Converting an Attic to Extra Living Space

So, now that the jinx is over, and we’re back, I’ve got just a few more posts to round out this most recent project.  I’ve already shown you most of the exciting areas of the rehab, but there’s one more area I wanted to highlight: so it’s time to talk about the coolest bedroom in the house! It could also be used as a playroom, media room, or large office since it’s also the biggest at about 250 square feet. One of the neat features of this 100-year old house was that it has an actual staircase up to the attic, which, when we first got started, looked like this from one of the guest bedrooms.

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Since the staircase was already there, with one window already, the attic was just begging to be converted into living space. First, we added a wall to create a hallway, so you’d no longer have to walk through a bedroom to get up there. We knew we’d need some more light/egress, so we began with the idea of another window. Since this house has a hipped roof (basically a pyramid, so there’s no flat side for a normal window) we had to decide between a skylight or a dormer. Pricing them out, a skylight would have been about $1000, and a dormer $1500. For the extra $500, we decided the dormer was the best choice, and well worth the extra $ for the added space from bumping out for it. It also gives the front of the house some added curb appeal- the extra height makes it seem a bit more grand.

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Once our contractor cut a hole in the roof and installed the new dormer, we went to work on the main portion of the room. We framed in the walls first, then ran electric to the area and insulated. IMG_0283[1]

Once we had that covered, the plywood subfloor went over the existing planks (which were missing in many areas). Some shimming was required to get everything (mostly) even. Once all that was finished, we called in the pros for sheetrock and mud (it’s definitely something you could DIY- but we were starting to get burnt out by this point). We added some access doors to the storage areas behind the walls, as well as some paint and trim once that was finished.

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We weren’t sure how the space would turn out, since there were a bunch of things to work around- like the 2 chimney stacks, and it was so dark and dreary up there at first! Once we got things framed out and sheetrocked, though, we could really feel the place coming together, and knew it would be one of our favorite spots in the house. We went with carpet for the flooring, since this room is above the other bedrooms, and the subfloor we were working with was less than ideal. A light greige paint went on the walls. The result is a large and bright yet also really cozy space with a variety of potential uses. We staged it with a bed and a sitting area, and there’s still plenty of room to work with! It’s also so fun to look out the 3rd story window onto the oak tree and cute street out front. It took some extra time, but the expenses were low and it was definitely worth converting the attic into an extra 250 square feet of useable living space!

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