Design Notes Archive

Painted Bathtubs

Painted Bathtubs

If spring cleaning has you tempted to repaint the walls of your bathroom, consider slathering some colour on your freestanding tub while you’re at it. There’s something so unexpected about a painted bath, whether it’s claw foot or mounted on an integral plinth. Do as designer Kathryn Ireland once did and go for vibrant red or take a more restrained approach with one of these soothing chalky blues.

The style gene doesn’t fall far from the tree for Carolina Herrera Baez (namesake of her legendary fashion designer mother). In one of the guest suites in her Spanish estate, Baez, who loves to decorate, chose a muted blue to soften the look of a traditional claw foot tub that would otherwise have felt stark. Situated on 3,500 acres in the Extremadura region of Spain, the room opens onto a vast landscape of hills and valleys peppered with sculptural cork trees. True to her luxe bohemian routes, the rustic setting is offset by a Louis XVI revival chair and Ian Mankin style striped curtains.

Across the way in Ireland, the ancestral owners of Ballyvolane House also make guests feel at ease with a painted blue, antique claw foot tub. Tucked in the Blackwater Valley of County Cork, the classical Georgian house boasts six bedrooms with ensuites that overlook terraced gardens on one side and rolling parklands on the other. With spring flowers coming in bloom, it’s the perfect time to visit and soak in some inspiration.  

If you’re looking to inject a bit of colour, Drummonds cleverly tapped Sophie Conran to create a palette from which any bathtub in their range can be custom painted. Catchpole & Rye also offers a range of beautiful new and antique cast iron baths that can be custom painted or for a contemporary style,’s Massari bath is paintable with prices starting at just £369.

Photographs © Francois Halard, Ballyvolane House