The Master Bedroom Is No More

Looking for a home in the DC area? It's likely you will be unable to locate a Master Bedroom. Not because it's the newest architectural trend to hide these rooms behind a discreet bookshelf door or to shrink these suites to the size of a pantry. No—the phrase Master Bedroom is being wiped from the blueprints.

A survey of ten major real estate developers in the Washington DC-area found that six no longer used the description "Master Bedroom" in the floor plans to describe the largest bedroom in the home. It's just a matter of time, said Grant Johnson of the ludicrously swanky custom home builder Sekas Homes, before the word is phased out of the industry entirely.

Because of negative associations with the word master—both on a gender level (it implies a male) as well as uncomfortable historical connotations (for example, a master of slaves), architects and contractors are looking for a more accurate and more politically correct replacement.

Surprisingly the homebuilders in Washington DC, a national hotbed for the latest neologisms and descriptive metaphor, did not construct particularly creative descriptions. The current replacements include:

  • Owner's Suite
  • Owner's Bedroom
  • Mastre Bedroom

Imagination abounding! It seems that the switch-over to an incorrect spelling of the original offending word as well as replacement with "Owner" is more common in high-end listings. A managing broker for McLean's RE/Max Allegiance, Brian Block, interviewed in the Washington Business Journal said:

"The terminology has more of an upscale tone to it, particularly in some of the really large homes that truly have a large bedroom, sitting area, enormous walk-in closets, and lavish bathrooms," Block wrote in an email. "Owner Suite conveys a sense of being distinguished, having ‘made it' or ‘arrived' rather than the everyday ‘Master Bedroom.'"

[Washington Business Journal, image via John Kwan/Shutterstock]