Before + After: Our Bedroom Remodel

Along with our kitchen, the biggest remodeling feat we’ve accomplished since moving to the coast has definitely been our bedroom. In this house that was built 80 years ago, remodeled multiple times then left for dead by past owners then mistreated by the last owner, it took us a full year to get ourselves into a room we could sleep peacefully in.

Our home was formerly owned by our next door neighbor’s grandfather (before the ‘left for dead’ era), so we’ve got lots of dish as to where things used to be, and one of the biggest changes was the fact that everyone used to sleep downstairs, and the entire upstairs was just an attic the kids used to play in. When we bought the house, a bumpout was added and three bedrooms were built upstairs…with the owner’s suite being a very, very crazy layout.

BEFORE - master bedroom

(BEFORE: from the original real estate listing)

Super duper claustrophobic. A ceiling fan within a few feet of where you’d sit up in bed. A random half-wall cutting the room in almost a third. Icky green carpeting so cat-urine-stained it went through to the particleboard (giving me my first case of asthmatic bronchitis, forcing us into the guest bedroom shortly after moving in). Along with that, there used to be a chimney in the middle of the house, that went from the kitchen through the floor, and the faux hearth was still on the floor. Two broken skylights prime for leaking. A tiny closet in the center of the room (on the other side of the wall behind the bed) and vinyl-clad ‘office area’. And my second greatest annoyance behind the stinky carpet? Textured walls.

Yes, there was a LOT of work to do! 99% of it was DIY, hence why it took a year. But it was all worth it…with so many lessons learned! Here’s how the year went and a description below of how we got through this massive renovation…

  1. Floor: Removed the hearth (literally dumped it off the since-removed second story deck…it was so heavy it dented the earth) and stanky green carpeting (which has been repurposed into grass-smothering in the back yard where our future deck will be that we hope to build by fall). Removed particleboard under carpeting and above original wood subfloor, replacing with plywood. Installed bamboo click flooring (not something we’ll ever do again, as no matter what they say, it’s a miserable job). Installed baseboards with quarter-round.

  2. Walls: Pulled down the old half wall/closet behind where the former owner had her bed, opening up the room. Removed the skylights when we replaced the roof (the only thing we paid someone else to do), patched, insulated and covered with drywall. Skim coated the textured walls. Painted with zero-VOC iron gray. Thanks to a link found on Pinterest (my happy place), I learned how to frame a wall AND doorway, which I did with scrap 2×4’s, then covered with tongue & groove. Built and installed barn door leading to the bathroom, using plywood and 1×6’s. Replaced windows with Energy Star sliders.

  3. Ceiling: Removed ceiling fan. Painted ceiling and beams with Kilz.

  4. Decor: Due to where the bed needed to be placed, there was no way to get in a rug that was the right length and width, so we opted to buy two runners, one for each side of the bed. Art on the walls are my photography. Built shelf from live edge slab donated by a friend. Sustainable mango wood bed we already had bought when we lived in the city. West Elm organic cotton bedding, and cotton velvet curtains.

And now for the “AFTER” – here is what it looks like today, after all of our blood, sweat and tears in transforming it to the peaceful sanctuary it is now!

The only thing we have left to do is to fill the area under the sloped ceiling section with ferns and other low light-loving plants. We tried things like chairs and shelves but to be honest, my husband and I are pretty minimalist, and tons of tchotchkes make me crazy. I don’t like collecting stuff for stuff’s sake! Plants will add the greenery we need in here, and otherwise, beyond a bit of art above the shelf, we’re pretty much done!

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