“Paula and Mike have separate bedrooms now,” my wife nonchalantly advised after the couple, whom we’ve known for more than twenty years, left following an informal drinks-cum-dinner recently. I was actually shocked.
“I didn’t know that. They looked, you know, happy enough,” I mused.
“Of course they’re happy!” came the reply.
“So why do they have separate bedrooms then?”
Most blokes would consider this a perfectly reasonable question; the logical conclusion to a seemingly black-and-white conversation.
Yet conversely, women, who possess this wonderfully endearing habit of treating such comments as though they’ve been uttered by a slow two-year-old, must wonder how men can be so stupid. Sometimes, they don’t even need to say anything in response: instead, they glare at you with a mixture of sympathy and resignation, as though you’ve suggested inviting a bunch of strangers around and getting everyone to throw their car keys on your smoked glass-topped coffee table (look it up).
“Paula and Mike have separate bedrooms,” came the considered, if slightly exasperated response, “because Phil snores. And he blows, apparently. Like you.
“Poor Paula couldn’t get any sleep and so Phil has had to move into the spare room. It’s a bit cramped as it doubles as his office, so they’re getting their loft converted in order that one of them can sleep up there.”
The penny dropped. A disappointingly muted “Oh” was all I could muster.
‘Snoring rooms’ have, apparently, become de rigueur and not just amongst aristocrats occupying a 47-bedroom pile in the country.
Thousands of long-suffering women, quite literally tired of being woken by their other half as his snoring resembles the noise made by a pneumatic drill, are either consigning the culprit to the spare room or are making longer-term arrangements to create their own, blissfully quiet, night-time space.
Separate bedrooms were once the sole preserve of married couples featured in Noel Coward plays, acceptable to this strata of society perhaps, but holding little appeal for those of us a little further down the social scale.
Well, this is twenty-first century Britain folks and things have changed. According to a recent survey, more than one in six couples now sleep apart.
“For the most part, this is an entirely practical development,” says Nina Cannon, an interior designer, who adds, “usually initiated by women who have spent years contending with their menfolk’s snoring.
“I hear the same story time and again. Where once all the woman had to do was tap her man on the shoulder to get him to turn over and, more importantly, turn the volume down, as men get older, they appear to snore more loudly. Having a separate room in which either of them can sleep in peace makes enormous sense.”
Demand from homebuyers for a second ensuite master bedroom is soaring.
“There’s little doubt that ‘alternative master bedrooms’ – we used to call them the ‘drunk bunk’ – to which snorers can repair is attractive to property buyers,” says one estate agent. “Moreover, if the loft of a house can be converted into a ‘Snoring Room’, it not only solves the problem of excessive night-time noise, it also adds significant value to the property.”
Nina Cannon agrees. “Starting with a blank canvass, it’s possible to create something special – and don’t forget, a home’s newly-converted loft space can just as easily become the ‘mistress ensuite’ bedroom with décor to match.
“This can be turned into a retreat where the lady of the house can enjoy peace and quiet, where she doesn’t need to struggle to hold onto the duvet, or freeze after her ‘significant other’ insists on throwing the windows open in deepest, coldest January.”
It would seem that there is an answer to persistent nocturnal disruption after all.
Forget the contraptions, tapes and various apparatus inserted in nostrils or the mouth – the solution is to create whatever you want to call it: a ‘snoring room’, a ‘drunk bunk’, or the mistress ensuite’.
Whatever name you apply to the new room, there’s no doubt that converting the loft appears to be the answer – which, don’t forget, has the added benefit of significantly enhancing the value of your home.
© Jon Pritchard Ltd 2015