If Brancusi were to design himself a bathtub, it would look a lot like the egg-shaped saucer, above, in the master bathrooms at 57 Irving Place. It isn't surprising that the designers of the new glass-facade Gramercy development chose to place the organic elliptical orb, made of volcanic limestone (hand-finished!), in the center of the terraced bathroom.
"Bathtubs have become so highly designed, they are almost sculptural pieces now, so it's nice that it's the first thing you see when you enter the space," Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group listing agent Norma-Jean Callahan said. A yolkless deviled egg adrift in the center of a sea of radiant-heated gray-green bluestone, it looked like a shipwrecked UFO. But Ms. Callahan explained that the bathtub's "organic egg design bridges the distance between minimalist design and organic comfort."
It wasn't until 1900 that British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans' excavations on the Greek island of Crete unearthed a 3,000-year-old ancestor to the pedestal tub: a 5-foot long, hard pottery bathtub eerily reminiscent of the claw-foot ones first produced by Standard Sanitary Manufacturing and Kohler Company in the late 1800s. An early Kohler prototype of the revolutionary long, footed bathtub was advertised as "a horse trough/hog scalder that when furnished with four legs will serve as a bathtub."
The scalder has certainly evolved. While the tub in the master bathroom at 17 Minetta Street is rather troughlike in design, its adjacent working fireplace and the loungelike atmosphere of the bathroom is far from farm-fresh hog scalding. "It allows a retreat from the everyday," Stribling listing agent Sean Paris said. "The owner can sit and relax in the tub in front of the fire."
Now, fireside bathing is nice, but what about a bath with a view? At One York Street in Tribeca, the 12th-floor penthouse master bathroom suite is equipped with a custom 7.5-foot circular Corian soaking tub abetted by floor-to-ceiling windows. At such a length, one might think Yao Ming designed it, but, in fact, the tub was created by Danish bath designer Thomas Juul-Hansen, who has designed haute hog-scalders for high-end hogs like Damon Dash and David Yurman. — Chloe Malle