High-Style Master Suite

Does form follow function or does function follow form? Usually the homeowner is speaking on one term and the designer may have a different opinion. When a trendy fashion designer approached Landis Construction, Washington, D.C., a combination of two styles came together — the swank fashion world and the artsy, yet functional, interior design world.

While some may argue that both have very similar foundations, finding a common ground of form and function in this Maryland master bedroom/bathroom suite was quite challenging, yet resulted in a zen-like atmosphere, sure to please any fashionista.

Designers oftentimes have a difficult time identifying the personal tastes of their client. In this case, the homeowner knew exactly what she wanted — a master suite with hints of nature, an open floor plan and lots of closet space.

“I want to feel like I’m outside when I’m in my bathroom,” is what the homeowner of this Potomac, Md. award-winning (Master Design Award, Best Project Under $200,000) bathroom said to Armin Bondoc, director of design at Landis Construction, Washington, D.C. Taking different elements of nature, such as river rocks, slate and water, Bondoc was able to create something that the clients said was a “one-of-a-kind, knock-your-socks-off” bathroom.

Bondoc designed the suite to include a 40- by 10-ft. one-story addition on the north side of the home. This provided sufficient room for a master suite, bath, walk-in closet and home office. When creating the floor plan for this room, Bondoc paid close attention to how the rooms were being used, their location and ease of accessibility. With that, the floor plan played a game of “musical chairs” where the existing bathroom became a luxurious walk-in closet, master bedroom and home office flip-flopped, and the addition housed a new master bedroom.

The focal point of the new bathroom is a massive water fountain that features quiet or audible water flows that allow the owners to enjoy it from either their bedroom or their bathroom. Opposite the fountain, the shower space is designed with river stones on the floor, a large window over the shower bench, and stone and glass on the walls to keep with the outdoor theme.

Also, the high windows above the vanity elevation, shower window and the two large skylights invite the sun to create different moods, depending upon the time of day and weather conditions.

“Originally, I spec’d in very clear windows that brought in a lot of light and overlooked the wooded lot the house was on,” says Bondoc. “Plans changed a little when the homeowner decided to go with a more obscure glass for privacy.”

Additional design elements include starlight LED lighting above the shower, electric floor heating zones and custom cabinetry, including integrated storage niches left and right of the sinks.

Bondoc made a point to create a floor plan which flowed with the natural traffic of the house and reconfigured the rooms to better suit the usage of each particular space.

“After looking closely at where the rooms were located and what went on in those rooms, I decided to change the floor plan a bit,” explains Bondoc.

What he did was bring the “noisier” rooms, such as the office and kitchen, upfront near the entrance, road, etc. and moved the “quieter” rooms, such as the bedroom and bathroom, toward the peaceful backyard. He also managed to create an open floor plan between all the rooms. “I wanted each room to be easily accessible from any of the other rooms,” adds Bondoc. “This space showcases great flow between all areas of the house.”

Since the homeowner came in with a strong feeling of what she wanted, it became a challenge for Bondoc to help her envision the space he created. “Unlike her profession with clothing, I have to foresee what the space will eventually look like and that’s hard to convey to a homeowner who might not be on the same page as you are.”

But because of a trusting relationship, the homeowner allowed Bondoc to run with this imagination. The color scheme for the bathroom was derived from nature — lots of green, blues and red tones. The challenge was then to find materials that fit these color patterns. Bondoc opted for honed copper slate tile that at first, the client thought was a bit “murky” but later found that it fit the room perfectly. Bondoc also chose to go with glass tile, natural river rock and cherry cabinets to incorporate warmness in the room, which boasted many stark, contemporary features.

All of the design elements were thought of in great detail, so much so that when the room started looking quite “horizontal” (i.e., rectangular tiles, square slate flooring and cabinet lines), Bondoc threw in round bowl sinks, a curved vanity and the river rocks on the shower floor to soften the overall appearance of the room.

What’s a fashion designer without a room large enough to store all of her personal clothes, shoes and accessories? Bondoc devoted the entire existing bathroom to a luxurious walk-in closet for both husband and wife to share. Complete with custom cabinets, including shoe storage along the entire toe kick area, the room, which sits adjacent to the master bedroom, fulfills all of the homeowner’s wishes.

When the project was complete, the homeowner wrote, “I would say people’s jaws drop when they see the place.” She added that “the Verizon guys told me our house was in the top 10 — and they have been in a lot of huge mansions.”

Download AFTER new master bathroom floor plan, BEFORE demolition first floor plan and AFTER proposed first floor plan (PDF)