Q. We have four teenagers living at home. My wife and I are climbing the walls and are willing to redo the house in order to have more privacy. What do you recommend? (Milo in Las Vegas, NV)
A. Milo, if you're approaching a complete home rehab, it's time to think about adding more to your master bedroom to create a sitting room situation that will function as your inner sanctum.
We hear from parents of older children all the time. Televisions and video games blast away, and small knots of kids hang out in the backyard, playing pool or ping-pong. Teens and preteens have a tendency to proliferate throughout a house, colonizing one room, two rooms, and more. The balancing act is having your home be a welcoming place for everyone in your family. Children of any age should feel comfortable, relaxed, and free to entertain their friends. There should be ample space for kids to work on class projects, study for the big test, or just relax.
That might leave weary parents wearier at the end of a long workday, or looking for sanctuary from teens. The master bedroom, traditionally the largest bedroom in the house, has now evolved into a master suite, with en suite bathroom (a bath that is accessible only from inside the master suite), a walk-in closet, and a sitting room. In an ideal world, there would be his and hers master bathrooms, the height of luxury. Or you could share a single shower and have two separate toilet and lavatory rooms. Having that private place to soak in a tub, step into a steam shower, or sink into a bubbling personal spa is the adult equivalent of having your own Disney World at home.
The master bedroom suite is a refuge from teens and the rest of the world. Fill it with luxurious personal amenities so you won't have to go wander out into the rest of the house (if you don't want to). Some private sitting rooms are stocked with a small refrigerator, wet bar, coffee machine, television, and sound system. What more could you want!
We're not advocates for total retreat and isolation within any family, mind you. Experts suggest setting up some important family sit-down dinners and other activities that bring the entire family together. But master suites can help the adults in any family maintain their balance. Everyone needs privacy and a place for relaxation and togetherness. Here are some of our favorite master bedroom suite resources, and good luck creating a sanctuary from your busy teens:
- We love electric beds, remote-control adjustable to watch TV and get out of bed easier (Dormia makes a good one)
- Dorm-sized refrigerators, especially the kinds that come in designer colors, are great in a master suite for keeping water, juice, beer,and chocolates at just the right temperature
- Look into the Balneo bathtub by BainUltra, with a heated back and hydrothermal massage air jets
- Add a gas fireplace to your master suite sitting room for cozy privacy and mood-setting romance
- Toto makes toilet/bidet combinations in their Washlet Series, and these are becoming more and more popular (Americans wash their hands after going to the bathroom, but we don't wash the rest of ourselves afterwards!)
- We like the Toshiba 23HLV87 23-inch LCD TV/DVD combo for the convenience of switching effortlessly from a favorite movie to regular channel surfing -- without all the extra equipment like tuners and DVD players