Before and After: A Bare Attic Turns Into Usable Space in This “Magical and Serene” Bathroom Project

published Mar 9, 2023
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About this before & after
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Dark attic before renovation with sky light.

Apartment Therapy has featured tons of renovations of attics and A-frame homes that show how to make extreme angles and slanted ceilings work stylishly. (See: 11 A-frame cabins that’ll make you want to escape to the woods, this attic-turned-office, and this attic-turned- bedroom.) Here’s another sloped stunner to add to the list: Kimberley Hickman’s (@doing_up_the_doer_upper) attic renovation that gave her a gorgeous new bathroom.

Taking advantage of otherwise wasted square footage was a big factor in the renovation. “We really wanted to make use of the roof space because there was so much,” Kimberley says, adding that the renovation was part of a whole-home renovation that took place in 2021 and 2022. While Kimberley hired out a contractor to complete the reno, she managed the project on her own.

A big piece of the cost was just finishing the bare attic. After the attic had been converted and the room plastered, Kimberley says, the bathroom cost approximately £3,000 (about $3,578 USD). Kimberley says the removal of a chimney allowed for a giant skylight in the bathroom, and her ultimate vision for the space was a “luxurious-feeling, botanical space on a budget.”

Once the bare attic space had become an actually finished, livable space, it was time to fill in all the rest. Large-format tiles in a gray tone give the room a neutral base, while a light pink paint color on the walls adds some warmth. Both help to highlight the real star of this bathroom: the green tile in the shower and above the vanity, which Kimberley says is her favorite part of the bathroom. “I am so pleased we tiled the whole of the shower with them, creating the most serene space,” she says. (A rain shower certainly helped with the spa-like feel.)

While a project this big is sure to be pricey, Kimberley saved money in other small ways. The vanity, for instance, is an upcycled piece that she already owned. “I used a unit that was once in my children’s nursery, removed the top, and added basins,” she says, noting that she sourced the vessel sinks and fixtures from online retailers. The granite on top was a free find she scored from someone who was renovating their own kitchen; a local stonemason cut it to size. But the look is still expensive, thanks in part to brass touches in the faucets and elongated mirror, which add “a touch of luxury whilst being honest about the fact it is a still a modern space,” she says.

A project this big comes with lots of learnings, and Kimberley’s biggest reno advice is to plan for setbacks. “I think it is really important to realize that there WILL be some mistakes made along the way,” she says. For example, in her reno, the tiler didn’t fit the shower floor and accidentally cut through the electrical mat underfloor heating system, which took a while to fix. “We overcame each issue along the way (trying not to scream, shout or cry!) and haven’t looked back since!” Kimberley says.

Her other advice for a bathroom reno? “Bathrooms love plants, and plants love bathrooms. Get as many in there as can possibly fit!” Kimberley says. She finished off her space with both hanging and potted greenery that take advantage of the skylight.

That skylight is another of Kimberley’s favorite features. “There is something wonderful about seeing the moon and stars or even a plane flying over from the shower!” she says. “The space is just magical and serene.”

In addition to a gorgeous place to unwind, Kimberley’s home now has added function (and value) in place of unused upper attic space. That’s a true win-win-win.