before & after: shaunna’s writing room + heather’s office

My childhood home had an attic, and although I did play quite a few games of library, office, and restaurant up there, the space never quite managed to make the jump from being kind of spooky and gross (no judgment, mom and dad). If ever land in another home with an attic, I would probably follow Shaunna’s lead and make the space as light, fresh and airy as possible. I love the whitewash treatment of the walls, ceiling and floors, plus the touch of natural woods and textures here and there. I would never think that this gorgeous room was once a dark, musty attic. Beautifully done, Shaunna! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see more of Shaunna’s writing room and Heather’s office after the jump!

I wanted to keep with the light, airy feeling of the previous project, and I thought this great office makeover from Heather was just too good to pass up. We know from her previous submission that Heather loves orange. Now that she’s moved from her tiny apartment and purchased her first home, she can really let loose, and it shows in this amazingly unique and artful studio/office.

The accent wall is papered with vintage wallpapers that Heather received from her aunt, and the crisp white storage is a combination of Ikea pieces and simple shelving from the Container Store. You can see more of Heather’s office and the rest of her home on her blog, The Orange Door Cottage. If I had to be glued to a desk, I would want it to be here. Great job, Heather!


wow. it’s amazing how white just opens up a space. i recently redid my office/ studio and everything is mainly white. it’s great to work in.


Thanks so very much for featuring my writing room…it was certainly a labor of love (and sweat), so it’s wonderful when other people appreciate it. Thanks again!!


I had to scroll back and forth between the “before” and “after” photos for that attic a few times, just to make sure it was the same room! What a lovely transformation!


I especially like the scripture in your bathroom; great reminder everyday that you are in good hands. Good job!


I am obsessed with the idea of having a bathroom like that! Oh to have a hidden bath away from dogs, spouses, and others!


Oh man, that attic is AMAZING! I’ve always wanted an attic bedroom ever since seeing one on Just the 10 of Us in the 80s. ;)


The attic space is fantastic. I wish I were brave enough to have a white room, but I’m always afraid the result will look cold. This room is wonderful!


Great job. I am very interested to know where the hot water tank went….


I love this attic space re do. I have a small attic space that I could work some magic with. I was wondering if anything was done to the roof line. I fear that is what I need to do and scared of the costs involved. I was also wondering a time frame to get this beautiful transformation accomplished.

christina @ somethingnewagain

at first i thought the bathtub was in the actual writing room, and i thought, “how relaxing and wonderful!” it makes more sense that it’s in the bathroom, but still is wonderful. what a dreamy space.


I don’t believe my eyes.. I can’t believe how the attic was transformed.. I think it’s a great idea to take advantage of avery space.


That attic is unbelievable! If only my attic access wasn’t a rickety pull-down ladder in my laundry room!


That attic is so beautiful, skylights and all. As someone who has just battled an attic project in the Midwest, if you live in varied climates, consult an insulation & ventilation expert to make sure all goes well in hot humid summers and cold dry winters. All attics are not easy, I’ve found.


ooh I had the same question as Dee… In the before picture
are we seeing the opposite end of the attic? Or did they raise the
roof? Because the roof line looks different in the after!


These rooms are so inspriational! Believe it or not but I need re-purpose my attic space (with the exact shape!) into a bedroom and design a new office/studio space for my new business (in the basement, so white will keep it bright! This post is right on the mark! Thanks!


We have a huge attic in our house but my husband complains there’s no head clearance along the walls. Just sent him this re-do (along with the playroom from her site!) and hopefully he’ll change his mind ;)


I, too, am dying to know if they altered the roof line on
the attic or worked within the original space. It’s perfect, just

Betch Glenn

While I think that this is a beautiful Before and After,
and while I am a devoted Design Sponge follower and admirer, I
lately find myself becoming frustrated at the lack of step-by-step
commentary and the dearth of photographs of the actual design
process in the Before and After. In my opinion, it puts most of
these projects out of one’s reach, and in instances like this,
causes one to wonder if one is actually looking at the same project
when the results appear so different from the original. I admire
the step-by-step approach in the D.I.Y. section which makes it
possible to consider tackling such a project oneself. But I find
that merely enjoying the Before and After photographs, with little
or no explanation, is no longer as satisfying as it was when the
site was younger. Perhaps I am expecting too much or am
misunderstanding the purpose of the Before and After?



I appreciate your feedback- the before & after column actually isn’t that old so we are still learning how best to handle the meat of the posts, whether they include specifics, etc.

That said, we are in the process of a site-wide audit to improve all of the columns and I will definitely keep that request and your comments in mind.


Betch Glenn

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment.

I look forward to seeing the results of your audit.


I agree with Betch- It’s frustrating to see something inspiring and not have a clue as to how they made it happen. I also wish that the sources for flooring, furnishing, faucets, etc., were listed. It would be a helpful starting point at least- apartment therapy does a good job of this in their featured homes.


I personally like the way the before & after section currently is. I wouldn’t want to see it turned into a step-by-step instruction type of thing as that’s what the DIY section is for.


I agree with Betch as well. Would love brief description of how this happened. Attic is remarkable transformation. What happened to hot water heater and the roof?


Hey, it’s me, attic transformation girl. :) I’m not sure if
anyone will see this follow-up comment, but I would be remiss to
leave questions unanswered. First, let me say you can visit my blog
for very detailed posts on the transformation. As far as the other two
questions…the roof , it was not changed at all. There was a wall
built leading up the staircase, so we built the ceiling “down” to
meet the wall and, of course, house the insulation. Secondly, the
bathroom was built around the water heater…it was simply moved
back about 10 feet and is now in a small unfinished storage closet
(you can see the door leading out). We did hire this part
out…they moved our air conditioning unit also (this was done for
our playroom and home theater.) Hope this helps some…and feel
free to email me with any questions. Thanks, again, Design
Sponge…love ya!