Bathe in Basalt

Relax in a luxuriously smooth stone tub

Hear the words “lava” and “tub” uttered in the same breath and “‘Flintstones chic” comes to mind, though it’s highly unlikely Hanna-Barbera’s Fred would ever own such a luxury on his Bedrock quarry salary.

An exotic beauty, the basalt bathtub juxtaposes rugged elegance in minimalist form, crafted from the same stuff that blankets most of the ocean floor – solidified lava.

“It’s what you see on the Big Island,” said Layla Dedrick, who with husband Andrew is proprietor of Bella Pietra, exclusive Hawaii distributors. “Except these are from dense, not porous, stock mined from Southeast Asia.”

Weighing in at about a ton and worth that in the pampering department, a visit to the Bella Pietra showroom at the Gentry Pacific Design Center will have you tempted to dive in, even sans water. At $6,500 for a standard size, it’s river-rock smooth and silky to the touch.

Big Island interior designer Gina Willman of W Interiors was commissioned by a developer for a home in the Kona area and used one as a focal point. She’s a big fan of free-standing tubs and their sculptural appeal.

“Basalt is softer than granite in the feeling it creates … They’re just gorgeous,” Willman said.

Her design incorporated river rocks scattered to conceal drain holes in a Zen-like tray upon which the tub sat, allowing for neck-high soaks in relaxed bliss.

The home was snapped up once completed. “It was a good selling point; the tub is very unique,” Willman said.

Seamlessly handcrafted from a single “boulder,” they can be custom made to specs even for a Jacuzzi. Impressive considering its gallery tub is about 48 inches in width, 74 inches long and 24 inches high. The tub is available in three finishes: honed interior/exterior (totally smoothed), honed interior/chiseled exterior (rustic on the outside), and high-gloss polish throughout.

Basalt is also used for its therapeutic qualities as a tool in hot or cold stone massage at some of world’s most exclusive day spas. But whether those principles apply to being cradled in a basalt vessel, Dedrick and Willman couldn’t say for sure.

“There’s just something about them, though,” Willman said. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if so.”

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