This master suite remodel began with the home-owners' desire to reorient the existing driveway of their split-level house. The couple decided to take the opportunity to add to the house and enhance a 1980s upgrade that only hinted at the modern aesthetic they prefer. This remodel by Thomas Buckborough Associates in Acton, Mass., includes a new garage bay, a sunroom with stone fireplace, two curved decks, and this master suite.

Owner Thomas Buckborough began the master suite addition by removing the roof on this section of the house and replacing the existing flat ceiling with a dramatic cathedral ceiling that floats over the bedroom and bathroom. He then used a combination of walls and glass partitions to divide the space.

However, the clients found it challenging to visualize these divisions, which made it difficult for them to choose products. So Buckborough and his design staff built a model (½ inch : 1 foot scale) and created interchangeable pieces for the different types of glass doors and walls, floor tile, and bathtubs. The homeowners could picture how the materials would look in the space, which helped them narrow their selections.

“Three-dimensional models are more impressive and better show off our craft than computer skills do, and they are easier to relate to than 3-D computer drawings,” Buckborough says.

img xlink:alt="" src="tcm:15-62007" style="WIDTH: 300px"> To create this contemporary design, the clients chose mostly custom products, including the vanity and art glass from a California company. Three of the art glass panels had incorrect hinge cut-outs and had to be shipped back to be redone, which took three months. As a safeguard against such glitches throwing off the schedule, Buckborough advises contractors to add extra time in the schedule if they're using specialty craftsmen or products.

Two bronze vessel sinks sit on a custom mahogany vanity with aluminum legs. A  matching corner cabinet is used in the entry foyer with the same yellow marble countertop material.
Eric Roth Photography Two bronze vessel sinks sit on a custom mahogany vanity with aluminum legs. A matching corner cabinet is used in the entry foyer with the same yellow marble countertop material.

Material Choices

Remodeler Thomas Buckborough used an entry foyer to create a transition from hallway to master suite, and to set the tone for the modern design. The team chose warm white cedar for the cathedral ceiling, and added several skylights. The tub is topped with a curved soffit to hold lighting and Kohler's ceiling-mounted tub filler. The crew crafted two canopies from acrylic panels and perforated metal sheets to hold vent fans and lights. “We used the opportunity to create an unusual, sculptural element,” Buckborough says.

The wall of cube shelves in bold orange, yellow, and green add drama to the entry. A compartmentalized toilet is on the other side of the wall. Some cubes have a center divider to create display space on both sides. A few cubes on the toilet side are fitted with doors to conceal toilet paper and other bathroom supplies.

The green marble floor is accented with squares of the same yellow marble used for the countertops. "Our tile guy made these accent tiles for us out of the slab stock," Buckborough says.

Eric Roth Photography

Light Patrol

Buckborough installed a lighting system by Lutron to help the homeowners control the multiple can lights and fixtures in this open suite. "All the lights connect to a box, and you can set 'scenes' based on how you use the space," he says. The homeowners can program the control panels with up to five scenes. Buckborough says the system is not hard to install, but it does take planning. It added about $1,500 to $2,000 to the total of this project. The homeowners also have remote controls to operate the whirlpool tub and the skylights.