Post details: Master Suite Options - Part 4


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Master Suite Options - Part 4

Changes AheadChanges Ahead

Empty nesters and aging baby boomers have learned an important fact of life: Change happens and it pays to be flexible. Anticipate the changes that lie in store and choose a plan that works now and in the future without compromising the resale value of your home.

"First-floor master suites are great," Delap says, "but they're not for everyone. I find that young couples are often drawn to first-floor masters, forgetting that being too far from young children can prove difficult." To circumvent this problem, Delap suggests creating a plan that has at least three second-floor bedrooms. One should be slightly larger and used as a master suite when the children are young. When the master suite is relocated downstairs, the upper-level master suite can become a guest room, playroom, or office. In plans with only two upstairs bedrooms, the children could share a room when young. When they get older and their parents move downstairs, the children could move into separate bedrooms.

"My own house, which I designed and built 20 years ago, went through a similar transition," Jeswald says. "Until our children were about 10 and 12, the master bedroom was upstairs. I used what was to be the first-floor master bedroom as an office and, when the switch occurred, our upstairs bedroom became a part of an expanded family room. My wife and I thought the transition from upstairs to downstairs might be hard for the kids, but when the time came, the move seemed to suit all of us. It turns out that my wife and I weren't the only ones who wanted a little more separation and privacy."

Flexible plans will be able to accommodate these moves. Certain main-level spaces, such as a family room, guest bedroom, or office, can be designed to permit conversion to a master suite with little or no alteration. Conversely, if a prospective buyer is not interested in a main-level master, those spaces could be converted back to their original uses.

Flexibility also can be planned into the structure of your home. Guertin, the Rhode Island builder, recalls a home he recently built for an older couple. "Our clients knew that in the near future they would be using the upstairs only when their children came home on visits. They didn't want to heat the whole house all the time. So, we put the second floor on a separate heating zone, installed thermal insulation in the main level ceiling, provided drains for the second floor plumbing, and framed a cased opening at the bottom of the stairs into which a door could be installed. This way, the owners could close off the second floor and live only on the first. These things were easy to do during construction, but trying to do them later would have been a nightmare."

Main-level master suites offer many advantages: convenience, privacy, and accessibility. Take your time, think carefully, and plan thoroughly, and you can create a master suite that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Better Homes and Gardens



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