Has anyone ever had a dream of living in their attic? Or remember how cool Kevin’s attic was in Home Alone? Well, I (Michael) did for sure…perhaps I’m weird like that. But I’ve always wanted to makeover an attic space and really create a retreat that speaks volumes. And we did just that with our Auburn and Tenth project.
When we first stepped into this space it had already been converted from an attic to a finished room (so I didn’t truly get to accomplish that goal I suppose, but it’s all good). And it was not yet an official project of ours. But once we showed the home owner what we could do with the existing footprint to make it more functional and moody, he was all in and we hit the planning stages.
This project came with a slew of challenges, starting with the footprint. We were working with approximately 750 sqft in the attic of a 1950’s bungalow, and we needed to add a full bathroom where there was not one currently. No big deal. We also needed to accommodate a king bed, an overly sized dresser, and create closet space suited for a shoe collection. Side note – for those who do not know, I am an avid buyer and wearer of shoes (sneakers in particular) so I could appreciate this challenge. More on that later. We had to do all this without adding any additional square footage. Again, no big deal…just a ton of time invested in space planning.
After a couple long winter months we finally landed on a layout that delivered all the needs and desire, albeit without a ton of extra space. It was finally time for demo! And time for our first surprise…the hidden chimney stack in the middle of our space. This would have been an amazing discovery had it been a brick surround, but of course it was a nasty cinder block facade. We quickly tabled that and framed in the new bathroom. Things started to get a little serious.
Aside from the stack, we ran into 2 additional challenges – how and where to run plumbing from the basement to the attic, and discovering not only was additional HVAC required, the AC unit was shot. Yeah, that wasn’t in the budget but fortunately it wasn’t an issue for our client. So we moved forward swiftly and began running all of the essential components – Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical. Once all was well it was time for final insulation, drywall and mud.
This seems to be a personal preference, but we always paint before we do floors and millwork. It’s just our jam. We also spray all of our millwork – base molding, door casing and window casing, etc. – before we install. The end result is far superior, and a quick fill, wipe and dab to tough up is all it takes. In this space painted the bathroom first, followed by the main bedroom area and staircase as Chris from Blue Water Home Improvement began laying the insane amount of tile in the bathroom. And because we didn’t have any floors in yet, he was able to use the tile saw in the space which saved time and energy…we like to be efficient.
Before we move on from paint entirely, you should take a moment to check out our post on how we created a moody space with paint. Given that this attic has a pitch on either side, we played with it and painted the walls and ceiling to same color to create the illusion of a larger space. Crazy to think a dark color opens up a space…but it does. So check that out.
Next it was time to install all the things – lighting, vanity, toilet and bathroom accesories, lay the new hardwoods, install the new staircase, new railing and millwork. Everything really started to come together now, but was missing a vital element. A room full of custom builds. As previously mentioned, finding a closet storage solution that accommodated for a large collection of shoes was a challenge with a pitched roofline and that ugly stack we found during demo.
For this project we built a set of 4 custom wardrobe cabinets that combined for one large 8’ W x 7’ H x 24’ D built-in with soft-close shaker style doors and brilliant large pulls from Rejuvenation. We also did a custom bookshelf to fill a very weird crawlspace meets hallway to nowhere situation in the bedroom area. The top of this one marries the pitcher roofline as well, but adds necessary storage space for the home owner. Finally, things were finished off with 2 floating nightstands that are color matched to the floor.
It’s wild to think about where this place started, and what we went through to make it all happen. We’re so happy to have this project completed and shared with you all. On to the next one!
Michael + Danielle