Bathed in style
From a spa-like ambience to open concepts, the toilet is the new space at home to get a luxurious makeover
By: Natasha Ann Zachariah
Your house is your castle, goes the saying, and now, more people are giving their 'throne' - the toilet - the glam treatment. They are daring to go open- concept with toilets that have see- through glass walls or upscaling the whole bathroom with high-end and hi-tech finishings.
Mr Kevin Yao, chief operating officer of bathroom furnishing provider Grohe Asia Pacific, says it is now common for house-proud owners to splash out an average of $10,000 on luxing each loo. And it is not just private home owners who are increasing their budget, he adds.
The highest he has seen spent was $12,000 for a four-room HDB flat.
He says: 'Previously, home owners focused their attention on the living room or kitchen, which are public areas in the house where guests can interact freely. However, they realise that they can no longer neglect the conventional bathroom. Even though it is a private area, it is a sensorial experience that cannot be ignored.'
Take general manager Raymond Howe, whose master bedroom toilet has no doors. Some might call him an exhibitionist but the 49-year-old, who works at Capri by Fraser Hotel and lives with his girlfriend in a five-room flat in Sengkang, says: 'Sure, you can see me on my 'throne' doing my business, but I find doors cumbersome.'
But he admits: 'I had a hard time convincing my contractor that I was sure this is what I wanted.'
He lavished about $6,500 on his audacious ablution space, which includes customised marble tops for the sink area and bright mosaic tiles. He says he was willing to spend a good portion of his $70,000 renovation budget on bathrooms - there is also one attached to the kitchen.
'It was my top priority and I don't mind spending more for high-end fittings. I spend a lot of time here, sitting and staring at my bike closet and also thinking about things. It's a very comforting space,' says Mr Howe, who designed the apartment's layout himself, which includes storage for his six bicycles.
It is a far cry from the days of the overlooked, unglamorous bathroom with unsightly industrial pipes and homogenous tiles.
Interior designers tell Life! home owners wanting to beautify the bathroom are usually couples with no children and who get their inspiration from their travels overseas. As well, they are open to ideas and willing to try more unusual looks.
Interior design firm Design Rebirth turned the traditional notion of bathroom placement on its head by putting a jacuzzi, separated by a glass wall, next to the kitchen fridge.