Time and again, our research subjects bemoaned their lack of personal space. Their overstuffed, open-planned homes, it seemed, left nowhere to escape from the clamor of togetherness. While those ever-popular great rooms with high-volume ceilings and long sight lines were dazzling to behold, homeowners said they were acoustical nightmares that allowed voices, music, and TVs to be heard from virtually every room in the house. Said one family member: “We all need our space. There are times in the day when we need to be by ourselves.”
If interior walls, doors, and hideaways have become anathema in the age of open floor plans and loft-style living, The Reality House dares to bring them back. Kids' bedrooms are set up as mini-suites, each featuring its own study nook, dressing area, and private bathroom. One of those bedrooms—the one that rests atop the porte cochere—occupies its own “mezzanine” level of the house.
The ground-floor second-generation suite for grandparents is also a self-contained retreat, featuring a sleeping/sitting area with a bay window overlooking the pool terrace, a coffee and snack nook, a roomy walk-in closet, and a spacious bathroom with accessible design options. Designed as a pod stemming from the main residence, the suite enjoys its own outside entrance with a doorbell.
Even the master bath—that inner sanctum of couplehood—offers its own private subdivisions in the form of his and hers commodes. “You would be surprised how important this is to people,” says Looney. “When you ask if they have a desire for his and hers toilets, it's almost as if you asked if they want to win the lottery.”
Bonus: The master bath can be accessed from the hall or through the master's huge walk-in closet, so as not to disturb a spouse who is already slumbering away in the bedroom.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.