Hellooooooo world!!!! Finally, finally, we have the new blog site up and running are beginning to get it all organized. A big huge welcome to all my returning friends, and to new readers as well. I can’t wait to get writing over here and have been working on a whole pile of new posts for you, but I thought it was only fitting to show old readers the reason for my blogging absence these past 3 months…. Many of you already know we were under MAJOR house construction, and oh my gracious, had I only known how hectic and frustrating that would be with 4 little ones, and how much it would turn our entire family, routine, homeschool and sense of privacy UPSIDE DOWN, I am 99% sure I would have said no way, Jose. I just had no idea. It was a bit of a trial, and with respect to writing and creating, it was a TOTAL and complete creativity squasher. Three months of nothin’ is what ya’ll got and I am sorry about that. Our construction craziness also showed me how precious and sacred HOME is, and made me appreciate it all the more. But let’s move on to happy things and rejoice that we are indeed moved IN to our new space, this mama does not have to spend my mornings, afternoons and many evenings with contractors coming in and out and drilling, banging, sanding and generally interrupting life. We are now happily moving back into routine and structure (just in time for summer vacation, ha!). 😀
Why We Added a 4th Floor to Our Home We live right smack in the middle of suburbia, in a
three story now FOUR-story townhouse we bought in a wonderful neighborhood where God so graciously guided us almost 10 year ago, before we had even one child. In his goodness and merciful foresight, he placed us in the building right at the end of our culdasac, and on the very edge of 75 acres of undeveloped woods, filled with streams and gullies and hills and breathtaking views. We had no idea back then, before kids came along, how much we would appreciate this gift. It didn’t take long before this born-and-raised-in-the-country mama grabbed the kids and took to the woods and streams surrounding our home. Thanks to a few faithful walkers, there are nearly 100 acres here that are now well-marked with familiar trails where we spend our days exploring and hiking, or relaxing closer to home at our campsite. It has been nothing short of a gift to be raising our family here. However…as our family size increased, we felt more and more squished inside our townhome living space. Our 3 boys were sharing one long and narrow bedroom, and our daughter was busting out of an even smaller room. Again, by His grace, God continually provided for us, even when we felt that maybe we were outgrowing this home, or when we longed for a bit more indoor space to spread our legs. Each and every time I would go into my boys’ room, exasperated, ready to move their furniture around once again to make things work better, God met our needs and always allowed me to see creative solutions. I can honestly say it never turned into discontent. I love our home and enjoy making it homey and cozy and beautiful. Still, winters have always been hard when everyone is forced indoors for months and months. This year, more than ever before, we felt the walls pressing in on us, and in December, my husband really felt the desire to poke his head up into our attic “crawl space” to see if we could create some type of bonus room for the kids to play in…just something to help alleviate all the pressure we’d been feeling in our upstairs living quarters. Well, he poked his head up, and I poked mine up, and what we saw did not look promising. It was dark and there were beams criss-crossing every which direction, making it difficult to see how much space really was up there. Loose insulation covered the rafters and floors. It was a creepy, dark, dirty crawl space, and we were pretty sure there wasn’t room to do much. Still, we couldn’t let go of the idea to create a small loft off of the boys’ room, and so we had a contractor come out to take a look. The night he came out, he went up and into that dark creepy place with his measuring tape and flashlight, and came back down to tell us we had a 22×30′ space to work with. So there we were in the middle of February, making up plans for a boys’ room and trying to figure out whether or not we should put in a bathroom (all the plumbing was there) or not. Well, friends, it took about 6 hours from the time we met with the contractor until we decided that if we could indeed finish it, there was no WAY we were going to give that space to the boys. We wanted to design and create our OWN deluxe master bedroom space. We started dreaming and this mama got to sketching right away. We had so many ideas and some of them never made it into the finished product –the gas fireplace and exposed beams both got nixed– but many of them did turn into a reality–a sitting area, built-in dressers, skylights, continuous hardwood flooring in the bed and bathroom–and a few special, unplanned surprises were added along the way, like a new (used) claw foot tub, a his and hers closet and (free!) antique french doors.
The plan was that once we moved UP, each of our kids would get a room upgrade. The three boys would all move into our (old) master suite, our daughter would move into the bigger boys’ room, and we would use the small extra bedroom as a library/office/bonus homeschool room again. Three months later, and it’s done! We made it through and we are just overflowing with gratefulness because it has totally and completely freed up all of our living spaces! Every person in the family is beyond excited with their new, improved bedroom. My husband and I, for the first time ever, have not just a bedroom–we have a sanctuary. It is charming and unique and lovely and clean, and the kids sometimes wake up downstairs below us, and they kind of forget we are upstairs and they just start playing and we can actually sleep in a little bit!!! (like 7am, people!) We have lots of finishing details still to come, but we are working away at it steadily and it’s JUST SO FUN to have this wonderful, calming, lovely space that is our own. Click through the gallery to see a few photos of the work in-progress…
Welcome to our finished Attic Master Suite! I divided the whole space into sections because there are lots of photos and details to share! So first up– Sitting Area, Build-Ins and Skylights From the beginning, we wanted to use as much space under the slanting eaves as possible. We did this by having 6, extra-deep custom drawers built (4 for this side of the room and 2 for the other side). The drawers are absolutely huge and fit so much. We also wanted to have a little sitting/reading area up here where either of us could kick our feet up and relax, read in the morning, or work on our ipads. We envision having a lovely wingback leather chair there in the corner, but for now, we just shopped the house and brought up this small wicker chair. I stole the paper wreath (still half-finished), pillow, and the pouf from the living room. The only “new” item here is the wood stump which I actually got for free and painted with trim paint to be used as a place to set a coffee mug or cell phone. We love this area and it’s already getting lots of use! Opposite of the sitting area is my husband’s dresser, a lovely antique passed down from his great, great grandpap! The deerhead and wreath still need hung above it. Everyday I come up into this space, I am so, so thankful for the natural light! The view day and night is beautiful and one of the best things about the 3 Velux skylights we put in is that we got them “used” but brand new on craigslist for $40 each (regularly $450+ per window!). Natural light really does make all the difference in a room (and fresh flowers do wonders too!)
Bedroom Space Peeking into our bedroom from the sitting area, you can see we currently have a HUGE king sized bed up in our bedroom! (we literally had to fold and bend the mattress in half to get it up the steps and around the corners). Both my husband and I have lower back issues and have been in need of a new FIRM bed for a few years now (if the fact that our mattress can be folded in half is any indication), and so that’s really next on the list to buy. For now, our bed will remain on the floor. We’ve been sleeping great up in our new, super-quiet space, but having room for my own nightstand, lamps and books is something I am really looking forward to. One problem we’ve run into in our new space is that we have very few full-length walls, and so lamps and mirrors, etc that worked in our other bedroom just don’t work up here. That mirror, nightstand and lamp will all be moved out in the coming weeks~these things just takes time, and we’re ok with that. In the photos below you can also see a glimpse of my “nook” there on the left. It’s basically my closet space, and the desk was only up here temporarily until we finished painting the office downstairs. I’m not totally sure what I will do with the cute space back there, but maybe a little parson’s table for writing? The metallic gray dresser in the photos was a new purchase from a re-sale shop. It was actually purchased originally to be turned into a bathroom vanity, but it was a little too bulky and I am so happy to have it as my dresser up here! My husband’s closet is actually a bit deeper than it looks–the hanging bars go in about another foot and a half to the left. At some point, the “plan” is to put a television where my mirror currently sits. Ya’ll know I’m not a fan, but I’m not the only one who lives up here. 😉 I have to just say that the triangle wall behind my bed drives me batty, and you can expect to see some sort of DIY headboard going up in the near future to draw the eye away from that horrid slant. :-/ However, I do love, love, love my view FROM my bed, which is a wonderful thing.
Moving right along…. The Master Bath This was fun to design. It sorta made me think good and hard about style. What look was I going for in this space? I hit the pinterest boards hard and drove all my followers crazy by pinning every subway-tiled bathroom I found. In the end, I realized I’m a farmhouse-vintage-industrial-modern-rustic-shabby chic kind of gal. Hehehe, I’m pretty sure I got a little of each, but you can let me know what you think. Having to create a workable bathroom space when the ceilings are coming down into the sides of the room is a wee bit challenging. In some ways, it helped us narrow down what went where in the space –we need the vanity and shower in the tallest areas– and naturally, the tub and toilet got tucked under the eaves. I chose a natural 24×12″ ivory/beige travertine for the master bath, after finding it at clearance prices online. Natural stone needs sealed a few times before it’s installed but it wasn’t bad. What WAS bad was how many times I changed my mind before I settled on this tile. Major decision-making deficiencies here, people.
Our contractor did a great job building the exact bench I dreamed up, and we are so happy with how it all turned out. Eventually (our favorite word these days) we’ll put in a glass shower door. And get real bath mats so my sheepskin isn’t totally ruined. The tub. So I kinda got talked into a claw-foot tub. I’m not exactly a “bath person” but when we found this beauty used and CHEAP on Craigslist, we snagged it up and purchased new plumbing on ebay. It’s pretty amazing and I’m so glad we went for it. It’s beautiful, HUGE, relaxing, and I love, love, love the vintage hand-held shower for rinsing! It’s super relaxing and the kids are pretty much forbidden to touch it (occasionally I find them playing telephone with the shower head). I so want one of those rustic wooden boards to put over the tub to hold my bon bons and books and stuff while I’m soaking. Maybe I just need to DIY it. We went with an open vanity from Home Depot online, and I am so pleased with it. It was a big purchase for us, and it turned out lovely in our space. It’s solid oak with a white marble top and I paired it with a thrifted mirror that I spray-painted silver, and two simple sconces (via Overstock). The baskets underneath are from around the house, except for the silver metal one which was given to me by my grandpa. It was totally rusted and vintage looking, but to make it pop on the shelf, I sprayed painted it silver. Finally, the cream dresser. That’s yet another antique, given to my husband when he was a baby, except then it was a walnut-stain. My boys have been using it as it’s slowly been falling apart the past few years. I kind of hated the way it looked, but it had good “bones” so I painted it with some chalk paint and gave it some shabby-chic life. It holds my jewelry and face and hair stuff, blow dryer, etc. I’m in the middle of changing out the knobs on it and it still needs another coat of chalk paint and maybe some wax before it’s done.
Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the tour of our attic master suite and are inspired to create your own beautiful, unique spaces. Stay tuned for more house-posts in the coming months.