Reader Redesign: A Light In The Attic

When I was growing up and my parents would take us to open houses for fun, my little sister and I always picked the most interesting room as “ours”: the one with the secret compartment, the one with the biggest windows, etc. If we were to tour Kristin’s house, I’m sure the attic they transformed into their daughter Ella’s bedroom would take the cake by a landslide… and quickly turn into a big fight between my sister and I about who had “dibs.” Here’s Kristin’s letter all about it:

Hi guys! I’ve been torn for a while about which project to submit, but I’m going to go with my daughter Ella’s room because a) the story involves dead pigeons – and what good renovation story doesn’t? – and b) it’s not a kitchen – our kitchen still kind of stinks – and c) you seem to enjoy a good kid’s room with lots of play value and the flexibility to change things up.  So here’s the story.

When we first saw our home, we were drawn to the mansard roof and the attic beyond. Undeterred by the deteriorated brick walls, the water damaged wood, or the pigeon remains, we saw the possibility in that attic for a treetop bedroom and we were sold.

Demolition began and we removed the rotted pine flooring and salvaged a single wall made of tongue and groove pine.

Then we designed wardrobes (we had them fabricated at a local millwork shop) that went in, providing storage and a hiding place for the ductwork that serves this floor and the one below. Next, we covered the exposed rafters and installed beadboard in between.

The best part? Those old pine boards were installed on the front wall, adding texture to a wall that has become an ever-changing activity and display wall for our daughter’s creativity.

See the map sitting in front of those boards on that angled wall? They’re hard to notice in the photos but are really great in real life. The view of the Gateway Arch and the summer fireworks from that dormer are just icing on the cake.

I’ll include a before and after of the mansard we rebuilt (well, mostly my husband did since I was pregnant and then we had a newborn.  The mansard is an integral part of her room, but was an expensive necessity!  So I always joked to Ella that she had the most expensive nursery on the block  (slate and copper ain’t cheap, but our own labor is!) Enjoy! – Kristin

If you wanna read and see more of Kristin’s makeover, hit up her blog for the full scoop on what a lucky girl that little Ella is. Thanks for sharing Kristin! Now, who wants to fight me for that room?


  1. Ericka says

    What a great use of space! Love it! (I also love the title of this post – I grew up reading Shel Silverstein!)

  2. says

    Oh my gosh! I used to play and read in my attic all the time as a kid! If it hadn’t been so dang hot in the summer, I probably would have begged my parents to let me live in there. What a great idea, and what an awesome house!

  3. says

    Gorgeous!!! We have an unfinished attic that is just being used as storage currently. We can’t wait to finish it in the next few years! We will have to redesign the stairs and probably add a dormer which will be huge expenses but it will dramatically improve our home and add some much needed square footage.

  4. Leigh Anne says

    I am always amazed how people can look past the initial aesthetic of a home and can envision the amazing potential. This room is really extraordinary!

  5. Stefanie says

    Dear lord that’s beautiful! I’m 28 years old and I want to live in that room. Beautifully done. That Ella is one lucky little lady. I feel like the rest of the house is just as fantastic.

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