Every inch matters in this master bedroom addition
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Most people begin a renovation with a stack of inspiration photos. When photographer Aya Brackett and her husband added a second bedroom to their home, they started with just a bed. “We bought it for the style, but also for its storage capacity,” she says of the piece with built-in drawers. “We designed everything else around it.” The result—a 330-square-foot master suite—makes up the third floor of their 1895 Oakland home. Because of city setback rules, “everything was negotiated on inches,” Brackett says. Custom furniture makes the most of the space; the cherrywood and white palette keeps it serene. “We like the minimal.”
It didn’t feel like we had a lot of space for furniture,” Brackett says, “so we wanted to streamline as much as possible.” Brackett worked with a friend to design the built-ins, custom-fitting them to the available space—and adding features like drawers in the window seat for storage.
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Take advantage of dead space
Shelving covers walls that might otherwise be empty, and the landing at the top of the staircase was the perfect place for a Japanese tokonoma. “It’s an alcove in teahouses that holds a seasonal flower arrangement or object,” Brackett explains. “I wanted one in our room, but we didn’t have the space, so our compromise was to put the walnut shelf there.”
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Use all available height
Brackett cast aside her original desire for a flat roof and a rooftop garden in favor of a peaked roof that stretches as high as city code allows and gives the small bedroom a 12-foot-high ceiling. “A low ceiling would have felt claustrophobic,” Brackett says.
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Fill in walls
In her hunt for every spare inch, Brackett turned to the space between the studs. In the bedroom, a pocket door and drapes take the place of doors that swing open. In the bathroom, the medicine cabinet is recessed and the toilet tank sits in the wall.
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Glass shower doors make the bathroom feel more spacious than a shower curtain would because you can still see the whole room. Another see-through secret? The skylight. “Because of it, the bathroom doesn’t feel that small,” Brackett says.