Today I am so happy to introduce a guest blogger and a dear friend, Martha Henderson. She’s been working her magic on the home she and her husband, John, share in Anchorage, AK. Most recently Martha and John completed a master bedroom remodel that included extensive construction and decorating. Lucky for us she documented the process and agreed to share it with Your Decorating Hotline. Today Martha focuses on the first step of their remodel – the construction. Tomorrow she’ll share the second step – the decorating. Sit back and enjoy Martha’s story about changing a master bedroom from builder grade to really great!
Over the last three years, my husband and I have spent countless hours remodeling our 1983 home, turning it from a contractor grade house to an art-filled home that fits our eclectic, casual lifestyle. So far we have remodeled our foyer, living room, added french doors and painted the family room, re purposed our seldom-used formal dining room into a cozy reading room, as well as gutted and rebuilt our kitchen and informal dining room. With each project our master bedroom became the staging area for more and more building materials and supplies. Each night, we gingerly crawled into bed promising each other we would get to this room “at some point”.
Last Christmas, our daughter arrived home from Sweden with a gift that quickly became the inspiration and catalyst for reclaiming our master bedroom and moving it up on our priority list. Today’s blog will outline our planning process for the master bedroom and the chronical the subsquent three weeks of construction. Tomorrow, you will see the the inspiration gift my daughter gave me that inspired all of the decorating choices – from furnishings and wall color to lighting and bedding. Finally, I will share some “lessons learned” from the experience and the simple measuring stick I use to determine if the project was a failure or success.
Master Bedroom Construction
Our master bedroom is approximately 12′ by 14′ feet and is located on the second floor. Before the remodel, there was one medium-sized window that did not showcase the beautiful views of Cook Inlet and nearby mountain range. On the same wall, there was a 8′ long heating unit and two electrical outlets. It was not financially feasible to add on to our room so we had to use creative solutions to make the room feel larger as well as reveal the house’s best kept secret: the privacy of our one-acre backyard and the stunning surrounding scenic views. We opted to demo the entire southern wall and replace it with wall-to-wall sidelights and double french doors. This would require moving the heating unit and electrical outlet.
Day one of Construction: Remove the Circa 1983 brown carpeting and furniture.
The next big decision was flooring. We installed 3/4″ Brazilian Cherry hardwood in the living room and wanted to continue the look into the bedroom. We knew going into the project that the sub floor would need to be removed and the joists adjusted to level the floor as the house sits on a ridge of a hill and, over time, the house has settled creating up to a 1 inch height difference in the floor from one side of the room to the other. We took advantage of having sub floor up and added soundproofing insulation between the floor joists.
Once the floor was leveled, the next step was to move the electrical and heating unit, dry-fit the french doors and hang new drywall and move the junction box for the bedroom overhead light from the center of the room closer to the wall where the headboard would eventually be placed. We also opted to skin-coat and smooth all of the walls as the existing texture was patchy and damaged from years of use.
We removed some of the hardwood in the living so that we could create the look of one continuous floor rather than use transition molding under the doorway. It was a little more time consuming but the uniform look from one room to the other was well worth the effort.
My husband and our contractor spent an entire day laying the floor making sure that they had a good mix of light and dark woods intermixed to create a natural look. As they were laying the last piece of flooring, the sun came out seeming to give its stamp of approval on a job well done.
The next big decision was wall color and the answering the age old question, “should we paint or stain the woodwork?” Thankfully, I contacted Cindy from this blog for advice. I wanted to paint the woodwork but my husband wanted to stain it as we have done in the rest of our home. (What is it with men and their wood?) Cindy reassured us that a master bedroom is personal space and can have its own feel and look from the rest of the public spaces in one’s home. I’m pretty sure Cindy’s parting advice was the deciding factor for my reluctant husband, “If it were a main room in your house I’d say stay “the same” but your bedroom has immunity! Consider it Switzerland.” Thanks Cindy!
The final day of construction was spent cleaning and hanging the newly acquired chandelier from Pottery Barn. The bones of the room were in place, next came all the decorating. Check in tomorrow to see the inspiration piece and how the room turned out.
Construction Choas Experience
Seeing all of Martha’s bedroom construction work in a short line-up of photos makes it look a lot easier (and cleaner!) than it is living it day by day. Can you relate? Are you a drywall dust survivor? Have you moved your fridge into the dining room and “cooked” on paper plates while remodeling a kitchen? Have you brushed your teeth over the kitchen sink because your bathroom plumbing lay in pieces? Leave a comment below or send an email to email@example.com and let me know what you remodeled, how you endured, your tips for survival or answer the “big” question…would you do it all over again?