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Homeowners Find Respite under the Roof with Attic Conversions

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By Lynn Underwood

The basic bathroom felt spartan and unfinished, so the Griffins added enhancements several years later, working with Adam DeMalignon of Inspire Design and Construction in Minneapolis, with tile design by Lori Halverson, TilexDesign, Plymouth. They replaced a pedestal sink with a dark-stained wenge wood vanity covered with honed granite, and added new tile accents. “The new windows we bought in December with the wenge wood trim took the finished look up a notch,” said Nancy.

Biggest splurge: A glass and tile oversized shower customized to fit into a tight space. “That’s why we had to do the bathroom in two phases,” said Nancy.

The great escape: The Griffins ban clutter in their master suite to ensure a calm, relaxing environment. “We wanted it to be an escape from the rest of the house and where we can decompress after a busy workday,” said Nancy. “And feel like it’s uniquely ours.”

Craftsman Boudoir

The starting point: A 1920s Craftsman bungalow in the Longfellow neighborhood. The unfinished attic with open rafters and low, sloping walls was where homeowners Linda and Gerry Berglin stored boxes of books. On the main floor were two bedrooms and a bathroom with no shower. “We really wanted a new bedroom,” said Gerry. “But we wanted to make use of the raw space we already had,” added Linda.

What they did: Installed two Microllam beams and raised the ceiling to create spacious 10-foot-tall rooms, while retaining the attic’s existing footprint. On the exterior, the modified rooflines blend in with the architecture of the rest of the home. They also added a shed dormer at the top of the stairs for a reading nook to hold Linda’s vintage furniture. The existing low roofline at the front of the house was the perfect spot to tuck the walk-in closet.

Vintage details: “We wanted the remodeled part to match the period of our Arts and Crafts home,” said Gerry. So they chose glass doorknobs on flat-paneled doors, Craftsman-style wood trim, hardwood floors and wall sconces. “We stuck to the bones of the house,” said Anna Berglin, an interior designer and the Berglins’ daughter. “On the stairs, we put in hardwood treads instead of carpet so it fit with the main floor.”

His-and-her bathroom: Gerry and Linda each have their own built-in medicine cabinet and pedestal sink. High awning windows draw natural light into the blue-green and terra-cotta master bath. “In the old bathroom, we were bumping into each other in the morning,” said Linda.

More than a headboard: For added character, they put in a long ledge topped with wood behind the bed instead of a plain Sheetrock wall.

Second furnace: They installed a new smaller furnace on the attic level to provide heating and air-conditioning. “It also cools the main floor — so the remodel improved the whole house,” said Gerry.

Life-changing fire: The attic conversion was completed in 2002. But the Berglins ended up demolishing and redoing the whole attic space due to smoke damage caused by a fire in a fireplace ashbox in 2012. “We did it the same as it was before,” said Anna. “We just tweaked some wall colors.”

Design team: Contractor who did the original renovation in 2002: Concept Designs, Shoreview. Most recent work: Filla Green Design Build, St. Louis Park, Minn. Interior design: Anna Berglin, St. Louis Park, www.annaberglindesign.com.

Best part: “This is our sanctuary,” said Linda. “When we come up, we let it all go.”

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