Dear Architect,

Welcome to my home! I hate it.

See, I’m no maximalist, but I’m kind of a sucker for walls. They leave a little something to the imagination, y’know? Yet I live in a place with an open-concept floor plan because it was my only option. As my realtor explained, demanding separate rooms in 2021 is “quixotic.”

Join me on a walk-through and see what your sick creation hath wrought:

Upon entering, the front door is behind you, and everything else is directly in front of you. No, I’m not hiding a living room out of sight somewhere. This is my one room, in all its singular glory. When I’m feeling optimistic, I call this the Great Room; when I’m realistic, I call it Hell.

Notice how I set up the furniture to appear like a series of individual rooms? It really makes each space feel totally separate. To your left is the office/living area, which triples as a guest corner. On the opposite end of the Great Room is my dining table. It conveniently juts directly into the middle of the kitchen like a makeshift island, but worse.

To be clear, I’m not describing a studio apartment. No, I live in a 970-square-foot condo with the price tag of a single-family home and the feel of a studio apartment, which I’m told is good for some reason.

“But Alice,” you might protest, “an open floor plan is ideal for entertaining!” Hmm, you may be onto something there, Mr. Architect. Let’s plan the perfect gathering, shall we?

Imagine: It’s party time! I’ve invited you and my seventeen closest friends, and everyone’s having a blast. The charcuterie board is a hit, and I notice you particularly enjoy my vast array of cheeses. You even tell a story about the time you accidentally swapped blueprints with your toddler’s construction paper scribbles, and no one noticed until after you laid all the subflooring.

You step away to check your phone. Now we’re thirty-nine feet apart on opposite sides of my house.

No, wait. We’re right next to each other, mere inches apart. At least, that’s what it sounds like since there’s nary a wall blocking out the sound of two guests whispering about you:

“Who invited the architect? That dude’s such a bummer.”

“Ugh, I know. Talk about Frank Lloyd Wrong-place-to-tell-that-boring-story, buddy!”

“Fallingwater? More like I’m falling asleep. And I’m pretty sure he single-handedly ate all the Camembert.”

You look around, but you can’t identify the culprits from all the way across the room. Now you have to return to the party without knowing who exactly thinks you’re dull as dirt, and your social anxiety kicks into overdrive. If only this house had walls, you’d never know how deeply despised you are!

I’m sorry, was that hypothetical too cruel? Do you want me to keep these thoughts to myself? Too bad, bucko! This is a wall-free, open-concept letter design, and I’m getting all up in your business.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

Maybe I’m not giving you enough credit, and you’re actually making a greater political statement with your design. Perhaps you believe citizenship as a general concept is a colonialist and nationalist scourge, and the open floor plan’s lack of walls symbolizes a world without borders. But while I theoretically admire your metaphorical architectural gesture towards progress, in practice, your leftist foreign policy doesn’t block out the sound of my husband’s ceaseless humming from the opposite end of our home.

You may dismiss me as some ignorant simpleton who doesn’t understand the architectural nuances of an open-concept floor plan—and that may be true. However, I also don’t understand the scientific and medical nuances of the human body, but I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing my blood stays in my veins and my brain will never meet my buttocks (unlike yours, which has been firmly lodged there for years).

I hope you don’t mind me airing these grievances publicly in an open letter. After all, you don’t exactly seem like the kind of person who values privacy.

With hatred from one room over (i.e., the same room),
Alice Lahoda