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How Big is Too Big for Master Suite

Travis Johnson
2 months ago

Our old house has an odd lay-out, and I cannot think of a way to really make the second floor work without flip-flopping everything. Specifically, the bathroom should be ideally on the opposite side so the bathroom now can be a master closet. The problem is, we kind of like the bathroom as is, and obviously leaving as is, saves a lot of money.


But this leaves us a master bathroom with the age old problem with old houses; no closet space.


But we have a third floor that is unused. It needs a lot of work, but its there, a main space of 24x40 feet, and then two adjoining rooms of 12x16 feet. The latter two could be made into a bathroom and closet, but good gosh... is 24 x 40 a bit big for master bedroom?


We intended to make the place a recreational room for our daughters when they come and stay with us as we are now empty-nesters, then build a bathroom and kitchenette off it so we could serve drinks and snacks, but we don't watch sports, don't drink alcohol, and really don't watch much tv at all, so all that would really be for resale and not our own use as kind of a game-watching spot. Even then we are not sure if we ever would sell this place? So would making our house into a five bedroom with HUGE master suite be the best use of this space? It would be a big bedroom for sure.


(I will leave a picture that is on another device when I get a chance to better show what I am referring too).

Comments (29)

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I am on a different device so i will post a picture, but please be nice. we bought this place for a song, and thus know it needs a lot of work.


  • roarah
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    To be counted as usable space a room must have at least 7 foot ceilings so much of the area under the eaves is not living area so likely not in actuality too big. Are the floor joists in code to support the weight of a living area with a bath? What is your budget. I got quotes to add a master on a third floor of a hundred year old much smaller walk up attic that were well north of 100k. Addiding an addition above an first floor sunroom was less at 65k and finished much sooner and we did not need to move out during the construction.

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  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    We are pretty fortunate here in that we do not have building codes to contend with, but I can see where that would be a concern for those that do.


    i am not sure on a budget, pretty high as it depends on what a two other houses sell for. Tax wise we would want to put profit from those sales and put it into this house.


    I am glad to hear it is not too big though. I was talking with my coworker and he said having a master suite up there ”was not the worst idea in the world”. It would be pretty fast and easy to put the bedroom and closet up there, then work on the bathroom last as we have working bathrooms now.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    The house was built in 1940 , but only 3000 square feet. although it does have a barn with loft making up a little for its small size.


    We did consider adding an elevator, but is impossible to find a spot to go from first floor to third floor, so we considered adding a turret/tower to do that.


    We pretty much bought the house because of its low price, location to my work, and being on a river. i work in renewable energy, so rivers are my life although this is a different river from where i work.


    We paid a lot of money for a good inspection before we bought it being afraid it was a money pit, but the inspector said it was sound and that ”if you dont buy it, i am going too”.


    i am not sure about being a forever home or a flip. i am on call 24/7/365 so being only 15 minutes from work is important to me. But work has 103 steps from the top to the bottom and no elevator, so i guess if i cannot do steps ill be unemployed anyway? Maybe sell this place and buy a condo if that happens???


    Here is the view of the river from the kitchen window..




  • Sigrid
    2 months ago

    Armoires are what you need in place of closets. Then, use a closet elsewhere for your out-of-season or special occasion clothes. I'd start by looking at what's in your closets, what room you have for an armoire and some dressers (nightstands can house undies and sox) or otherwise figure out if you can live without a closet.

  • marmiegard_z7b
    2 months ago

    In addition to the overall size, I’d hate to clean it, with the slanted ceilings limiting access.
    Perhaps it could be storage space for some seasonal items- if you’d be able to climb further to a 3rd floor bedroom you could make an occasional trip for something. Unless it’s not climate- controlled enough for most items.
    I’m assuming you have other bedrooms where you could commandeer clothing storage- either small closets or armoires / drawers or install built- ins, IKEA. Not as convenient as a large primary bedroom closet but perhaps feasible.

  • kudzu9
    2 months ago

    A bedroom 24'X40'? That's bigger than the house our 4-person family lived in when I was growing up. Come up with a plan for a bedroom that's a more normal size. Remember the saying: "Less is more."

  • einportlandor
    2 months ago

    A 3000 sq. ft. house is small?

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @marmiegard_z7b You make a very valid point and it highlights a real struggle we are having in adjusting to this house.

    Closets

    In our last house we had plenty of them and they were pretty big. The kids were 6x8 and the master closet was 8x12 and one for her and I. It might have been over the top but she had an additional 4 ft by 8 ft closet just for her shoes that we affectionately called her ”shoe barn”. So it has been tough given up that dedicated space.

    We do have two unused rooms on the second floor, but not ideal. One is an odd 6 foot by 12, foot foot, but sadly has two windows. The other is 10 by 12 foot, but has 3 windows and really needs to house the washer and dryer.

    It is a goofy room arrangement that i just cant seem to come up with THE plan for. I have a few ideas, but nothing I get the warm fuzzy feeling about.


    Maybe we just need to get creatuve on storage space?

  • roarah
    2 months ago

    You need to start with an architect who will have a better knowledge of what is even possible. Meet with some at your house and go through your wants and wishes and budget and come up with feasible plans.

  • mad_gallica (z5 Eastern NY)
    2 months ago

    When I went away to college, my younger sister managed to commandeer three bedrooms, and the hall bath. So the idea that grown people, who theoretically can acquire things like armoires and dressers, apparently can't do the same, has always mystified me. It's like they think that apperance monsters come out into the hall, so you close the door to the master bedroom suite, and stay locked inside until fully washed and dressed.

  • marmiegard_z7b
    2 months ago

    I agree that one approach is to pony up for architect and chalk that $$ up to brainstorming that you can’t really do on your own.
    Another is to really research clothes storage options and systems of managing clothing in separate locations - lot of fashion/ stylist posts on that since many people DO use a combination of smaller closets, guest BR and so forth. So there might be one room that is more amenable to some kind of built- in or more “ modern “ storage unit, vs. some areas that beg for antique or vintage armoire or dressers.

    It’s worth noodling about because buying “ antique “ furniture ( including good second- hand pieces regardless of provenance) is a quest in itself- the right pieces, condition, price, location ( how to get it from there to here). I would have definite likes/ dislikes and so furnishing a room wouldn’t happen overnight.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @mad_gallica (z5 Eastern NY) That is so true; we all think the closet has to be attached to the bedroom but for me anyway, most of my clothing changes is done prior to, and after a shower which of course is the bathroom.


    I can see where with young kids s couple might want to stake claim to a bathroom without children, but for empty-nesters like us, we have laid claim yo all the bathrooms!


    I guess a remote closet would not kill us.


    This is one option though I wish the windows were not where they are. (The artwork is from previous owner)


  • cpartist
    2 months ago

    You need an architect to sit down with you. If you're going to spend that much money redoing everything, do it right by hiring right.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    While i can understand the reasoning behind getting an archtech, the flaw with that thinking is that it would be just one persons opinion. While educated for sure, the beauty of forums is that many people are contributing to the greater good.


    No one person is smarter thannall of us put together, so i value the colaboration of all. Some might be uneducated in architecture but they also have hear, with nothing in the game except their wholehearted opinion.


    Myself, i have built my own 3400 square foot timber frame so calculating live roof and floor loads to spec beam dimensions is easy, and honestly anyone can do it. But i recognize that i am a dying breed, as i like by the mantra of ”always doing as much as i can by myself.”. But that included fellint the trees, sawing lumber on a sawmill, and then making the house. Even pouring the concrete from gravel from my pit, and splitting the slate for the foyer flooring. i am a bit more involved then most homeowners.





  • roarah
    2 months ago

    I met with and interviewed multiple architects to land the right plan for my needs and my house. Best money ever spent.

  • rtpaige03
    2 months ago

    How big is too big depends on what you want the room to accomplish for you. Do you plan to just sleep there and otherwise it will be vacant? Do you want office space, reading nook, place to make that first cup of coffee, tv watching, hobby area, etc…That being said, I don’t think the attic is a great place for a master bedroom for anyone if other options exist. I understand you don’t have codes to contend with, but surely codes exist for safety and putting 💰💰💰 into a space that will ultimately be considered unpermitted square footage makes no sense. If you want help from the forum rather than an architect, you will have to post a current floorplan at minimum. I disagree with the viewpoint that an architect is just one opinion. It is a professional suggestion after considering all of your wants and needs and the feasibility of the current space.

  • cpartist
    2 months ago

    While i can understand the reasoning behind getting an archtech, the flaw with that thinking is that it would be just one persons opinion. While educated for sure, the beauty of forums is that many people are contributing to the greater good.

    This is where YOUR thinking is wrong. You don't sit down with an architect and then he/she designs something without your imput. Your imput is integral to the design process.

    And while getting opinions is definitely ok here, realize that an architect's training is much more than most here. An architect goes to school for architecture for 4-5 years. When he/she graduates, he/she then apprentices for another 3 years. Only after apprenticing is he/she ready to take their boards to become licensed.

    Notice how it's similar to other professionals, like a doctor?

    No one person is smarter thannall of us put together, so i value the colaboration of all.

    And like when going to a doctor, doing research is a good thing, but ultimately, you have to trust the person who will be treating you.


  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I understand you point, and in my career must, and do, work with engineers to ensure the safety of our massive structures, so I do have a high opinion of their education and skill-set, but also don't rely on just ONE engineer. There are many of them my employer hires in the interest of public safety. Equally, they do not just rely on their own advice, and take our opinions into consideration since we are there every day, and watch the structure, as massive as it is, contort and change with the temperatures and pressures it is subjected too.


    Its why the analogy of a doctor falls short. Having gone through cancer thrice now, I have seen hundreds of doctors to enable me to live through my own body trying to kill me, and not merely take the opinion of a single doctor. It is why I value the opinion of so many people on here. Without question, online for every person that tells you something will work, there are nineteen that say it won't, but even in the latter, there is value. While adverse to perhaps the original poster's idea, it is a prudent homeowner that carefully considers their ideology of why it is a foul idea. I would rather gather up information such as that, then pay someone to tell me what I wanted to hear.


    In regards to this situation, ideally there would be a master closet and master bathroom, with a second bathroom with space for a clothes washer and dryer, and that is just not all going to happen in an area that is only 16 foot by 24 feet.


    But my girlfriend brings up another point of having a big third floor master suite: how cozy is such a big space going to be? That term "cozy" is subjective I know, but it 's a valid question I cannot answer.

  • cpartist
    2 months ago

    Like I said, nothing wrong with hearing other opinions, but in this case you also need to have a professional come out and assess with you, what may and may not work best for YOU and your GF. A professional seeing the space, may have some ideas you might not have even considered.

    Personally I think it would be overkill but then again, I spend very little time in my bedroom and master closet and bathroom. YMMV and your needs are not my needs.

    As for my doctor analogy, when we have an issue like cancer or heart disease, yes a second and even a third opinion is a good idea. And it's fine here, but in this case, I really think working with a person of design talent first to see what all your options are with someone who sees the actual space is better. Then come to us for second and third opinions. :)

    BTW: Are you also an engineer?

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Titles really do not mean much to me. I respect the position of course, but i tend to need proof that someone can back up what they say in practical terms then just hanging a shingle over a desk. Do not get me wrong, it is good to have proof of knowledge and skills of course, but it only meets the bare minimum of standards.


    I work with a lot of welders and it goes both ways. Some are certified and you wonder how on earth they could be, and others dont want to be certified even though they are really good. In the end we must yse the certified welders, but what we do affects the lives of many people.


    At home, it is a bit different. It just affects my family and why we all can wire, build and redo our homes as we see fit.


    One of the most famous archtechs was also the worst. When a tall worker gashed his head on a low overhanging deck, Frank Lyold Wright saud, ”i dont design houses for freaks”. Maybe he should have, Falling Water was not designed right and the deck sagged under its own weight.


    Pride goes before a fall, but i am no better, i have learned that many times the hard way. its why i value the opinion of many.

  • User
    2 months ago

    Do you have floor plans you can share? This could help us give you some ideas.


    I wouldn't put the master suite on the 3rd floor. It makes for an annoying trek, abled or disabled. But it's a good spot for guests.


    That 6'x12' room with 2 windows you posted a photo of could make for a really nice closet. The main storage units could go against the long wall without a window. The corner with the back window is narrow so it could maybe house a shallow shoe cabinet. You could maybe fit a bench on the opposite wall (and/or the shoe cabinet).


    So 2' for clothes and 1'-1,'6" for bench/shoe cabinet. That leaves you with a 2'6"-3' walkway.


    What does the other room with 3 windows look like?



  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Its not finished so its pretty rough and is on the end of a hallway.


    This is not the best photo but its all I have being at work.


    i do apolize for not having a floor plan for everyone but i am super busy. I have been moving, selling 3 other prperties and been working long hours at work. I will try and draft some stuff up soon soon.




  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @User

    I did not have much time this past Sunday, but took your suggestion and managed to get some of it done. i got 40 feet of shelving in with 20 feet being rodded for clothes of both dresses and shirts. We also got a wire basket set for socks and unmentionables, and even got the floor put down.

    My girlfriend wanted cedar for moth prevention, and while maybe a mistake we planked it with cedar. It is soft but we are a shoeless house so worse atrocities have occurred to a dwelling.


    I had to go into work so I did not get the baseboard or cove molding done, but Rome was not built in a day and neither was this closet..

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    This is the best picture i have right now…




  • User
    2 months ago

    Looks great! Thanks for sharing your progress :)

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks


    I can’t wait to get to the kitchen of this house but am hoping to sell another house first.


    Sadly work just said 6 weeks of 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Dont they know I just bought an old house that needs work? 😀


    But part of the deal, people like having their electricity.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @User


    Here is an better photo…


    We still have a lot of painting and trim to put up; the struggles of making an old home period correct.