Best Living Space Redo: During

Who: Lynne Anderson
Where: Fernandina Beach, Florida

I had the windows and skylights put in, and by the time the top floor was prepped, I'd picked up enough skills to take on my dream project. After hiring out some basic framing and the plumbing and electrical for the bath, my friend and I kissed the pros good-bye and went total DIY. We hauled a table saw and a chop saw upstairs (at one point I nearly lost a thumb!), and we tiled the bath, installed light fixtures, subflooring, and pine floorboards, and put up the tongue-and-groove ceiling. We built shelves topped with reclaimed heart pine and propped up a mirror so that you don't face a wall when you reach the top of the stairs.

I keep a file with pictures from magazines, and my decorating ideas had been percolating for years. I knew I wanted the suite to feel simple and restful. The centerpiece had to be an iron bed I first spotted 20 years ago in a store in New York. They still make it, and I brought it up in pieces. Finally, I made all the pillows and window treatments for the space. After retiring from an office job, it's nice to enjoy a restful retreat filled with my own handiwork.

Shown: Midway through the redo, the formerly spooky, windowless attic began to show signs of potential.

See more photos from this remodel.
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