Combining Condo Units: Designing a Master Suite


This former renovation project for moss now has new homeowners and a newly added master suite. Our clients wanted to increase their living space without the hassle of moving to a larger home, so when the adjacent condo hit the market, they jumped at the chance to purchase it with an idea to connect it to their duplex timber loft. We designed a creative solution by seamlessly combining condo units and reconfiguring the existing second floor to accommodate the family’s lifestyle.

Challenges of Combining Condo Units

Construction is messy and disruptive, and relocating to a temporary rental space can be costly. Fortunately, our clients could relocate the family to their newly acquired one-bedroom condo during the first phase of the renovation and construction process.

During phase one, we worked on the two-story timber loft. We demolished the masonry wall connecting both units, installed a temporary wall, removed the original master bedroom drywall and entry door, installed a folding door system, and replaced the exterior windows.

One of the biggest challenges was dealing with the 3′ differential in floor heights between the existing unit and the new master suite unit. Further complicating the design was the 4-hour firewall separating the two spaces. To remedy the space differential, we designed wood-trim steel stairs that work well with the industrial design and feel of the perforated steel railing along the landing.

Folding Doors: Creating Flex Spaces

Flex spaces are ideal for families with young children, and our clients loved the idea of the versatility a flex room could offer. Designing a room that changes with their needs provides the flexibility they were looking for, and the space can always be adapted as the family grows.

Working with the existing bedroom, we made some structural modifications by removing the drywall and replacing it with a La Cantina folding door system. Folding doors create a more functional, open space, and the opaque glass maximizes natural light while providing privacy for guests when the doors are closed. The bedroom can now be used as an office or a study and can easily convert to a guest room for visiting family and friends.

Luxe Master Suite Parent Retreat

What parent doesn’t crave a sanctuary space? No Sponge Bob or sticky surfaces, only sublime surroundings, spa-like amenities, and a cozy, crackling fireplace. The ultimate adult hygge experience.

It required a lot of rearranging to create the master suite. The kitchen in the existing one-bedroom condo became the master bath with custom closets, double vanity, and an open spa shower. We removed the bedroom walls and installed a custom wood wall to provide a degree of seclusion, which functions as a dividing wall and closet storage space.

The highlight of the bedroom is the fully customized, white oak platform bed. The bed is tricked out with integrated reading lights, hidden compartments for books and magazines, with a concealed outlet for phone charging. The headboard provides a partial screen to the spa tub area and resolves the floor’s step required to make the plumbing work.

Throughout the space, we employed a tranquil scheme of warm wood and earthen materials to soften the original exposed elements. To assist with free-standing furnishings and styling, our clients worked with Studio 6F, our neighbor here at Logan Certified, to select various pieces that compliment the architecture and creates a modern, comfortable ambiance.

The new master suite space is located above existing residential units, which didn’t allow for much flexibility with the placement of plumbing fixtures. But with a little ingenuity, we were able to create a spa-like bathroom and luxurious closet space. We swapped out the former floor mounted toilet with a wall hung toilet to allow for easier drainage, and we created a separation from the rest of the bathroom with a sandblasted glass wall and door. The shower was enlarged with a double showerhead and tiled from floor to ceiling. And the vanity, now with a make-up/primp area, connects to the existing kitchen drains already in place.

Taking a bath to whole new level with an elevated free-standing bathtub

Custom vanity with integrated LED strip mirror and makeup/primp nook

Shower/toilet combo with glass doors leading to the WC

Custom Millwork & Design Details

Instead of a typical walk-in closet with drywall, we created storage space with millwork that doubles as a clothing and linen closet. The rift sawn white oak is present throughout the space, creating continuity and a calming hue.

There’s quite a bit of masonry in the space that tells the story of the building’s industrial roots. To soften it near the fireplace, we chose an artisanal, floor-to-ceiling plaster surround. Chicago-based Artisan Venetian Plaster Co. applied the plaster to the fireplace surround on-site which lends some metaphorical warmth to the space while the fireplace provides the literal heat.

People & Products

  • General Contractor: moss Build
  • Doors/Windows: La Cantina
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler, Grohe, and Wetstyle
  • Lighting: Muuto, LED Lighting, Inc.
  • Fireplace: Artisan Venetian Plaster
  • Steel Railing/Stairs: Orsolini Welding Fabricators

Construction And Existing Conditions

Above: the existing condition of the one-bedroom condo unit that was connected and renovated. Below: first level stair of, existing condo, leading to the second level with new steel railing and new stairs connecting to the new master suite; framing for folding doors; schematic design.

All color photos by: Carmen Troesser