For some time now, our youngest daughter has wanted a loft bed in her bedroom. If you have not seen a loft bed before then there is one thing to note – they take up a huge amount of space but they have the benefit of creating additional usable space underneath them. I had told my daughter that if she wanted this bed then we were going to renovate her room first as it was quite likely that the only way the loft bed was coming out of her room was in pieces on route to the fire pit 🙂
A few months ago we went to a nearby retailer and purchased the loft bed which had sat in boxes until recently. The day had come now and it was time to start prepping the room by removing everything, ripping up the old carpet and getting ready to paint. The room itself is the smallest bedroom in our home at 10 feet x 11 feet in dimension and good portion of the planning was on how to best utilize the space available.
The room was stripped bare including carpet removal, trim removal, doors, light covers, electrical covers etc. Now was the time to start painting.
For paint I prefer Behr Premium Plus as it goes on very thick and usually does not require multiple applications to soak into the drywall. Everyone has their opinions around paint and I have just stuck with what I know works best and to date it has never let me down. I can’t take much credit for painting … I hate painting. Thankfully my wife enjoys painting and, as always, helped with this project. She decided white ceiling with a border and a purple lavender colour for the walls (this daughter absolutely loves purple!). After seeing the painting completed, I must admit that I really like the border around the top portion of the walls!
With the painting complete it was time to do some electrical updates. The outlets in the room are about 30 years old and since we are doing this work, I felt it was a good time to replace them to something newer and more modern in appearance. For electrical outlets I much prefer the Leviton T5325 due to their sleek appearance and superior quality along with matching screwless Decora Plus wall plates. For the light switch itself, as I adopt HomeKit automation, I purchased the Lutron PD-6WCL-C Caseta Wireless Dimmer. Finally, a new light fixture was installed to round out the electrical work.
With regards to flooring, we had a length debate over this for a while knowing that our plan is to renovate almost every room in our house over the next while. The choices came down to hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood, laminate or vinyl planks. Each of these flooring types has advantages and disadvantages that I could write about for many paragraphs but our choice came down to a combination of flooring that could be used in basements, is durable, and is cosmetically appealing. This led us to the choice to deploy a quality laminate wood floor. After searching around local retailers we found a 12mm based laminate floor with colour we liked and a finish that I thought would look great in any room. As laminate floor designs seem to come and go, we purchased enough flooring to complete all the rooms that I thought we will be doing at this point – just over 60 cases of flooring.
For underlay on laminate floors, I really am not a fan of the floors that come with underlay pre-attached as their quality seems to be lacking. After some research, it seemed the best choice would be a cork underlay as it provides moisture protection along with a certain level of “softness” in the floor with the added bonus of some noise reduction.
A quick check of the existing subfloor shows no issues however I took this time to drive screws into a couple of noisy areas hoping to remove some creaks along the way. I used some 2 1/2″ wood screws to tighten up a few areas with success.
Now with the subfloor tightened up and my flooring climatized it was time to start laying floor. The questions I have now is which corner to start in and which direction to run the boards. The first question around which corner to start in, for me, is which corner is the most square – after a quick check I find two corners at 92 degrees and two opposing corners at 88 degrees using my protractor. So now I have the corner to start in and need to figure out which way to lay the planks. There are lots of opinions on the Internet about this but I always like to lay flooring so it “points” towards a light source – in this case a bedroom window.
Flooring underway and going well. One floor register to cut around along the way using my jigsaw (Ridgid 18V – tool review coming soon), one doorway to align to and one closet to trim around the door jams. If you have never put down flooring then make sure you have things well planned when it comes to door openings as they can seem quite challenging but once you have done them a few times (which I have) then you learn little tricks along the way to make things much easier. For me, one of those tricks was cutting away door jams to slide the flooring underneath while avoiding cutting out anymore than needed. My solution with door jams was to purchase a oscillating tool that allowed me to cut out door jams with great precision and little effort. As I’m a big fan of Ridgid tools I bought a Jobmax 18V unit that came with several attachments making this very easy. (tool review coming soon)
With the flooring completed, it now needed matching trim. My wife had suggested doing a bold white trim that essentially was the same as what was used with our new doors and windows. I could not have agreed more after taking a piece and laying it down along the new floor. Off the to the local lumber supply to pick up a bunch of it and start painting it. I always find it easier to paint trim before applying it instead of trying to line up the paint brush on trim after it’s installed 🙂
Now came the question of how to attach the trim? I could do it the “manual way” or the “easier way” which meant nails and a hammer vs a nail gun. Oooo.. another new toy – nail gun! With aggressive plans to do many rooms in the house, it seemed like investing into a good nail gun was a wise purchase at this point – I don’t think my fingernails can withstand too many hits with a hammer! This was quite honestly on my shopping list for a while but now I had a great reason to purchase one. I like to research stuff before buying and after a lot of reading and talking to some local contractors I decided to continue with my Ridgid choice and buy a new Ridgid 18V 16 Gauge 2 1/2″ straight nailer. It comes with lifetime warranty and utilizes the same batteries as I already have with some of my other tools. (tool review coming soon).
With my new nailer now in hand (no pun intended), trim painted, and saw setup outside (yup Ridgid as well) we were ready to install. The actual installation of the trim was much easier than I expected with very little surprises along the way and thanks to the nailer it was super quick to punch the nails.
Floor done, trim done, electrical upgraded – room complete! Well, not so fast …
The reason was started on this room was because my daughter wanted a loft bed. So while I was installing the trim and finishing up the room, my wife along with some friends who dropped by, thought it would be a good idea to start assembling the loft bed outside in pieces …. after all how bad can that be? Well, in a nutshell, it was a major undertaking that nobody thought would take upwards of 10 hours to assemble!! The loft bed came completely broken down into small pieces of lumber and instructions that were less than informative, however thanks to perseverance and lots of help it got done. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the loft bed being assembled but the final product made for one really happy daughter = happy parents.
The following day we went back to the place we got the loft bed and purchased a matching desk and drawers that fit underneath the loft bed allowing for maximum use of the space. Again, the assembly of the desk and drawers took a combined 6 hours to put together – something to keep in mind if you are thinking of buying this kind of furniture (note to self – don’t buy this stuff again!).
The room is now finished complete with new curtains but one small problem still presented itself. There was very limited light underneath the bed due to the bed itself blocking a lot of the overhead light. One solution might have been to put a lamp on the desk underneath but I also wanted to provide some ambient light at times which would also function as a “night light” so my daughter didn’t hurt herself on the stairs if she had to get up in the middle of the night. To solve this, I installed a Hue light strip along the bottom of the bed which provides for a fully controllable ambient light at nighttime along with ample light when my daughter wants to work at her desk. Because it’s a controllable light using HomeKit technology, she can control it from her iPhone anytime she needs to change a setting. Finally, I built an automation scene in HomeKit that turns the light on at 20% ambience at sunset and turns it off at sunrise solving my concerns around having enough light at nighttime to see the stairs going up to the bed.
Now the room is complete and my daughter says she gets the best sleep she has ever had!
Paul Stewart lives near Peterborough, Ontario in Canada. This blog is about all things not work related including home automation, home renovations and anything else that comes along that I feel like writing about!