Having a ‘master suite’ is something of a more modern invention. Like heated seats in your car or the fancy rabbit wine bottle opener – these are things that you didn’t need before you knew it existed but now you can’t live without them. Houses in 1926 didn’t have suites as much, but these days it’s like the distance to the bathroom is a some sort of made-up symbol of success or level of adulthood. EVERYBODY freaked out that we didn’t have a “master suite”. I don’t necessarily agree in the need for this, but if we could make it work while we were under construction, then sure – lets make us legit adults (and better for resale).
The original floorplan was below, noting that there was only one bathroom (see this post to see how we put in the jack and jill bathroom between the two kids rooms):
What is in pink indicates what changed:
We stole from the bathroom to add more space to the closet (thus only a shower in our master bath, not a bathtub). The closet is still small by most Californian’s standards, but that square footage helped (our cousin yesterday said that if she had to share that closet with her husband they would be divorced … she’s joking but you get it, it ain’t big). We made it slightly bigger, then we bumped out the wall into the hallway to add an entrance to the two-room suite. Like so:
In case you missed the whole process and plan for the upstairs demo you can head here. There is something super lovely about having it in “our room” although had it been in the hall that would have been fine, too. As you can tell in the floor plan, the door into the bathroom was super awkward with the toilet. We should have caught it early on and had the architect alter it (maybe we did and it didn’t get corrected) but later we were told there wasn’t room for a proper pocket door, that we didn’t have the inches to go into the wall. What we ended up doing is a pocket door that doesn’t fully open (as there isn’t the room for it to go into the wall the full 30″… somehow we passed inspections …. 🙂 It’s still kinda tight with the door from the hallway, but it all works.
Now for the design plan:
After pinning so many beautiful, more traditional tudor bathrooms (think porcelain mosaic floors) I realized that the vibe we wanted for the house was way more ‘cottage’ than ‘regal’. So I went the more ‘classic and humble’ route. We were more attracted to penny, hex, subway or herringbone tile and beadboard paneling, – with more casual finishes that would overall be more conducive to our lifestyle (casual, simple and warm). The above pins all spoke to me as they felt classic with a bit of country, but still modern and young.
I knew that I wanted some sort of paneling to keep it feeling sweet and casual, but with wallpaper and a color that amped it up a bit and made it feel like Hendersons, 2017. Most of the rooms in the house were plaster walls so wallpapering will be a challenge. But since the bathrooms are new construction I knew that it was my chance for some pretty old-world-meets-modern paper.
With that in mind we started the renovation. This might give you a better sense of the ‘master suite’ situation, with Brian documenting my surely innocuous conversation with a contractor friend.
In our bedroom, as a reminder here is what it looked like:
And now it looks like this:
Due to code we couldn’t keep the original door (they were only 24″ wide and code on new construction is 30″). We sought quotes to make the original doors (the door on the right in the left photo is the original) and it was $800 a pop. We needed 5-7 of them throughout the house. Brian Henderson nixed that plan quickly. We decided that we would splurge on one for the master suite since it was right next to an original door (charlie’s door is right next to that as well) but find something readymade that ‘felt’ similar for the rest.
But of course the lead time for that one custom door was 195 weeks, so Roberto, our project manager and overall genius, BUILT IT FROM SCRATCH in 2 days. I couldn’t believe it. It looks IDENTICAL. As you can see we did end up putting in a pocket door and while that little hallway looks tight, it’s fine in person. Fun fact – they had to completely tear down and rebuild that pocket door wall because it wasn’t originally called for. So at the last minute when we all realized that there was no room to swing in or out for a real door, we tore it down and rebuilt it for that awkward little pocket. I think it cost about $1200 to do that, but we knew that in the long run we would absolutely regret not doing it.
At the same time, the products were being pulled together and the original mood board looked like this:
I suppose that I decided on the beadboard/wallpaper combination first. I didn’t want the wallpaper to feel too bold for fear that it would look too young and be too busy, but I felt comfortable taking more of a risk in the beadboard color. If I ever want to change that color (as if i’ve ever been sick of blue in my entire life) I knew that of all the finishes, that one would be easy to change (as opposed to the tile or wallpaper, even – although changing out wallpaper isn’t that big of a deal).
Speaking of tile, you heard me gush about it in the kitchen, but in case you need a reminder, this tile is insanely beautiful and textured and yet quiet and sophisticated. It’s stunning in person and goes with both old-world style like ours, or more modern contemporary homes. If you are into the whole ‘handmade modern’ thing then consider these folks. If you are considering the ones that I used you should know that it is thick (like almost an inch) which didn’t cause us a problem, but it’s thicker than most (we couldn’t do the shower insets in it because it would have made the inset too narrow to actually put shampoo on it).
The floor tile is a classic herringbone that is brighter than the wall tile, but shares the same tones despite being a different material (I believe it’s porcelain). All the faucets are the very classic and beautiful unlaquered brass, which has now patina’d BEAUTIFULLY (stay tuned) and just today I received the proper polish and wax to maintain them. I originally loved the simplicity of the Devol vanities (that aren’t available in the states) but we ended up finding one that was almost identical, but ready-made, then we put our leftover marble from the kitchen on top. Here is sneak peek:
Of course things changed a bit and got more refined. So we had to update the mood board to reflect that (that light fixture in the photo was just to pass code because ours wasn’t in yet).
Wallpaper $690 (3 rolls). This paper is so impactful considering it’s so neutral. The pattern is hand stamped with paint (not ink) which gives it so much texture. The field (background) is brushed with paint to give it a totally unique and handmade feeling. This pattern stood out as happy and playful but still with a risk-free lovely modern floral pattern.
Beadboard $360. We needed 18 pieces, they are sold in 16′ and are $1.25 per linear foot. We ended up getting ‘v groove’ instead of beadboard. Beadboard has that decorative bead in the middle and V-groove is more like shiplap, but vertical and without the decorative detail and a bit wider. I think it feels slightly more modern and fresh, but I love beadboard, too (it is about 1/3 more expensive, I believe). We used beadboard in the kids bathroom and powder room, but splurged on the V-groove in the master and even the wider version on the front of the island in the kitchen.
Beadboard Paint $100, 1 gallon. Farrow and Ball is high end for sure as most gallons of paint can be as cheap as $25. But I love the pigment and the look of the paint so very, very much. We used their Stiffkey Blue which is a beautiful, happy yet sophisticated color (also used in our den and Ginny’s dining room). I asked our contractor about the quality of the paint and he said ‘really, really good with amazing coverage’ which made me feel good about promoting it. I knew that I loved the pigment of the color, but was happy to hear that as a contractor he was impressed with the quality. This color is not as dark as Hague Blue (which I used in my old kitchen and this reading nook) but still feels cozy and sophisticated. I will say that if you are debating when to splurge on Farrow and Ball and when to not, a medium to darker toned color is when to do it. They have mastered how to create ‘color’, even in a sophisticated more old world home like ours.
Toilet Paper Holder $142.80 I partnered with E-faucets (and Newport Brass) on the bathrooms and while I wouldn’t typically spend that kind of dough for a toilet paper holder (or tell you to) I will say that I’ve used just as expensive accessories in clients house that have been janky and felt cheap. This one is SOLID and so very pretty. If that isn’t in your budget this is not where you should splurge, but if you are looking to design a high end bathroom with high end details, then I can vouch that this one is beautiful. We also had to have the finish match the faucets so typically a toilet holder wouldn’t be so expensive but having it be unlaquered brass kinda upped the price.
Toilet $915 Classic and pretty. Neither a total splurge nor inexpensive, but lovely in every way. It’s hard to go on and on about a toilet, but so far we are happy with this guy.
Vanity $1, 380.46. The vanity that we ended up using came with a carerra marble top, but our guys broke it during install. Lucky for us we had more marble from our kitchen and they fabricated a top for it. We switched out the knobs and handles for unlacquered brass and it looks FAR better than the custom one we recieved a $1600 quote for, with an 8-10 week lead time.
Faucet $615.30. You know how I feel about these faucets. Just so pretty, especially in that high maintenance (yet stunning and old world) finish.
Light $735. A triple sconce that is a bit more modern, to help it feel more fresh. I’m taking a note from the 1960’s French – its ok to do some of your lighting in a simple, but slightly edgier, more modern way. This sconce takes this bathroom to the next level. A triple sconce is always more expensive, but 2 singles or doubles adds up as well in materials and installation.
Floor Tile $804.14 (52 sq feet + 20% Overage). A classic tile in which I will never tire (I’m working on not ending sentences in a conjunction, so all of a sudden my sentences sound super pretentious). It has a lovely variance of tone and reflects the light in such a beautiful way.
Shower faucet: $440.30. Brian and I aren’t rain shower people – I find them secretly annoying as I’m unable to get them off my head without jerking my neck away from my body in a wholly uncomfortable way. This faucet looks really basic, without a hand spout or anything but that’s because I get a little annoyed by those features, too. I’ve put them in before and I don’t use them. I like a good, high pressured shower and that’s it. I wish we could have fit a tub in here, but that shower, in that tile, with those windows, is magical and makes me so happy.
Wall Tile $2, 341 which is an estimate. We aren’t sure how much ended up being used in the kitchen/master bath. We requested close to the same amount for each space so this was the total divided by 2 and we have a substantial amount of overage (to be used in the guest suite downstairs). It’s my most favorite subway tile splurge ever. See gushing above.
Shower floor dam: $578 (needed 6 pieces + overage= 9) We had to buy one box minimum, and to make sure we had pure white pieces and not grey ones as they vary. $671. This was the most annoying and boring splurge that I didn’t see coming. We needed tile for the area between the floor tile and the shower floor tile (that little bridge) but somehow it added up to be that ridiculous amount. I think had we not been in a HUGE hurry to get materials on site we could have found a different solution. I thought it would be like $200 til I saw the amount on my CC bill. Whoops.
The shower door is still not installed. It’s a long boring saga that involves way too heavy of a header piece, in not the right finish, blah blah. We have now moved the door to make it more sturdy so we can nix the header piece. But of course once I saw the crystalline (no green tint) glass in 1/2 inch (which is literally twice the price) I want that … Stay tuned on our decision.
We also had to change out both windows, to vinyl but they both look great (and they fooled me – they look like wood!).
The mirror is a place holder until I find the perfect antique mirror (or customize one). Its clearly too small but does the job for now. The space is so pretty and clean and fresh, and yet colorful enough to make me happy.
That’s just a little sneak peek. Ok fine, here is one more (which you may have seen)- but SO much more to finish!!
That was before the knobs were switched out, obviously, but you get the idea. We’ll be installing the glass shower doors asap. OH, and for all of those who wondered about that in the kids bath, we are not putting in glass doors until they are much older, if ever. We’ll probably do a curtain when they are 4-6 years old, but as of right now it’s not in the plan to do that. In this one, however we have to as it’s not a straight line so right now when we shower it goes all over the place.
We’ll be done in a couple weeks, meanwhile it’s such a bright and happy room to be next to our bedroom. Thoughts? Concerns? Questions?