A couple in Mission Hills, Kansas, wanted a real master suite on the second floor of their home, while maintaining space for their two boys and a guest room. Working with designer Christopher Fein, the couple hoped to create a less awkward upstairs that could accommodate everyone’s needs and styles. “The idea was, ‘How could we actually create, in the fabric of this old house, a true master suite?’” Fein says. The final design incorporates two bathrooms and a bedroom in one master suite.
"After” photos by Bob Greenspan
BEFORE: Tall nightstands with matching lamps flank the bed, allowing the couple to read at night. Because they didn’t want to cover the window in the dark room, they opted to go without a headboard.
AFTER: Fein redesigned the room to give the couple a place to rest and read in comfort. The couple wanted the bed to both fit under the window and offer a backrest for reading, Fein says. His solution was an adjustable headboard. The couple can lift up the 6-inch-deep headboard and block the window while they read, and then flip it back down when they are done. Fein also added movable reading lights to the side of each bookcase to replace the nightstand lamps. Built-in bookcases and nightstands frame the bed.
Custom bed frame, nightstands and bookcases: Bootlace Design & Build; paint: Mascarpone, Benjamin Moore
BEFORE: The existing wall across from the bed had a pair of closet doors and a door leading to the bathroom. “It was a hodgepodge of stuff on that wall, and that’s the primary visual wall of the bedroom,” Fein says.
AFTER: Six panel doors unify the bedroom wall. Now the fourth door from the left opens to one of the master suite’s bathrooms, while the other five panels serve as closet doors.
When the doors are closed, the redesigned closet and bathroom doors almost look like one seamless wall, Fein says. The only giveaway that the bathroom door is different is the small stainless steel handle.
The closet doors lack outside hardware because they open with touch latches. When the doors open, motion-activated LED lights go on. This feature illuminates the space without any additional pulls or switches.
For the bedroom seating area, Fein added an Eileen Gray table from a flea market in Michigan to go with the family’s vintage chair.
Through the door in the closet wall is one of the two bathrooms that make up the master suite. The husband primarily uses this bathroom. This bath also opens to the guest bedroom and can be used by visitors when they stay over.
The old bathroom was removed, and Fein designed a bathroom that fit the husband’s contemporary taste. The vanity with Corian top was custom-made to fit the narrow space. To make the small bathroom completely waterproof, Fein used small, rectangular marble tiles on the floor and Corian on the walls.
Vanity cabinet: Bootlace Design & Build; faucet: Vola
The wall-hung Duravit toilet saves about six inches of space, Fein says, because it eliminates the tank. That made it possible to fit the toilet directly across from the vanity.
Just inside the door that leads to the bedroom, Fein installed a towel radiator with a medicine cabinet above. The radiator helps keep the bathroom — and towels — warm.
Towel radiator: Runtal Radiator
A new vestibule connects the master bedroom with the wife’s bathroom and serves as a transitional space between the two rooms. A new built-in dresser fills the space, along with a Persian rug, lamps and art already owned by the homeowner.
Custom dresser: Bootlace Design & Build
BEFORE: The existing 1930s bathroom had tile in green and white, a black-and-white herringbone floor, and a white pedestal sink. Although it was in great shape, Fein says, it needed contemporary updates, such as undersink storage.
AFTER: Custom cabinetry under the sink, new lights and a large mirror fit in alongside the vintage charm that the wife loved about the bathroom.
Vanity cabinet: Bootlace Design & Build; faucet: Stillness, Kohler
The towel bar in the shower was removed and replaced with a Corian soap niche. New plumbing also was installed for the shower without affecting the vintage tile.
BEFORE: The plan of the original second floor shows the unconnected hall bath and master bedroom. The owners wanted to create a true master suite by combining the hall bath, hall, master bedroom and another bath. (These are labeled Hall Bath, Hall, Master Bedroom and Bath on the “before” floor plan.)
AFTER: The plan of the renovated second floor shows the flow of the new master suite. Fein’s plan included updating the wife’s bathroom, reconfiguring the hall into a vestibule, adding closets to the master bedroom and remodeling the husband’s bathroom.
The project took six months of planning and another six months of construction. “It was the best solution while moving the fewest number of walls,” Fein says. “We built very little to achieve the final design to save cost and time.”
Cabinet and furniture builder: Bootlace Design & BuildGeneral contractor: Hurst Construction