A Room of One’s Own — With a Tub

My dream room, courtesy of Albert Hadley.

I have an original design sketch by the legendary interior decorator Albert Hadley that my mom gave me. It is my dream room: a luxurious hideaway that combines the dressing room and study with an oversize tub.

If it were mine, I would have to be wrenched from the space. And some of the finer-heeled working mothers in London seem to feel the same. Last week I went with a friend to look at a potential new house where, on the second floor, there was a double reception room split by a central staircase. We instantly felt that the oversize space should become the master bedroom suite and devised the perfect boudoir floor plan on a napkin in Tom’s Deli after the viewing. The bath would go in the center of the room, opposite the fireplace. A folding screen would double as shelving for bath products on one side, and a bulletin board — covered in felt and trellised with ribbon — for the desk on the other side. It would also add an element of privacy, blocking the tub from the door that opens off the landing. Now, before the small-apartment dwellers of New York City get their panties in a bunch because they don’t have space for this, I should admit that I don’t either. But I think it is a cute idea for those who do. It is even worth taking a smaller room for your bedroom and giving over a larger room to your bathroom if it can absorb these other functions.

If you have a family and live in a house full of children and their clobber, chances are this space will become the one place you can expect a little peace and quiet, where you can have the more delicate things that you don’t want knocked over by a soccer ball or flying doll, where you can think clearly and get some work done. Another friend of mine is a writer and has written several books in her bathroom, which has a forbidding sign on the door. She says it is the only place she doesn’t get disturbed, which brings up a good point: even the most badly behaved think twice before bursting through the closed door of a bathroom.

What I love about this concept is that it gives one the opportunity to spend more time luxuriating in the bath. With a lamp on the desk, some cozy furniture and photographs pinned onto the bulletin board nearby, one eases in and out of relaxation and productivity. I find that the bathroom post-toilette smells so good that it is a naturally lovely place to stay awhile. It is a terrible idea to work in one’s bedroom and I think totally mad to have a desk in the kitchen, but the bathroom can be a feminine sanctuary in more ways than one.

A Room of One’s Own – With a tub was originally published on the New York Times T Magazine blog.

Words by Rita Konig.