It’s worth noting trends among the wealthy because they often trickle down to others in time. From Bloomberg:
Think open kitchens and huge master suites will always be desirable? Think again.
by Mark Ellwood
January 23, 2017, 9:13 AM PST January 23, 2017, 6:33 PM PST
… The Master Suite
Sprawling master suites were once the ultimate trophy asset in a luxury home, but recent developments have begun replacing the open-plan, loft-like rooms with a complex of private chambers, jigsawed together around a smaller, cozy space that’s home solely to a bed. … “You no longer want to walk unceremoniously into a master bedroom and see the bed—creating privacy is more important than ever.”
Jonah Disend, founder of innovation firm Redscout, explains further: “The concept of a master bedroom is becoming obsolete because we have a different relationship with sleep now—we don’t hang out in the bedroom the way we used to.” Disend notes that millennials are driving this shift. Their relationship with privacy is radically different from those of the generations preceding them—though digitally nonchalant, they’re prudish in person.
“Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” he continues.
I wrote about this a couple of years ago, although the change was noted in an alert NYT article way back in 1996.
I don’t really know what’s causing it. It could be that mass public showering in high school locker rooms was a Progressive era invention to make kids cleaner and healthier, and now it’s fading away because we have antibiotics. Or something completely different.
As gym designers are adapting, so are condo developers. “They want their own changing rooms and bathrooms, even in a couple.” …
Perhaps people have ever increasingly high standards, so being naked is seen as something that only trained professional experts should engage in?
Even when they live with peers, these new privacy preferences are changing the layout of apartments, according to Teresa Ruiz of SB Architects. “We’re seeing a shift in household formation, with a lot of co-habitation by renters,” she says by phone from her office in San Francisco. For one local developer, Avalon, Ruiz says the average age of a renter is 30 years old, with an average income of $300,000. “The private space they want may be smaller, but they want a larger unit as a whole, so we’re making two bedrooms with a den and an extra bathroom.” Translation: They’ll share a sofa but are squeamish if ever asked to split the sink.
How long until the American college tradition of assigning strangers to live together in the same dorm room starts to fade? I suspect that some of the psychological problems that seem to plague college freshmen might stem from this odd custom. One year one of my sons got into a state-of-the-art new dorm each student got a very small private room arranged as suites that were like compact four-bedroom apartments with a living room, small kitchen and two bathrooms. It was expensive, but seemed like a better way to live than the traditional dorm room.