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April 26, 2013
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Home& Garden: A retreat for masters

I love language and am fascinated with how it is always changing. Words are added to our vernacular daily.

Others change meaning or cease to be used.

In the housing industry, there has been a trend (for some) to stop using the word “master.”

By definition, “master” refers to a person with the ability or power to use, control or dispose of something. To be eminently skilled at something, it is said you have “mastered” it.

Because some humans have used their power to control other humans, understandably, the term “master” can bring up very negative feelings.

So some have felt that even in the housing industry, where no offense is intended, the word should not be used.

Areas like master suites are being called “owner suites” by some. This change has not fully caught on. And while I never intend to offend, I really hope that the word master remains an acceptable word in our vocabulary, especially in the context of room labels in a home.

I love the strength and power that the word connotes when using it to refer to a part of our home.

I feel like we all work so hard to get through our adult responsibilities; we worked hard to buy a home; we work hard to maintain it. We deserve to be the master in our home!

So without intending any offense, here is a story about two Masters who deserve a great master suite.

This retired couple owns a home on a beautiful horse property. They love the property and most of the home but just wanted their master suite to feel more, well — sweet!

They needed more closet storage, more space for dressing and preparing for the day, and they wanted a stellar master bath overlooking their gorgeous property and horses.

There was no way to get them what they wanted within the footprint of their existing home. So together, we designed an addition just for a new master bath.

The addition is 12 feet wide and projects out into their pastoral landscape 16 feet. The sloping terrain puts the bathroom at a level with lots of tree foliage and it feels like a treehouse. The addition has vaulted ceilings making it feel really grand.

The décor and finishes were selected by the owners to express everything they love. Walls and ceilings are covered in creamy-stained rustic wood.

There is artwork referencing their love of horses and Native Americans and everything western. The materials and finishes are an eclectic mix of natural stones, wood tones, weathered metals and textures, which are dramatic and warm.

Mixed in with all of the natural and warm tones is a large walk-in shower enclosed by glass block walls.

When lots of deep texture and rich color are used, the feel is best when those items are balanced with something that sparkles and brightens, like this glass block shower surround.

With the completion of the new bath addition, there was lots of extra square footage in the space that used to be the bath.

This area became a mixed-use room.

It functions as a second walk-in closet, a dressing area and a sewing space, and the quiet serenity of the space is so welcome that the woman of the household uses it as her quiet retreat for Bible study.

All of the existing windows and natural daylight remain to keep this space bright.

I truly understand that events and history will always impact our use of language. And evolution in how we communicate is a good thing. But I hope the word “master” remains in use without offending.

After all, I’m sure everyone has mastered one if not many things. So everyone is a master. And everyone deserves to be the master of their home!

This very special master suite is now perfect for my clients — who just happen to be the Masters family.

The project would not have been so pleasant with such great results were it not for the general contractor, Drew Welden Construction of Grass Valley.

The clients had nothing but compliments for him throughout the process.

The tile work, including the beautiful wood-look tile floors, was done by Neil Thomas Tile of Grass Valley.

The vanity and many of the fixtures were purchased at Sierra Plumbing Supply in Grass Valley. Linda Tamayama takes great care in helping them make selections that are appropriate in style and cost.

Thanks to all who contributed to this wonderful project!

Erin Miller is the owner of Erin Miller Designs in Grass Valley. Erin can be reached at 530-477-1401, or at erinmillerdesigns.com.


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The Union Updated Apr 26, 2013 11:30PM Published Apr 26, 2013 11:30PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.