Gourd Lamp Lookers

I have wanted gourd lamps in my house since 1953. Yes. That long. And lucky me, I finally found a set gracing the aisle of HomeGoods. Now normally at HG I can find one… but a set – this is rare indeed.

Gourd Lamp Light Blue

Oh, are y’all asking me to rewind. Saying things like – wait – they painted their bedroom, I thought it looked like this. Well it did look like that my friends – it did. I just doesn’t anymore.

Master Bedroom with ensuite

This actually falls into the category of happy accidents. See I bought (2) cans of Benjamin Moore Pale Oak, thinking I’d need all of it for the downstairs, since it’s a pretty big space. The paint spirits must have intervened because we had a full gallon left over. So although I wasn’t initially planning to paint our room Pale Oak, didn’t want to waste it, and it’s neutral enough that it’s a good “for now” color for the room.

Here is a shot of it further back, with those lovely gourd lamps flanking either side of the bed.

King Bedroom Furniture

Yes, true. It’s a very white bed. BUT – I was thinking economy style here folks. See this quilt. Got it for $3 at the goodwill.

So although I’d really like to get some more color in this room, for $3, this is a good place holder. Kinda like the “free” paint.  King Quilt Deal

Another fun find is this vintage bamboo dresser that I got off craigslist for $60. I had to drop want I was doing and sprint to the car, since like 270 people email this chick about it in the first hour of it being posted. I’ve always said – if you price something right on the list you know – cause it will fly.

Vintage Bamboo Dresser

I’m pretty happy with the new addition! I’m thinking of painting it Kendall Charcoal one of these weekends to really make the gold hardware pop a bit more. On the list of things to do.

Kendall Charcoal Painted Furniture

Here is a close up of our bed, which (you guessed it) we also got off craigslist. It was $40. And that, my friends, is why I pretty much only buy furniture used. Deal-o.

King Headboard

Although the room is leaning a bit traditional right now, I am liking the general direction. I think we can liven (a la the gourd lamps) it up a bit with a nice (colorful) duvet and some curtains.

Master Bedroom Mood Board

Our Master Bedroom was not my favorite room when we moved in. There are things I LOVE about the space (walk in closet, en suite bath), but the color (matching the laundry room and the nursery and office), was not my fav… See what I mean? It looks like a creepy motel room to me.

Master Bedroom Before and After

Which is why I had to get a Master Bedroom mood board going on – just to give me hope that this room could have a new beginning. Light – simple – open – airy.

 

Master Bedroom Mood Board

I want this room to have some fun pops of color, too, which is where the navy comes in. Although I’m a sucker for a neutral undertone in a room, I do love some good accents to give it a bit of spice.

This wall, for instance, against the closets is in need of attention. A dresser, mirror and lamps is what I have planned for some additional storage options.

Master Bedroom Before

Right now I’m kind of in inspiration land with the space and slowly but surely, I know we’ll get there. Here are some of my favorite master bedrooms that inspired my mood board.

Like this beauty. I just love this room – totally on point and exactly the look I was trying to create in my master bedroom mood board. Now where to find that quilt for the end of the bed …

Blue_Coverlet_King_Bed

Love the pop of coral on this one – need to find a room I can get some coral in – it’s such a pretty color!

Coral_Accent_Color

Those throw pillows – that lamp. Yep.

Ikat_Pillows_For_Bed

Talk about oversized mirror, but y’all, I kinda like it!

Sunburst_Mirror_Above_Bed

All the sources for can be found on my pinterest page, here!

Bedroom Beauty

Well, this weekend some pretty exciting things started happening around here. Namely, we started putting a few of our rooms back together again. Woooo to the Hooo. Not going to lie, this makes me very, very happy. 😀

See that paint up on the wall? We’re finally done with this room and I’m so ready to peacefully slumber in an actual bedroom and not on a floor like we have for the past 3-months!

Board and Batten Trim

In the interest of keeping things nice and bright in this room (it tends to read dark) and since we had a half-gallon left over from the downstairs, we decided to paint the walls above the wainscoting Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray.

Wainscoting_DIY

Here’s a shot of the room from the doorway.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

And the before, just for a solid comparison.

Master Bedroom Before

I’m pretty smitten with how it turned out! That being said, my bedroom standards are starting out pretty low around here, since we’ve been spending our evenings parked on a mattress since April. 😀 Yeah – doesn’t take much to improve off of our current sleeping situation.

Now, I told you guys before that I’ve been having some mad luck down here craigslisting and thrifting, and I’ve got a few more lovely lookers that have been added to the stash. Although not in perfect condition, I got an 8×10 wool Pottery Barn rug for $100. Not bad, right?

By trouble spots, I ain’t lying though. This was in a kiddos room before and they took some serious anger out with a pink pen at some point down the road. Truth be told, since we plan on using this for right under our Queen Bed though, these spots really didn’t rile me much. Although it’s not in perfect condition, all in all, I love how it looks under our newly assembled queen bed.

Removing Stains from Carpet

Oh, and if you’re noticing that our upholstered base from our bed is missing in action – that would be because it suffered the fate of an early death. What can I say, moving across the country and unloading all your lovely items in the rain is just a recipe for a pretty jacked up looking bed. The goods news – that beast of a bed (it was HEAVY) was a DIY, and only set us back $60 or so when we made it. The bad, we had no base to lay our bed on.

Enter craigslist, where I found this split queen box spring for $40. Boo to the ya. For all you old house owners, y’all know that getting boxsprings up narrow stair wells – well, there’s often lots of cussing involved and it normally isn’t pretty (aka it usually doesn’t fit!)

Double Box Spring Queen

Here’s another shot of the room, from the side. I was pleasantly surprised to see that we actually have quite a bit of room at the end of the bed before you get to our dresser. I’ve always wanted to put an ottoman at the end of the bed, but since our rooms have always been so tiny, there has never been enough room.

I tested out one of our chairs there in the dormer. Not crazy about how it looks, so I think I’ll keep tweaking that a bit until I find a winning combo.

Split Boxspring for Queen

Last but certainly not least, is our new dresser! We didn’t have room for a dresser in the last bedroom (yep, that’s pretty small), so we’re pretty excited to be moving on up in the world of clothing storage. I found this guy for $80 at my new favorite thrift shop here in Durham.

Refinishing Antique Dresser

It could use a refinish down the road, but for now, I deem it an acceptable location to store my underwear. 😉 Plus – this thing is crazy heavy, so I can tell you that I’m not super motivated to schlep this beast back down the steps it came from.

And, as promised, here are a few of the official after photos from our Board and Batten extravaganza last week. I’m totally and completely smitten!

Edgecomb Gray Paint

And another angle.

DIY Board and Batten

Now all this room needs is us and that little orange tabby! We’re getting super excited to officially move in this weekend!

 

Master Makeover

It’s true. I’m obsessed with wainscoting. Just can’t get enough of that deliciously delicious stuff.

If you have any doubt, I give you our last house. Remember the accent wall behind our bed, where we popped up some board & batten for $20 buckaroos?

Twenty Dollar Board and Batten

Oh, and then, of course, we had to do the closets, too.

Board and Batten Trim on Closets

And naturally, once we’d added some swank treatment to these bad boys, we had to cap things off in our little upstairs loo.

Installing Toilet against knee wall

So of course, when it came time to updating this home, my first instinct was to grab our $20 piece of plywood, and start making the magic happen. Alas, we had a small hiccup that prevented our cheap-mc-master treatment from happening in our new joint. See these chunky beautiful baseboards? Well we realized that in order to do the same treatment we’d done before, that we’d have to rip those beauties out. I don’t know about all of you, but that didn’t sound terribly appealing to me, since replacing it would cost upwards of $200 a room. Ouch.

Thick Baseboards

So, in the name of making our lives easier, I started to think of some alternate star treatment I could add to this room. And ladies and gentleman, it looks like this.

DIY Wainscoting

I seriously feel like our bedroom is legitimately swankified now. I just go in there now and stare at the walls and think to myself – dddaaannnnggg girl, that’s one swank room you sleepin’ in! Granted, this project has been moving slower than we anticipated so these photos are not true afters, since we still have to caulk, and add a bit more paint to touch places up. Hopefully I’ll have a full reveal up next week, but for now, this post will show you the in’s and outs of how to install this look.

Before we started our wainscoting treatment, we did a quick round of painting to get the trim from cream, to white and bright.

Adding Accent Wall

See how grungy it looked before? Cream trim, just not my jam.

Painting Wainscoting

We searched far a low for trim that would work, and in the end, we landed up using exterior molding that was a whopping $2 and change per 8′ piece at Lowes. Definitely by far, the cheapest piece of trim we could find. More than anything, we wanted to find something that was not very thick, since we didn’t want the trim to look abnormally large up on the wall in comparison to the existing trim. We also liked the slight detail on this trim, which gave it some extra interest aesthetically.

Best Trim for Wainscoting

We tested out a few different options, and in the end, we decided that we wanted to have a border of 1 3/4″ around the entire rectangle. So Jay went and cut a stash of rectangles, so that we could pop some up and see how we liked it once installed.

Word to the wise – cutting these suckers took way longer than we expected. It was a super simple miter cut (to create the corner) but I think we underestimated the amount of these things we’d have to do in this room.

Adding Wainscoting to Trim

When he came back upstairs to install them, we had this. Two smaller one’s for up top, and longer ones for the vertical pieces. Now, this step is going to be determined solely on the dimensions of your space, and how much spacing you want between the trim and the edge.

How to Add Wainscoting

Another tricky part for us, was deciding the size of the rectangle. In the end, we decided to find our smallest “normal” section of wall (i.e. not close to a door, or window, where the wall is very narrow) and use that as our general size template for the rest of the room.

Here is the first one going up on that smallest panel. We loved the size, so we decided it was a solid move, and proceeded on with the rest of the install.

DIY Wainscoting

We tried to make each wall as symmetric as possible – trickier than you’d first imagine. For instance with this window bay, we decided to install a rectangle centered on the back wall, and then wrap the sides, to keep things looking as aligned as possible.

DIY Wainscoting

Here is an after shot of how that front panel turned out. We still plan to come back through and caulk and paint some more, so I’ll have true before and after shots (with PAINT on the wall!) next week!

DIY Wainscoting

Not bad, right? We had to make a few of those executive decisions, and in the end, I’m pretty darn happy with how everything looks.

With one week until move-in, we’re hoping to finishing painting this weekend, so that we can start cleaning this space up and get it ready for moving some furniture over!

A Room Of Our Own

Although our bedroom was one ugly duckling when we moved in, I’m a firm believer that this space has got all kinds of potential once we snazz it up a bit. One of the things that I’m the most excited about is the prospect of reorganizing some of the space to create a pretty sweet Master Suite. That’s right, y’all, we’re planning on adding a bathroom to this little room of ours.

And in all honesty, by little, I mean way bigger than rooms we are used to. Namely, we’ve got a little nook just hanging out in the corner of the room that feels awfully underutilized right now. Just like my light bulb laundry moment, I had a bit of an epiphany when I walked into this room when we were house hunting.

If you remember from our overall house tour, the two upstairs bedrooms are very similar, however the second bedroom has a small office/playroom/future nursery/flex space attached to the back. I thought that a similar layout would work in the Master, but we’d just make that area a bath, instead! Peeerrrfection.

Second Floor Layout That being said, with all the other projects we’ve got in the hopper right now, this is definitely something that we will have to wait a year or so to do, which will allow us time to save up some cold hard cash to help pay for it. We’re pretty committed around here to doing all our renovations with cash on hand (vs. using our credit card), so if we want it, well just have to wait a bit for it! And believe you me, I want it. 😉

Here are some before shots of our bedroom, so you can see what we’ll be working with.

This is the main wall when you walk in, and most likely where we’ll position the bed.

Master Bedroom Before

This little nook below is where our bathroom will go! I think it’s the perfect size for a walk-in shower, toilet and vanity.

Adding Bath to Master Bedroom

So far, the only real progress we’ve made on this room was removing all the wallpaper. I’ve sampled a few colors up there, but this room is giving me heartburn on paint, too.

A Room of Our Own

As you can see, we inherited some pretty nice trim work in this room. We’ll definitely be working with that to create some type of wainscoting down on the lower side of the room. When we moved in, the trim in this room as all a creamy/yellowy off-white that just wasn’t my jam. Here’s a sneaky peaky at what I’ve been working on the past few days at the house. Just look how different Benjamin Moore Simply White looks up against the trim that was there before.

Painting Wainscoting

Needless to say, I think things will be improved for the better once we’ve got the bottom half of the room painted in a nice crisp white.  This room reads kinda dark right now (if you can’t tell from the pictures) so I’m looking forward to small changes that we can make in the room to brighten it a bit.

As far as layout for the space, after thinking about it quite a bit, I’m pretty sure the configuration below is pretty much the only option that will work for this room.

Master Bedroom Layout I seriously want to squeal like a pig looking at that proposed bathroom add-on. It just makes my heart so dang happy.

Here are some yummy plans for the bedroom.

Master Bedroom Mood Board

And eventually, for the bath!

 

Master Bathroom Mood Board

We’re hard at work this week finishing up some painting in this room – I can’t wait to show y’all some official before and afters! :)

Scrape it Sista

Y’all my arms hurt. It’s quite possible it’s from helping Jay bird all weekend with some demo and floor laying (yep!! the floors are finally going in!), but I think my aching arms may also be due to all the scrape action that’s been going down in this joint.

Since I haven’t really formally introduced y’all to our Master Bedroom, without further ado, rrrr she blows.

Master Bedroom Before

The room’s decently large and actually has a little nook off to the side. For now, it’s great for a little sitting area, but down the road I definitely plan on making this a bathroom to complete this room as a finished Master Suite. (eeee – isn’t that exciting!)

Adding Bath to Master Bedroom

Like the other bedroom upstairs, the Master also has a nice front dormer, which I’ve found perfect for stalking all our dog walking neighbors.

Dormer on Cape Cod

Yep, glad you noticed, that wallpaper definitely does match those ultra chic window treatments. Ultra. Chic.

Wallpaper Matching Curtains

It’s cute, it’s nice, but I hate to say that it just had to go. Well Jay was working on the initial round of demo in the kitchen, I tasked myself with with some serious scrape action. Now, truth be told, I’ve tackled this hairy beast before, and although it very tedious, it’s really not rocket science. It is however, a decent arm work out. 😉

My tool of choice for this tricky little task was a smallish little scrapper that I actually scored for a quarter at my new favorite thrifting local (this place is epic, it seriously warrants it’s own post!) This little tool worked like a dream. Since I’ve always used larger scrappers, I started out my wallpaper removal extravaganza with both and thought (for the most part) I’d be using the larger one. More surface area, right? Seemed like the better option. But ya know, once I got my arm a twerking, I started to see that the smaller one actually worked vastly better due to it’s ability to flex a bit as I was removing the paper. Turns out that makes a heck of a lot of difference.

Tips for Removing Wallpaper

And although I’ve heard many people recommend a steamer for getting the paper off, in all honesty, I’ve always had lots of luck with a good old spray bottle and lots and lots of water :)

The main thing I found that’s key (in my opinion) to getting the paper off the wall, is to actually let everything marinate a bit on the wall before you tackle it. To get started on each section, I’d just take the scrapper and try to remove a bit of paper right where a seam began, or a door or window was, since I found it easier to start a new line at these locations. Once you have some of the wall exposed underneath, you just spray water to your hearts content.

How to Remove Wall Paper

My main strategy was to move both left and right from my origination point, to allow the water to seep in a bit before I started scraping at the wall. Since the water works best when it’s soaking in below the top coat of the wallpaper, I’d work to expose as much of the adhesive coat (the white paper, underneath the patterned wallpaper) then spray it. If it’s been sitting long enough and if it’s wet enough, then it literally just slides off with your scrapper. Just like butta. In general, I found that letting the water soak in for a minimum of a minute helped to make sure that the paper came off easily for me. Anything less than that and I’d find myself having to wait a bit, since the water had still not done it’s magic to loosen everything up.

Once I finished scrapping all the paper that came off easily, I’d douse it in water again and then move over to the other side of the wall and repeat. It took a while, but eventually it all came off. See, look how happy I am about all that wallpaper be gone progress a happening.

Best Ways to Remove Wallpaper

Another (small) thing I found that made a big difference for applying the water was putting the spray nozzle to mist vs. a stream setting. Mostly, this setting just covered more surface area, but it also kept me from getting totally wet in the process :) It was so hot down here in the south last week, that I was actually using the water bottle to cool off as much as I was to spray the walls, so in the end it was a win win situation :)

Once I got all of the wallpaper off the walls, I did a quick booty shake happy dance and then moved on (a day later) to washing everything down with some warm soapy water to get all the extra residue off the wall. Even though it felt like I was completely done after the initial pass through, when you looked a bit closer on the wall you could definitely see bits of paper left over from the initial scrape.

Although not nearly as tedious as the wallpaper removal itself, washing down the walls still took me the better part of an evening to bust out. All’s well that ends well though, since we now have this!

Removing Wallpaper in Old House

See ya later, flower powered walls 😀

Removing Wallpaper From Walls

Breaking it Down

You guys – thank you SO MUCH for all the kind words of encouragement about our move! We’ve just gotten an outpouring of support and it’s really nice to have such an amazing group of people to share with us in our excitement!

So if the last post didn’t make it pretty obvious, the last few weeks have been a cluster of activity around here, so I’ll be playing catch up on the blog with some things that have definitely already gone down. I’m super excited to show you what we did with our old bedroom and lots of other updates we scrambled to finish in the last seconds before listing our house.

As promised last week though, I wanted to start off with a cost breakdown of our attic conversion. This project, by far, is the one I get the most inquiries about, so I wanted to provide a really holistic cost breakdown for those that might be tackling a similar project at home. Y’all ready for this?

Let’s start back at the beginning. Our first significant cost was insulation.

Foam Board Insulation

To make sure the house was as efficient as possible, we decided to do a combination of foam and fiber glass. Foam had a higher r-value per inch, but it was also more expensive. Overall, I’m super pleased with the solution we found for this part of the project (read more about the install here). We’ve already seen a significant cost savings over last year (to tune of heating bills under $150), and we’ve had a beast of a winter here in Michigan. #PolarVortex

Here is the cost breakdown for this part of the project.

  1. 800 sq. feet of foam board: $375
  2. 1,000 sq. feet of fiberglass bats: $400
  3. 3 cans of spray foam: $15
  4. 3 rolls of HVAC Tape: $30
  5. Thermal foil barrier: $340

After we had the insulation in, our next big chunk of change went to drywall. Well, the drywall and the extra contractor we had to hire after the first one jumped the coop. Geeze louise, I’m telling you.

Converting Attic into Bedroom

This one was a bit more expensive than anticipated since we had to essentially double our labor costs unexpectedly. :/ (Don’t you hate that!) Overall, we spent just over $1,000 on the drywall supplies and installation. More than we had budgeted, but obviously an essential component of the remodel. We just didn’t have the expertise the do this one ourselves though, so unfortunately we had to rely on others to make the magic happen. And ya know, in the end it just wasn’t that magical.

Adding Built-in to Knee Wall

Although the built-in wasn’t done until near the end of our renovation, we actually started it before we even put in the drywall. Since we’re certainly not carpenters, we opted to cheat a bit with this part of the project and purchase pre-fab cabinets to speed things up a bit. All and all, this project wasn’t crazy expensive, but it still set us back a few hundred dolla billz.

Master Suite in Attic

Now this project was one that we landed up coming way WAY under budget on. After pricing out everything in the stores, I just kinda got sticker shock and decided to try this bad boy ourselves. If we would have opted to go with the pre-fab railing available at the home improvement store, this part of the attic would have come in just north of $700. Ouch. I’ll take $350 😉 Overall, I’m pretty darn happy with how it turned out, too!

We also decided to add a DIY Board and Batten accent wall for behind the bed. At $20, I’d say it’s the project that definitely had the most bang for the buck with the attic renovation!

Converting Attic to Master

BAM. I’m telling you – that’s the sweet spot. Speaking of way too much sweetness you can’t even handle it, check out our finished closet doors.

The board and batten finish was only $20 on these beauties as well. The door hardware and wood panels added to that price, but including everything, these closets costs around $200. Not sooo bad.

Board and Batten Trim on Closets

Last but certainly not least in our attic cost calculations, came our carpeting. Chalk it up to lots of odd angles leading to lots of scrap, this part of the remodel actually landed up being the most expensive. Errggghhh.

Winterthur Potters Clay

Including a few other incidentals and our skylights ($1,500), our total cost for just finishing off the attic (not the bathroom), came in at $6,590.  Now that is so, so not cheap. It’s way more than most renovations we take on in this little house of ours BUT when we got quotes back in the day for adding a dormer out, we had (2) contractors tell us that finishing out this space would cost around $18,000 (sans dormer, mind you). Now that – that’s a lot of money.

Plus, as you all now know, with our house newly on the market, we feel pretty good about making an investment in a nice finished Master Suite. Gotta knock their socks off, people! 😀

And as a parting gift, I give you one more before shot of our lovely attic. As far as I’m concerned, this renovation was priceless!

Attic Bedroom

And … after!

Converting Attic into Bedroom

Master Suite Reveal!

I think I can safely say that we went into this little project of ours a wee over confident. Starting last OCTOBER, we kinda shrugged our shoulders and thought we’d get started on converting the attic to a Master Suite. We thought the whole shabang would take 6-weeks, maybe 8. So, so wrong my friends. :)

If you remember, before we could even get started with adding all the new stuff, we had to rip out all the old. Cause quite frankly, I couldn’t find a way to work with the bright pink carpet adorning the floors pre-renovation. 😀

Attic Conversion See what I’m saying? It just didn’t work with my color scheme 😀 We are so fa-reaking excited to finally be able to reveal this brand spanking beauty of a room. It had blood, lots of sweat and I’ll admit, a tear or two, but by George, it’s DONE!!

Here is an after shot from a similar angle. Bit different, right? Most notably in this shot, we took out the wall that was encasing the left side of the staircase, which in my opinion, makes the room feel so much more open and airy. The skylights on the roof help as well!

Master Suite in Attic

Our most expensive single cost in this room was our carpeting. $1,800 similions went out the door on this one. Errggg. More expensive than I thought it would be in all honesty, but it really makes the room, so I’m glad to have it. We found that since our room had a bunch of odd angles in it, that we landed up paying for 200 sq. feet of carpeting that we didn’t use, since they had so much scrap left over. Live and learn.

Here’s an action shot of the padding going down. It’s so cushy and squishy, it was pretty fun to walk on it sans soft carpet on top. Since an upgrade in padding only set us back .10 a square foot, we opted to get a nicer, mid-grade cushion that supposedly is less likely to absorb stains. Bonus.

Having Carpet Installed

The guys were super nice and extremely fast, they had everything down within an hour. I did notice that some of your trim can get pretty scuffed up during the installed, and we saw quite a few dings where actual chunks were missing, which was kinda annoying.

We went with the Martha Stewart Winterthur pattern from Home Depot in Potter’s Clay, which is a soft greige color.

Winterthur Potters Clay

At $2.53 a square foot, we found this carpet option to be a nice mix between a more affordable option, and something that looked pretty high end compared to a conventional carpet. It adds a bit of needed texture to the room, and I really love the subtle geometric pattern it’s got going on.

Here is a shot of how the carpet looks from a bit further away. Sigh. Isn’t it lovely?!

Adding Built-in to Knee Wall

I love how the little reading nook/built-in bench turned out, as well.

Built-in Knee Wall

Remember the pillows I found on clearance at Home Goods? They’ve already found a new home, I knew it wouldn’t take long :) (Added bonus, the pillows are made in the USA!)

The carpet installers had to take off our closet doors for installation, so it was super gratifying to get these bad boys back up so we could see how everything looked along the opposite wall. We had some touching up to do on the doors, but after we popped them back into their place, everything was looking mighty nice over there, too!

Board and Batten Trim on Closet

I love how the crisp white looks up against the more neutral tones for the carpet and wall. Since our home is older (1940’s), it’s pretty much a miracle to have more than one closet adorn any single room, so these two flanking beauties are a sight for sore eyes. My work day starts an hour later than the hubster, so having his closet in our bedroom has actually helped me get my tuckus out of bed each morning, too :)

The best part about being completely finished with our upstairs (sans a few details) was to move our furniture up into this room!

Converting Attic to Master Suite

Looks like it was always meant to be there. Seeing everything nestled up in our new room made me do ninja kicks for 40 minutes straight. In LOVE.

I’m especially smitten with how the dark wood night stands look up against our $20 board and batten. I just want to lick it and claim it as mine. #Waytoomuchgorgeousnessithurts

Makes me so glad we took an extra day to install that beautiful white trim. Can you tell I love it 😀 On a side note, we still need to do some cord management to make things look a bit nicer, but for now, my eyeballs are so fixated on the bootifulness that I don’t even notice all our cord action.

Board and Batten Wall

From the far side of the room looking back toward the staircase, you used to have this view.

Master Suite Attic Conversion

And now, you’ve got THIS view! Taking down that wall and adding the skylights just makes the left side of the room feel so much more open. Plus, it’s so fun to wake up to the sun coming up through the windows. When I don’t see snow on my windows every morning, it will be that much more fun 😉

Converting Attic into Bedroom

I’ll be back next week with a complete cost breakdown of how much this attic conversion set us back. Although it was definitely not the cheapest renovation we’ve taken on to date, it was SO worth it to have a more livable and enjoyable master retreat.

Psst! Want to see this project in action? I’ve bulleted some major projects up here with links, below!

Holey Moley

Our attic conversion, what can I say, it’s been an uphill climb. Ya think you’re ready to check something off the list and then BAM. There it is laughing you in the face again. Take our insulation, or our drywall, and now, our built-in. It just wasn’t quite ready to depart from it’s moment in the sun, so it decided to stick around a bit longer and become a problem child. Oye. See what I’m talking about?

Fixing Gaps with Trim

A bit too gappy don’t make Mary happy. Since we had so many other problem areas in this room, we really didn’t even notice all the jankiness on said bookcase until we started our final round of close up painting and started scratching our heads. Yes, that will not do.

Don’t believe me? How about a close up …

Adding Trim Around Bookcase

Mmmhhmmmm. Now that is a gap if I ever saw one :) The good news was that we had a lot (a LOT) of spare pieces of wood left over from all the other constructing we’d been doing upstairs so we were able to repurpose a few pieces to help with our little problem.

For the gap above, we found some quarter round that we used in the bathroom.

Installing Quarter round trim

Well lookey there. By George, that pretty much fixes it! We still had to slap some white paint on it, but for the most part, the quarter round and some caulk fixed our first problem area.

On to the second.

Adding Trim to Bookcase

Whomp. Whomp. We fixed this section in no time flat with some extra trim as well. It still needs a bit of caulking to smooth out the lines, but it’s well on its way. It’s pretty tricky to get back there to paint, since your arm is at such an odd angle. This area will be choke-full of books and accessories, so those back angles will be harder to see any way. Or at least that’s what I’m telling my self. 😀

Adding Trim Around Carpet

Remember our closets? Now take a close look at the photo below. Do you see how the closet on the far left has some extra space up above. Believe you me, this was a big aaaahhhh sshhheeeetttt moment in the Sell household, cause quite frankly, your closet framing is not supposed to look like that. Not at all.

Adding closets to knee wall

Here is a close up shot of all that loveliness to refresh your memory. This photo was taken during our initial construction phase, but I think you get the idea. One of these things is not like the other …

Adjusting Bi-fold door

Truth be told, when you have an old house and old walls pretty much nothing is straight. So, you roll with it and you try to improvise enough so it looks like “character” and not like “jankiness”. Our solution? Some hunka hunka crown molding. No weenie stuff, chunkcalicous stuff. Go chunky, or go home.

Putting Crown on Top of Closets

Since the crown was so large, we were able to essentially bend it up toward the ceiling in order to cover up the problem child area. We used our nail gun to get the piece installed initially, but because we were twisting the wood up so much to cover our gapalicousness, we had to also come back through and screw a few spots in for added support. Not ideal, but we made sure to “sink” the screw in so we could come back through and cover everything up with caulk after.

Adding Crown Above Closet

Here is how the crown looked after the install. So. Much. Better. Not perfect, but waaayy better.

Adding Closets to Knee Wall

And here is another shot of the front before caulking and painting the top section.

Board and Batten on Doors

Even after we’d fit the crown as tight as possible to the ceiling, there was still a decent amount of caulking that had to be done to help fill that ginormous gap. You can see in the shot below that we still had an eighth of an inch or so that had to be caulked after the crown was installed.

Caulking Top of Trim

Our last trimming detail pre-carpet install was adding a section right along where the stair banister and the wall meet. This was uber easy – one cut at the base of the steps and another for the corners and we were ready to get these bad boys installed.

Adding Trim Around Stairs

Here is how the stair trim looked the night before our carpet installation. Umm yeah. That’s right. I just said CARPET INSTALLATION!! Stay tuned for the big old reveal on Friday!

Adding Trim to Top of Steps

Stair Struck

Chalk it up to our little bout of confidence from our newel experience, but we got kinda ballsy around here and decided to also DIY the banister. Now, normally when I say DIY I mean that we go out and buy pre-made said thing and then install it. Like, I would consider our bathrooms DIY’ed, but ya know, we didn’t make the marble tiles – we just installed them ourselves. But ladies and gentlemen, we’re just little carpenters over here and we keep busting out our wood related projects. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Alas, there are a few reasons for this. Like newel posts, it turns out banisters are cray cray expensive. Like $325 for the wood we’d need for our little rinky dink number. So I had to say goodbye to my dreams of a banister that looks like this …

Dark Wood Hand Railing

And say hello to an all white painted banister. Not a bad thing, especially when it’s saving you mucho dollares.

So here is the back story. For our banister, we needed approximately 17 linear feet of railing. When we went to Home Depot to price everything out, it was going to cost us just north of $300 for the railing and the spindles and really, that just felt like too much for me to handle. So once again, I gave the hubster the sly eye and said – by George – let’s build it!

Although the banister turned out a-ok, I have to confess, this little DIY project was a bit harder than our newel experience. Mainly since we had to kind of make it up as we went along vs. having an exact image of what we knew we wanted, like we did with the newel.

After we ripped out the old, we were left with this. Am I the only one that gets sweaty palms taking that view in. Eeek!!

How to build a stair rail

Next step was to pop in our newel posts so that we had a clear idea of the distance we needed to cover for each railing. Since we will be installing carpet in the next few weeks up here, we just got some l-brackets for the posts and screwed them in directly to the floor. Easy peasy. The less easier part – constructing the stair rail.

We knew that we’d need a base and a top and some slats down the middle, and with some improvising, we finally found the right combo to get the look we wanted. We purchased a 5″ piece (cut in half for the base and top) , a 3″ piece (cut in half for the edges) and a 1″ piece (for the spindles)

How to build staircase banister

After some trial and error on the sizing that we wanted, we landed up with 1.5 inches for all sides of both the base and the top. Here is Jay putting together our first piece. The top section, where he is resting his hand, is where the spindles go.

How to Build Banister

After we got the first side panel installed, we flipped it over and came back through to screw in each of the spindles. Since we knew we would need some space to get the screwdriver in there, we decided to wait until after the spindles were installed to attach the other side.

You can see Jay coming back through with the nail gun for some extra reinforcement along the top as well. To keep things simple, we just followed the exact same dimensions for both the top and bottom railing.

DIY Stair Case Banister

After we got the spindles in (they are spaced at 5.5″ apart on center, with a 4″ interior gap), we came back through and attached the second side panel so that we could pop on the top railing.

DIY Stair Railing

Since we were just figuring out the process the first evening, everything took a bit longer and we only finished the front, smaller section. By night two, we had our game faces on though and we were ready to rumble, so things went quite a bit faster.

We pre-cut everything to size and got moving! Here are all the spindles lined up and ready for their day in the sun.

How to Build Stair Case

As we started to connect the railings to the newel posts, we were very careful to make sure that everything was level and that the banister was hitting at the same height on each post.

How to Build Stair Railing

Once we got everything level and screwed into the newel posts, we popped on our top railing piece and called it a day. Got ready to sand, caulk, prime and paint this bad boy. One downside of our less expensive banister was that we had to come through and do a decent amount of prep work before we could grab our paint brushes.

DIY Stair Railing

Problem areas like this had to be filled in with wood putty.

Dent in stair railing

And problem areas like this had to get sanded. Umm – yeah – ya think, a bit fuzzy :)

Sanding Stair Spindle

Here is a breakdown of all the supplies we purchased and our total cost.

  • (3) 5″ wood planks cut in half for the tops of the bases where the spindles attached – $4.48 each
  • (5) 3″ planks cut in half for the side panels for the base $3.48 each
  • (3) 3″ planks trimmed to 2.5″ for the top railing $3.48 each
  • A box of screws $6
  • Total: $47.28

Vs. $325 for the pre-fab banister options at Home Depot!! Hello money in my pocket. The picture below provides a visual graphic of the dimensions we used for each of the stair banister components.

How to build stair railing

Sans the top of one newel post (got lost in the shuffle and we still have to go back and grab one from the hardware store), we now have this for our stair case after one coat of paint!

How to build stair banister

Now when you add in the savings from our DIY newel posts, we saved around $650 by tackling this bad boy ourselves. That, makes me a very happy little lady 😀