Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
The master suite has always been a sort of “private escape” from the rest of the house, according to Jerry Gloss, senior partner of KGA Studio Architects in Louisville, Colo. But that doesn’t mean this intimate space can’t also be useful and dynamic.
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When creating a master suite, it helps to remember zoning, Gloss says. If one member of a couple gets up early, he or she needs a vestibule to isolate noise and light from the sleeping partner. This dream space can be constrained by physical limitations. Gloss recommends having a tape measure handy during showings. One wall must have at least 13 feet of space, or else “a king-size bed won’t fit—unless you want to throw out a nightstand.”
Another old-fashioned resort touch making its way back into master suites is the hearth. “Fireplaces are going away from family rooms,” Pearlman says. “But we are putting fireplaces into master suites.”
And if a cozy fire makes for a perfect evening antidote to stress, an inspired master bath will sure enhance the wake-up routine. Denver-based Possibilities for Design Inc. founder Doris Pearlman says more luxurious designs are creeping back into the bath area after a stretch of austerity. She sees designers bringing in 1930s-style spa touches, such as floating vanities and detached baths. “Master suites are dream spaces,” she says. “There are so many neat master suites that are inspired by hotels.”
According to NAR’s 2013 Profile of Buyer’s Home Feature Preferences, two interior design features that buyers say are “very important” are a walk-in closet in the master bedroom (39 percent) and an en suite master bath (34 percent).
And while marble surfaces will always be coveted, there are ways to get around a high-cost bathroom. Pearlman suggests a mosaic of colored tiles as an update for a tired bath. “They’re great and inexpensive to use,” she says.
Remodeling magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report found costs recouped from bathroom remodels and additions increased by an average of 3.2 percent over the past year. Funds used to improve and add onto mid-range bathrooms had a slightly better return than those spent on higher-end projects in the same categories. Also, money spent on master suite projects got a greater return year over year, increasing 4 percent for mid-range projects and 1.6 percent for upscale ones.