Room by Room Revival: Master Suite (the 2nd Floor)

A master bedroom suite became popular in North American architecture about 30 years ago. This lovely, old Tudor Revival was built nearly 100 years ago – with no master suite. In fact, this house didn’t have a solitary large closet. Our trusted real estate agent and I were standing in the largest of the home’s bedrooms when she suggested we could just “bump out” the wall and create a beautiful master suite. It was a splendid idea.

A large dormer expansion would provide an en suite bath and master closet.
A large dormer expansion would provide an en suite bath and master closet.

The architect drew up the floor plan, the contractor calculated the price, and added a fabulous master suite to our remodeling project.  Creating a master suite in this home, however,  threatened to destroy our budget – something we were determined to keep in tact. My husband moved on from the idea of adding square feet rather quickly, but it was a grueling process for the contractor and I (as told in Man Overboard!).

After several re-pricing exercises, we stayed with the original floor plan.
After grueling re-pricing exercises, we kept the original floor plan.

There were several “must haves” on our list, and the challenge became to squeeze these non-negotiable requests into the existing footprint.

My must haves included a linen closet, and the laundry on the 2nd floor. My husband’s must have was for a large shower.

The master bedroom was large enough that we could steal a few inches to add to the very small hall bath. Moving the wall and the doorway of the bedroom, and removing a closet from the hallway yielded enough room for a double vanity (with not one inch to spare) and a double shower.

This was the 2nd floor bathroom before the remodel began.

The 2nd floor bath 'before'

And in-progress.

A larger 2nd floor bath - becoming the 'Master Bath'

Master Bath In-Progress



The original 2nd floor landing/hallway included two closets, and a wall of built-in shelving. One of the closets was cedar-lined, and I thought it was the perfect spot for my linens. It appeared to be an original closet left untouched over the decades, including an adorable ceiling fixture with a pull chain. The contractor spoke very quietly when she told me my sweet, little closet was the only place to put the washer and dryer.

The original 2nd floor landing/hallway included two closets and a wall of built-in shelving.

The cedar-lined closet becoming the laundry closet.

A perfect fit.

The hallway when we were finished.

The laundry closet door and a view inside the closet.
The laundry closet door and a view inside the 2nd bedroom – now the master closet.

A view toward the bedroom.


And looking toward the stairs.


When we were making the decisions about the 2nd floor, our home in Balsam was still on the market, and we were beginning to feel some angst over whether it would ever sell. By this time, we were also beginning to feel attached to this lovely, old house and the thought of having to put it on the market — possibly never live here at all — was brutal.

Our fallback plan was to not outfit the 2nd bedroom as our closet until the house in Balsam sold. If this lovely, old home was to be put on the market, we would re-build the closet in the master bedroom and the house would be sold as a beautiful 5-bedroom, 3-bath home. Thankfully, Balsam sold just in time.

This bedroom became our master closet.

The future master closet

Master Closet In-Progress
Master Closet In-Progress



The 2nd bedroom’s original closet became my linen closet.


The master bedroom’s original closet was removed during renovation.

The master bedroom's original closet.

Master Bedroom In-Progress
Master Bedroom In-Progress
The painter puts the final touches on the striped paint in the master bedroom.
The painter puts the final touches on the striped paint.





Taking over the entire second floor as a master suite works perfectly for us, and there are no regrets. Halfway through the project, our contractor told us she thought we had made a wise decision. “Let the next person add a master suite,” she had said.

We’ve never seen a project that didn’t go over budget; there’s always that perfect something that spells disaster for the bottom line. This time, however, we executed a strategy of trade-offs.

Saving pennies anywhere we could find them meant we could splurge where it really mattered, and that seems to be continuing well after construction is over. 😬

Paint Colors:

Master Closet: Sherwin Williams Origami White (HGSW4007) (LRV 76)

Master Bath: Valspar Modest Silver (4002-1A)

Master Bedroom:
Vertical Stripes: 10″ wide in each color
Sherwin Williams Wormwood (HGSW1505) (LRV 38) Eggshell
Sherwin Williams Magnetic Gray (HGSW1506) (SW7058) Flat

Hallway: Olympic Honey Beige (B15-2)

Interior Doors:  Sherwin Williams Raven Wing (HGSW1442)

Trim:  Sherwin Williams Fundamental White (HGSW4001)

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