For the last 14 years, there’s been a sliver of a room upstairs that I have used to store crafts, projects, and party supplies.
Melanie G Photography
This was the room at its best – for a pro photo shoot of my entire house. Believe me, most of the time the floor was barely visible. It quickly became a dumping ground for things no one could find an immediate home for.
Melanie G Photography
When we started the renovation upstairs, I decided that this
hoarding hobby room had to go. It took a lot of cleaning out and organizing the remains, but pulling out the wall of this room would bring a ton of light from its two windows into the upper hallway and the entire upstairs.
view of the room from its entry as we began clearing things out
view from the top of the stairs before
I ended up used an existing IKEA Expedit (now known as Kallax) bookcase we already had, rather than building in a cabinet unit with doors like I originally planned. That’s when it started feeling more like a library/reading nook, rather than a
junk hobby room. The back end of the space has a desk and chair to provide a little study space for one of my girls, while the small dormer holds MY special little spot.
This is how the dormer in the hobby room looked before:
We relocated one of the doors that leads to storage under the eaves so that it made more sense for some furniture to sit beneath the window. When the painting began, it looked all kinds of scary:
I wanted a sunny yellow for the walls, so I chose one of my favorites that has worked well for me in historic interiors, Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow HC-4. I had the windows, both sash and trim, painted in a glossy black to really punctuate the original windows and draw your eye to the views. My kids thought it looked a bit ghoulish upstairs during the process, but I knew it would all come together. Here’s MY reading nook after the transformation:
The yellow reflects and bounces around a ton of light up here. Yellow is really the ONLY color that will make a dark room look brighter, which is why I like to use it in basements and rooms with few windows.
Now, this was the original view from the dormer window looking back towards the staircase. So, so ugly with the crappy cheap paneled walls and fluorescent lighting overhead:
We replicated the handrail and spindles we put in about ten years ago on the other side of the hallway (it used to be enclosed, as well). You’ll see I still have the closet, which now holds my scaled down party and gift supplies. My “hobby room” is now a “hobby closet.”
Now you see all the way across the space into the new bathroom, which also sports a black window.
Even though this area is now open to the rest of the upstairs, it still feels like a special place to hide out. This little estate sale find in its original upholstery is one of my favorite chairs in the house.
The modern IKEA bookcase doesn’t seem too out of place in the space as long as there are plenty of of vintage books and decorative items inside.
Remember the empty can from 1940 that I found under the flooring in the bathroom during renovation? It’s a reminder of the history of the home, and of how far we’ve come.
Next, I’ll show you the rest of the upstairs renovation – I promise! There are just so many before/after photos, it’s hard to get it all in one post. What do you think so far?