Before and After: A Cluttered Bedroom Gets a Stylish, Space-Maximizing Overhaul

published Jun 6, 2021
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About this before & after
Project Type
Before: Clothes piled on bed and in closet with no doors, only curtains

A cluttered closet can affect more than just your outfit: When the mess spills out, it can make your whole room feel less-than-relaxing. In Michele Kraus Bennett’s bedroom, that was only the beginning of her problems — the poorly laid out closet also blocked the bedroom’s only heat source, making this bedroom extra cold in winter.

Michele’s 1912 bedroom had other issues, too. “There were also two uneven, ugly little attic access doors we never, ever opened — one behind the bed, and one behind the dressers,” Michele says. Not to mention, the plaster walls had started cracking, and the layout made the space feel cramped and inefficient.

“We tried solutions to the bulky closet and the little attic access doors, mostly involving curtains, but no matter what we did it always felt sloppy and messy,” Michele says. “We wanted better clothing storage so we could both have our clothes in one room, and we also wanted a king bed. We could have neither of those things with the room as it was.”

So Michele decided to take on a total revamp of the bedroom to turn it into the organized and stylish sanctuary she envisioned.

Michele brought in a pro to help give her room a revamp — her neighbor, Nial Nutter, who’s a contractor, woodworker, and artist. It took him about five months to redo the bedroom, with results that are seriously impressive.

In the process of making the bedroom over, Nial took out the old closet to make more floor space for a king bed. Then, to add back the lost storage (and then some) he used some of the adjacent attic space to create a whole wall of closet built-ins.

“We paid a huge premium to have Nial make custom, artisanal closet doors made from reclaimed fir,” Michele explains. “We we know this project could have been less expensive, but I really do want people to know that if you hire a local craftsman to make something truly unique and special, you have to pay for it.”

Nial’s work also included a small ledge above the now king-sized bed to complement the new handcrafted closet doors. Aside from an electrician, who came in to add outlets and lights to the new closets, Nial did all the work himself.

Now, the bedroom feels more relaxing, thanks to plenty of floor space and a closet organization system that hides everything away. It was worth the time and expense, Michele says. “The room is so much more spacious with the closets at the foot of the bed,” she says. “I love that we hired our neighbor Nial to make a work of art instead of something you could buy off the shelf.”

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