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Two-part remodel: master bedroom and guest cottage.

The ebb and flow of generations can change the way to use your house. About the same time that Merry and Michael Herb's children left the nest (in Kailua, Hawaii), Mrs. Herb's parents came to live with them. They decided to use one of the two vacated children's bedrooms to expand their own undersize master suite. To ensure as much privacy and independence as possible, the Herbs built a separate detached cottage for Mrs. Herb's parents. As a concession to occasional downpours, a covered breezeway connects the structures. The results of this two-part remodel are two pleasant living spaces that share architectural details and make the most of Hawaii's balmy climate. Both the master bedroom and the main room of the new cottage can open wide to the outdoors. Each has banks of multiple doors--louvered panels, screens, and glass doors--all mounted on tracks so they can slide out of the way into extra-wide pockets in the flanking walls. When insects are about, the screens are drawn closed. Closing the louvered doors gives the residents privacy and filters sunlight without impairing air circulation. For noise and climate control, the glass doors can be drawn shut. But generally during the day, all doors stay pocketed in the wall to leave the rooms open to views.

Stretching out inside the house

The remodel was completed in two phases. The expanded master suite, designed by architect Ron Sutton, was the first priority. As the plan above shows, an angled wall serving as the headboard separates the bedroom from the bathroom. This 80-inch-tall wall stops 16 inches short of the ceiling so daylight and fresh air can circulate between the room's two sections. The angle of the wall orients the bed to views out through the slide-away doors and down the length of the garden. On the other side of the wall, a triangular deck steps up to a whirlpool tub. The rest of the generous bath includes a his-and-hers vanity, a separate toilet room, and a walk-in closet.

A suite for in-laws

Built at a 45 [degrees] angle to the main house, the 28- by 35-foot cottage is a large, open space flanked by two private baths. The main room includes a kitchen, eating area, and living room. Walls dividing a pair of bedrooms from the main living area stand 8 feet tall; above that, the room is open to the roof. A central 6-by-6 post rises to the peak, where four 4-by-12s radiate to the corners. Angling off these members are 4-by-6s that support the roof's rough-sawn cedar 2-by-6s. A skylight at the roof's peak brings daylight into the center of the room, and overhead fans supplement ocean breezes. The pocket doors facing the pool and main house slide away to make 15 1/2-foot-wide opening across the living room, while the doors in the end wall leave an 8-foot-wide opening. This phase of the remodel was designed by Honolulu architect Jim Schmidt.
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Date:May 1, 1990
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