Home & Garden: A Suite Retreat in Dublin

Jillian Span Hofbauer
Dublin homeowners warmed up a chilly, first floor owner's suite with the help of Dave Fox and team. A tired peninsula fireplace was recreated with a significant stone surround.

Busy parents of three children, Lyssa and David Brown knew when they purchased their Muirfield Village home in 2013 that there would be plenty of renovation work ahead. Gradually tackling one project after another to recreate their spaces, the couple decided in 2017 to renovate their owner’s suite after growing weary of the continuous repairs needed, specifically in the master bath.

The grand, main-floor suite was dated in style and functionality. Yet, it was overflowing with potential to be the retreat-like haven the couple had always dreamed about. Some of the space’s most impressive features, such as its high ceilings and wall-to-wall windows at the rear of the house, were also some of its greatest challenges. In the beginning, the high ceiling and aging windows made the space feel drafty and unwelcoming. “It took me a very long while to get used to this room,” recalls Lyssa. “When we toured this house we thought it was a family room. It was so big. I was like, ‘What is this?’”

Replacing the windows immediately improved the draftiness, and the couple soon began interviewing contractors, searching for a company that could help make the large space feel more livable and inviting while also emphasizing its unique assets. They selected Dave Fox for the company’s strong reputation. Thus, a four-month renovation project soon took shape.

“It has a beautiful view of the Muirfield golf course and was an interesting architectural space to begin with,” says Jennifer Zipfel, the design consultant for the Brown project. “It just needed a little love.”

Along with creating a plan to replace the broken elements and reconfigure the bathroom space to better fit the homeowners’ needs, a thoughtful aesthetic redesign was set in motion. Focusing on Lyssa’s vision for a space that felt casual but elegant, the Dave Fox team developed a monochromatic concept that would incorporate sophisticated elements with a variety of neutral textures to meld the spaces.

One of the first priorities was addressing an outdated peninsula fireplace, a focal point in the center of the suite that was visible immediately upon walking into the bedroom. “When we got there, it had an ugly, builder-grade mantel with plain, painted drywall above,” says Zipfel. To amp up its visual impact, the entire structure was finished in a gray stone with a limestone hearth enhancing the suite’s overall feeling of warmth.

The homeowners also wanted to create a more distinct separation between the bedroom and a step-down seating area that adjoined it. Thus, flooring options for the two spaces had to be reconsidered.

“People would kind of trip over this step down, so I knew I wanted to retile this so you would notice that there’s a difference in color,” says Lyssa. Keeping the original, multi-tone hickory floors in the bedroom, the lower section was refinished in a heated, gray tile, helping the spaces feel distinct, yet still connected.

A freestanding tub replaced a large Jacuzzi on a marble tub deck that is situated in a corner of the lower area. “I felt like we weren’t really utilizing the space well,” says Lyssa of the previous design, adding that the bulky tub mostly sat untouched. Now, the streamlined setup is both practical and stylish, and the linen tub finish, incorporated to match the bathroom sinks, creates a soft and elegant aesthetic.

To complement the suite’s overall feeling of grandeur, additional special features were thoughtfully incorporated. Newly designed white columns frame an inset wall in the bedroom, providing visual contrast to the texture of the fireplace, as well as balance to some of the suite’s most dramatic architectural angles. A large, sparkling chandelier dangling from the peak of the arched ceiling adds the perfect splash of glamour while a king-size bed and two side tables finished in mercury glass help tie together the entire look.

Flowing into the master bath, which is accessible through two doorways—one near the tub area as well as another directly from the bedroom—a revamped floor plan made more sense for the homeowners’ needs. Originally designed with two sinks positioned across from each other, the redesign offers his-and-her sinks on one side and a sizable vanity space for Lyssa on the other. The floor plan, which is built with seating and plenty of cabinet and drawer storage, also features chic, decorative light fixtures surrounding the mirrors. Quartz countertops give the space a Hollywood glam vibe. A spacious, walk-in closet is nearby, as well as an updated, steam shower complete with luxurious amenities such as body sprayers and an aromatherapy system set up to operate through a control pad inside the shower. New custom, leaded-glass windows designed by Dave Fox add interest above.

The suite’s calming, neutral palette and openness to nature create a welcoming atmosphere, making it a more enjoyable place to unwind and spend time, says Lyssa. “It just has more of a clean and elegant look. I’m in here all the time.”

With access to a private, walk-out deck as well as a refurbished wet bar just outside the bedroom entrance, the spaces are seamless. The suite has become the relaxing and warm retreat the couple was hoping for—a finished product Lyssa attributes to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Dave Fox team.

As for taking on a master renovation, it’s important to consider budget—particularly when it comes to renovating a master bathroom, advises Zipfel, of Dave Fox. “They are expensive parts of the home that can really add a lot of value when selling, if done right. For a space you live in every day, it’s worth the investment to remodel it and make it yours.”