I got naked in the middle of a housewares store.
It was a Thursday morning, and not a typical one for me, I swear. I wasn’t having a hot flash between the paint chips and drill bits on Aisle 4. I was at Pirch, the upscale home store that opened in December, spreading over two floors and 27,000 square feet at Lenox Marketplace.
Pirch was founded in 2010 in San Diego and has since become a sort of Lululemon of housewares, positioning itself not just as a retailer but as a lifestyle (Business Insider named it one of the 25 companies revolutionizing retail). Stores are set up like showrooms, where—after ordering a free gourmet coffee from the resident barista—you can try out swanky stuff from brands like Sub-Zero, La Cornue, Thermador, Aquabrass, and Lynx. You can test top-of-the-line grills, stovetops, sinks, and washing machines. And showers.
Yup, if you call ahead and come during the hour before the store opens or after it closes, you can take a shower at Pirch. Though this option has been available since the store opened, the folks there said I was the first to give it a go.
A Pirch “adviser” ushered me to the “Sanctuary,” a wood-paneled room with some sinks, three different soaking tubs, a bank of shower heads—ranging in price from $98 to $10,000—and two see-through shower stalls. After showing me how to work the digital controls, he left the spa-like space, pulling a curtain over the room’s glass doors, closing them, then placing a chair out front.
So there I was, in the middle of the store, in an unlocked room, taking off all my clothes and trying out the shower’s different settings—the standard “rain,” the sheet of water they call “waterfall,” and the soft, spritzy “mist”—while the Mr. Steam unit silently revved up. As the stall filled with a sinus-clearing, pore-opening fog, for a moment I felt transported to, perhaps, a guest bathroom at George Clooney’s Lake Como retreat? Or maybe they have these showers in heaven? Either way, it was disappointing to see the clock near 10 a.m. I pulled on my clothes, finished my iced coffee, then headed to the gym, after which I would have to face my own plebeian shower. I’d stand under its uneven spray, scowling and longing for Pirch.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.