"Talk about a power washing," quips the New York Times in a report that is not even a little bit about cleaning sidewalks. The paper of record would like you to know that Manhattan's millionaire homebuyers are big fans of bathrooms with very large windows, preferably right by the freestanding tub.
From the penthouse bathroom planned for 432 Park, the recently topped off tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, to the lavatories of the Walker Tower apartments, many new NYC residences are catering to potential buyers clamoring for showers and tubs and commodes with views. "Now what most people wanted in their living rooms, they want in their bathrooms," a Douglas Elliman broker tells the Times. "They'll say, 'What? No View?'" What are they to stare at when they forget to bring their phones with them?
"It's not about putting yourself on show, it's about enjoying what's outside," says John Pawson, the interior architect for 215 Chrystie Street, Ian Schrager's upcoming Herzog & De Meuron-designed building. "Any exhibitionism is an unfortunate by-product." Many buyers don't seem to so down on the prospect of incorporating this little frisson into their routine. After all, being naked is so European!
"I think what's really nice is that at this level you're creating a gathering space," continues Pawson. "You can congregate in the bathroom, you can even share the bath or bring a chair in." This is especially true at 737 Park, where each unit's "dueling commodes" are offered with the option of clear glass doors. To date, just three out of nine buyers have selected this sort-of kinky, body-positive option.
Author Winifred Gallagher has an interesting take on the changing value of privacy:
"And like everything else, the rich can buy more of it," she said. "In the city, privacy is about shielding yourself from all the stimuli. Most of us can't drop the shield entirely even when we're in our own homes, because the city is right outside. But if you're high enough, you can waltz around pretending you're in the garden of Versailles." Private toilets: one century they're a mark of refinement, the next they're hopelessly provincial. Like a schoolyard fad, by the time you catch up, remodeling your bathroom to become the risqué bather of the cul-de-sac, they will likely be out of fashion again.
What will people with heaps and heaps of money do an about-face on next?
· Leaving Shame on a Lower Floor [NYT]