Twice as ‘suite’: One home, two luxury masters |

Twice as ‘suite’: One home, two luxury masters

Both master suites are large and comfortable. While the suite facing the rear of the house has lovely garden views, the suite at the front has views across California’s central valley toward the coastal range.

There is a natural evolution of our needs and desires for a home.

When we are young adults, we can’t always afford the size of home nor the luxuries we desire; we’re just happy to live on our own. Then most people start a family so square footage and bedrooms become critical. For decades, our money, time and energy go toward the development and happiness of our children.

When our kids are mature adults, our focus can finally shift. We can turn bedrooms into libraries, hobby rooms, home theaters or gyms. We can expand our master suites to provide the luxury we have often dreamed about. We can put ourselves first.

Another evolution I have noticed is that sometimes my empty nesters and retired clients want more than one luxury master suite in their home. The reasons have varied.

For some, it has been the realization that they love their spouse but don’t sleep well due to their snoring or different sleep habits.

For others, a second luxury suite is desired because they want their visitors and especially their adult kids (with grandchildren, of course) to visit often and be comfortable.

Finally, I have had clients who are single but prefer to live their lives with another single friend or family member (a housemate). In these cases, both own the home and both want a great master suite.

A few years ago, I designed a remodel and addition to create a second luxury master suite for two best friends who had retired to an extraordinary property in Penn Valley. It had westward views through California’s Central Valley to the coastal range and beautiful landscaping in every nook and cranny.

But their home was a fairly traditional three-bedroom, three-bath ranch. It needed to be customized for them so that each owner had private space in a luxurious suite.

The only way to get them what they wanted was to extend the house 16 feet. This allowed me to design two large suites.

Each has great bedroom space, a huge walk-in closet and a spectacular bathroom.

While we were at it, we reconfigured the surrounding rooms to better suit their needs. We included a beautiful guest powder room, a wine storage room and a seldom-used formal living room re-imagined as an office. A desk floats in the center of the room facing the spectacular views west, and a seating area fills the rest of the space so it still works for casual conversations.

Down the hall, creating entries into the two suites was tricky. So I opted for angled walls at the end of the hallway and placed the doors on the angled walls. Doing this really cleaned up the layout within each suite and made the best use of the space.

The stars of the suites are the bathrooms. Each has a separate shower and large tub, and the owners each chose luxurious fixtures and finishes for their own bathroom. Large windows near each tub offered wonderful views while soaking.

The addition involved moving the septic tank and many custom finishes and fixtures in bathrooms and closets. The details made this a complex project, but it was handled expertly by Len Stevens Construction of Penn Valley.

Due to pets, the owners stayed in the home during construction. They were living amongst the chaos, which was challenging for them and the builders. And yet they smiled and laughed with me about all of it because Len and his crews took such great care with them.

When the work was completed, these owners seemed as happy about the changes as anyone has ever expressed to me.

One very special fall evening, my husband and I were invited for wine and snacks and a tour of the completed spaces. What I expected to be a visit of about an hour turned into many hours and a late night because the four of us were so thoroughly enjoying our time together.

My husband and I both felt we had made friends we would cherish forever. Two people who were at a point in life when their desires came first and fun was first on their list — our kind of people!

We discussed some future updates to the other half of the house. We discussed getting together for more fun and laughter soon. But the unexpected, sudden and devastating loss of dear, sweet Nancy altered everything.

Since then, the remaining owner is slowly making sense of life and home. And years later, we are now finishing up other changes to the home. Nancy’s suite is now enjoyed by guests who visit.

It is still a much loved home. It has just evolved — again.

Those of us in the housing industry do not directly affect the health or lifespan of our clients. But Len Stevens and everyone involved should be proud. This project fulfilled dreams and brought comfort to these two.

This project made the days Nancy had better.

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

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