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Best Living Space Redo: After

Who: Lynne Anderson
Where: Fernandina Beach, Florida

What She Did: Turned a dark, spider-infested unfinished attic into a lofty master suite.

When I bought my 1920s cottage, 12 years ago, it had rooms on one floor and an attic accessible only by a pull-down ladder. There was a ton of space up there but no windows and no floor—just exposed joists. It was dark and creepy and all but useless.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, but I'm in a historic district, so I tried to think three steps ahead. I lined up approval to add skylights and windows while keeping busy renovating the downstairs with the help of pros who let me apprentice with them. When we got to the kitchen, we bumped it out to make room for a staircase and plumbing for the upstairs. A carpenter reinforced the attic joists so that they could support what I gradually began to envision as my master suite.

Shown: Craftsman-style pendants and an electric fireplace, plus glass pantry doors salvaged from the home-owner's previous, 1915 house, separate the bedroom and bath.
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