Rob here. We’ve just finished up a major project here at home that required some serious construction. Madeleine has wanted her own bedroom for a very long time (years). As a person that shared a room with a sibling for years and years (longer than years) I wasn’t very convinced of her “need.” However, we decided to make another room to allow both girls to have some personal space and eliminate a few friction points between the two of them.
I contacted three contractors for quotes to close in our loft and create a fourth bedroom on the second floor of our home. None of contractors provided a written quote. Sigh. If that was any indication of how responsive they’d be during construction or how much effort they’d employ to stay on schedule; the project was bound to be a very slow and expensive process. To move the project along and to reduce the cost I decided to take on the project myself.
We considered several options and the idea with the most merit was converting the loft to a fourth bedroom. The loft was our computer room, library, and hang-out space. We were all a little sad to lose it. We strategized on how to close in enough space for a bedroom, maintain as many of the bookshelves as possible, keep the living room from seeming too closed-in, and ensuring the space doesn’t look weird.
We settled on creating a faux hallway of sorts that sets the bedroom wall back from the rail (we’ve seen this in some other homes in the neighborhood). This allowed us to keep the rail (which we really didn’t want to destroy), sets the new wall back from the living room wall (which keeps the living room from feeling like a claustrophobic pit), reduces the amount of wall I need to build (nice), and keeps the walls straight (extra nice). Keep in mind that I’m fairly handy in the home improvement arena but was still nervous to take on such a big project.
Demolition is a fun part of any project. However, Julie and I were pretty gun shy to start tearing apart a perfectly good space. Finally, I mustered up the courage to start over a long holiday weekend.
I removed one of the five shelf units, ripped out the bull nose round on the existing adjacent wall, cut out a strip of the carpet, and opened up the opposite wall. We protected the rest of the books, the sofas, and various pieces of furniture from dust with plastic sheeting and blankets.
The framing of the space was very quick and surprisingly satisfying. First, I framed in the old shelf area which went very quickly. You can see that bit of framing in the photo above. The next wall was a little more tricky and it was exhausting to hammer all the framing nails (didn’t spend the extra money for a framing hammer or nail gun). It was hard work but it was exciting to see such quick progress. Some fun photos and video below.
After hanging the sheetrock I hired an electrician to move a switch and add a new electrical outlet on the bedroom side of this new wall. The outside is already covered by the existing electrical outlet in the floor. No problem. Next was the mudding and this is the part that brought fear to my heart…..
Prior attempts at minor drywall fixes has always ended in pretty poor workmanship. It just isn’t something I had the knack for previously. So this time around I felt quite apprehensive about getting a finished product that wasn’t an embarrassment. I watched tons of YouTube videos and worked a long time at it. I experienced countless nights of frustration before I really got it acceptable. But in the end it looks pretty good. Phew…..
Finishing and Paint
Finishing work and painting is always the most rewarding part of the project. Trim goes up quickly, nail holes are easy to fill, and paint really transforms the room. Hanging the door was a chore requiring me to watch scores of YouTube videos to get it right. After a lot of effort it finally came to together to my satisfaction. Now it looks pretty darn good.
We finished the inside first then moved our attention to the outside of the wall. As this area connects to our living room we limited ourselves to painting the ceiling white and repainting the rest of the upstairs hallway in the new wall color. In the spring we’ll tackle the rest of the living room. For now we’ll enjoy this eclectic ceiling paint job… Haha.
The overall goals of the project were achieved. Madeleine got a big win (all middle children need one) and each of my girls was provided with a private space. We’ve already seen a lot of improvement in their relationship and their ability to keep their rooms clean without argument (as they can’t fight about who the mess belongs to). The project was a ton of work but was rewarding to me personally as I honed some skills, developed new skills, and also saved a lot of money.