Peak performance – Traditional storage space makes room for a stunning master suite
Can you really afford to waste space with these housing prices? Like most working people, I’m guessing the answer is NO! It used to be that the attic, or that space above the eaves, was reserved as a storage space for seasonal decorations, discarded art, and old furniture. Now, attics are being renovated for master suites and the results can be exceptional.
All The Right Angles
The highest spot in the house gives you a vantage point of the street and places you up above the ruckus where you can retreat, relax and feel like you’ve escaped the city. The downside, if you don’t know how to use the challenges to your advantage, is dealing with the wall angles and pitch of the ceiling as most products are designed for straight walls and flat ceilings. All of these angles can present a design challenge. There is no question that you are going to have to customize some elements of the room, but many things will still work with a little ingenuity. For example, a vanity and shower may present a challenge because short walls and sloped ceilings make it hard to install fixtures that stand up straight. Place things like the vanity and towel storage, and even built-in dressers, along the walls. You get function on the short walls and that storage moves people a few feet into the middle of the room, where it’s most comfortable to stand.
What do you do with those tight little peaks right at the front of the house? You use them as a frame. Whatever you put there will be the focal point of the room. In the space shown above, we used the eaves to frame the tub and give it a place of honour. We even tiled the floor in a marble mosaic to further elevate the tub to a ‘functional artistic sculpture.’ Realistically, the tub is rarely used in most urban homes, so it is the sculptural piece of the master bath. The crystals hanging above the tub make it an inviting space to escape for a while as you soak your body and calm your mind. The peak makes the space feel just a little mythical.
While there can be many angles, corners, bulkheads and wall jogs in these spaces that can be irritating to work around, understand that most of the mechanical elements of a house run through this space. If you leave them exposed, they look awkward and industrial, but adding floor-to-ceiling closets conceals the mechanics and creates a room that looks graceful and elegant. The closets simply get built around these elements. You will just want to carefully plan the closet’s interior to maximize storage.
With the right kind of planning and the help of a good design team, you can transform that space above the eaves from storage to stunning! The structural requirements up there can be complex, so I don’t recommend this as a DIY project, but when planned well and properly executed, it will become a personal retreat designed for rest and relaxation.
Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner