The “master suite” is being phased out — not from our homes, but from our lexicon.
I surveyed 10 major Washington-area homebuilders and found that six no longer use the term “master” in their floor plans to describe the largest bedroom in the house. They have replaced it with “owner’s suite” or “owner’s bedroom” or, in one case, “mastre bedroom.”
Why? In large part for exactly the reason you would think: “Master” has connotation problems, in gender (it skews toward male) and race (the slave master).
Enter the owner's suite.
“I imagine it’s not only a more accurate description but also a more politically correct term of art,” said Steve Nardella, senior vice president of operations for Winchester Homes Inc.
Either way, the “master suite” has been linguistically shoved aside.
Winchester, Pulte Homes, NV Homes and Ryan Homes (both under the NVR Inc. umbrella), Van Metre Cos. and D.R. Horton Inc. have all replaced “master” in their floor plans, some more recently than others.
Richmond American Homes, Shulz Homes Corp. Sekas Homes Ltd. (in some of its models) and Quaker Custom Homes LLC continue to employ the word “master” in their designs.
In general, said Grant Johnson of Sekas Homes, “we’re using owner suite, but sometimes it will come through as master.”
Over time, “master” will be filtered out entirely, he said. The change is “just working through the industry, and finally, bingo, we got it.”