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Residing in Paradise; Part 3 The master suite and guests quarters

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

Welcome back to #PanamaStreetParadise. We noticed you've been enjoying the first floor of this lovely home, let us invite you upstairs to take a peek at what we've done with the master suite and guest room!

There were a few puzzles to solve on this floor, number one being that guests of our Fitler Square family needed a proper place to sleep and bathe. The existing floorplan had a tiny office without a closet that was billed as a "4th" bedroom, but with no hall bath on this floor guests would either have to travel upstairs or downstairs for that midnight pee. A laundry closet crowded the hallway, and the master bedroom was so large it was awkward (yes, a room CAN be too large).

We sought to improve the function and flow of this floor through a few changes. We moved the laundry upstairs to an unused landing area which proved much more spacious and inviting. The large sitting area in the master bedroom became a closet and dressing room for Mrs. Fitler Square, and a we popped a brand new guest bath into closet space that was freed up by this move. Removing the laundry closet left space for a closet in the guest room and a linen closet in the hallway.

Stylistically we continued to develop the graphic/ 'orglamic' story that began on the main floor. On this floor the colors become a bit richer and earthier, cozy for restful sleeping spaces.

The master bedroom is enveloped in soft neutral texture as a 'canvas' for the pops of color and pattern we layered on top. Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper on all the walls and a large braided jute rug give the space warmth and a relaxing feel. A completely epic search across multiple continents (via the internet) led us to just the right green fabric for the curtains, which is both acidic and jewel toned in the perfect measure.

The upholstered headboard and pillows give layers of cozy color and texture. Comfy bobbin chairs at the foot of the bed mix tradition with a pop of modern mustard (a theme on this floor), and a bright vintage Moroccan rug plays beautifully with the color story in the room.

Changing the former sitting area to a dressing room and closet took a little bit of creativity. Double glass sliders leading to a Juliette balcony meant that there was tons of natural light in the room- great for getting dressed, less great for preserving clothing. We fitted the space out with a custom closet and then created a ceiling-mounted blackout curtain to protect our clients clothing from fading in the sunlight. Using fabric instead of doors meant a more open feel to the room with no competing doors to open and close,

We painted the room a happy blue and found the perfect petite vintage rug for the space. A spare dining chair lives its best life as a vanity chair until needed for dinner parties. A crystal-droplet chandelier puts the perfect finishing touch on this modern, elegant dressing room.

When we began work on this home, the master bath was the one space we didn't plan on touching. It was 'good enough' by common consensus, and so we were going to let it be. The problem with making amazing spaces, however, is that less-than-amazing spaces cannot comfortably co-habitate with them. After a round or two of design presentations our clients began to realize that their master bath was going to feel a bit underwhelming compared to the rest of the house, and lets face it, having a gorgeous oasis of a master bath is one of the all-time best reasons to undertake a renovation.

Here is a taste of the "before" Master bath; we debated a lot about what could be kept or preserved as it is obviously in decent shape and no one likes tearing marble tiles out for no good reason. In the end, it was not in line with the style and finish quality of the rest of the home and we decided to go for it and give these homeowners a master bathroom that truly belonged in a "Panama St Paradise".

In this bathroom we took the graphic story that plays out in other areas of the home and turned it all the way up. We took a lot of inspiration from the gleaming, softly textured black tile that lines the shower and then wraps around the room as a wainscot.

Patterned cement tile puts a playful spin on graphic, and a handsome tuxedo tub underscores the glamour of this room. We placed a live-edge accent table by the tub, which our client dubbed her "wine log" and says is one of her very favorite features in the home. One more fun detail to point out is that we completely covered this bathroom's windows in privacy film before hanging the sheer curtains. Maximum light, maximum privacy- that is what designing in a city townhome is all about.

We removed a linen closet in this bath in order to have two vanities, one on each side of the room. The rich stained wood gives a nice organic warmth to an otherwise very graphic space.

We brought a vintage rug into this bathroom for the rich color and tactile warmth it provides. Many people don't know that it's a-ok to have wool rugs in a bathroom- wool naturally repels moisture and is a durable material that holds up well to wear. We recommend an additional bath mat for stepping out of the shower or tub, which can then be hung to dry when no longer in use.

Finally, we lined the toilet room in a rich, romantic, oversized floral wallpaper which balances the organic and graphic elements in this room and provides a touch of whimsy to a very functional space! As bath-loving folks you could pretty much never get us to leave this room if we lived here. Alas, our tour is not done yet, and so move on we will.

Its hard to tell from this lovely picture but this guest room gets very little light! Our philosophy is to embrace what is and wrap the room in vibrant color to make it feel cozy and finished. Rich blue grasscloth covers the walls in our guest bedroom, setting the stage for an earthy, modern palette of styles.

The gorgeous live-edge headboard with brass inset butterfly details is flanked by two sculptural modern side tables. We chose to mount sconces on the wall for reading light rather than have lamps compete for space on the side tables. We mixed textures in the bedding for an inviting look, and chose a bedspread that has a clean, modern take on the classic vintage hobnail blanket.

A mustard leather bench echoes the pops of mustard from the master bedroom, and a pair of painterly linen curtains shimmer with color and frame the window. We chose a vintage Danish modern highboy to maximize floor space and bring a bit of soul to the room. All in all its the perfect place for guests, cozy enough to be comfortable, but a bit too cozy for them to stay too long.

That brings us to the last stop on our tour of this floor- the guest bath! Who doesn't wish they could magically make an extra bath appear in their house out of nowhere? Well, for our clients, wishes do come true. Closet space re-arranged and re-appropriated from the master bedroom gave just enough room for a full guest bath.

There is no natural light at all in this bath, so we embraced that fact and chose a vibrant, saturated green that would bring energy and life to the space. We kept the vanity a natural stained wood to add an organic touch.

Vintage-style graphic patterned mosaic floors play with a crosshatch patterned subway tile in the shower. Graphic black fixtures are sleek and modern.

The crown jewel of this bath is the funky pendant light we fell in love with while visiting showrooms in High Point, NC at the furniture market. These annual trips allow us to make unexpected discoveries like this one and find makers and craftsmen whose unique perspective will help us dream up spaces unlike any other.

Its hard to know where to stop with our tour when the reality is that each picture we show is the result of months of adventures, big wins, tragic back orders, re-directions and epic persistence. One thing is always true- we do what we need to do to deliver the designs that have won our clients hearts. Its always worth it in the end, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

What do you wish a designer with a magic wand would come and deliver to your home? Leave us a comment, or reach out to us at to get that wand waving for YOU!

Photographs by Courtney Apple

General Construction by Buono Construction Group


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