Virtual House Tour: The Attic

Last summer, when we first moved into our house, I posted a “virtual house tour” of both the inside and the outside, with plans to eventually also do an installment for the attic and the basement. And now the suspense is finally over, at least on one of those things — today’s post will feature the long-overdue third installment of the virtual house tour, providing the first real glimpse of our attic on this blog so far.

Our attic is partly finished in the sense that there’s one weird little room up there, but there’s not much in the way of insulation, and no heating or cooling, so it gets to be about 150 degrees up there in the summer and it generally just isn’t liveable space. To give an idea of the layout, the following is a floorplan of the attic:

Attic Floor Plan

The floor plan of our attic, created using FloorPlanner.com.

My first reaction after taking all the measurements and making the floorplan was that I must have messed up somewhere, because the attic looked a lot more square than the floorplan for the rest of the house (which you can see at the beginning of this post). But the attic doesn’t extend over the mudroom or the tandem room, and it loses a few additional feet at the front and back because of the way the dormers are set up, so that really is the overall shape of it.

The other weird thing I noticed, only upon taking the measurements and making the floorplan, was that mysterious block of completely inaccessible space in the lower right corner. Due to the slant of the roof it would definitely be a “crawlspace” area, with no more than three or four feet clearance at the high end, but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of access panel or anything for getting in there. (It’s also worth mentioning that this inaccessible space just happens to be right above the kitchen, which has some ceiling-related mysteries of its own. Makes you wonder…)

Anyway, as you may remember from the inside portion of the virtual house tour, the stairs to the attic are located in the dining room, tucked away behind a door. The stairs themselves are fairly narrow and definitely have an unfinished, utilitarian look with just some dull gray paint:

The stairs leading up to our attic.

At the top of the stairs there’s an almost closet-like nook, though you can see on the floorplan how it doesn’t actually have a door or anything to make it a fully legit closet. From the top of the stairs, the unfinished portion of the attic is to the left and the pink room is on the right. The following is a view of the unfinished portion of the attic:

A view of the unfinished portion of our attic, as seen from the door.

As far as unfinished attics go, though, I know they can be a lot more unfinished than ours — we at least have solid floorboards spanning the whole thing, rough and splintery as they may be. At the house I grew up in, the attic had no floorboards at all. There was just the exposed insulation, which meant you couldn’t really walk around up there without balancing on the narrow joists (or else you’d likely fall straight through the drywall ceiling).

Above the unfinished part of the attic you’ll see just the exposed, slanty boards of the roof, with no drywall or insulation or anything. Here’s another photo from a slightly different angle that shows a better view:

Another view of the unfinished portion of our attic.

As for the pink room, I’m really not sure what the story is there. The color seems to suggest that maybe it was intended as a little girl’s room, except as I mentioned before the attic isn’t really livable due to its climate-related issues. Plus the previous owners had only two sons, neither of whom seemed to know what the deal was with the pink room, only that they used to play up there as kids. (Which suggests that the pink room has been around, more or less in its current state, since the 1960’s or earlier.)

Due to its small size (around 9 by 13 feet) and slanty ceilings, I had a hard time photographing the pink room, and the best I could seem to do was stitch several shots together into this (slightly distorted) panorama:

A view of the “pink room” in our attic.

So anyway, that’s the attic, it all its unfinished (and in some places perplexing) glory. I’ll confess that I’ve probably only been up there 4 or 5 times total since we bought the house — we don’t use it for storage, and there generally just isn’t much reason to venture up there at all. But the same unfinished-ness that has caused us to ignore and neglect the attic also means that it’s kind of a blank slate, with the potential to someday be transformed into whatever kind of layout we want.

What do you make of the pink room, or of the attic in general? And what kind of modifications or renovations would you make to this attic in a pipe dream universe where money was no object?

7 Comments

  1. That seems like a very large attic, and that is an extremely pink room! I like pink, but that may be even too much pink for me! If it were me, I would love to finish the attic and make it into a home office. It would be a nice quiet place to work. Maybe even the dog’s barking wouldn’t be disturbing. Also, I think it would feel more like I was going to work, if you know what I mean. I work remotely from home, but there are times when I can get distracted by things that need doing here. I think if I had an office sort of separate from the house, it would be easier for me to concentrate on work.

    I could also see the attic as another bedroom possibly once it is finished. You never know what you might need another bedroom for (although you actually probably do know). It is definitely a nice big space that much could be done with. I also like that it’s easy to get to. Many of the ones they build here simply aren’t.

    It looks like a very interesting space. I’m looking forward to seeing what you might do with it.

    Happy early birthday, Sarah!!! Love you!!!!

    • It’s true that the pink room is very, very pink — almost hard on the eyes, haha! I do like the idea of a quiet workspace, and I definitely know what you mean about trying to tune out all the distractions and concentrate when working from home, it can be really challenging. Although another bedroom or two up in the attic would also be nice, especially if we could figure out how to cram a “master” sized bedroom up there. Thanks for the birthday wishes, and Amy’s card was beautiful! :)

  2. Oooh, a space to design as you please! These thoughts come to me off the top of my head — tear out the pink room walls and the ‘closet’ area walls, then insulate between the rafters with rigid panel insulation to keep the rafters showing. Tear out the wall enclosing the stairs in the dining room and replace the studs there with decorative supports spaced further apart. Widen the stairway if necessary, but as long as it’s navigable I probably would just leave them. I wonder if that mystery space was an aborted attempt to put a bathroom into the pink area, with pipes coming up from the kitchen? At any rate you need a second bath, so I’d put one there or over the downstairs bath.

    The rest of the attic could be a master bedroom, or a child’s bedroom/playroom. Lily is too little to have her room so far away, so for now it could be a nice home office.

    There’s loads of pictures on Google if you type in ‘luxurious attic decor’ or ‘child’s attic playroom.’

    Have fun!

    • Thanks for the suggestions and links — those are some beautiful attic spaces, especially that loft bed! I do love the idea of opening up and possibly widening the stairway one of these days, since it feels pretty claustrophobic the way it is right now. As for the pipes and such, I’m not sure a bathroom could fit in that weird inaccessible space off the pink room due to the low/slanted ceiling, but having a bathroom somewhere upstairs would definitely be nice, especially if we end up adding a bedroom or playroom or office up there. There are so many possibilities to think about! :)

  3. Ok, time for the weird grandmama to comment! Am I the only one to immediately think “Jimmy Hoffa”?! Not really likely, but it WAS my first thought about that enclosed space.

    The pink room certainly looks designed for a little girl, perhaps one who didn’t visit very often. With that in mind, perhaps the enclosed space was meant to be opened up and used for a closet – though it MIGHT contain pipes to defunct appliances from the kitchen, which they decided to wall off rather than attempt removal. We found one such pipe in my kitchen’s half wall, when we were replacing the paneling – at first we were just going to re-cover it, but Rachel’s fella wrestled it out (it was L shaped and 2 sizes, and HEAVY), and nothing blew up, so I suspect it was perhaps a sink drain from when the house was smaller.

    As far as making the space livable, they make window units now which are combo AC/heaters, if there is electricity available in that pink room. Though personally, I’d hate to lose the window light, so if “money is no object”, I’d do the panel insulation that mom suggested, then install some sort of AC units up there that are set into the walls, and ceiling fans at the peak, if there’s room. Run extra piping from your heat system into the attic’s floor, and there you are. Master bedroom, bath and office; or Lily’s playroom extraordinaire! Hey, wouldn’t it be neat to open that enclosed space and find an already plumbed toilet sitting there?

    • Hehe, Jimmy Hoffa… We have kind of a running joke about a body hidden up there, especially with the weirdness of the kitchen ceiling. And the enclosed space *is* just about the right size to conceal a body, so you have to wonder…

      It’s really interesting how houses are built up over time with pipes and other remnants left behind in the walls, and how it can be kind of like peeling away archeological layers speculating on how things used to be set up. Thanks for the suggestions, I like the “money is no object” idea! (Although money is probably going to be the single biggest determining factor when it comes to what we can do up there, haha.) And it would be amazing to find working plumbing in the attic :)

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