Attic Reno Dream Craft and Sewing Room the Final Results!

Our attic Sewing/ craft room is finally done! : Let the decorating begin

Ta da!  Our attic renovations are finally done…..with the exception of a few tiny details (I still have some painting and staining to do).  This has been a labor of love for the last 2 years, hence the lack of new posts here.  I’ve been acting as my own general contractor and designer for this project as well as doing a few DIY projects.

View walking into the attic

Our attic has come along way!  It was unfinished when we moved in 9 years ago.  We threw down some fiberglass insulation on the floor and basically never went up there ever.  So this truly is new extra square footage for us.  

Our attic before: notice we originally had a pony wall around the stairs that we had to build up to meet code

Our attic before after we took out the insulation, check out the beautiful sub floor, wish I could have used it as our floor alone but it was too cut up from the renovations

I’m so excited to finally have a space to sew and store my craft materials.  I have not had a space to use my 5 threaded industrial serger (pictured below) for about a decade (it’s been in storage at my parents patio for a yr and our basement for 9 yrs), and I have craft stuff all over the house (my husband is just glad he doesn’t need to look at it anymore).

Cleaning out my serger after being in storage for 10 years It was pretty nasty

For almost 10 years I’ve been sewing on our dining room table (pictured above) and often will leave projects out on the table to save time putting away and setting up and to remind myself I still have a project to finish.  The problem is it’s not very cute to look at and doesn’t really encourage us to eat at the table.

Our (almost) finished Attic remodel

Design Plan: Maximize Knee Wall Storage
I wanted to use every nook and cranny I could for storage, cause you can never can have too much storage in a craft room!  To utilize our knee walls as much as possible, we put 9 custom built dressers on one side with 3 cubbie areas with doors that I placed plastic drawer units on wheels in.


Far right cubbie: our biggest cubbie space, since there are no ducts here!

We framed and sheet rocked three cubbies where we didn’t have dressers and added louved doors.  One on the far left, middle, and far right.   This was the idea of the contractor that did our framing, sheet rock, dressers, and mill work (moldings, etc).  He suggested this as a way to cut down on price (custom dressers are expensive), and to have some air flow to the back of this side of the attic. The middle cubbie could not have been a dresser anyway because this is where our HVAC trunk from our furnace was.  

Middle cubbie: Finding some space still around our HVAC truck and ducts.  I purposely placed some fleece I have on top of our HVAC trunk so my cat can’t get back in here, the floor is a bit open around the ducts and Mr Cat is kind of crazy 

In the far back space in the cubbies I’m using for long term storage for personal items like photos behind the plastic drawer units.  We chose the side that had HVAC ducts since some of the space isn’t usable anyways. 

Far Left Cubbie: long term storage items in the far back of and plastic drawer units in front for fabric and yarn storage

On the other side of the knee walls we put in hanging storage with custom built sliding drawers.  I can’t hang anything tall or long of course, but your average size top fits just fine as well as knee length skirts and shorts.  Just like on the cubbie spaces, I can use the far back area of the hanging closet for personal long term storage like out of season shoes or coats and sweaters in vacuum sealed bags.

Built in Dressers

Some of our custom built dressers waiting to be installed: Not the slant in the back on top

We had 9 dressers custom built to fit in our knee walls.  I seriously considered buying Rast dressers from Ikea to put into the knee walls, but  concluded they were just to small (only 11 3/4″ deep and 24 3/8″ wide).  But I was in love with the price $35 and the fact that it’s solid real wood (almost impossible to find these days let alone at that price) that is unfinished so you can paint or stain it however you want.  I did buy a Rast dresser for my bedroom.  I have left it unfinished so far as I’m not sure how I want to finish it.  

Our deep drawers make for great storage for fabric and yarn

The drawers except for the top are 15″ deep.  They work great for fabric storage and yarn storage.  I’m also using it to house inventory for my Etsy shop Ornute.  I bought drawer dividers at Target to help keep smaller items still organized in these deep drawers rather than having smaller drawers being built which would have cost more.

Knee Wall Hanging Closet

Our short hanging closet with the doors opened I still need to paint the hanging rod

I plan to use this short hanging closet for hanging closet for my out of season clothes.  Our house was built in the 40’s so we have the tiniest of closets, and well I have ALOT of clothes, so every season I have to put away and swap out my clothes at least now I can have everything stored on hangers in conditioned space (I’ve been storing my seasonal clothes in our unconditioned basement).  After we finish our basement remodel and create our master bedroom with our huge walk in dream closet I plan to use the attic closet for projects and inventory for my Etsy shop Ornute.  I can use it also for hanging shorter pattern pieces and to put fabric on hangers so it doesn’t get wrinkled. 

Our short hanging closet with double track louved custom sliding doors, I still need to paint the hanging rod

The contractor created custom wood brackets to attach a round handrail with a flat back for the clothes rail.  I still need to paint the clothes rail white.  They used standard closet doors to create custom doors that fit by cutting them down and attaching two together.  They are sliding on a two track system.  I can fit an average top (not long) with 3/4 sleeves or shorter.  I’ve had to cuff up any long sleeves so they don’t drag on the floor. I can also fit shorts, and knee length or shorter skirts.

Crawl Space: Cat Play Space/ Extra Storage

Door to the Right: Cat Play Room and Extra Storage Space

We have a huge room that you need to crawl to get in and has too low of a ceiling height to stand.  For now we plan to make it our cat’s play room and extra storage space.  I was really hoping that we could let our cat have access to the attic whenever he wanted and to move his litter box to his room in the attic, but unfortunately our cat is way to adventurous and the ledge on the pony wall around the stairs is way to tempting.  We decided to add a board and a handrail to the top of the ledge to help keep him off of it (pictured below).   

Cat Cave Before: figuring out how to frame it

Crawl Space: Cat Cave and extra storage space, the box is the first of many to come for Mr Cat to play in

Eventually I plan to turn this spot into a cat play land with scratching post “art work” and shelves for climbing, and large boxes forming a tunnel maze. So far we just have one large box with a hole cut out for him.  He loves that he can jump in from the top or crawl in from the front and hide behind the box.  I’m having fun thinking of hilarious ways to decorate Mr Cats cave.  I might even hang up posters from the Kitten Covers like the pics below.

How to Keep a Cat Off a Ledge?

Pony wall caped off with 2 boards (one wider than the other) and a hand rail, to deter our cat from hanging out on top of our stairs.  I still need to paint it white.  And yes Mr Cat has jumped up on the ledge.

As soon as we had our sub floor patched we let our cat come into the attic for the first time ever.  I was so excited to see his reaction to finally getting to go up to the attic.  Of course he loved it he pranced around meowing and eventually became very interested in jumping on our pony wall around the stairs.  “Oh crap. This is going to be a problem,” I thought.

I decided to find a way to finish off the pony wall to make it less dangerous for Mr Cat.  This was quite tricky, because I didn’t want it to look ugly or weird or cost a ton.  We settled on our contractor doing the wood work’s suggestion of adding a handrail to the wood edge and another smaller board between.  The idea is while he will still jump up there (and he does), he at least won’t be a comfy place to hangout and sleep up there.  My fear is that not only would that make him jump up there more frequently, but he also could fall over the ledge while sleeping or grooming himself (it would not be his first time doing that).

So did it work?   The verdict is still out since Mr Cat is still feeling out the space.  He has jumped up there a few times and even shakily walked the inside ledge once.  Our idea does make it less safe for him when he actually does jump up there, but less likely to jump up there and especially less likely to hang out and or sleep on the ledge.  I do think it will be safer for kids (we don’t have any kids but do plan to adopt kids in the foster system) because they are less likely to try to stand or sit on the ledge, and it’s higher than code so it’s harder to fall over the stairs. 

I plan to set up a lot of chill spots for Mr Cat and he will have the crawl space aka cat cave for his play zone (as mentioned above). Hopefully he will lose interest eventually in the ledge and focus on safer areas.   I’ve concluded it’s best to just lock him out of the attic unless we can watch him.

Our Construction Plan:

  • We ended up hiring a contractor to frame, create the built in storage (both build the dressers and to create the custom hanging closet),
    sheet rock, mud and tape, priming with vapor barrier paint, patch sub
    floor put in a thin sub floor above our existing to create a even
    surface for flooring install, build stair walls to code, railing to
    code, and trim and moldings. 
  •  I provided the plans for the city and
    obtained the permit and have been scheduling inspections. 
  •  I hired out
    Electrical, HVAC, and Spray Foam.  
  • The DIY projects we did
    • Painted our existing windows that are bare wood white to match out trim
      and reglazed them
    •  Painted the walls I wanted the over all room to be white, but wanted the walls to just have a hint of color to make the white moldings pop out more and to create some interest when the light hits it in different ways.  I didn’t want it to be too different than the white ceiling since the walls are the ceiling, just a subtle difference. 
      • paint used Glidden diamond in drifting snow (white with just a hint of grey) the in egg shell, and Glidden Diamond in ultra pure white in eggshell.  I love it it’s just what I wanted.
    • Installed the vinyl plank flooring.We picked vinyl plank flooring because it’s easy to do yourself.  Cutting is simply snap and score with a utility knife.  With laminate you need a special blade and a circular saw, so we would have had to hire that out.  Our contractor quoted just over $3700 to install the vinyl planks we bought.  So we saved some serious cash doing it our self!  
We Installed our Shaw vinyl plank floating flooring

I’m so excited to finally move in and decorate.  Finally the fun part!  It’s been a lot of work but I am soooo glad I managed the project and designed it myself, not only did we save a lot of money (I’m guessing it would have cost double if I had not acted as designer and contractor) but I must say I have a lot more pride about this project than I would have otherwise.  I’ll keep posting as I start to move in and decorate so check back soon for clever craft and sewing storage ideas.

Pervious Posts in this Series:

Attic Renovation Dream Craft and Sewing Room Part 1: Design and Planning
Attic Renovation Dream Craft and Sewing Room Part 2: Updates Spray Foam and Drywall

Check out my Attic Remodel board on Pinterest to see my inspiration and my Dream Craft room board.

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