Ask kids, and they'll tell you the ideal place to sleep is in a tree house or on a sailboat, like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. Architect Darren Helgesen incorporated that spirit in this attic redo at a century-old house in East Hampton, New York, where he used warm finishes and smart details to turn the dark, sloped-ceilinged space into a shipshape two-bedroom suite. The homeowners, Bill and Cory Laverack, had already renovated the rest of the house. "We used a lot of beadboard and liked it," says Cory, an interior designer, so Helgesen continued it here, calling on general contractor Ronald Gray and carpenter Paul Stisi to fit together beaded boards and built-ins as neatly as jigsaw pieces. The team also rejiggered an existing bath and put down a pine floor. "It was always their favorite place," says Cory, recalling how the couple's four kids would hide out upstairs with friends every chance they got. "And now it's the ultimate sleepover space."
Shown: Snug built-ins with below-bed storage, roof windows, pine flooring, and lots of glossy beadboard opened up the space and made it more functional.