27th February 2019

The growing importance of the master suite

Developers and designers are taking inspiration from the luxury hotel sector and repositioning the primary bedroom as a self-contained sanctuary, often occupying an entire floor of a house. As interior design becomes ever more indulgent, the bedroom – which used to be a practical space – now often comes with the same embellishment as would normally be reserved for say, the kitchen.

There are plenty of sartorial gentlemen who consider it acceptable to have a vast dressing room on the same scale as their wife or partner, for example. In luxury flats there is an emphasis on the master bedroom, sometimes too much. One wonders whether it is sensible to put so much emphasis on one bedroom to the exclusion of all else, leaving no space for a decent-sized guest suite, for example.

It is very much a generational thing - if you are a baby boomer, the idea of an ensuite, or his and hers dressing rooms, would be absurd. Houses just weren’t built that way, particularly in the country. You would have a separate bathroom, never attached, and you shared it. 

But in London now it is extraordinary. In a high-end redevelopment or high-spec refurbishment, you would fully expect his and hers dressing rooms with obvious weighting towards hers, and his and hers bathrooms. The lady of the house might have a bath and shower while the husband might have a small shower. I saw one the other day - he had a dressing room, comfortably as big as a double bedroom, on a separate floor, like a Hackett's concession but without the well-dressed staff. 

The bedroom is the most personal part of the house where people really invest their time and money. They are elaborate, well thought through, highly technical spaces with clever lighting and use of space. With this level of investment and attention to detail, it almost seems a shame that so few people actually get to see them.