WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW NIEMANN PHOTOGRAPHY
When designer Jana Valdez of Haven Design and Construction was first contacted by her new clients about a master closet renovation, she had no idea it would turn into an entirely new, much larger-scale project altogether. “When they brought me on board, their request was simple: they wanted their master closet to be much bigger,” says Valdez of the San Antonio, Texas project. “But what I didn’t know was that when the home was built eighteen years ago, the original closet’s foundation was five feet over the setback line, which the homeowners didn’t learn until it was too late. So that resulted in a much smaller, much more cramped master closet and they absolutely hated it. The closet was always a thorn in their side.”
While the simple solution for most closet makeovers would be to enlarge the footprint of the home with an addition or, at minimum, install custom organization for more storage, neither of those options were feasible. For this particular project, the only way to make the closet bigger was to completely reorient its existing footprint—and that of the entire master en suite. “We couldn’t just knock out the wall and add on because it would push out over the setback line,” says Valdez. “That’s what the problem was eighteen years ago.” But in looking at the master bathroom, Valdez saw it could afford to be scaled down and some of the extra square footage could be used to create a larger master closet. “There were little things such as two French door entries to the master bathroom that were unnecessary and took up space,” explains Valdez. “If we got rid of one set of doors, we could pull the closet farther into the bathroom.”
Though the homeowners always intended to renovate the house, the closet makeover quickly morphed into a bedroom and bathroom project, transforming the homeowners’ dated and cramped suite into the space they dreamed. Valdez enlisted her husband, Haven co-owner and general contractor M. Armando, to help bring the designer’s vision to life. “One thing he’s always told me when it came to bathroom renovations was not to move the toilet,” she says. “It’s extremely challenging to rework existing plumbing. But it was our only option.” After digging a full eight feet into the ground to rework the plumbing for a new toilet, the foundation was laid for the installation of Valdez’s interior design. “This was definitely one of the most challenging remodels we’ve ever done,” she says.
“The clients work really hard, they work a lot of hours, and they really wanted their house to feel like a hotel, like an escape,” says Valdez. They wanted luxury, something that would take your breath away.” In lieu of the dated brown and beige color palette, Valdez installed a soothing all-white aesthetic with a porcelain tile floor and quartz countertops, both of which mimic the look of marble sans the susceptibility to staining. Drawing from the hues in the tiles, Valdez chose the finish on the custom Shaker and gray cabinetry throughout. To create a jaw-dropping focal point in the bathroom, Valdez updated the existing twenty-two-foot cupola with a gold and marble mosaic accent wall behind the freestanding soaking tub. A stunning capiz shell chandelier hangs above.
The new closet was transformed into an organized, peaceful space. The remodel took the closet from a small fifty-five square feet to almost triple that in size at 185 square feet. “Amazingly, taking that square footage from the bathroom made not only the closet bigger but it actually makes the bathroom feel larger, too,” says Valdez.
The designer seamlessly transitioned that same luxurious look from the bathroom and closet into the bedroom where she incorporated gold accents with the addition of the chandelier by Hudson Valley Lighting and bold, geometric, metallic wallpaper by Seabrook. “That wallpaper really gave me a challenge because it was a lot more yellow than I anticipated, so I had to match the window treatments more to it without it looking too yellow,” she explains. Valdez added transitional wood furniture and a seventy-two-inch-tall, custom headboard to complement the custom bedding while wide-plank, white oak flooring created a soft foundation underfoot.
What began as one of Valdez’s most challenging projects resulted in one of the most stunning. “There’s no doubt it was difficult, but once we laid it all out we could see the vision,” she says. “I wanted to give the homeowners that luxury look they wanted. I think we succeeded in that.”