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Best Attic Before and Afters 2015

You showed us your revamped garrets. Now see which made us do a double take in our annual Search for America's Best Remodel Contest

Beautifully Finished Attics

If you think attics are creepy-crawly spaces—meant solely for cobweb-dusted storage—think twice. Here are our top picks for attic renovations, chosen by the editors of This Old House.

See all the winners and finalists from the Search for America's Best Remodel 2015

Making an Attic Into a Master Closet: Before

Who: Andrew O.

Where: Winnetka, IL

"The house is an 1890s farmhouse with no closets in any of the bedrooms—this upgrade provided very needed closet space. I framed out knee walls and exterior walls; designed and built a custom spiral staircase on top of the old straight staircase, including a custom stair rail; preserved open beams by inlaying the drywall; added ridge-vent and ceiling/wall insulation; ran 30-amp electrical for heat, lighting, and HVAC; built custom drawers; installed new windows; and built custom insulation-contact light boxes."

Making an Attic Into a Master Closet: After

Who: Andrew O.

Where: Winnetka, IL

"This took almost two years to complete—everything was custom, since I was building it into a 120-plus-year-old house. Doing it myself probably saved $15K. I actually finished the project one day before my wife went into labor with our first son. The carpet was laid and baseboards installed (although not completely painted), and hours later we were rushing to the hospital!"

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

See all the images from this entry.

Recreate your own dream closet with our advice on building walk-in closet storage.

A Man Cave So Tricked Out He May Never Leave It: Before

Who: Allison S.

Where: Huntsville, AL

"Installing the reclaimed wood wall and ceiling beams was probably the hardest part. The wall is composed entirely of wood of differing widths and lengths. Figuring out what pieces could go where and nailing them all in was a challenge. The beams required the strength of one man holding one end up and another finding studs, measuring, pre-drilling, and screwing in the lag bolts. With the tall ceilings, that took days!

A Man Cave So Tricked Out He May Never Leave It: After

Who: Allison S.

Where: Huntsville, AL

"My husband, Blakely, a 28-year-old engineer, and I, a 24-year-old wedding planner, live in Alabama. I have an eye for eclectic design and love a good deal; my husband can build just about anything I dream up, so we are the perfect team. We enjoyed every minute of the remodel!"

Who did the work: We did most of the work ourselves.

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

See all the images from this entry.

Build your own getaway with our design tips for a man den.

A Victorian Bungalow's Attic Spruced Up With Salvage: Before

Who: Marygrace F.

Where: Louisville, KY

"The attic was totally gutted and insulation was sprayed into the ceiling and walls. New drywall was installed. The bathroom and office floors are vintage linoleum that was found under the carpeting. New carpet was laid everywhere else. Bookcases were installed into the knee walls with sliding doors made from old church windows, hanging on barn rails. The space was divided into an office, a bedroom, a bath, a den, and a wet bar."

A Victorian Bungalow's Attic Spruced Up With Salvage: After

Who: Marygrace F.

Where: Louisville, KY

"I love how we used salvaged materials to create an attic oasis. I think we kept the remodel in character with the rest of the house, including such details as using push-button light switches to match the ones on the main floor. We also installed wood windows that match the house and found trim that also mirrors the downstairs. Finding vintage linoleum under the shag carpeting was thrilling, and it served as our color scheme."

Who did the work: We did some of the work ourselves but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

See all the images from this entry.

Get a similar look by following our how-to on installing a linoleum tile floor.

An Eye-Catching Perch for Sipping a Whiskey: Before

Who: Stephen F.

Where: Amherst, NY

"I added a window, did electrical work, installed drywall, designed a custom staircase to fit the limited space, designed and built custom built-in bookcases including a window seat, and installed a hardwood floor."

An Eye-Catching Perch for Sipping a Whiskey: After

Who: Stephen F.

Where: Amherst, NY

"I liked that we were able to add 200 square feet of space to our home. It is also a fun conversation piece to have such a unique room tucked away behind a bookcase door. The stair railing was designed to look like structural steel, including a scale model of the famous photo 'Lunch Atop a Skyscraper.' The woodwork was made from sapele, a tropical wood from Africa."

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

See all the images from this entry.

Carve out your new favorite hangout spot by watching our how-to for building a home bar.

Airy Office Perch Created on the Cheap: Before

Who: Janelle S.

Where: Lancaster, PA

"When we purchased this home at auction, this room was only accessible via an old bridge going across the living room! We tore the bridge down and widened the door, creating access via an old ladder. Original chestnut floors were refurbished. New drywall, black trim, and window sconces were added for a touch of old-world charm. It's a favorite place for our children and our guests alike!"

Airy Office Perch Created on the Cheap: After

Who: Janelle S.

Where: Lancaster, PA

"We love the extra space it gives our family. The children love climbing the ladder to do their homework. We knew that with a bit of hard work we could refinish those beautiful floors. I'm glad we didn't give up!"

Who did the work: We did all the work ourselves.

Cost: $100 to $500

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Steal ideas from these amazing home office spaces and study stations.

A Great Crash Pad for Out-of-Town Guests and Big Soirees: Before

Who: Doug P.

Where: Georgetown, SC

"We essentially opened up a closed stairway to a rather dark foyer and dining room. We finished a large attic with a 10-foot ceiling, resulting in approximately 400 square feet of storage (not shown), over 800 square feet of great room with a wet bar, a craft nook (not shown), and a full bath. The area was completely unfinished, which required installing HVAC and upgrading electrical and plumbing."

A Great Crash Pad for Out-of-Town Guests and Big Soirees: After

Who: Doug P.

Where: Georgetown, SC

"It affords us lots of space for visiting family and friends. The great room has two daybeds, which come in handy when we have a houseful of guests. It also has been an asset when hosting large parties."

Who did the work: A contractor did all the work.

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

See all the images from this entry.

Get more lofty ideas for your attic space with ways to change unused space into rooms you need.

A Lovingly Finished Space of Her Own: Before

Who: Rob B.

Where: Le Mars, IA

"The attic was unfinished except for a maid's-quarters bedroom that still remains as it was. I did all the framing, electric, and plumbing work. I hired out spray-foam insulation application. I installed all the wall material, which is rough-sawn knotty alder that I purchased in bulk at the auction of a retiring woodworker. I painted the walls, finished the original floor, tiled the bath, and installed fixtures. I hired out heating and AC."

A Lovingly Finished Space of Her Own: After

Who: Rob B.

Where: Le Mars, IA

"My daughter loves the room, as she was sharing a bedroom with her 7-year-old sister. The project is one of many that I have completed in my home, including a finished basement; a new addition with a kitchen, building all my own kitchen cabinets, and a walnut island and butcher-block counters from walnut trees original to the property; as well as bathroom remodels and much outside landscaping."

Who did the work: I did all of the work myself.

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

See all the images from this entry.

Get more kids' room ideas from an attic turned ultimate kids' bedroom suite.

A Refuge in the Rafters: Before

Who: Sue W.

Where: St. Paul, MN

"The attic had been insulated but had only one light source. The renovation included putting in walls, outlets, and fixtures, three new windows, electric heat, more insulation, sanding and finishing the floor, built-in bookcases, and a cove for a single bed."

A Refuge in the Rafters: After

Who: Sue W.

Where: St. Paul, MN

"The space was transformed by the light. It was a dark and dusty space before. Now it is sunny and bright—a quiet, warm room for reading and writing."

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

See all the images from this entry.

Follow our detailed instructions for building a bookcase.