Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Big Brand New Teardown Bedrooms Ought to be a lot Better

It seems "wow" at first but I don't feel so good in there.

If you build 4,500 square feet spec houses, you can afford a day with an architect to design the master suite.

Or you can buy A Pattern Language and skim patterns 127, 136, 144, 187, 188, 189, 190, and 196. (I'll get to A Pattern Language in a minute.)

Or you can build this: A 4-door, 10' double tray ceiling, "shock and awe" master. On a checklist, it's pretty darn good. And it's BIG!

I see these over and over again. I presume builders, investors, bankers, and brokers follow the herd for safety.

A running conversation with Holly at Things That Inspire focused me two ideas:
  1. Can you bathe and dress without disturbing the loved one sleeping or ill in bed?
  2. What makes a bedchamber, particularly a marriage bed, feel private and cozy?
Then Brad Heppner gave Holly, Claire and I a tour of one of his 4,500 square foot designs. The bed chamber itself was small, plain, peaceful and private. After four years THIS is the bedroom I remember most.

It's not about style, fixtures, or finishes. I've seen it done very well in houses by Brad, Joel Kelly, Rodolfo Castro, Stan Dixon, Brian Ahern, Cara Cummins and Jose Tavel, Spitzmiller and Norris, Bobby McAlpine, Dencity Design, and more. Big and small, modernist and traditional.

A few quotes from A Pattern Language:

136. COUPLE'S REALM "...it needs some kind of a double door, an ante-room, to protect its privacy."

144. BATHING ROOM "...they must be able to have a shower, or use the toilet, unseen, when they want to."

187. MARRIAGE BED "...an intimate anchor point for their lives; slightly enclosed, with a low ceiling or a canopy, with the room shaped to it; perhaps a tiny room built around the bed with many windows."

188. BED ALCOVE "The valuable space around the bed is good for nothing except access to the bed ... dressing, working, and storage of personal belongings which people stuff uncomfortably into the corners of their bedrooms - in fact, need their own space, and are not at all well met by the left over areas around a bed."

189. DRESSING ROOM "Dressing and undressing, storing clothes, having clothes lying around, have no reason to be part of any larger complex of activities. Indeed they disturb other activities."

190. CEILING HEIGHT VARIETY :...in an intimate nook, or over a double bed, where the social distance is no more than five or six feet, the ceiling has to be very low."

196. CORNER DOORS "The success of a room depends to a great extent on the position of the doors. If the doors create a pattern of movement which destroys the places in the room, the room will never allow people to be comfortable."

note: floorplan floorplan master bedroom closets doors


  1. just remember the client is the person most in control of the bedroom layout.......
    .as much as we may advocate for peaceful layouts, clients have final say...so when you see a toilet in a masterbath sitting among the other fixtures it may not be the Architect who had the final say.....

  2. We need to get the word out to the spec builders. So many awfully designed new houses going up in Atlanta.

  3. Hi
    I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this nice information regarding regarding I really appreciate your work, keep it up.

  4. It's almost as if A Pattern Language put into words what we are all born with in our Primal DNA, if we listen.

    Thank you for the ones you chose to list.

    Recently made-over my master closet. No budget, huge impact. Why did I wait 30 years? Now my closet leverages my time, aids clothing choices, helps with laundry & more.

    Well, spent some $$$.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  5. Is that sketch from the teardown on Greenland Drive that was open last weekend?


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