Post details: Master Suite Options - Part 3


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Master Suite Options - Part 3

Builder BoxThink Outside the Builder Box

An effective way to relieve the stress that master suites put on the main-level plan is by turning rooms into multi-use spaces. Utilize nooks and bump-outs to add a computer nook, small office, or planning center to a great-room or even dining space instead of creating a separate room.

"Staying within the 'builder box' can create problems," says Amy Sebring, a staff architect for McStain Enterprises, a Boulder, Colorado, builder of about 350 homes a year. "I find that by bumping out a wall here and there, I can cost-effectively solve an interior space problem and create visual interest on the outside."

Building something other than the standard two-story home is an option that works by doing away with the equal balance of space between levels. A one- or one-and-a-half-story Cape Cod, cottage, or Craftsman-style home provides more area on the main level without increasing overall square footage. The key to Cape Cods and cottages is the steep roof pitch. "We're encountering a renewed interest in houses with more traditional elements," Sebring says. "Finer detailing, front porches, and steeper roofs are high on many folks' priority list." When steep roofs are used in combination with gable or shed dormers, there can be plenty of space for two or three bedrooms, as well as a full bath, on the upper level. These rooms often have sloping ceilings that add character and create cozy spaces children love.

The tactic of using two master suites -- one upstairs and one downstairs -- is finding its way into the floor plans of more than just luxury homes. "We are currently designing such a cottage-style home for a single man who owns a software company and does a lot of work at home," Jeswald says. "He wants the convenience of one-floor living, which means a main-level master suite. But his plans include marriage and children, so he felt there would probably come a time when the master bedroom would move upstairs. We're designing an upper level with three bedrooms and a bathroom that could be finished when needed."

One crucial design consideration that can mean the success or failure of the master suite is where it is placed on the main level. The master suite is a retreat, so it's good to locate it out of the daily traffic patterns. Using walk-in closets, bathrooms, or other spaces as buffers can provide effective separation. Avoid putting the suite directly off of public areas, such as the formal entry or living room.

Be careful not to put the master suite too close to noisy areas. Backing it up against the kitchen or family room is sure to cause conflicts between late sleepers and breakfast preparation, or the late-night TV-watching teen and early-to-bed parents. If such combinations are unavoidable, check out sound-deadening materials and construction techniques for the shared wall.

Better Homes and Gardens



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