Thursday, May 25th, 2017

A Room The Size Of A Closet

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Will you delegate your maid to live in a closet? If you accept a pre-designed home in the Philippines then probably yes. Most higher end homes in the Philippines come with a designated maid’s room. The designers of these homes have tried to fit a room (can we call it a room?) into whatever nook or cranny they can find. These rooms are typically 3-4 square meters / 30 – 40 square feet. This is about enough room to fit a single bed and maybe a small dresser. The maid’s bathroom is even smaller, usually about 1.5 square meters / 15 square feet. Just enough room for a toilet and shower all in one.

I have read many articles and forums asking about and debating the size of a maid’s room in Asia. The are basically two camps when it comes to this topic. Side A is worried about putting a person into such a confined space and the moral ramifications of doing so and side B takes the stance that “this is the way it is” and that the maid “is used to sharing rooms or sleeping on the floor so this is a step up, they will be grateful”. Lets explore these two sides.

Side A: From the forums and pages that I looked at, the side A proponents were mostly “westerners” that were not accustomed to several things. First and foremost they were not accustomed to living, themselves, in such a small dwelling. Second they were not accustomed to having a live in maid. Houses in Asia are typically not very large, in comparison to western homes. Were talking 2-3 bedroom homes that are no more than 1000 sqf, usually around 800 sqf. Now I can’t really blame the designers of the house, they are providing what the buyers are looking for in terms of cost, thus things like room size are drastically downsized to what westerners would consider to be found even in a apartment. So if your master bedroom is only 10 sqm / 100 sqf, then the maid’s quarters are definitely going to be smaller. The maid’s room, aka. the closet off the side of the kitchen, is a throwback to colonial times when the maid was merely a servant that never had time off and usually was not paid. My views on side A are that if your house is small and the maid’s quarters are proportionate to the overall size of the house then its fine, on the flip side if you have a multi thousand sqf home and put your maid in a closet then you should examine what kind of a person you are.

Side B: The supporters of side B were usually born and raised in Asia and were very used to living in smaller homes. From my experience in Asia, families typically have smaller homes and have more people living within the walls. They make do with what they have. Were not just talking about middle class families. I know several lower income families outside of the city that have very meager homes and they still have “house helpers” and these “house helpers” are not paid and do not have rooms of their own. They are typically younger and come from “the province” and their family could not afford to care for them or to send them to school. So in return for helping around the house, they get a place to live, food and schooling. I can totally see side B’s supporters point of view, but only to a certain extent.

So you should expect that if you buy a house and lot from a subdivision that your home will have one of these “maid’s rooms” that would double for a closet in the west.

As we have designed our own house, we got to choose what size each and every room would be. We have allocated space for 2 maid’s (there was room :)) and each of the maid’s rooms are about 10 sqm / 100 sqf with a shared bathroom of about 5 sqm / 35 sqf. These rooms are actually the same size as my office space here in the states and is larger than my son’s room is today. We felt that if were building a nice size retirement home, why not take some space and allocate it to people that make our lives better. For the nominal added expense, each maid’s room is only a couple thousand dollars, which in the overall price of the house is not that much. Each room has a window, will be large enough and private enough for someone to unwind after a work day.

So will your maid / house helper, be delegated to a “closet” or when you build your retirement home will you plan for a bit more. Side A or Side B, which are you on?? Feel free to discuss below in the comments.


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2 Responses to “A Room The Size Of A Closet”
  1. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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