I've always believed that the key to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms. When one spouse is a neatnik and the other a mess, a battle royale can ensue, and who wants that every morning? As my mother says, sharing a bathroom with a husband who splashes water all over the place is like sharing a bathroom with My Friend Flicka.
And of course we're all familiar with the separate beds that married couples (actually, those playing married couples) had to endure in movies and television shows. Actually, there were married couples in real life who shared a bedroom but not a bed. Now, I'm not sure what purpose that served. I'm guessing snoring was not the culprit, because that would probably dictate separate bedrooms. Perhaps one partner thrashed around in his or her sleep, or maybe it was because someone had restless leg syndrome. I really don't know, but whenever I've seen a two bed master bedroom, it usually has involved an elderly couple with children- so we can deduce that they went their separate ways after the kids were born. Or maybe not. Really, perhaps I shouldn't even think too much about the circumstances, but this is exactly what happens when a couple engages in unusual sleeping and living arrangements. One starts to wonder...
Separate bedrooms are not so unusual either, although perhaps today it's a little rare. You can just hear the chatter of friends and neighbors: "Did you hear about Betty and Bob? Separate bedrooms. I know, it must be because of that pretty young secretary working down at Bob's law firm." Rumors start swirling, even if everything in the couple's marriage is copacetic. One upside to this arrangement, though, is that you've got two master bedrooms you can decorate. A super feminine one for the wife and something a bit more manly for the hubby. Everybody gets what they want.
But recently, I was blown away when a designer told me that she has a few married clients who are requesting not separate bathrooms, beds, nor bedrooms, but rather separate condos adjoined by a shared door. In fact, I've heard of a couple who resided in separate condos on different floors of a high rise. A little unusual I admit, and it's not necessarily something that would appeal to me if I were married. But, who am I to judge? Perhaps it's these brave couples who have the last laugh. Maybe they've figured out the secret to a happy marriage.
This still from the 1940 movie "I Was an Adventuress" shows beds that look a bit overstuffed. On the one hand, those headboards look comfortable, although I can't tell if they might seem claustrophobic too.
Sorry, but I just don't think Loretta Young was married and had a bedroom like this. I suppose the movie's title says it all: "The Magnificent Flirt". (And to think that satin-sheet Loretta went on to star in "The Preacher's Wife"!)
Now doesn't this couple look happy despite that chasm between them? This photo was from the 1929 movie "Twin Beds"; I don't know whether it was a comedy...or a tragedy.
We can take it a step further with separate bedrooms a la Dorothy and Richard Rodgers. Here is Dorothy's domain, above
And this is Dick's.
I just don't know. After all of this, I'm thinking that sometimes some things are better left behind closed doors.
(1st movie still from Forties Screen Style: A Celebration of High Pastiche in Hollywood (Architecture and Film, 4); #2 and #3 from Screen Deco (Architecture and Film, 3.); Dorothy and Dick Rodgers' bedrooms from My Favorite Things)