modern master retreat - before and after
Master suites have kind of become my jam. The reason why is that so many of us save this space for last, when really, it could be argued that your bedroom might be the most important place to start. It’s the place where we begin and end our days. If those 'bookend experiences' in your day aren’t remotely inspiring, and beyond that, cause you stress, what kind of day (or life) are you setting yourself up for?
Now, I’m not saying go crazy and spend all your money on your room and say “sorry, suckers!” to the rest of the shared family spaces. What I am saying is that we could all be a little more intentional about spending money on spaces that bring us joy and rest. Self-care is the total buzzword of the moment, but there’s truth in taking care of yourself a bit so you can better care for others.
Greg and Amy came to me this time last year asking for help with their master suite. Like so many folks, they had been working their way around the house updating all of the shared areas. By the time they made it to their master suite, they were fresh out of steam and ideas and just unsure of how to even begin.
More than any other room, the master suite is a tough one to tackle on your own. I’ve yet to meet a couple that has the same design style. People are willing to give and take in shared areas, but when it comes to your space, the space where you’ll spend a third of your LIFE, you want it to feel like you. It absolutely has to work for both partners.
Y’all, the current situation was not working. For anyone. At all.
The rest of the house has a seriously cool vibe. As soon as I walked in the door I thought “these are my people.” Not only were they amazingly welcoming and had me feeling like I was a long-lost friend, their style was completely cool and relaxed and modern. I was immediately endeared to this sweet family.
And then I saw this.
So this really isn't that shocking. I see so many bedrooms that look just like this. The furniture you bought in a set when you first get married. Some colorful bedding to try to bring in some personality. But it just wasn't coming together, and it wasn't them.
This was the land that time had forgotten. That wallpaper! The WINDOW from the shower to the TOILET. What in the world? How did anyone ever think that was a good idea?
This bathroom was beyond a refresh. The entire layout was a mess. A complete gut job. Amy and Greg wanted to make the right choices the first time and not spend a lot of time and money on things that they ultimately might not like, so they called in a pro.
And there was nowhere to go but up.
They already had a contractor on board by the time I joined the party, and he had created a few floor plan layout options to better use the space. I threw in my two cents (because I can't help myself) and we landed on this layout on the right. We removed the awkward closet inside the master bath that was creating the choppy flow and expanded the existing closet within the bedroom. We relocated the toilet away from the tub (because privacy) into the nook where the double vanities had been. The shower moved to the former closet location, which allowed us to really stretch out the double vanity. Last, we replaced the swinging door to the bathroom with a pocket door to save more floor space.
After spending a bit of time getting to know them and a couple of iterations of design boards, this is what we came up with:
The style we were after was Modern Ease. Clean lines, contemporary furnishings, and enough vintage items to make it feel collected. The foundation is made up of warm whites and fresh neutrals accented with key colors that are somehow simultaneously saturated and muted. Not fussy. Casual and cozy and a place you want to spend your whole weekend drinking hot tea and enjoying the view.
Parallel to my design work, the contractor was forming the budget. And of course, the budget wasn’t magically in sync with the design plan. It never really is. There’s always a compromise to be made because errbody’s got a budget. The one item we truly didn’t want to sacrifice was the show-stopping cement tile. We were prepared to cut and slash other things to make it happen because it was the centerpiece of that bathroom.
And then God sent us a miracle.
We had planned to spend $16/SF on the cement tile. And literally the very next weekend after we picked it out, the homeowners saw the exact same tile ON A FACEBOOK GARAGE SALE for half the price. You guys, it sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t. The sellers had flown to Turkey and hand selected this tile and had it shipped back to Texas (I’m not kidding, y’all). They over-ordered and wound up with enough left over square footage to complete our entire project.
Do you believe in miracles?!?
Now, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows after our divine intervention. Cement tile if not sealed properly and immediately can have some disastrous results, and that’s just what happened. It looked a bit like 40-year-old linoleum for several months while the contractor researched and executed a solution. It also took about 3 months and what felt like a dozen shipments of different parts and pieces to get the sconces up on the walls. But it all came together.
First up, the bedroom.
We did receive one other joyous surprise. While moving a wall to create a new master closet, the GC discovered that we could raise the ceiling up. Way up. Where there had just been a slight lift in the celling before from 8’ to 9’ around the edge of the room, we were able to add a full cathedral vault. The homeowners sent me a text asking me what to do with that space (BEAMS!) and whether or not they should be wood or painted (WOOD!). The room feels twice as big as it did before. Total game changer.
Since ceiling fans are an absolute, non-negotiable necessity in Texas, I picked the most beautiful fan there ever was. It's like sculpture on the ceiling.
And the herringbone wood floors! We have to talk about the herringbone wood floors. The bulk of the flooring in this house is brick pavers, so we had a unique opportunity to do something different on the master floor. The homeowners knew they wanted wood, and allowed themselves to be convinced by yours truly (I can be very persuasive) that a herringbone wood floor was literally the only viable option. Like, there was nothing else to even talk about. They took a leap of faith and trusted me when I said it would be beautiful and not too busy. And it. paid. off.
Onto the bathroom.
My favorite thing about this space is how it is so bold with the patterned floor, black wall, and red rug - but it's still calm and restful.
When I asked Amy and Greg about their favorite part of the space, they shared that they "love how everything just works together. Nothing is too matchy, but everything works together to create a calm, peaceful oasis from our busy lives. (We) look forward to coming into our bedroom at the end of every day. The design is welcoming, not stuffy at all, and fits perfectly into our lives. "
The moral of the story – don’t save your space for last. All of our lives are so busy and hectic that we truly need a sanctuary to escape to. If you're waiting for someone to give you permission to invest in that, then friend, you have it.
And if you can’t come to a consensus with your spouse on style, hire a couples therapist….errr…Interior Designer to help you bring it all together. More beautiful bedrooms. Less marital strife.
This is far and away the biggest transformation I've been a part of. A huge thank you to Greg and Amy for letting me be a part of your story.
To see all of the stunning after photos, check out the fully gallery here.