Before & After--The Big Bedroom


I've never been much of a master bedroom person. Besides the term 'master bedroom' itself, which makes me want to put on a giant velvet cloak as I survey my medieval fiefdom, fussing over a room in which I don't spend many waking hours hasn't historically been a high priority.

But I'll admit, I'm warming to the fuss. After cracking open some ceilings, adding dormers to our awkward roofline, and rearranging the walls, a pretty nice space seems to have emerged. 

Here's a shot of the old room, complete with ominous-looking rope:

bedroom: before

And here's where we ended up:



bedroom: before



Our budget was finite (and, in fact, often in need of creative resuscitation), but we decided early on to put something aside for built-ins and a vaulted ceiling. As it turned out, the engineering requirements for a high ceiling were no different than they would've been for a regular-height ceiling. Our cost difference? A little extra drywall and labour/ material to install faux beams along the peaks. It was among the few true no-brainers of this tricky project--and one that defines the room unlike any other choice. I love the interplay of shadow and light on the angled ceilings and the way light shifts throughout the day. It's a new room every hour.


From where I stand/ sit/ sleep, the best feature of this house is what lies out there, beyond the walls. It didn't seem right to mess with a nice view by introducing a bunch of visual litter inside. Dressers? Armoires? Chests full of stuff? Bah. Clothes are so overrated.

Well, perhaps our pursuit of the minimalist ideal isn't quite so far-reaching, but you get the point.

dormer nook:

The copper fixtures above were part of the original 1939 home. We polished 
them up and had them rewired to current electrical standards. I love them so
much more than anything we could've bought new!

So, back to the matter of where to stash 'stuff' without adding too many bits & pieces of furniture. Our solution: build it in and let the walls assume furniture-style functionality. I thought the 6' high knee wall, along a corridor linking the bedroom and ensuite, would be an ideal spot to house a bank of storage drawers. Enter our nifty cabinet maker, James, who built this:

bedroom storage:

There are 12 drawers in all. They extend fully and are extra deep, providing a practical storage solution that doesn't protrude into the main bedroom space.

And just because I got all excited about the idea of built-ins, I figured we should find some use for the 4' high knee walls that run the entire upper floor perimeter. With new insulation, drywall, and a little custom carpentry magic, we were able to turn otherwise dead space into extra storage.

If you can momentarily tear your eyes away from the impressive piece of audio technology on the shelf below, you'll notice the rustic-style wooden sliding doors. They're made of thick slabs of hickory, which, after 18 billion hours of sanding with a 60-grit orbital and much swearing, I have determined is the hardest surface known to humankind.

It's also quite beautiful, with plenty of tonal variation and knots to lend some lovely rustic character.

knee wall storage:

Click to check out the storage space inside!

And so ends the bedroom (boudoir? sleeping chamber? lair?) tour. Nighty night--and Happy New Year, friends!


A few details:
Barn door construction: Frank Vickery
Barn door hardware: Rustica Hardware
Built-in drawers: James Weedmark
Capize shell lampshades, sconces, bedside tables, side chair: vintage