A jacuzzi bath-tub trumps more closet space, as far as hedge fund manager David Hong is concerned.
The owner of a 2,300 sq ft apartment in One Tree Hill recently extended his bathroom so that he could put in an imported $25,000 Carron Bathrooms tub. It has 16 massage jets and chromotherapy lights, and sits under a windoe, offering a slice of azure and clouds when one soaks in it. A window opposite affords a view of lush greenery outside.
To create the 9 sq m bathroom, he hired interior designer Bu Shukun of Architology Interiors. The designer widened the bathroom by 2m and removed an old walk-in wardrobe to fit in the swanky tub.
"My wife had to sacrifice a bigger walk-in wardrobe," says Mr Hong, in his 40s, who has a 14-year-old son.
"But after a long week at work, de-stressing is much needed and desired. The tub lets us have two people in there, so we can just hang out with each other and really relax."
"It's not your usual bathroom," he adds, "and I intend to use it often."
Since the bath renovation was completed in November, he has used its piece de resistance about three times so far.
Once considered a space-chewing luxury by pragmatic home owners in modest apartments, the bathtub is getting a relook these days. And new exotic varieties on the market are making them harder to resist.
"Having a bathtub helps make your home look more luxurious and that helps improve its resale value." says Mr Roystern Goh, co-founder of 0932 Design Consultants, which has done four bathtub projects in apartments over the past three years.
Prices can start from $400 for a basic tub and can go up to the tens of thousands for fancier ones with features such as jets, lights and hydro-massage functions.
Materials range from acrylic to more expensive materials such as cast iron and volcanic limestone.
Bathroom suppliers such as Hafary, Sansei, Carera Bathroom and Wan Tai & Co offer a wide range for most homes.
An alcove tub helps maximise space as it is walled in with tiles. A free-standing tub, especially claw-foot ones, makes for a great conversation piece, but comes with the eye-sore of exposed plumbing. Corner bathtubs, which are usually five-sided, with a triangular basin, are a godsend for weird bathroom plans.
Some home owners are even importing traditional soaking tubs from Japan to replicate the feeling of being in an onsen.
Kobe-based Italian architect Iacopo Torrini makes customised soaking tubs out of hinoki wood from the Kiso Valley in Nagano prefecture, central Japan.