Bunk Bedroom Renovation

As part of the renovation that we completed on our home we included some mostly comestic updates to my son’s room.  This is our version of a “built-in” bunk bedroom.  The original plan was to have a custom built in bunk bed placed, but the quote for our design was legitimately the cost of a year’s college tution.  Maybe not a year at an Ivy League, but for sure a solid State school with room and board.  It was one of those things that was so shocking you have no choice but to find it funny and laugh.  I actually prefer it that way instead of it being slightly out of reach, thats when I get frustrated.  So it was time to find a plan B.  But before we get into that, here are some (embrassing, why didn’t I tidy a little?? then I cropped out the really messy parts(also thank you to Michelle of MKE design and Build for taking the before pictures ;))) before pictures of the room:

Pre-quarantine we were going to have my son and youngest daughter share the room and use the small attached room as playroom for them.  Plans changed during construction and my daughter ended taking the playroom as her own, see the post here.  With our intial plan needing to get two beds in this space a bunk bed seemed logical. Its a decent size room but with the doors, windows, and the cut outs on the main wall made bed placement tricky.  Our contractor drew up a stunning plan for a custom bunk bed that had us very excited, but when the bid came back she immediately came up with the idea of a semi built in bunk bed situation.  Even if we had had the money to spend on the custom bunk bed it would not be something that would have increased the value of our house, it would have been purely for enjoyment. I should note that we didn’t shop around, there likely are options of carpenters that will build a bunk bed affordably, but with all the decisions we were making at the time we just didn’t look into other carpenters. This is not something we wanted THAT badly.  When I started looking at options of bunk beds to purchase I got very excited about this one from Restoration Hardware, it had the look and the feel of our custom deisgn.  It too was an investment, but a tiny one compared to the custom one, and we can bring it with us if we move.

To make the bed feel like it belonged in the space our contractor did some work to the area.  They brought part of the back wall out to make it flush, they added the shiplap to the back wall, they lined the head of the bottom bunk with shiplap, and added coat hooks to the nook at the top of the bed. We I chose dark paint to compliment the light wood of the bed.  The paint color is Farrow and Ball railings color matched in Sherwin Williams paint.  We are happy, and my son is happy. We have 8 foot ceilings, so that top bunk is a snug space, it wouldn’t be my choice to sleep up there, but my son loves it. There is something about that cozy space where basically just he ever goes that makes him feel very safe at night. It has been a great solution for practical and design reasons. Speaking of design the sconces totally do it for me.

The structural change that we did make in this room was to add a closet, it did not have one before.  This should be a good real estate investment because now with a closet it is a legal bedroom, not to mention we NEEDED a closet. This is the before:


I would most definitely do the barn door set up again.  I love how it turned out. I REALLY wanted a vintage door with character and I think I got that.  The door was a door I purchased on FB marketplace.  It was important that I found one that had very close measurements to what was needed, my contractor warned against having to make too many adjustments to a door.  It took months of shopping to find the right size, but totally worth it.  Here is what the door looked like before I got it:

I stripped it.  I had to remove the cute door knob so it could operate like a barndoor.  It was a stubborn door knob, I ended up have to hand saw it off which was unfortunate. I filled in the holes with wood filler.  Then I painted it using a mixture of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint ArtissimoBoxwood, and Schloss.  I couldn’t tell you the exact recipe but I believe it there is more Boxwood than Artissimo then a tiny bit of Schloss.  This brand of paint is really easy to mix and create a pretty color, every time I have tried I have had success.  I sealed the paint the Tough Coat.  The handle and number stickers were finds from an antique shop, good finds if I do say so myself.  Our contractor finished off the job by installing the door using simple black barn door hardware. 

To finish out the tour of this space, we changed out the ceiling fan because. Lowish ceilings + bunk bed + ceiling fan is not a safe equation.  Picking a light fixture was a decision that I was forced into making really quickly, it turned out fine.  I like the amazon purchase.  Finally to keep you in the know as to the whole space here is the side of the room that was not changed except for a little paint:

To finish out the tour of this space, we changed out the ceiling fan because. Lowish ceilings + bunk bed + ceiling fan is not a safe equation.  Picking a light fixture was a decision that I was forced into making really quickly, it turned out fine.  I like the amazon purchase.  Finally to keep you in the know as to the whole space here is the side of the room that was not changed except for a little paint:

Emerson’s Bedroom Remodel

During our remodel my daughter’s bedroom was my little creative baby.  Nothing that we did in her room was essential, but it was all very fun, didn’t break the bank, and the outcome has made us all happy. In order to get to her cozy room you have to walk through my son’s room.  We originally thought that we would bunk her and my son in one room and then use this as their playroom.  Those two really are a pair, but after a couple months of quarantine Emerson declared that she was taking the playroom as her own room.  Too much together time gets to the best of us.  So now she has a dedicated space to herself, but she still often sleeps in her brother’s room on his bottom bunk. 

The room was just fine before, and probably a little of paint would have gone a long way. Here are some before pictures. Oh man they are embarassing.  Do you ever think when you see before pictures if they would just pick up a little then the space would look so much better? Well there was no staging this mess.  My contractor took them about a week or two after we moved in and it is a legit mess, moving mess, shoving things whereever we could find a corner.  But this is all I have as before pictures. So here we go…

I loved the idea of adding shiplap to the walls in the space to accentuate the angles and attic like feel of the room.  I might be a little behind on the relevance of shiplap, but eventhough the intense fad seems to be passing, I think it suites this room perfectly.

Before the remodel this room two of the walls had short closets that offered storage in the angle of the roof.  I thought using a one of these spaces to build a bed similar to one that I had been admiring on pintrest would be a great use of space.  The combination of beadboard and shiplap adds to it. Eventhough this orginallywas  going to be a playroom, I thought it is always handy to have an extra bed for when guests come, and plus the cute potential had me very excited.  The thing about this bed is that the cost was relatively low.  Our contractor was to take my idea and draw up a detailed design that there carpenters executed.  We had hoped to install built in bunk beds in my son’s room, but those required hiring a specialty woodworker and the quote was waaaaaay out of our budget.  So you never know, I do believe it is worth getting quotes for whatever your dreams are and then doing an evaluation on what really can be done. 

Shopping for lights for this space was one of my favorite parts of the entire remodel.  And picking out these sconces  was my favorite part of that favorite part.  We added an affordable Ikea pendant in the bed, and honestly because the ceiling is angled getting it to fit right was a challenge.  It is in place right now, but I am not sure that it will last very long, we may have to replace in the future. But I don’t hate the idea of being forced into more shopping for lights.  We added a vintage light to the window space.  I actually purchased this for our previous home and never used it, I was glad it finally found a spot out of storage, and like that it adds a little color.

The ways in which we saved money after our intial quote in this room was with a little labor.  I painted to closet doors and they turned out fine, it was worth the cost savings for a couple hours of work.

Our plan for the floors was to pull up the carpet, plywood underlayment, and expose the wooden subfloor planks.  As we got into the project and the carpet was ripped up our carpenter realized this would not be a good option.  The planks had pretty wide gaps, there likely would be layers of glue that held the plywood in place on top, and it would be a mess.  This was one of the last parts of our last projects.  Our budget was spent, so installing hardwood floors was not an option and I didn’t want carpet.  Luckily I had just read Miss Mustard Seed’s Blog posts about painting a checkerboard pattern on her studio floor.  I thought this was a worth a try.  I followed her tutoria and painted right on the underlayment. In this room some of the underlayment is plywood and some is particle board, so the floor is not a polished look, but I love how it turned out.  I actually did two rounds of painting and taping off these squares.  I first did white and a greige color squares.  The griege appeared more pinkish tan on the floor and I couldn’t live with it.  So then I tried the Farrow and Ball Teresa’s Green color matched with Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor Enamel.  That was a winner.  It was fun, but neutral enough to go with a variety of decor.  It was funny at the time the painters in our house thought I was crazy. They did not understand the vision and one thought I was doing an actual black and white checkerboard for my kids to play checkers on, I am not that fun of a mom to do something like that.  But they seemed okay with it when I finished, the boss even joked about hiring me.  I will take that as a compliment.

                                  -the process-

I wasn’t feeling this greige color, so I had to tape off again, luckily I could just follow the lines of the squares and the second time was much faster.

I had a helper.  She was putting her sweat equity into her room too.  I must say I am impressed with her multitasking.

The other special thing about this room is that it has a secret hideout.  Our carpenter discovered a decent size storage room hidden behind a closet that I had forgotten about.  I must say the whole family loved this carpenter, especially my dogs, they would wait for him at the door.  He was friendly, cheerful, and sang loudly and did not care who heard him.  I liked having him and his singing in our house.  He saw this space and said “this needs to be a hideout.” He had fond memories of playing in just this kind of hidden place as a kid.  So we had them roughly throw up plywood over the insulation to make it safe, and I took a day and painted it all white.  It is a fun little space and perfect storage for some pieces I have collected but don’t have a space for, but don’t want to let go of yet. 

Before painting, but after the plywood had been placed.

Painted.  This space wasn’t my favorite to paint with all the angles,  but the outcome was worth it.

The thing that worked out great and took a lot of ingenuity on the part of my contractor and carpenters was figuring out the access door for the hideout.  The bed had already been partial built, and like my contractor said doing either the bed or the hideout would have been easy, but figuring out how to squeeze a door in with the bed was challenge.  But they were up for it.  I believe they had a loose idea before they started construction as to how they would create a door, but they said they just needed to start building and see what fell into place.  We needed an insulated door because the hideout space was not 100 percent insulated and Wisconsin winters require a minimum of 100 percent insulation. In the end they built a crawl space door that is easy to get through, seals tightly with magnetics, and fits in with all the molding.  We are so glad they made it work and it looks great.  If we had even an inch or two of less space the hideout would have not been an option.  It was a bit of a miracle, which is always welcome in a remodel.

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