Ask the Editor Summer 2009
Planning a Master Suite
Courtesy of Binns Kitchen + Bath Design and the NKBA
This 3-D layout of Beverley Leigh Binns award-winning master suite shows how a master bathroom can be divided into different zones.
Question: My husband and I are considering remodeling our master bathroom so that it’s more like a master bathroom suite. What should we take into consideration when planning this style of bathroom? –Shannon K., Fla.
Answer: A master bathroom suite incorporates closets, dressing areas, or both into a master bathroom, so actually having enough space to incorporate these design elements is a must. In this particular instance you’ll need to make sure two people can maneuver comfortably within the bathroom. Even if you’re not doing everything in unison, there’s a good chance that during your morning routines (or other times when you’re getting ready simultaneously) the two of you will be crossing paths and sharing space. At no point should you feel cramped.
To get some additional and expert advice, I talked to Beverley Leigh Binns, an interior designer of Binns Kitchen and Bath Design in Toronto, who won a 2009 NKBA design award for this master suite remodel. While every space presents its own unique challenges, Binns provided some good general rules to consider when designing a master suite:
Identify how each area of the space should function: “In initial planning stages try zoning out the functions of the room: dressing area, vanity area, showering area, etc.,” suggested Binns. “This will help to denote and distinguish the various functions of the room.” Once you understand what role each area of the room will play, you can start planning the most efficient ways to use the different zones of the master suite. Binns provided a few questions you might want to ask when figuring out the functionality of these specific areas. “For example, in the dressing area will clothes need to be hung up or laid out while getting ready?” she asked. “Would a bench or a small stool be handy to have while putting on shoes?”
Use different design elements to distinguish certain areas of the room from one another: “Think about how you can use the floor and walls tiles in unique patterns to visually distinguish zones; you are not limited to using the same tile or pattern throughout the space,” said Binns. “You could also consider how you can use wall color in unique and dynamic ways to create a feature wall within the room.”
Consider using items that keep the space feeling as open as possible: “Try using a vanity or wardrobe that is free-standing and not fully fitted between walls,” recommended Binns. “Creating negative space around furniture will highlight these pieces, as well as aid in creating a more open and airy feeling. Or you could try to use a vanity that is wall hung, sitting off the floor, which will visually extend the floor space.” She also added, “If the room is small consider using a frameless glass shower enclosure so you’re not building any walls that may close in the space.”
Keep your master suite properly ventilated: “Don’t forget about ventilation, especially if the dressing area is in the same room as the showering area,” noted Binns. “Good ventilation will prevent any mold and mildew. It might be a good idea to provide a timer switch for the fan so that it stays on for an allotted amount of time after you have used the shower.”
If you’re looking for more ideas, visit this year’s NKBA award-winners slide show to see other great master suite photos and layouts.
Have a pressing bathroom question you want answered? Then submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.