Counting rooms

I used to think “How many rooms is your place?” had an easy answer. But living in Canada, Denmark, and Switzerland has made differing approaches on room calculus abundantly clear. And the lockdown in Switzerland to flatten the COVID-19 curve has changed the equation again.

Our last apartment in Canada was a split-level two bedroom, one bathroom situation. Prior to that we were in a two bed/two bath condo. In Copenhagen we had a two room flat. And in Zürich our apartment is 3.5 rooms.

Here’s the fun part: that two bed/two bath condo has the same basic layout as our current 3.5 room place. Two bedrooms in each and two bathrooms, too, along with a combined dining/living room, open kitchen, and a patio. But 2+2 does not equal 3.5. So what’s up with the alternate roomematics?

European room-calculations assume all dwellings have a kitchen and a bathroom, so the counting starts with any rooms beyond those basics, like a living room or bedroom or den. So our two bedrooms are +2 and the extra-large living area is +1.5. There’s no mention of how many bathrooms and no specificity around the purpose of the rooms.

In Canada, matheroomatics assumes the presence of a kitchen and living space in each apartment and then enumerates bathrooms and bedrooms separately. Sometimes bonus spaces like a den or separate utility room are specified, but usually it’s all about those bedrooms and bathrooms. In Canadian terms, our Copenhagen place was a one bed/one bath and Swiss standards would potentially count it as 2.5 rooms because it also had a small office space (we used it as storage for the expensive race bike and all manner of sports paraphernalia).

New room math

With governments in Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada all recommending self-isolating to plank the curve, there’s some new math for how to count the number of rooms in our place. What used to merely be our master bedroom is now so much more than a place to sleep and store clothes: it’s a reading nook, a virtual meeting room, and a meditation space. The second bedroom had been a guest room, writing space, and air-drying area for laundry. Now it’s also an isolation tank for conference calls, a wine lounge, yoga haven, team-building zone, and movie theatre—and the en suite bathroom serves as a barber shop, spa, and dog salon.

Our outdoor spinning studio in action

In lieu of long trail runs, my husband uses our patio as a spinning studio. Our living room is where we go on vacation—with Pawnee, Indiana being my current favourite destination.

For the last week and a half, we’ve been in our flat for around 23 hours a day (the dog still needs her walks!). With our whole lives happening in the confines of our flat, it only seems fair to re-eroomerate it. My last count is that we have a 23-room, two bedroom/two bath apartment—and I’m sure that’s only limited by our imaginations!

(Roomematics, matheroomatics, eroomeration… gack. Trying to blend these two concepts into one word does not work so well.)

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