About half of Atlanta buyers opt for a first-floor master suite, but at this price point it is a must. The architects purposely scaled it down to a comfortable size, adding just a small bay for a reading nook. "People don't use sitting rooms, so we cut it out and used the square footage elsewhere," says Looney, who used the savings for a dressing area and spacious his-and-her closets.

Rather than design a palatial spa, Looney opted for a manageable-sized master bath. A variety of tiles in natural colors, along with unfitted vanities that look like furniture pieces, give this space an intimate feeling. Placing the vanities on opposite walls adds spice to the layout and shortens prep time. "I call separate sinks the 'marriage saver'," Looney says with a laugh.

Warm, rosy red walls, natural-colored tiles, and a compartmentalized commode with a window complete this modest yet sophisticated master bath. Oval 20-inch lavs from Sterling fit snugly into the furniture-style vanity cabinets.

Another relationship preserver is the vestibule outside of the master bedroom. It features two doors, one that leads to the bedroom and another that goes to a secret passageway through the dressing area. Say someone needs to wake at 4:00 a.m. to catch an early flight. Closing the door to the dressing area may be the last sound a spouse hears. "It's great because people like doctors or pilots who work crazy hours can come and go without disturbing their spouse," the architect explains.

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