Master Suite Design Ideas and Plans

Custom features in the master suite are sought by a range of buyers

By By Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, House Review Lead Designer | May 8, 2018
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Master suite in the Almeria at Pacific Highlands Ranch, Plan 3. Builder / Developer: Pardee Homes; photo: Eric Figge

While some clients are intent on downsizing, others want to increase the size of their new home. Either way, buyers are paying close attention to the master suite and bath. There’s growing interest in creating sitting areas, exercise spaces, and separate dressing areas. In some cases, varying work and sleep schedules prompt requests for dual master suites. In larger homes, second laundry areas adjacent to the master suite are becoming more common. 

The debate about whether to include a tub and a shower continues, with smaller homes eliminating the master tub in favor of a larger shower. When tubs are included, freestanding designs are increasingly popular. (That claw-foot tub your great grandmother had and the replica that has now been streamlined? It’s still the most comfortable and practical bathtub ever conceived.) On the following pages, you’ll see a variety of good ideas from our design team that reflect the diverse markets we all work in and the range of clients we all work with. 


Plan 1 / Plan 2

DESIGNER: Seth Hart, DTJ Design,, 303.443.7533


Plan 1: Width: 25 feet; Depth: 75 feet; Living area: 1,980 sf 

Plan 2:  Width: 46 feet; Depth: 73 feet; Living area: 3,206 sf

Luxurious master baths aren’t just for large homes anymore. An oasis-like master bath in a compact plan is now the norm. In higher-density single-family homes and townhouses, features such as indoor/outdoor showers, floating tubs, and fireplaces are often not an option. Using high-end finishes, creative layouts, and natural light offers the chance to create a spa-like bath. Below, Plan 1 is from Signature 2 at Midtown; Plan 2 is from Panacea at Stapleton.

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Photos: courtesy Thrive Home Builders


Mar Vista House

ARCHITECT: Richard Handlen, AIA, LEED AP, EDI International,, 415.362.2880

PLAN SIZE: Width: 52 feet, Depth: 72 feet 4 inches, Total living area: 5,000 sf 

Sited on an oddly shaped lot, this custom home was built for a couple with radically different schedules. To ensure uninterrupted sleep, a second master suite was included. The two-room design accommodates the early and the late riser and gives a chance to escape snoring or illness. The second suite could also serve guests and offers a potential living space for an in-home caretaker in the future. The second floor houses three additional bedrooms overlooking the entry courtyard.

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Almeria at Pacific Highlands Ranch, Plan 3

ARCHITECT: Robert Hidey Architects, 949.655.1550   

PLAN SIZE: Width: 50 feet, Depth: 72 feet, 4 inches, Living area: 4,343 sf (total); 1,100 sf (suite)

Situated at the rear of a U-shape residence with views to the courtyard and the rear yard below, Almeria’s master suite is accessed through a vestibule and a small hall off the spacious bonus room, where the family gathers for movies, games, and conversation. The feeling of privacy continues in the master bath, which leads to a private covered deck—the perfect place for morning coffee.

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Builder / developer: Pardee Homes; photo: Eric Figge



DESIGNER: John Guilliams, KGA Studio Architects,, 303.442.5882

PLAN SIZE: Width: 27 feet, Depth: 25 feet, Living area: 675 sf (standard); 857 sf (additional sleeping suite)

Roughly 75 million Baby Boomers live in the U.S., and they’re more educated and aware than ever about the importance of aging-in-place features in the home. Targeted to the 55-plus buyer, this plan offers standard and optional aging-in-place features for a great empty-nester fit. The homes are designed to
allow residents to thrive at home for as long as possible.

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Photo: Eric Lucero


Traditional Master Bath

DESIGNER: Sarah Kahn Turner, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath,, 301.657.2500

PLAN SIZE: Width: 18 feet, Depth: 10 feet 4 inches, Living area: 109 sf

The floor plan for this master bath was completely changed. The existing plan had prime views of the toilet, which bothered the client. By moving the toilet stack, we were able to add a larger shower. Mosaic tile and subtle patterned wallpaper make this bathroom unique. Polished chrome hardware and fixtures add a stylish finish.


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Photo: John Cole Photography





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