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In this home, a living room was appropriated as one of two master baths, and a corridor finds dual use as a dressing room


Even in the grandest of homes designation of space is an important consideration. It determines how various rooms work effectively together and also how an individual room, such as a master bathroom, can maximize its own sense of space.

The master suite shown here is a case in point. It comprises a bedroom, two bathrooms with walk-in closets, and a connecting corridor. Created by architect Lisa Jaffe and designer Shelly Handman, the suite is a reinvention of the home's original floorplan. Handman explains how the reallocation of space came about.

"This home was bought by the owners from a specification model with interiors all mapped out," he says. "However the couple wanted more from their master suite than the spec home's floorplan provided for, and they each wanted a private bathroom. It was suggested that we retain the allocated master bath for the ‘his' bathroom and appropriate a nearby living room for the ‘her' part of the bathroom equation."

Handman says with the open-plan great room in many large, contemporary homes, the ancillary living room is often an under-used space. In this case, it was better used for the expansive bathroom the female owner required.

"The reallocation resulted in both bathrooms and their attendant walk-in closets being accessed by a linking corridor from the master bedroom," says Handman. "This layout provides privacy for both parties, but we also wanted a sense of unity to run through these rooms."


To this end, cabinetry in both bathrooms is in white rift oak, as is the cabinetry that runs the length of the connecting corridor. The surfaces have been given a white ceruse finish. In this process, a light coat of paint is applied after the wood stain. This is then quickly wiped off, leaving only the paint trapped in the wood's grain. Cream-hued limestone features extensively in both bathrooms, and provides another harmonizing feature.

While the two separate bathrooms provide ample privacy, the corridor affords a communal dressing space for the couple. The walk-in closets hold hanging clothes, while the corridor-dressing area provides extensive drawer storage, he says.

As well as a dressing area, the corridor also provides a sense of arrival for ‘her' bathroom, the grander of the two bathroom spaces.

"Our client wanted a feeling of sanctuary from this room and, again, addressing issues of space helped create this serene ambiance," says Handman. "The free-standing tub, for example, is set in the center of the room. This means it can be entered from either side and the occupant doesn't feel cramped by the proximity of walls."

This placement gives the tub a sculptural impact and the overall bathroom an almost shrine-like quality. The central cabinetry, with shower and toilet area set back to the left and right, enhances this overall sense of a private, mannered retreat.

"From the layout of the entire master suite, to the chaise lounge tucked into a windowed niche, taming space was central to this project."

Credit List

Architect Lisa Jaffe, Jaffe Architectural Group (Chicago, IL)
Interior designer Handman Associates; design team, Shelly Handman, ASID, Chris Eskra, Shu-Yi Tsou
Hall cabinetry Custom in white rift oak by Roncin Custom Design
Master bath, her Tub, Bain Ultra Meridian in white; tub faucet, Lefroy Brooks XO Xen floor-mounted bath spout in stainless steel; tub and vanity fixtures and towel bar, Dornbracht; shower fixtures, Hansgrohe; shower stall and flooring, Rosal limestone from Damar Natural Stone Imports; toilet, Toto
Master bath, his Vanity top, Rosal limestone slab, honed, from Damar Natural Stone Import; vanity cabinetry, custom in white rift oak by Roncin Custom Design; vanity basin, Ladena from Kohler ; faucets, Hansgrohe; flooring, Rosal limestone tiles from Damar Natural Stone Imports; wallcoverings, Donghia; lighting, Boyd Archetype wall sconce

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