an attic renovation: work in progress


After literally years of debate, we are finally giving up city living in favor of a real house — complete with front and back yards, a porch, and even an attic space. The house is a small two-story gem, built in 1920. One of the things we loved about it instantly was the potential of the third floor. The previous owner used the space as an eclectic workroom — compete with ping pong table, decoupaged maps, and crystal chandelier (see top photo). What the space didn’t have: good insulation, modern wiring, or storage space. So we are undertaking our first house renovation project: an attic renovation! We did tons of seplaceing online for images and inspiration — and found little to none. So we are sharing ours in hopes it will help you. The first step was ripping everything out; it was sad, because we know there was a lot a history in that room, but it had to be done. It only took one day! Then the contractors began framing up the new space. As you can see from above, the house has great bones. Our plan is divide the floor into bedroom/hangout place and some much needed closets. Next up: foam insulation. More soon! — Angela M.

From our partners

I can’t wait to see how your attic renovation goes. We also have an attic like this on our top level — and I also found very little online in terms of decorating and design inspiration for attics. Our attic was finished when we bought our place, but it could be much more functional and better looking. I love that you plan to put closets in the space.

Wow! That looks like my attic. Your house sounds alot like mine. The only difference is that the foam insulation was there when we moved in. It’s been a couple of years and we still haven’t tackled our space yet. I cant wait to see your progress,because I could use the inspiration.


I am curious to see what you do–I also have an attic similar to your “after” photo. And I agree that the “before” photo is of a space with a lot of history–but not your history, so sadly it is right to start over.

So far in my attic I’ve added two skylights which was a HUGE improvement , added insulation in the floor, and new windows. Next project will be to add electrical–there’s only one bulb over the steps.

Here’s a link to an attic makeover that I’ve filed away as inspiration:

Sarah L.

Martha beat me to it : ) I was trying to find the bookmark to that same attic redo. I love the way they took advantage of the roof slope to create lots of built-in bookcases.

Sarah C.

This is so great. When I was a little girl I used to beg my parents to turn our attic, which looked much like this one, into a play room of some sort, or an additional bedroom – basically just to finish it. But alas, it was no use. Part of the problem is that it had one of those rickety wood staircases you had to pull down from the ceiling with a pole, and when it was pulled down it blocked the hallway, so that wasn’t really conducive to the traffic pattern in the house – is there a stairwell that leads to your attic Angela?


The second floor of my childhood home was a finished attic. There was enough space for 2 rooms, a closet, and a half-bath. We built a spiral staircase into the back of a spare bedroom closet downstairs, turning a walk-in into a reach-in. Getting a full-sized, fully assembled cast-iron staircase into a house is tricky, though. Fortunately, it didn’t have to make any corners.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » an attic renovation: the wonders of foam insulation

[…] week I wrote about the renovation project in our new third floor attic space. You wrote in with amazing words of encouragement and some great […]

shelterrific » Blog Archive » attic renovation: it’s finished!

[…] We are getting ready to move into our new home this weekend, and are so excited about how our attic renovation turned out. No doubt we will be putting the foam insulation to the test soon as summer temperatures […]

nice design, make a roof becoming a living room, is that a table tennis table? cool. but it will be really cold in winter and really hot in summer.

Ive been considering the change moving out of the city too. Best of luck. What is that cladding/material on the attic walls?