In luxury condos, bathroom privacy is evaporating

Buyers are demanding views even in the most intimate of spaces

A bathroom with a view in 432 Park (Credit: DBOX for CIM Group & Macklowe Properties)
A bathroom with a view in 432 Park (Credit: DBOX for CIM Group & Macklowe Properties)

More and more developers of luxury condo buildings are ditching the private Edwardian comforts of the bathroom for The Apple Store On Fifth Avenue model, i.e., a see-through glass box.

“Everyone wants a window,” Vickey Barron, a broker at Douglas Elliman and director of sales at Walker Tower, told the New York Times. “But now it has to be ­a Window. Now what most people wanted in their living rooms, they want in their bathrooms. They’ll say, ‘What? No view?’”

And although the new profusion of floor-to-ceiling bathroom windows has left some worried about feeling exposed, you won’t exactly find these luxury egg-shaped bathtubs and showers on the ground floor.

“Some people don’t mind showing a little, and some don’t mind showing a lot,” said Gary Handel, the principal of Handel Architects. “They are totally comfortable in their bodies.”

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For instance at 432 Park, there is little chance of being spied by more than a bird. But even if you are not the tallest building in town, these naturally lit en suits focus on “unobstructed views” – meaning no one else is blocking or enjoying your view.

“Like everything else, the rich can buy more [privacy],” Winifred Gallagher, an author who has written about the behavioral and psychological science of place, told the Times.

“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.” [NYT]Christopher Cameron