A Pretty as a Picture Primary SuiteAug 21, 2023 04:05PM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce
Photo by Bill Sitzmann.
Primary Suite Renovation [4 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
"I'm an old house person,” Michelle Finnigan Drew shared as she gazed at her Dundee home, a classic two-and-a-half-story brick Colonial built in 1922. She, her husband Curt, and their children (Caroline, Jack, and Philip) made the move to the vintage home in 2012, and Drew immediately began making mental plans for renovations.
“I had a vision for the primary suite from the moment we moved in. While every bedroom had an attached bathroom, there was no clear suite,” she said. “The main bedroom felt very blah,” added Drew, a professional residential interior designer with Drew Designs. “It didn’t function well at all, and it had a tiny bathroom with a pedestal sink and teeny shower.”
After years of dreaming, designing, and planning, Drew decided to jump-start the project in 2021. The design pro tapped local firm Craig Tuttle Construction as general contractor for the renovation. The company expertly handled all the demolition and labor for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, structural elements, drywall, tiling, and painting.
Drew explained the big changes: “We took part of the hallway and walled it off and added pocket doors,” as well as combined two bedrooms and a small bathroom to create the new, larger bedroom and ensuite. After nine months of construction, the end result was a picture-perfect primary suite with 420 square feet of beautiful, functional space.
The wallpaper, a punch of fun pattern play in the room, was a happy accident. Drew had sourced paper from high-end American design company Schumacher for a client, and scraps of their ‘Pandora in Peacock’ paper were used as packing material for that order. Drew loved the peacock pattern so much, she chose it for her own home renovation. The pattern informed some of the colors she chose for the room as well, including Sherwin Williams ‘Mountain Stream’ in the bedroom and Sherwin Williams ‘Passive’ in the bathroom.
Three chandeliers serve as ‘wow’ pieces in the suite. “I always love lighting as a statement,” the designer shared. “It’s the best way to use your money.” The bedroom chandelier, an ornate gold and crystal piece, is original to the house and used to hang in the dining room. Drew repurposed the bathroom chandelier, a shimmering, tiered crystal beauty from Ahern, from the first primary bedroom. The closet light fixture, her favorite for its bright orange pop of color, was sourced from a flea market years ago and just waiting for its moment in the sun.
Diverse sourcing has served Drew well in her interior design career; this renovation was no different. The bedroom lamps are from local shop Beyond the Vine; the duvet cover, bed frame, and nightstands are from Pottery Barn; the bathroom sconces are via Hudson Valley Birch; and the bathroom faucets are from Kohler Artifacts Collection.
Small, thoughtful touches, like antique hardware for the pocket doors, elevate the primary suite and convey the essence of Drew’s design plan— “so it looks like it’s always been there,” she explained. “A previous bathroom remodel contained track lighting and terracotta tile. I wanted to bring the space back to a more timeless, classic style that would honor the integrity of the house.”
Two paintings from France, inherited from her paternal grandparents, add another dose of history (and personal touch) to the project. A lovely etched glassware creamer from her maternal grandmother serves as a dispenser for cotton swabs and gives the feeling of a high-end boutique hotel.
The final outcome is a primary suite that’s been transformed into a tranquil dreamland—exactly what Drew imagined all those years ago.