sweet suite


Last fall we accomplished a project that has been on my priority list for years: master bed and bath renovation. Our inspiration was a resort on Isla de Vieques off the shore of Puerto Rico. We visited this tiny  island in 2007 on our 25th wedding anniversary.

The privately owned resort is now a rather more expensive W Retreat & Spa. It was of a gracious Spanish style, wide porches open to sea breezes and a private beach inviting relaxation. The bed/bath suite was an open floor plan with great views from every corner of the room. Except, of course, for the toilet, which was discretely concealed. Our Vieques adventures? Well, that’s another story or two. (Traveler beware of Tim & co.’s bioluminescent bay night kayak tour!) But we came home with great memories, tons of photos, and a dream.

Since then, I’ve been collecting ideas from travels across the country and across the Atlantic. A few years ago, I developed an idea book on Houzz — a tremendous resource for interior design. We started to think seriously about timing. Ah, but progress can be slow. There were three weddings in three years. Then the beautiful grandbabies began to arrive. Lots to keep us busy and tie up resources.

Finally, finally! This fall all of the stars aligned for a master suite redesign. We agreed on the open floor plan (i.e. the Hubs came around) and that it should be as accommodating as possible for potential mobility challenges in the future. We wanted to retain the cherry woodwork and corner cabinet. We wanted it to feel generous and be comfortable, a great place to hang out. We had to work with the original footprint, which was a challenge. It was fairly narrow, especially at the top of the “L”.  We were also restrained by incredibly thick basement walls (c. 1825) inhibiting new plumbing. However, we were able to remove one interior wall completely and shorten another. We replaced two windows with shorter versions to accommodate the new layout.

“Before” Layout: A typical old farmhouse, smallish connecting rooms, narrow doorway to bathroom. Walk through bedroom to enter dressing room to enter bathroom. Bathroom difficult for visitors to access; 2nd floor or basement alternatives. No patio access from space.


“After” Layout:  One interior entrance/door within suite. Access to outside patio and view of waterfall and fireplace via sliding glass doors. Reclaimed space under stairwell for a closet freed up space for soft seating. Powder room with sliding pocket door is discreet and easily accessed by visitors.


The end result is exactly what we hoped for and yet somehow more than we expected. The color scheme is cool gray, mineral blue and deep spruce warmed by the cherry furniture and floors. A medallion motif carries across the space. Comfy faux wicker patio furniture provides a pop of goldenrod in soft seating. I especially love the effect of crystal chandeliers throughout (and the Hubs doesn’t seem to mind). I also love the rain shower-waterfall combination installation. I hadn’t realized how much I missed having a shower! This tub is smaller than the one we removed but of much improved design, perfect for soaking.

A big shout-out to our friend and neighbor, Ed, who did most of the work. We really appreciate the local tile and glass installations and custom cabinetry as well. Well done!

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~ Rene Morley

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