before and after: leah’s attic

talk about a makeover! writer and editor leah hennen undertook one heck of a before & after with the renovation of circa 1939 home’s attic. because both leah and her husband are on the tall side (lucky), their attic space was best suited to their young daughter. after some pretty incredible renovation they created the perfect work/sleep/art studio space for their daughter. oh man, this sort of makeover makes me want to buy a fixer upper and get started! thanks to leah for sharing- you can click here to read her full post about the project and see more photos.

[leah’s attic space “before”. yikes!]

[improved, but empty, space]

[the new corner bedroom]

  1. Sam says:

    What a beautiful space! Those small circular rugs are so great. Anybody know where I can find them? Thanks!

  2. laura says:

    What a lovely place to be a little girl.

  3. shimelle says:

    I am totally willing to revert to childhood, including going through the horrors of junior high a second time, if it means I can live in this room.

    Or more seriously: such a beautiful result!

  4. What a great created space,especially like the added skylights,beyond the light,bright,and airy saying….!

  5. jhayne says:

    wow! what a beautiful space for the imagination to grow! the stuffed animals tucked into the ledge are too cute.

  6. Naomi says:

    Great post! I have being thinking of converting my bungalow’s attic and this gives me a good idea for keeping the roof versus removing it. Thanks!

  7. Jen says:

    Truly beautiful! I wish I had a bedroom/artroom like that when I was younger! We have a 1938 house with a huge attic I would love to renovate. I read her blog and I had no idea you could hire an architect by the hour. Good to know : )

  8. Good job Leah – nothing like vertical light from skylights to improve an attic space – looks so fresh and cool!

  9. Lauren says:

    wow! that looks so incredible.

  10. Monica says:

    *Wow*! That’s such an amazing and beautiful change!! I love those floors.

  11. Melissa says:

    WOW! the transformation of your attic is just unreal! Thanks for sharing your eye for design!!

  12. Kristan says:

    My god, that transformation is about as stunning as turning lead into gold… Can she do my place? :P

  13. Kristan says:

    That dress is beautiful too…

  14. tinyheat says:

    wow. amazing. ever since i can remember i was always fascinated by having an attic room, especially as a kid. this is just that and then some.

  15. Becce Apple says:

    Incredible! Where did she get those fun pom-poms hanging above the bed?

  16. Elena says:

    omg i love the puffy balls hanging from th eceiling. have been trying to find some forever. the closest i got were chinies red ones that are plastic, but they look cheap and tacky. anyone know where i can find sth similar?

  17. Sam says:

    Hey — what a beautiful space! I’m hunting for some small circular rugs like the ones in the last photo. Can anybody tell me where they came from?

  18. emily says:

    Love it! Where are those blue swirl circle rugs from?

  19. Wendy says:


  20. Leah Hennen says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    We got the circular rugs at IKEA for like $5 each — they’re actually bathmats! IKEA doesn’t seem to sell this particular swirly design any more, but they do have solid colored circular mats that you can use to similar effect:

    The pom-poms are from Cargo in Portland, OR:

    Other resources listed here:

    All the best,


  21. Tyler says:

    Look’s like Leah was/is a Cal athlete. Go Bears!

  22. Suzanne says:

    Fantastic transformation. I think you can get those little rugs from Ikea, possibly not in the same colours though.

  23. Lydia says:

    Wow! This is my childhood dream room.

  24. Beautiful! We are getting ready to buy a house whose attic is identical to the ‘before’ picture, and this just gives me so much hope! Thank you.

  25. cadmium red says:

    Beautiful transformation. Did you have to raise the roof for this renovation?

  26. Expresso says:

    Amazing! looks light and cosy!

  27. Leah Hennen says:

    Cadmium Red ,

    We opted not to raise the roof at this time — that would have required a lot more engineering and a lot more $$$ — which is why the room is better suited to our 4-foot-something daughter than to us!


  28. I read on a blog that the rugs are actually ikea bath rugs. I looked on the site but couldn’t find that actual design. I might not have looked properly, or the design could be phased out already.Great idea though.

  29. Leslie says:

    Fantastic! One of the best makeovers I’ve ever seen.
    I love all the light and white. Just lovely

  30. Fifi Flowers says:

    great attic space… I wonder if my attic space could be converted like this… hmmm

  31. Catherine says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this to my attic-this is great inspiration!

  32. blake eames says:

    we are wanting to do this at our casa! we don’t have a staircase to our attic…just pull down stairs…did you have to put one in or was it existing? p.s. cargo is one of my favorite places in the whole world!!!

  33. Leah Hennen says:

    Hi Blake,

    We had an existing staircase to the space, luckily enough. Having to locate and build stairs would have made the project much more complex.

  34. Carol says:

    The room looks gorgeous!! I love the circular rugs and the bold colors! I’ve done something similar for my daughter with lots of pink!! I got her the Rose rug at – We are very excited!

  35. How beautiful! We’re remodeling our attic right now too, and this is inspiring. Great job!!

  36. Wendy says:

    We have the same small circular rugs, and they came from Ikea. They’re really cheap and we love them!

  37. Sherri SW says:

    WOW this is so lovely makes me want to talk my parents into renovating their attic – they could really use the extra space


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