The Master Suite: A Place to Escape

Top Master Suite Features

Master suites are among the most valued additions to homes. They recoup an average of nearly 70 percent of the project’s cost, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Today’s master suites feature more than just an extra bathroom. The most popular additions would put a five-star hotel to shame. They include:

  • Walk-in closets
  • Wine refrigerators
  • Kitchenette areas
  • Flat-panel televisions

For homeowners looking for an oasis, a master suite is a highly-valued addition. Today’s master suite is large enough to help couples avoid doing the “sideways shuffle” (to navigate around furniture) and to provide a place to unwind from a stressful day at the office. A master suite often includes a sitting area ─ the perfect place to relax, read a book, or watch television without getting into a wrestling match with the kids over the remote control.

High-end accessories aren’t limited to the flat-panel TV. They include DVD players, a wine refrigerator for your favorite evening beverage, and a microwave for that bowl of popcorn. Before you embark on a major home improvement like adding a master suite, however, consider whether it makes more sense to move to a home that already has the amenities you seek.

You may want to consult a real estate agent who can provide you with local market information. If your home is already in the upper end of values in your neighborhood, you’ll get a lower return on your home improvement than if you owned the house with the lowest value. Or you might learn that many homes like yours include master suites and adding this room would provide a strong return for your improvement dollar.

Location

If you're planning a master suite addition, make sure it’s located in a private area. Adding a master suite directly above the family room with a booming surround system will only cause headaches. Find a location that makes the suite feel like a retreat – preferably with at least two walls exposed to the outside of the home.  This adds to the privacy of your space. Don’t forget to add insulation in the floor (if there is living space below) and the interior walls.

Master suites that are located on the ground floor are even more valued in many parts of the country, as an aging population appreciates not having to climb stairs. Ground floor master suites also have the advantage of access to the outside – perhaps to a secluded patio or deck.

When planning your master suite, be sure to take the time to think the design through carefully. A project like this takes four to eight weeks to complete and causes major disruption to your life. Be sure that the suite meets your current needs, as well as your future ones.

Most Popular Features

What are the most popular features to ensure the most value from your master suite addition? The top six are:

  • His-and-her sinks in the bathroom. Nothing promotes harmony better for couples than two sinks, whether with separate mirrors or one large mirror for both. With instant access to your own sink and mirror, there’s no more waiting in line for the other bathrooms in the house. One of the biggest reasons why master suites are added is because the line for the single bathroom with a shower has grown too long.
  •  A walk-in closet (or two).  Closet space is at a premium in most houses, so adding enough to the master suite is critical. They should be large enough so that you don’t need to switch clothes seasonally. Anything smaller than 8ft-x-6ft is a waste of time and money. When designing your closet, consider adding enough storage space for things like luggage and extra blankets.
  • A large soaking tub or whirlpool/bubble tub. Tubs are a great addition for your comfort, as well as resale value. Home spas are still very popular. Just remember that whirlpool tubs aren’t good for those who like to add bath oils - they clog the jets over time. Bubble tubs are the better choice. In areas with a large senior population, think about installing a shower with low-step entry and a bench inside.
  • A fireplace. Nothing sets a relaxing tone after a hard day at the office better than the warm glow of a fireplace. Gas fireplaces are often added in master suites, avoiding the need to drag in wood. You just flip a switch and the realistic flames come to life. Even when it is too warm to enjoy, the fireplace remains the focal point of the room.
  • A heated floor in the master bath. Stepping onto warm tile in the morning is a great way to start your day. Tile can be warmed either by adding a radiant hot water system or electric wire system below the tile. And don’t forget the heated towel rack as well.
  • An entertainment center. Especially one that gets tucked away when not in use. Flat-panel televisions with a DVD player and a surround sound system are making their way into master suites. But many are choosing to hide the high-tech gear in an armoire or other furniture that keeps it out of sight when not in use.