The Attic Renovation

Our house is 1½ story with two bedrooms upstairs in what is essentially a finished attic. Shortly after moving in, we became aware of a number of issues that led us to completely gut the second floor in order to address the ventilation, electrical, plumbing and structural problems that were far more extensive than we had expected. It took six years and several contractors while flirting with the very real possibility of facing bankruptcy before we were able to start living upstairs.

The Layout

The layout of the second floor is relatively simple.  The “u” shaped staircase is roughly in middle of the house with a landing at the back overlooking our scenic backyard.  Once upstairs, the largest bedroom is to the right.  This is our daughter’s bedroom as it makes use of part of the back dormer which will be ideal for a study area.  The other bedroom is to the left.  It is the smallest bedroom in the house (while being as large as our master bedroom in our first house).  This is the guest room, or possibly another child’s bedroom in the future.  There is also a larger side attic area off of this room (facing the front of the house), which now houses our air handler.  A closet runs the length of the hallway between the two bedrooms.

Just move in?

We honestly thought that the bedrooms only needed some minor drywall repairs and a fresh coat of paint.  However, the installation of an air handler in the side attic set off a chain reaction that affected every level of the house.  The second floor ended up being gutted to the framing.  New insulation, vapor barrier and drywall had to be installed.  The unexpected and costly renovations stretched out to around six years.

The original features

Please note that the pictures on this page were taken with standard 35 mm film and, while the quality isn’t very good, these are the only pictures I have of these features.

My wife loved the idea of the window seat in the dormer area of the large bedroom overlooking our picturesque back yard.

The light panels in the smaller bedroom were lit by a fluorescent fixture that were attached to the roof peak.  However, they were old and discolored and had to go.

The closet within a closet was an interesting feature.  My wife thought the secondary closet was ideal for rotating seasonal clothes.  I saw it as an ideal place to store a life size Halloween figure such as a skeleton or zombie– perfect for those house guests or kids who like to snoop.


The Attic Renovation