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Sponsored: Create a sweet owner’s suite

Master suite. Primary suite. Owner’s suite. Private retreat. It might even be called a secret hideaway. Whatever the name, it’s the same space: The largest combined bedroom, bathroom and lounge area of the house, usually reserved for the homebuyers themselves.

Put the owner’s suite in a category all its own. Think of it as the buyer’s personal reward. And start designing this getaway space early in the building process, as some options or other custom features can require the builder’s advance planning.


Let the first step into the suite define the mood. From plush carpeting or solid surface floors with plush area rugs to window treatments that welcome just the right balance of light and privacy, choose finishes that will last.

Paint colors should soothe while blending or delicately complementing the shades of the window treatments and carpet. If the layout of the owner’s suite allows for changing furniture configurations now and again, then avoid an accent wall; instead, choose colors that will blend with seasonal bedding changes and other textiles.

Remember that custom window treatments such as Roman shades, plantation shutters and drapes are best selected before windows and casing are installed. This allows the owner the option to choose concealed headers, which rest inside a cutout above the window casing, rather than covering part of the window.

Lighting and other fixtures

Lighting of course plays a part in ambience. But in the owner’s suite, lighting’s primary role is its function. The suite should include a combination of light sources ranging from adjustable natural light to bright light to dimmable light.

For the bedroom area, consider stylish and space-saving pendant lighting hanging from the ceiling down to the space above a nightstand where a lamp might normally sit. To amplify their functionality, request wiring that allows each pendant light to be turned on or off independent of the other(s).

Flush-mount ceiling fixtures or modern metallic chandeliers may be pretty. But in the Bay Area climate, ceiling fans with lights make great sense. Many builders include some ceiling fans as part of home plans; buyers only need to choose the blade style, the number of lights and any glass, metal or other fabric shades. The ceiling fan in the bathroom serves a different purpose, and requires brighter lighting. For both, select fixtures that complement one another and create a cohesive but not too matchy-matchy look.

Ceiling fan smarts: Ask for dimmable features on each fixture. For those with remote controls, request at least two, ideally three, for each to plan for the likelihood that a remote will be misplaced or lose battery power at inopportune moments.

Bathroom lighting requires special attention. Besides the ceiling fan, lights on the ceiling are more than adequate, but explore dimmable fixtures above the tub or on the ceiling.

Vanity mirrors and lights

Position bathroom light fixtures on the ceiling and walls near mirrors for maximum illumination. For bathroom vanities with two sinks, buyers may want to consider two mirrors, one above each sink, rather than the builder-grade mirror.

By installing two separate mirrors, whether framed, beveled or mounted in nice hardware, the space between the mirrors can be used for additional light(s). If wall space to the outsides of the mirror permits, two more light fixtures will balance overall lighting.

Also on the topic of mirrors, decide if you need a medicine cabinet and, if so, find out if it can be mounted in the wall rather than on the wall.

Finally, while pondering the lights, ask about the possibility of additional grounded outlets above, inside, around or under the vanity cabinet.

Not ready to move from builder-grade mirrors? Create wow factor on that standard single mirror by adding a wide, painted frame for a polished look.

Attractive storage options

When comparing vanity cabinetry, look also into wall or corner shelving and cabinetry. A set of shelves or cabinets on a wall near the tub or shower provide a smart place for storing bath and bed linens, freeing up closet space.

In the same design conversation, ask about built-ins for the bedroom area. Might a small built-in desk, a bookshelf or some pretty cabinetry provide a welcome place for items such as seasonal blankets, throw pillows, candles and electronic devices? While you’re at it, ask about built-in charging areas in these spots.

Enjoy your owner’s suite as a sweet escape.

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