January 21, 2019
Downsizing is often the answer for older homeowners looking for an accessible space. For one couple with grown children, it was instead necessary to keep their home with its extra bedrooms for when the kids come to visit. However, having their master bedroom on the upper level was both inconvenient and inefficient for them.
“The location of the existing master suite made it more difficult to get to and required the homeowners to heat and cool the entire upper level even when the guestrooms were not in use,” said designer Kimberly Kerl of Greer, S.C.-based Kustom Home Design. “The clients instead wanted to add a master suite to the main level of their home without adding square footage.”
Rethinking the Living Space
According to Kerl, relocating the master suite to the ground floor would provide better access to the space and allow the homeowners to lower the heating and cooling systems upstairs to a maintenance-only level, which would conserve energy and save on cost. This was possible because the original layout included a formal living room that was separated from the kitchen, family room and dining area, as well as an office that opened to a private sunroom.
“We were contacted by the client at the suggestion of their contractor, because even though there was some existing interior space to work with, there were several obstacles, such as existing windows, multiple doorways and a fireplace, that needed to be designed around,” said Kerl.
Adding onto the house was not a viable option either, since the main-level house had previously been raised to allow for a full basement. Adding onto that would be costly and would block access to the basement-level garage.
“Therefore, the existing spaces needed to be redesigned in the most efficient manner,” said the designer, explaining that it was decided to renovate the formal living area, office and sunroom into a private master suite with a study and a secondary laundry space.
Serious Layout Changes
The fireplace and the windows would be the most difficult elements to change, so Kerl left the existing fireplace in its current position and made it a focal element in the new bedroom. By using a portion of the existing living room square footage – the rest of which was used for the bedroom – as a walk-in closet and a hall to the master bath, they were able to leave all the existing windows in their original locations.
The former office is now the new master bathroom. This spacious room boasts a large shower with a full-length bench and a frameless shower surround, which was added along with a large double vanity, linen storage and a laundry station.
“Since the original laundry room was located in the basement, it too was more difficult to access and required heating and cooling of the entire lower level for this one small space,” said the designer, who used AutoCAD to create this master suite project. “Providing a secondary laundry station in the bath allows the homeowners to have full access to all necessary living spaces on the main level of their home.”
Luxury Master Suite
One of the main reasons to move the master to the main level was to provide for the clients as they age. Kerl also included some elements in the master suite itself to allow them to enjoy their home as long as possible, including in the oversized shower.
“The homeowners wanted a large, luxury shower and chose to omit a tub in the new master suite,” she said. “A frameless glass enclosure and low partial walls keeps the space feeling large and open.”
The shower’s low curb and full-length bench are universal design elements that will keep the homeowners safe and comfortable, as well as feeling like they are in a spa-like bath. Dual shower heads, easy-to-reach, customizable controls and a shower niche complete the luxurious shower, while white and gray quartz tiles establish a transitional palette.
This color palette is continued in the double vanity, which is directly across from the shower. The vanity’s placement near the only existing window in the bath was to ensure that there was daylight in an area where it was most needed.
“Adequate light levels from both natural and artificial sources are essential to a universally designed space,” said Kerl, adding that wall sconces located on both sides of the mirrors help to further illuminate the vanity.
Using gray-painted cabinetry, the team designed symmetrical vanities with a shallow center tower to provide extra storage. White quartz countertops and mirrors with a metallic frame complement the transitional look.
“The design works seamlessly with the existing windows, fireplace and openings and feels like a natural part of the original home,” said Kerl. “The new suite works perfectly for the homeowners and provides them with the resources necessary to live in this home longer with improved quality of life.”
Designer and Photographer: Kimberly Kerl, Kustom Home Design
Contractor: Premier Builders
Cabinetry: Marsh Cabinetry
Floor Tile: Modena
Laundry Machines: LG
Shower Tile: Opulenza
Sink Faucet & Shower Fixtures: Delta