Small Bedroom Remodel; Retro Remodel


This room was by far the fastest project that we ever did.  It is funny how after 3 years of remodeling a house, you actually learn how to do things quickly and efficiently, that and at this point we had all the tools that really made things simple.
When we first walked through the house we didn’t even enter this little room.  We couldn’t, it was SO full of stuff that we actually couldn’t even enter the room.  So, it was nice to actually see the room for the first time … and all the carpet (you will understand in a second)
This project was the first without a huge demo.  We removed an old chimney and carpet, and more carpet and MORE carpet, the front of the closet and that was about it.
We decided that it would be far easier to just cover the old walls than deal with the mess of removing them.  Also, we actually had to do more building out than anything else in this room because of the strange foundation which you will see in just a second.
Here are the first few shots of the room, I apologize for the quality, this is before digital and I had to scan them in, and they were bad to begin with.
Why yes that is carpet on the window bench and wall.   And it was the first thing to go. 
When we pulled it up we found the most beautiful wool carpet.  It was ruined unfortunately.  I wonder if it could have been repaired, either way we didn’t have the money for it but here is a picture of the carpet. 
Within the first year, Justin installed some carpet that we got from my mother’s friend.  It was only a few years old she was replacing it with vinyl flooring.   It was free, and you know you can’t beat that. 
After that, we used the room as a closet and dressing room for about 2 years.  We don’t really have very many pictures, but we built a little free standing hanging rack and it was about 7 feet tall.  Here is Kitty sitting on top of it, I think it is funny.  (this house was a cats dream, so many places to explore)
We took out a few things almost immediately, like the board under the window seat, I think we were planning on taking the whole thing out, but that is when we found out that the foundation was hidden underneath it.  
Why yes, every inch of the interior of that closet is covered with random orange 
(and below purple) carpet remnants, very plush wouldn’t you say?
We took the closet doors off because the closet was less than 16 inches deep, which made it almost useless,  hangers are wider than that.   I built the entertainment center from them, I showed you the in the master bedroom remodel post.    We used the adorable hinges in our hall remodel.
After we rebuilt the master closet, we moved our exercise equipment into this room.  
Here is what it looked like for a while.
You can see how the foundation juts out into the room here, at a sort of random height. 
When we were finally ready to work on this room, the first thing we did was remove the chimney stack, A new roof had been built over it, so from the outside you didn’t even know it was there, but it was an eyesore in the room.  
Well, when we started taking it out, I guess at some point previous owners had filled that baby up with about 70 pounds of SAND!  and it was filthy, we started taking out the brick, and sand just started pouring into the room.  We got a little dirty (understatement).  Oh, and yes we are wearing bike helmets… Uh… I was worried we’d have our head smashed in, and these were the closest things we had to hard hats!
Uh, yeah, those aren’t flattering pictures, but at least now you can sorta see how dirty we were… sorta.
We found some holes for pipes, (more under the wallpaper) I really don’t understand what this room was.  But you can also the all the layers of wallpaper, and old paint colors in this picture and I always think layer pictures or fun. 
Well we got it out and so we had a huge gaping hole in the ceiling, actually though, there were two.  Over the window seat there was this little arch thing that made absolutely no sense.  At some point the ceiling had been lowered, but they chose for a “design feature” to have this little thing, for lack of a better word.    (you can kind of see it in the picture below, I never really photographed it, sorry!
We really wanted to raise the ceiling back up, but we ran out of time.  Instead, we just patched the holes.  
We removed the front framing of the closet entirely.
By the way, you can see the purple carpet tiles that were on the foundation better in the second picture.  These were the same tiles that had been at the top of the stairs on the landing, that I never got a photograph of.  
Then we framed in the new front of the now a normal depth closet. 
And I had Justin frame in the foundation.  I decided to bring the foundation height up to an average wainscoting height.
When it comes to drywall, we covered all the existing walls without removing the old stuff, It was the best decision we ever made.  It went SO fast and was SO much cleaner!
After taping up all the seams, we primed and started adding moldings. (Oh and I finally painted that one wooden window… It took forever, and even though I used a primer, it kept yellowing the paint. urgh!  But it turned out pretty decent in the end)
You can see the interior of the closet here, we decided to have a shelf at the height of the foundation, and a shoe shelf or what not below.   We figured this would be an office or kids room either way. 
One of the major problems with this room was the difference in windows.  One is wood, one metal, I couldn’t afford to change them out.  The one thing I realized, I could at least mask was the different dimensions.  By visually bringing one down and the other up, so the molding may look strange, but I promise it works in the end.  
We decided on Valance boxes again, I have to admit, I like the formality of them when done right. But the other reason was the fact that the tall window was almost exactly the height of the ceiling, which made it hard to install the crown in the room.  However, with the valance boxes, we could continue wrapping the crown around the whole room without strange stops and starts.  This also helped to make the windows look more the same than they were. 
Now we just installed all the moldings and painted…
Lastly, we installed new carpet.  We did find one other fun secret.  Under the closet, was a door to the cellar, and in the cellar you could see big grooves in the floor where there had been a ladder.  The cellar was built in two sections.  But this portion was part of the second addition to the house.  The other portion was the third addition to the house.  It was fun to piece some of these things together.   
Ready for the finals?

And I made a quick composite image, not perfect but you get the idea.
What do you think about the windows now? 
That was my favorite change in the room  They actually appeared to be the same height.. Finally!
Do you like the room?

Meet the Author: Cassity

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three Read More


  1. Best Life says

    >Oh my goodness! I LOVE these posts with start to finish details. Great job on the windows. You don't even notice that they are different. The cornice boards are genius. I live in an old house too and I understand the feeling of having to deal with some weird things that are already there and you just have to work around. Your fix on the odd foundation wall is perfect. Great job! Lisa~

  2. Marla says

    >Wow that is a fabulous transformation. I am so jealous of people whose husbands will tackle these kinds of projects, my husband wouldn't touch it, although he is good at fixing just about anything mechanical or computer related, a genius in that area, but not in the remodeling arena. Oh well, can't have it all I guess. But I do love what you have done in this room. What is the paint color by the way? Thanks, Marla

  3. Kim says

    >wowzers!!!! WHAT A FANTASTIC CHANGE!! I have 2 windows in my basement child care playroom (main room) that are different widths, how do you recommend 'fixing' that?

  4. Shannon says

    >Oh wow! Quite the face-lift! The before was really bad, but it looks like a real room now. Very nice job, it looks like it was a lot of work.

  5. Remodelaholic says

    >Hey Kim, Here is how I would help you with the two window widths that you said you have. If you want them to look the same, it will really depend on how different they are, but the basic solution is simple and easy to accomplish…

    All you need it 2 drapery bars that are the same width. This width should be about a 6inches to a foot or so wider than the widest window. Hang both of the bars as high to the ceiling as you can, (cause this makes them look taller and is just a little nicer, unless there is a huge space between the ceiling etc).

    Now center the bars on the windows but install them at the same width. Then hang panel type drapes, the less wide window these panels will be covering the wall and just a smidge of the window… on the wider window it will actually be covering the window to make it appear less wide.

    In the end you will have the optical illusion that your windows are about the same size. Hope that makes sense! Let me know if you have any questions.

  6. Adventures in Dressmaking says

    >Wow, what a HUGE restoration! How ambitious!
    I think the windows look great now. As icky as the carpeted window seat was, it does seem like you're missing some seating in there now. I like the room and the paint colors and all, but I say add a little more color!! =) Bright art on the walls? Bright plant pots on the windowsills? Decorative pillows somewhere? Have fun!

  7. Anonymous says

    >That is incredible! Isn't it strange what people do to houses? When we first moved into our house, there was small bathroom tile going halfway up all the walls in the master bedroom. But you guys did an amazing job!

  8. Bungalow'56 says

    >Oh my goodness, you guys are really good. I thought my house was bad. I just posted a reveal of the original house we bought ten years ago. I thought we were crazy, but you win hands down. Very creative solutions to boot. The room looks great. I love the closet redo. Stop by if you have the time, I am need of talented eyes for our frugal facelift.
    Take care,

  9. The Ransacking Renovator says

    >I am SO glad you posted those pictures of the removal of the old chimney stack. If you look at my blog, I have one of those same things in my kitchen, and have been wondering how I was going to rid the kitchen of it! You've given me hope! Maybe it won't be so bad now. =) How did you end up filling that in after tearing it off? I'd love to know! Thanks. =)

  10. Tammy at Tattered and Timeless says

    >You all did an awesome job. I love the room -anyone would be lucky to have it. Thanks for all the photos.

  11. bedelia says

    >My husband's grandma had blue carpet all over her bathroom walls. I was afraid to go in there. I don't know why that was appealing at some point.

  12. jordan @ mean mommy academy says

    >Because I love EACH and EVERY post of yours {and may or may not be jealous of your handi-work} I left an award for ya over at mma!

  13. Becky@Beyond The Picket Fence says

    >Thanks so much for the heads up on the link–it is fixed now! Quite the project you have under way!

  14. Low Tide High Style says

    >Wow, what a change! It looks amazing now after all of your hard work! I wonder if that room had been a summer kitchen and that's why it led down to the cellar?!

    Great job and what a wonderful transformation!

    Kat :)

  15. Kim @ NewlyWoodwards says

    >I love the rooms. How can anyone not? I love the woodwork in all your projects and I love the window treatments.

  16. Linda at Lime in the Coconut! says

    >Fantastic! You have some very great (and reveling!) befores. WHAT a great before and after! Good work!

  17. The Neglected Nest says

    >You guys constantly amaze me! This is an unbelievable transformation. What were they thinking with all that awful carpet?!

  18. Cate @ A Tree Lined Street says

    >It is perfect! Tricking the eye with molding around the windows was a great idea! I love it!

  19. Victoria says

    >The room is beautiful, how nice to be sitting at that little desk with a window to look out of! I love your curtains, I think they're toile but it's hard to see? You are one crafty couple!!!

  20. Teri says

    >Incredible job! I really love the pics of you and your hubby. That made me literally laugh out loud. =)

  21. Kim says

    >Good grief, girl, that's amazing! You all can never move after all the work you've done here. It looks fantastic! The windows and molding – A++

  22. Katherine @ Grass Stains says

    >It looks absolutely wonderful! I love what you did the windows, too. It really tricks the eye. Great job!

  23. Emily {Frilly Details} says

    >Whoa!! What a huge transformation!!!! You guys worked hard! Everything looks amazing. Love the windows and trim work. Fabulous job :)

  24. Lori Ann says

    >I have seen a lot of ugly bedrooms, but that "before" has to be THE UGLIEST bedroom ever! You are miracle workers. Wonderful, beautiful job!

  25. Sarah @ Hennessey House says

    >HOLY. CRAP. …. for a greater effect, let me say that again – HOLY CRAP. the state of that room in the before pictures was just…. ghastly. but you made it BEEAAAUUTIFUL. i am still in disbelief….. AWESOME makeover.

  26. Sonia says

    >You did an awesome job! I love the windows I actually had to go back and look at them again..I would have never guessed they were different heights!! Wonderful post..your hard work shows!

  27. Condo Blues says

    >Amazing transformation! The window treatments and cornice boxes help unify the windows. I have to ask, is you kitty sad you got rid of its jungle gym clothes rack?

  28. Lisa says

    >The room is so light and airy and beautiful now. Great job! I can tell that was some haaaard work!! and that old carpet looks so grody! But, all the hard work paid off with that lovely room!

  29. ann marie says

    >You guys must have the gift of "vision". That's the only way someone would buy that house. It certainly was colorful and, um, creatively put together/decorated. It's turned out beautiful and you've done a wonderful job.

  30. debi9kids says

    >What an awesome make-over! WOW! It also reminds me of the one remaining room we have in our home that has to be made-over at some point (it's storage right now). It too has 700 layers of wallpaper to contend with. Goodtimes

  31. Leah@Storybook Ranch says

    >WOw! wow! WOW!! You are very talented, it doesn't even look like the same room. Great job :)

    ps.I totally dig your blog!

  32. fawnda says

    >WOW – you really can take on a room and show it who is boss! I love the transformation! AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! : )

  33. Shirley says

    >Love the windows now! It all looks spectacular. What a difference!. That old carpeting running up the wall onto the seat was NOT GOOD! : ))

  34. Formerly-Corn in My Coffee Pot says

    >Oh my Goodness–
    what a mess and y'all made it look wonderful!

    That took some thinking skills right there. I'm flabbergasted!

    The windows… those turned out great.

    You did a fantastic job taking the before and after pictures.


  35. Kara@ Creations by Kara says

    >Wow! It doesn't eve look like the same room. You have some serious skills! Thanks for linking up. :)

  36. AshTreeCottage says

    >Great job. It was obviously a lot of work, but well worth it. Looks great!

    Susan and Bentley

  37. Lori says

    >This room turned out get.. I love it.

    Thanks for joining Get Your Craft on Thurs. Please join me next week for another great party.

  38. Maria@ChicaBellaCrafts says

    >wow! that was a lot of work but the room looks beautiful. I like the colors you used, they make the room look cozy. I like the picture of the dirty faces, very funny.

  39. Alicia says

    >Oh goodness! You guys have so much patience and energy. I think I would have given up after pulling up the old carpet. It looks gorgeous and you two look so funny with your dirty little faces :-)

  40. Keetha Broyles says

    >Oh wow! What a difference. I do miss the window seat, though the first one was really tacky, I hoped you'd make a really lovely one in the redo. Not, of course, that the little desk isn't very nice sitting there.

  41. Chari at Happy To Design says

    >Hi Kim…

    Ohhh…this is one of my favorite posts in all of Blogland, my friend! I remember really going through it when you first posted about it! This is just one of the most awesome makeovers that I've ever seen! You and your honey did a great job!!! I always love to see the transition of a space and you documented it so beautifully with all of your photos! Some day you and honey will look back on these and have such fun memories!!! Your room turned out fabulous! I don't know if I mentioned it in my first comment but I love how you did the build-in under the window…gorgeous!!! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home and its transformations with us for Sunday Favorites…a real treat and so inspirational!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  42. Ben and Jackie says

    >You are so good at your tutorials. I really love the curtains by the way. You should have a tutorial on how to put those together.

  43. J. says

    >WOW! Fantastic remodel!!! I always wonder about the original crazy reasons for oddball things done by previous homeowners!

    BTW, I was also faced with 3 different window types during a recent reno… one wood, one vinyl, and the 3rd aluminum. My one saving grace was that all 3 were white. After the addition of some white trim molding, all the eye really sees are white windows.

    I know it sounds like more work, but if it were me, I'd paint the aluminum window to match the wood window so that it doesn't catch your eye.

    Great reno!! :-)

  44. hypheninteriors says

    >Wow, that is amazing!! What a transformation and real renovation. Great solution for the windows. GREAT work!!

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