Homebuilding used to be more standardized. There was the stereotypical chandelier over the dining room table or above the entryway. Granite countertops. Wooden floors if you were lucky. A farmhouse sink if you were really “out there.” Today, though, the possibilities are endless. Homes are now so one-of-a-kind that almost anything within them can be a statement piece. Search for chandeliers on Etsy and you’ll find ones made of everything from mason jars to bike gears. The modern home has paved a way for artists to reimagine the nooks and crannies that we’ve been living in for decades now. One artist, in Seattle, has made his business surrounding a unique take on something that can be found in nearly every household: the bathtub.
Woodworking is a profession that seems to belong in the past, leading many to believe that anyone flaunting that title on their LinkedIn profile is sporting a few gray hairs, at the very least. Nathie Katzoff, a 30-year old woodworker based out of Seattle, however, breaks that stereotype without even trying. Katzoff runs a shop, NK Woodworking & Design, which has grown slowly from a passion project to a 25-people operation that is widely known as one of the best woodworking studios in the U.S.
Katzoff initially gained experience in the woodworking industry through work on boats, priming them for trips on the Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Maine. Speaking nonchalantly about how his skillset slowly expanded, Katzoff is quoted in Curbed Seattle. He says, “I started off with boats, and then a friend asked me to build their staircase, and then we won a cool award for it, so we started building more staircases and grew from there.” Washington state beckoned to his adventurous spirit, and before he knew what happened, a business was born.
While NK still is known for beautiful wooden staircases, they’ve also become a sought after partner in creating the unique addition of wooden bathtubs. A fresh take on other artistic tubs, which are frequently seen made of stone, copper, or metal, wooden tubs are insulated (meaning a warm bath will stay warm for a while), and sealed so that owners can clean them just like any other tub.
The tubs are created using a variety that includes five different species of wood –– maple, sapele, figured maple, black walnut, and white oak. They are water-tight (of course) and customizable to come in any size or style. This isn’t home décor picked up willy nilly at Marshall’s though – these bathtubs, custom-made, can take up to three-hundred hours to piece together and perfect. On NK’s about page, it’s written plain as day that this is Katzoff’s passion:
“ …I live and breathe art, design, sawdust, and creativity. It is my passion…Our clients tell us that when people walk into their homes and see our work, the reaction is ‘Wow!’ That’s what I strive for – to stop people in their tracks, to create architectural art masterpieces where the beauty and shape of the work lifts our spirits and inspires a sense of awe.”
Going even further to lay out his intentions, Katzoff is quoted in Seattle Mag saying this studio aims “ to be the Steinway or Maserati of bathtubs.”
Personally, I’ve always aspired to achieve the level of zen that I feel like people who take baths regularly have. There’s something sophisticated about saying that you’re going to stay in, pour yourself a glass of zin, get the suds going, and just soak. Instead, I’m the kind of person that leaves myself 5 minutes for a shower and comes out bleeding after a rushed shave job. Sigh.
For the rest of you, though, maybe it’s time to pinch your pennies, call up NK, and draw yourself a one-of-a-kind bath….