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Rise and Shine
Master suites are relaxing escapes



Mosaic glass tile, originally intended for the ceiling above the tub, is eye-catching and instrumental in creating the spa-like feel homeowner Bonnie Starks wanted in the master bathroom. A. Fillinger Inc. designer Matthew Tollefsen created the wood vanity and dressing table to be in keeping with the light and airy feel of the space.

Queen of the castle

As the mother of an autistic son, Bonnie Starks designed the master suite in her new Mequon home to be a quiet retreat at the end of the day. "I wanted it to be my space where I could just go to get away from the stress," she says of caring for her son as a then single mother.

The spacious master bedroom, with its tray ceiling, impressive fireplace and kitchenette, echoes the castle-like design of the rest of the house with its thick plaster walls and Medieval-style windows.

For the master bathroom, Starks recalled trips to Africa and the hotels she stayed in for design inspiration. "I loved the way it felt. I wanted to feel that way in my own house," she says. Starks says she spent hours and hours in the space deciding what to do with the mosaic glass tile that was originally intended for the ceiling. Because the ceiling angles werenít square, it couldnít be used there. Now, the step-up tub area, surrounded by the glass tile, is one of her favorite features of the room. She chose glass block for the shower to pay homage to her grandfather, who was a mason.

Starks envisioned homes on the duPont Registry when planning her master closet. Hanging clothes are protected inside closed cabinets. A. Fillingerís Tollefsen treated the design as an extension of the spa-inspired master bathroom vanities. Closet design, he says, is similar to kitchen design when using full-depth cabinetry as heís done here.

Starks worked with A. Fillinger Inc. designer Matthew Tollefsen to create the custom vanity and dressing table, which are made of birch. "We wanted the wood to be warm to balance the tile," Tollefsen says. "With so much going on in the room, we kept the lines very simple and put a clear-coat on everything ó stain didnít have the Zen feel we were going for."

"The master suite just makes me feel like I am somewhere else, like Iím in another place," Starks says. "It turned out exactly the way I felt."






Contemporary calm

Darla and Jim Schneider stepped away from the traditional look of their former home when remodeling the new master bath in the coupleís Delafield condo. "They wanted a calming, spa effect," says Molly Madsen of AB&K Bath and Kitchen, with locations in Mequon and Greenfield. "The continuity of square lines and crisp edges were important to Darla." To soften the room, the couple chose recessed medicine cabinets with an arched mirror. The espresso-colored custom cabinetry and white quartz countertops complement the robinís egg blue walls and glass tiles. The oversized pulls and faucets in stainless steel complete the look.










Handsome haven

The 6-foot soaking tub inspired the design of a second-floor bath in a 1909 Milwaukee Tudor by Cream City Construction, Milwaukee. "The house is grand; large spaces, tall ceilings, a lot of coffer work on the walls," says Cream Cityís Jim Grote. "We kept that in mind and were respectful of that, but we gave it an updated, nice clean look, too." A hallway bath and guest-room bath were combined to create the new space. The roomís special features include a high-gloss black double vanity, oversized shower, in-floor heat and a corner fireplace. "Itís a fairly good-sized space but there is not a lot of stuff in it," Grote says. Custom sconces and chandelier and a dramatic black-and-white marble floor pay homage to the homeís traditional roots while the open, uncluttered feel speaks to a modern sensibility.

The prevalent use of mirrors can create an illusion in the master bath area. "You can stand in that space and you donít know if you are looking at a reflection in the mirror or looking outside," says Dale Kolbeck. "They wanted a minimal look, so we floated the cabinets and gave them that open, uncluttered feel." Calista fixtures, wood flooring throughout and a composite bathtub made by Wet carry out the natural aura in the bath area. The homeowners found the bathtub on a trip to Seattle. "We liked it because it almost looks like a piece of art," says the homeowner.

Simple Serenity

Every morning the sunrise over Moose Lake greets the homeowners in this master suite. Only partial walls were constructed between the bed and bath area to create an open ambiance. "We wanted the room to be surrounded by windows, and walls blocked the view," the homeowner says.

"They were looking for a space that was really open to the outside with as much glass as possible. We took that concept by removing part of the wall while still creating a separate bed and bath space," explains Dale Kolbeck of Architectural Homes, Waukesha, who designed and built the home. Kolbeck says the couple desired a spa-like atmosphere in the master suite with a contemporary design and the intentional feeling of bringing the outside indoors. Custom touches are seen throughout the rooms, such as the bed that was designed and built by Kolbeck. A fireplace in the corner was installed at a height that the homeowners could enjoy while relaxing in bed. 

The open concept between the bed and bath area lends an uncomplicated feel to the space. The earth tones combined with the watercolor paintings done by Alice Rossman, the homeownerís mother, complete the natural look.