Attic Becomes A Suite Retreat Upstairs
Untapped space tucked under the roof becomes a light-filled bedroom, bath, and home office
Sometimes in the search for more living space there's no place to look but up. When Alan Koch bought this 1933 cottage in Portland, Oregon, he knew he'd be finishing the 600-square-foot attic sooner rather than later. And as a work-at-home educational and marketing consultant, Alan hankered for a light, bright office where he could spread out. By tapping the upstairs, he figured he could carve out just such a space, as well as a comfortable master suite, reserving downstairs bedrooms for guests and TV viewing.
Working with designer Kevin Fischer, he expanded the attic space by 100 square feet with a gabled dormer and, serving as his own general contractor, hired out HVAC and roof work while tackling demo and finish details himself. His airy aerie is now complete, and makes the most of every square inch with smart space-saving details—like the closet pocket door that keeps the passage-way free and clear. Says Alan, "It's such a homey space and, with views of sky and trees, an uplifting one, too."
The existing unfinished attic rose 7 feet to the collar ties. With the structure reworked, the bedroom gained a 9-foot ceiling with a large skylight to brighten the dressing area.
Architect: Kevin Fischer, Alice Design, Portland, OR; 503-280-9026
Interior design: Charlotte Cooney, Domestic Arts, Portland, OR; 971-227-5675
The office opens up to the library with a large arch to make the two spaces feel like one. A built-in desk runs the length of the new dormer's north wall. Because the room was built from scratch, homeowner Alan Koch was able to run all wiring and cables behind the walls, hooking them up to computer equipment hidden in custom cabinetry.
Cabinetry: DC Woodworking, Mulino, OR; 503-829-9061
A staircase from the ground floor led to an unfinished T-shaped attic space.
Adding a dormer provided 100 square feet for the home office, located near the top of the stairs; it was left open to the stairwell and library wall for a feeling of spaciousness. The mechanicals closet and a door separate these areas from the master suite.
Shown here (clockwise, top left:) 1. The office occupies a dormer bumpout. The desk stretches wall to wall and is framed by windows; 2. The bath, in the shortest arm of the old T, gained room by recessing the toilet into the mechanicals closet. A skylight brightens up the space; 3. The master bedroom fits into the largest open space. The room narrows at the entrance for a closet and built-in bureau with a skylight overhead; 4. Low bookcases line the library wall opposite the office and behind the stairwell balustrade.