Lofty Live-Work Attic Conversion

Designer: Cat Schmidt, Model Remodel

Location: Ravenna, Seattle, WA

Scope: Bathroom, Master Bedroom, Office, Stairway

Sustainability: Low-VOC paint, 80-90% recycle rate, LED lighting, ENERGY STAR certified ventilation fan, low-flow fixtures and toilet, local cabinetry

Like many Seattle homes, this 1929 Ravenna craftsman had a surplus of bedrooms and only one bathroom. With a daughter now in middle school, it was time for the family to add a bathroom and create a true master suite the parents could call their own. Though the attic was finished, it was comprised of two bedrooms surrounded by unfinished storage space. It was a bit dark and lacked any sense of character. Without losing storage, we were able to convert one of the bedrooms into a bathroom, turn a closet into a cozy reading nook, and expand the landing area into a built-in office. The brightened, lofty attic is now highly functional living and work space.

Adding a bathroom to an attic is a very common home renovation in Seattle and greatly increases the viability of a smaller home. For gabled roofs, it is typical to expose the collar ties to give the attic more headroom. Another option is to add dormers increase usable space in certain areas. For this project, we decided opening up the ceiling and exposing the ties would provide more than enough room.

We opened up the roof along two main lengths of the home: above the office and in the master bedroom. The new master bathroom has both a freestanding bathtub and a walk-in shower, as well as his and hers sinks. Daltile Quartetto floor tile adds a pop of pattern to the otherwise solid and neutral bathroom, and it’s heated! Built-in shelving holds extra towels, bath products and sophisticated decor. A seat and niche add practical features to the small but luxurious shower.

The bedroom’s most noticeable feature is the built-in reading nook, with under-seat drawers, a bookshelf, vintage-inspired wall sconces, as well as a custom seat cushion and pillows made by one of the homeowners. Take notice of the Daikin air conditioner above the bed, which is part of a larger  mini-split system installed throughout the second floor in order to regulate temperature year-round. No need to worry about overheating in the attic anymore.

Wainscoting and built-in features throughout the second floor make the remodel look as if it was originally built this way, blending with the aesthetic of the existing spaces downstairs. Statement pieces, such as the burnished bronze light fixtures and palm blade ceiling fan give the space a certain “wow” factor upon entry.

The final touch to this attic master suite was converting a small closet into a bigger walk-in closet. With ample storage space, a new bathroom addition and higher ceilings this master suite no longer feels like an attic at all.

Photos: Cindy Apple Photography



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