide if we should move ahead and get into the details.
I have heard that traditionally these types of tubs are meant to be left with water in them. This would make sense for a wood vessel made of separate pieces of wood (such as a wooden boat). I did not see any reference to leaving water in your tubs. I would like to know from you: what is the tradition and recommended maintenance routine for your tubs?

Thank you for your interest in our japanese bathtubs.
There are some precautions to be taken when installing a wooden bathub.
The main point is to maintain a balanced relative humidity between 40 and 60%, which is by the way also an optimal environment for pianos, antique furniture, and of course human beings!

For this reason you should avoid elements that can dehydrate the wood:
– floor heating under the tub
– heating elements in the bathroom in general
– central air conditioning
(most types include a humidity control battery)
– expose the tub to direct sun radiation
– leaving the tub unused for an extended period of time

Good practice is:
– use the tub at least 3 times a week. This routine restores the optimal wood humidity.
(Also, while the tub is full of water, you can use heating and AC or expose the tub to direct sun radiation

Acceptable practice is:
– leave some water inside the tub and cover it.
This should be done in case the tub is left unused for one week or more.
Anyway you should still not use heating or AC as the humidity of the wood of the external side of the tub will differ from the humidity inside and may cause the wood to warp.
Since leaving water inside the tub may cause stains and originate a water-line, we recommend to leave a bassinet with water inside and place it inside the tub. If the tub is covered, the humidity will be trapped inside and will be enough to keep the wood hydrated.

I hope this answered your question.

We are looking forward to working with you and remain at you disposal for any question/problem.

about pop-up bathtub drains

Hi Iacopo,
Would it be possible to place the pop-up outlet (or any outlet for that
matter) to the centre but along the side of the tub?

Please note:
1) We cannot install pop-up drain fittings.
Basically, there are no standard fittings for a thick bottom plank such as a wooden bath.
Even if we were to modify a socket and adapt it, we could not be responsible for mechanical problems, spare parts etc. so we prefer to stick to a rubber plug type.
If you prefer, we also have a spherical shape available.
http://www.bartokdesign.com/japan/0-blog_news/spherical_drain_plug_1.php

2) Yes, we can place the drain on one side, please note that we recommend an offset of 55mm from the internal wall face.
On the other hand, if you are planning to attach the drain to the plumbing using an elbow, the “feet” under the tub will interfere with it. If you let us know the direction in which the elbow will be pointing, we will calculate the offset and place the drain accordingly.

Shipping matching service (beta version)

Last month a client was enthusiastic at the idea of purchasing a japanese bathtub.
Unfortunately, the shipping cost quotation came as a cold shower.
For a small size tub, the shipping cost can be close to the actual cost of the tub itself…
She asked if there was a way to lower the cost.
Actually, we charge only about 5,000-9,000 JPY for processing fees, the rest is pure cost, as we receive it from the shipping company.
After years of comparative bidding, we selected the best providers. Some are very specialized for some areas (eg. Australia), some are more competitive for air, some others for ocean shipping and so on.
We usually request a couple of quotations and submit the cheapest.
Anyway, let`s go back to the conversation with the client I mentioned here above.
I told her that the only way would be to consolidate a couple of shippings. I asked – as a joke – if she did not have a friend willing to order an ofuro at the same time…
Well, we were talking on the phone and I was almost dazzled at the light bulb she had!
A friend of hers from California was also planning to buy an ofuro! This could be a great chance!
Unfortunately, there is no big saving if the destinations are far and would involve separate landing locations…
Sorry about that.
But after hanging up, I had my own light-bulb: how about opening up our schedule to the clients so that they can find another japanese lover with a matching schedule?
This is why I am now writing this page.
I will test a new method (beta version) using a third party scheduling service.
If it works I will find a long term solution.
Please access the calendar here.
1) Choose the service according to your area.
2) Choose the preferred date on the calendar.
3) Fill in your address. (Phone no. is not required)
If we find another person with similar schedule we will contact both to verify if there is flexibility and try to ship the 2,3 or more ofuro all at once!
This could make you save big bucks!
Please let me know any comment or advice here below.

Ando Tadao house … for sale!

Well, this may seem a little out of topic compared to the other posts of this blog.
But I realize most of you reading this blog love japanese design and minimalist aesthetics, (of course, besides japanese bathtubs…!)
Well, I heard of a 1984 house designed by Ando Tadao which is for sale and I`d like to share with you this juicy information. I am noticing that many residents of Singapore and Honk Kong are eagerly purchasing real estate in Japan: I would be honored if this post helped you finding the house of your dreams!

My friend Rica is married with an Englishman and lives in Kobe.
She is a real estate broker and deals with rentals as well as with residential and investment properties for sale. She just advertised this new gem:

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It is a compact size private residence located in a beautiful area famous for its well preserved natural environment, on the hillside of Nishinomiya
The property consists of a 2 story house + basement (4BR) with a total floor area of 207.20 sqm and insists on a generous lot (for japanese standards) of 440.95 sqm
It is located in the green Megamiyama (Nishinomiya city) with easy access to both Osaka and Kobe.
The asking price is 78,500,000 JPY. For more information, check directly Rica`s homepage
One final note. The only problem with this property is… that it is not equipped with a hinoki ofuro…
The good news is that we can provide one for you, to match perfectly the size and style of the house ^^!

ando-tadao-stonefloor.jpg Enjoy your weekend!

sassy tub for Singapore

This was a very rapid and smooth order.
It took exactly 29 days from the first information request to the submission of the complete ofuro pictures. To be precise, 15 days for the quotation, modifications, details fine tuning, confirmation and 14 days for the production!

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It is a neat and stilish knotless bathtub with the following specifications:
material: japanese knotless asnaro wood rectangular bathtub – T joints
sizes: L1000mm x W700mm x H700mm (590mm deep)
details: natural oil apron, wooden dowels @ joints. Iron brand at front right
options: overflow top cut, ball-type drain plug

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Here in the picture below, you can see the in action our smart and sassy “ball type rubber plug”. It comes for few extra bucks but it is worth it, especially for a tub with elegant proportions such as this one!

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tub on a platform for london

This project took about one month from initial inquiry to shipping.
On the other hand the communication back and forth was very efficient considering that at least 50 mails (considering question and replies) were exchanged to fine tune the order.
The site has a drain pipe sticking out of the floor, so the client considered building a duckboard to raise the floor and use it as a base for the tub.
In the end we decided to send the material and have the local carpenter building the deck. This way the dimensions can be customized to perfectly match the site, at the same time as the spare lumber can fit inside the tub during the transportation, we could drastically cut on the shipping cost.

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And here are the specs of the tub:
– Material: straight hinoki, AB grade
– Size: 1100L x 700W x 720mm H
– Top frame: plank edge, T joint @ corners
– Details: wooden dowels, copper apron
– Overflow: western style drain + vinyl hose

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Actually, at some point the client planned to use a western style overflow.
-> http://www.crosswater.co.uk/files/BFW0301C_specification.pdf
Since western style tubs are made with an acryl or frp shell about 6mm thick, an adapter is needed in case it is applied to a wooden tub with a wall thickness of 33mm or more.
The client seemed to find a solution but it did not give enough guarantees so we opted for our japanese overflow. It comes with a flexible pipe so it can easily adapt to the site condition.

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Wow

Wow! WOW! wOw! woW!
I cannot help dedicating a twin entry to this beautiful tub installed in Canada.
Please check also the client`s comments in the testimonials section.
I thanked again the client for his kindness and generosity.
He replied saying: “Please feel free to use the photos and our comments although we would prefer to remain anonymous. We hope the photos help to inspire other potential customers to order your fine tubs.”
He is dedicating the pictures to all the japanese lovers` community, so here are more pictures!

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Reference from Canada

Hello Iacopo,

We finally have our ofuro finished with the installation of the blinds. That hasn’t stopped us from having some wonderful soaks over the past 2 months. The room is magical and we are enjoying sitting in and out of the tub, sometimes for hours. It is surprising how well the water maintains its temperature compared to a regular tub. We never have to add hot water to stay warm.

Our architects sourced a frameless window sytem that easily and quickly folds out of the view and we look forward to using this feature more as the weather warms. Our carpenter used yellow cedar for the the wall and window sill which goes nicely with the asnaro, both in tone and fragrance.Thank you for your wonderful product and great service. We look forward to many years of enjoyment.

Warmest regards,

xxx


Reply:
Thank you for your kind message.
I am really wordless at the sight of such a beautiful result.
No doubt this becomes our best example of japanese ofuro installed
outside of Japan and most appealing pictures.

Best regards and… enjoy your bath, it is really wonderful!

Knotty tub for swiss architect

As mentioned in the title, a swiss young architecture office ordered this ofuro.
Their design is very clean and they pay great attention to the texture and coordination of few, accurately chosen materials. We feel honored that they chose a Bartok design tub for their new project!

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The pattern of the knots is random as the carpenter has to give precedence to the orientation of the grain and width of the planks when selecting the material.
From this point of view, even more than straight wood tubs, a knotty hinoki ofuro is unique and unrepeatable.

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Here are some of the main details:
material: japanese knotty hinoki wood rectangular bathtub – L joints
size: L1200mm x W750mm x H700mm (ext. dim.) 580mm (deep)
details: copper apron, wooden dowels @ joints. Iron brand at back left

Another point that can be mentioned for future reference is that even if the site is in Basel,
it was more convenient to ship the tub thru Geneve rather than thru Zurich (air freight).

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I am looking forward to seeing it in its new home!

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For those interested in building or renovating a house with stunning design, here are the contact information of the Swiss architect:
Jaeger Koechlin Architekten ETH SIA
Zwingerstrasse 12 | CH-4053 Basel
T: +41 61 683 21 21 F: +41 61 683 21 22
www.jaegerkoechlin.ch

larger tub … for Seattle

Last year we made a tub for a client in Washington state.
In january, we received a kind mail saying that they were getting back in touch to order a larger tub.
“I love the original tub that I ordered last year, but it is too small for two tall adults! I am now embarking on building a small tub pavilion and will install a larger tub inside. I have attached drawings here so you can review them. I am excited to create the space to hold one of your beautiful tubs!”

I think that an ofuro is not a typical product for repeaters and we were really pleased and honored to receive a second order.

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The new tub is really gorgeous and I think I would give my right arm to be able to see the pavilion in which it will be installed!

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We made the client wait 60 days because we had several orders and we have only one craftsman (Mr. Wada) able to deal with such a large tub.
It takes him about 15 days to laminate and assemble one tub and it took him 3 full weeks for this one.

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The bench will be assembled on site, so we are including the pre-cut material and metal fittings.

Here below are the specs of the tub:

material: Knotless asnaro wood
sizes: L1600mm x W1422mm x H762mm (ext. dim.) 660mm(deep)
details: copper apron, wood dowels @ joints. Iron brand at front top-right
accessories:
– Hinoki wood int. seat W400mm w/ material for guides (unmounted)
– Asnaro wood traditional cover 1442x228x21 (7pcs)
– Asnaro wood floor mounted spout type E (without faucet)
– complementary Hygrometer

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