in the bedroom

Ever since we moved into our house, our bedroom has been plagued with a useless corner nook. Too small for a desk or chair, too bright to store clothes or books (because of the enormous window), and too out-of-the-way for anyone to actually hang out back there, it’s always ended up being a catch-all for clutter. I hated it. 

From the door looking in.

From the center of the room: awkward corner, closet, bedroom-bathroom wall. Note the patched floor where the old stairs were.

From the bed: awkward corner with window on the left, built-in closet and the bedroom-bathroom wall, hallway.

It was all our fault since we were the ones who renovated the place. Ever since, we’ve wanted to fix it, but we never could settle on a plan. We’d shift things around — put in a sofa and then take it out, add a homemade desk, change dressers or bedstands or lighting — but it wasn’t until a few months ago that we actually started talking about it. Like, productively brainstorming “LET’S GET ON WITH IT ALREADY” solutions. We talked about big things, like moving the bathroom or taking out the window. I even suggested making a false wall and boarding up that corner entirely. After much deliberation, we finally came up with an idea. 

But first, let me back up. Like, way back up. Here’s what our house looked like when we bought it. 

The boxy part on the end had been added on to the main house at some point. On the addition’s first floor was a bedroom and bathroom, and a set of stairs that led up to two tiny bedrooms. The upstairs of the addition was not connected to the upstairs of the main house. On both levels of the addition, the ceilings were low.

one of the addition’s bedrooms

So my husband took out the stairs in the addition and jacked up the first floor ceiling by about 9 inches. He made the downstairs bathroom bigger (and we kept the downstairs bedroom — our guest room). The upstairs part of the addition became one big bedroom with a gloriously high ceiling, and a bathroom. He connected the upstairs of the addition to the rest of the house with a hallway and, since the addition portion was still lower than the main house, two steps. 

note the different levels between the main house and the addition

And then we moved in and I had a baby on the floor.

So that’s the story of our room and its problematic corner. We have a plan for how to fix it, but we’re moving slowly, in stages. If any of you have some good suggestions, speak up now. We just may be able to incorporate them.

This same time, years previous: black lives matter, the quotidian (6.3.19), mama said, this is us, when the studies end, sour cream ice cream,

12 Comments

  • suburbancorrespondent

    Love that last picture! What are the dimensions of that space? And I assume you’ve already tried shoving a desk in there and it didn’t work. What is in that big piece of wall next to it? The stairway? It’s hard to tell from the pictures.

    Also, OMG, I cannot believe how you’ve transformed that house!

      • Kris Shank Zehr

        Why not make that whole spot into a walk in closet with plenty of shelves for storage? Keep the window and install a thick shade so you have the option for light or dark.

        • Jennifer Jo

          We thought of that, but it’d be hard to access the shelves since it’s so deep and narrow. Plus, we didn’t really need more shelves — as you can see from our closet, hanging space was what we needed more of.

          • Kris Shank Zehr

            Maybe a hanging rack along the length of the wall, or two racks, one above the other, depending on the length of your clothes? And a thick shade for the window. Three feet should allow you to move in and out of the space with a regular hanging rack. (Depth of 16-18″?) Wire shelves with hanging slots are easy to buy, or John could create a wood bracket with supported dowels for hanging. If you want not to see the space, hang a pretty cloth or beaded curtain in the open end.

  • Nicole

    Reconfigured spaces are so much fun! This is my first time commenting on a blog- EVER- but I couldn’t resist
    Could you move the closet door to the odd spot using a pocket door and open the current closet wall ( the one facing the window) so you could have an L shaped hanging closet ? You could have upper and lower rods, also get with space for shoe racks on the floor
    The current dresser or a desk could go against the wall area where the current closet door is

  • Thrift at Home

    Wow, I am fascinated by the before pictures of your house! Our house feels overwhelming sometimes and I love seeing how other people manage/transform theirs. My husband and I are trying to have a serious solve-the-problem conversation about our living room configuration. Ugh.

    You don’t have the storage issues we do in the city – if yours was a city house, I would use that nook to hang a bike or make a little greenhouse or store a vacuum or a ladder with a bead curtain in front so as not to lose the light. But what would be dreamy, I think, is a built-in window seat with cushions. Because I am storage-poor, I would still recommend storage under the window seat (a lid that lifts or a cupboard door on the end) – maybe for suitcases or sleeping bags? Or just children playing hide and seek 🙂 Or a dog that wants to sleep inside 🙂

    Please keep us posted!

  • Christin K

    Ooh, how fun to get to make suggestions for someone else’s space! How about removing the closet, putting a big wardrobe where the desk is and moving the desk into the newly expanded nook. Hanging storage in the wardrobe and glorious light on the desk.

  • Marie

    We live in the city, and our house is just one nook and small hallway after another, with one step up here and one down over there. Most of the nooks are about 4 or 5 by 8 or 9 — and since we only have one real bedroom (the other is really the old dining room) we are desperate to find a way to make use of them. Whenever we talk about big, wall-moving changes, we always hem and haw. Anything we do now will probably need to be re-done when the girls get bigger and we move into the small bedroom and they move into the bedroom-formerly-dining room. We end up talking and planning in circles that make me dizzy!

  • katie

    Those old house pictures really are amazing. You made a new house out of an old house. If I had that bright little bedroom nook, I’d fill it with short shelves and hangy hooks and fill it with plants. Overwinter your lemongrass and grapefruit and avocado trees and have a roomful of green when there isn’t much to be had. But that’s just me!

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