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A bathroom without doors? A West Philly apartment tests the market

Caitlin McCabe, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Business News

PHILADELPHIA -- Few phrases in home design inspire diverging opinions quite like "open-concept floor plan."

For decades, real estate agents and developers have pitched clients on the idea, arguing that flowing, wall-less spaces could be the solution for more natural light, more family togetherness, and more flexibility in how spaces are used. The concept is featured prominently on HGTV network shows -- and, apparently, in real life, too: In a 2016 survey by the National Association of Home Builders, 54% of builders said they are regularly designing homes with open floor plans.

Yet in the last few years, the open-concept floor plan has found a community of people who aren't, well, exactly open to it. An article published by CityLab last year called for ending "the tyranny" of open-concept design. Another in The Atlantic said they create "constant conflict," rather than "fluid harmony." While open floor plans were ideal in theory, these articles said, allowing parents to supervise children in the living room while they cooked nearby, they have, in reality, left residents with angst -- and a desire to house hunt again.

But in West Philadelphia, one local real estate investor isn't ready to give up on open floor plans just yet -- so much so that she's marketing a home with an "open-concept bathroom." That means that no doors formally exist between the bathroom and the bedroom, though, to be sure, a small wall separates the rooms. Even so, it might make good bathroom policy to always leave the toilet seat down.

The design captured the attention of social media earlier this week, with hundreds of Twitter users weighing in on the design. Some users wrote that the shower looks "drafty." Another said it was the "type of toilet I see in my nightmares."

Still, others said they weren't necessarily opposed, noting that open-concept bathrooms have been embraced elsewhere, including in several luxury hotels around the world.

 

The property's owner and designer Kamara Abdur-Rahim told The Inquirer that she and her business partner know the bathroom design isn't for everyone, but they are confident that a single person or a couple will recognize its "wow factor."

"It's about finding the right person -- I don't have a problem with someone not liking it," Abdur-Rahim said. " ... People are scared of negativity or someone not liking something. I think the other way: If you try something different, you never know where it might go."

philly is WILD this bathroom has NO DOORS and they're calling it "open concept" pic.twitter.com/GUffKs6HGY

-- the bat man (@amelendez1996) November 11, 2019

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