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How to create a romantic master suite

By Annie Schwemmer and Ann Robinson

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Feb. 14 2014 4:45 p.m. MST

A typical master suite consists of three functions: a bedroom large enough to fit a king size bed, a couple pieces of furniture, and possibly a sitting area; a bathroom with a separate shower and tub, two sinks, and a toilet (often within its own room); and the master closet, which is typically a walk-in closet with built-in organizers.

Annie Schwemmer

In honor of Valentine's Day, let’s consider the most romantic remodeling project: the master suite. This area is intended to be a luxurious getaway in your own home. A master suite is more than just a master bedroom as it typically consists of three functions — a bedroom large enough to fit a king-size bed and possibly a sitting area; a bathroom with a shower and possibly a tub, two sinks and a toilet (often within its own room); and the master closet, which is ideally a walk-in closet with built-in organizers.

Designing the master suite

There are two ways to get a master suite: rearrange or add on. If you have an extra bedroom in the vicinity of your master bedroom, this space can be repurposed and transformed into the master bath and closet. Or you can add a master bedroom and bathroom to the first floor by expanding into the yard, if your yard can accommodate such an addition. Alternately, you can consider adding a second story, which will mean a major renovation to and possible replacement of your roof and giving up space on the main floor to add a staircase.

A typical master suite requires about 400 to 800 square feet and will cost about $150 per square foot for a remodel and about $220 per square foot for an addition. The cost per square foot tends to be higher than in other parts of the house (except the kitchen) because a master bathroom often includes more luxurious fixtures and finishes — from a jetted tub and granite-lined steam shower to a private fireplace to cedar or mahogany closet organizers.

Focus on the details

Attention to detail and luxurious finishes are what make the master suite the relaxing retreat it is intended to be. The appeal of a master suite is that it is a private sanctuary off limits to the rest of the family. Spending more attention and money in the master suite will make it more special. The master suite tends to be the crown jewel of a remodel, and it can go a long way to impact the resale value for the better. Many older homes don’t have a master suite, but adding one is a huge selling point for today’s home shoppers.

Create a great shower

The best master suites have fantastic showers. It used to be all about the soaking/whirlpool tub, but now people are focused on creating an awesome shower.

Many designs today have only a shower in the master bath, if a tub is accessible in another bathroom nearby. Building codes require a shower to be a minimum of 30-by-30-inches; however, a luxurious shower is much bigger than that. Showers don’t have to be square; one dimension can be slightly narrow (about 36 inches) if the other direction is longer. Somewhere around 12 square feet is a good guide for a minimum size.

They also don’t have a lone shower head anymore. Today’s designer showers have multiple shower heads at different angles and locations with ranges of water delivery from rain heads to hand held sprayers.

There are also the steam shower options that require generously sized benches to offer a relaxing shower experience. To create a steam shower, a small steam unit is located near the shower to produce the steam. The ceiling must be sloped (to channel condensation to the side wall — no one likes cold water dripping on them) and covered with tile or stone, and a well-sealed door is required to keep the steam inside the shower. As you can imagine, such a shower will provide daily luxury in your life.

Overall, a master suite is a great addition to any home. Remember our motto: A new design for a better life. Therefore, a remodel should not just change your house, but change your life for the better every day. Beginning and ending each day in a luxurious retreat will help you have a more relaxed and revitalized life.

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the Principal Architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com

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