Deluxe bedroom parents' refuge from life's stress


Decompression: An enlarged home offers respite through French doors into a spacious master bedroom bathed in natural light.

November 28, 1999|By Rachel Sams | Rachel Sams,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

From the outside, Deb and Mike Crawford's Colonial blue split-level home in Severn looks a lot like most suburban houses. But if you walk in, go up the stairs and turn left, you'll find a master bedroom that's far from your typical square with windows.

You pass through a set of French doors into a room that appears to be glowing. A skylight and an expansive Palladian window that takes up much of the north wall allow natural light to pour in, and the pale yellow walls reflect that light. Walk between two columns and you'll see the Crawfords' four-poster oak bed; above the bed, the ceiling rises to a peak, accentuated by two crossbeams.

This is where the Crawfords go to escape the stress that inevitably comes with working and raising a family. "When you walk in, you go through the French doors and the columns and you're going away from everything else, all the stress," Deb Crawford said. "We wanted somewhere we could just go and relax, just decompress."

The idea for the Crawfords' "dream bedroom" began to take shape when the family -- she, a 37-year-old computer specialist; he, a 36-year-old contract manager for Computer Sciences Corp.; plus twin daughters Ashley and Danielle, 11 -- realized they were quickly outgrowing the house they'd lived in for a decade.

They looked into buying a new home, but realized that houses in Anne Arundel County cost more than they wanted to pay. Besides, they realized, they liked their house, their neighborhood and their daughters' school; the only problem was that they needed more space.

So, last year the Crawfords added about 720 square feet to their house. The addition included a new bathroom, bedroom and laundry room, as well as expansion of the existing master bedroom and bathroom. The entire project cost them about $90,000, whereas buying a new home would have cost upward of $300,000.

The Crawfords say the addition gave both them and their daughters more privacy. Still, the daughters share a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. "We have a house with five bedrooms and they're sharing a room," laughed Deb Crawford. The girls loved the cozy bedroom with the yellow walls and low ceiling so much they decided they both wanted to live there.

Mike Crawford said the master bedroom allows the couple to escape from the noise of daily life. "Because [the room] was an addition, it's away from the main part of the house," he said. "We have more than one door we can close to reduce any noise. It's always quiet -- it doesn't matter what time of day it is."

The new rooms suit the couple's lifestyle perfectly, Deb Crawford said. She and her husband get up at different times to go to work; because their closet is in the entryway to their bedroom, she can close the French doors and get dressed in the morning without disturbing her husband.

The master bathroom was also designed to be a place where the Crawfords could escape.

The bathroom's walls are off-white tinged with pink, and the floor is tiled in a pattern of gray, blue, pink and cream, colors that reappear in the accent tile of the walk-in shower. A skylight above the shower admits natural light without sacrificing privacy.

The cabinets under the sink have lights tucked under them, so with the flip of a switch you can find your way around the bathroom at night. There's a novelty touch as well: another switch turns on blue and pink light bulbs that shine through a pane of glass in a tiled seat in the shower.

Lighting plays a major role in the redesigned bedroom and bathroom. In the bedroom, white wall sconces conceal lights directed upward, while lights focusing downward are hidden in a chair rail molding. All in all, there are about 40 lights in the room. "It's really open, really bright," Mike Crawford said. "There's a lot of natural light during the day, and at night there are a lot of accent lights you can turn on."

The addition was designed and built by Severn contractor Frank Sanderson. The work took about three months. He remodeled the Crawfords' kitchen about five years ago and, when it came time to create their dream bedroom, they knew they wanted Sanderson to do the work.

"When you spend a lot of money, you don't want anyone else to have the same thing," Sanderson said.

The bedroom received an honorable mention in Better Homes and Gardens' 1998 Home Improvement Contest and may be featured in the magazine in January or February 2000, Deb Crawford said.

When the Crawfords bought their house 11 years ago, "it was all we could afford," she said. "We've upgraded it to what we actually wanted as years have gone by." That effort has led to the peaceful, cheerful bedroom they'd always dreamed about. "I'm glad we did it," added her spouse. "It's a room we really enjoy being in, and it's functional as well."

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