Welcome to another room renovation! During the last three years, Slav and I have been upgrading our 1964 ranch room by room. While some space received complete overhaul (see the basement archives), lots of other spaces got incremental changes to keep the disruption minimal. One of such places is a main floor bedroom.

The Past



This is how the space has looked for most of the three years we’ve lived here. A king bed occupied majority of the room, and two closets housed all of our clothing. It was our bedroom for two and half years, until we moved into the new master last winter.


This room has gone through several basic changes. The wall-to-wall carpet was removed, and the aluminum windows were upgraded to new vinyl windows. When renovating Slav’s office, we reversed a closet to face the bedroom, doubling the storage space in this room.


After moving our bedroom downstairs, this room has played music chairs. It was a guest room, Slav’s TV room, plant room, yoga room, and most recently, my makeshift office. You can watch videos from different stages of this room from my IG stories saved in “Guest bedroom” highlights. This is how the room looks like today:


Maybe familiarity is the key of affection, after being stuck in this little space for 11 weeks, I fell in love. I appreciate the energy of morning light, the calming scent of backyard blooms, the remoteness of blue sky perfectly framed by the picture window… It is just detached enough from our living space to gain focus, and sitting on floor pillows brings up a liberating feeling I’ve not experienced since childhood.


More time I spent in this room, more I want it to be mine. But my… what? I do not need a home office, we already have a library wall, and downstairs there is a dedicated media room for watching TV. I am so used to renovate rooms for specific activities, which are really clear for a bedroom or an office. Without a well defined function to use this room for, I am having a hard time pinning down what to do here. All I know want this room to be is a retreat, a place for anything I feel like doing to relax, including writing, reading, yoga, growing plants… in peace and solidarity. So I guess this is gonna become a… womencave? What I do know is the vibe: to be less serious than an office, more airy than a library, and more energetic than a sitting room. Is it too much to ask?

The Current

Before jumping into the plans let us look at this room in context. The future retreat, labeled as “3” below, is about 11′ x 10.5′ plus two closets.

Ranch main floor_3D

This room sits at the northeast corner of our house and has two windows. The east facing window overlooks our backyard. I love looking out of it and often keep it open for fresh air. It is also the brightest place in the entire house, which is incredibly useful in winter months for keeping houseplants happy.


There is a smaller window facing north. We keep it closed most of the time, only open it in summer nights for cool breeze. Although not offering an appreciable view, it is very functional without sacrificing privacy.


The wall shared with Slav’s office has two closets. They are side-by-side and extremely valuable to have when this room was used as a master. But for guest, we can get away with having just one closet.


While not a fan of bi-fold doors, Slav never liked the curtains either. The bedroom door location prevented us from installing swing-open doors in the past, but this will be fixed during this renovation. I am working on something that is a better fit with the space and our design plans.


This room and the adjoining bath both open to a tiny hallway. With a small linen closet this hallway is hard to maneuver. However, it does provide a sense of separation from the main living space. We will keep the hallway and the linen closet intact.


The wall on the left side of the bedroom door is shared with the hall bath (labeled as “5”). I purposely did not put any furniture here. When practicing yoga it is very helpful to have an empty wall around.


The Design Plan
The guest bed and closet

Now onto the plan of attack. This retreat does need to perform as a guest bedroom 5% of the time. So the first order of business is to hide the bed. 🙂 I want the bed to be completely tacked away when it is not in use, but when in use it needs to be comfortable and solid with a high quality mattress. The solution? A Murphy bed.

“Panel Bed” DIY Murphy Bed Frame Kit

I never liked the usual Murphy bed construction, which includes a big cabinet flanked by often two bookcases. It happens that both of closets are big enough for our full size mattress and a full size Murphy bed frame! It is God’s will, people. Murphy bed kit here comes. And the right side of the closet wall will get some serious DIY soon!


Thanks to the depth of the closet, when in use the bed will only come out to where the mattress currently is, leaving plenty space for other furniture.


That leaves the closet on the left for storage. It will get an upgrade inside with pretty storage options, and cabinet-like doors that match the bottom of the Murphy bed, creating a build-in look for this wall.


A New Entry

Being an add-on, this closet does not work well with the bedroom door. To solve this problem, we will be relocating the bedroom door to the opening of the hallway, flush with the office opening.


This minor change offers a big advantage – it will enclose the bathroom entry inside the bedroom entry, therefore creating a private suite. Although we never renovate for resale, having a second master suite on the main floor is undoubtedly a profitable upgrade to the house.


The Desk

I do not usually bring work home, but I do spend a lot of time at home reading, researching, drawing plans, and writing for house projects. I work the best on big surfaces. And since a kid, I always dreamed of a big L-shape desk:

Profile: Jessica de Ruiter

I can see this layout working for this room! Just imagine the Murphy bed and closet covered on the left, and a desk situated between the two windows:


The Timeline!

I proposed my vision to the head of the household and my proposal was approved! Funding has been issued and Murphy bed kit has been ordered. I wish all the grant application at work were this easy – of course without any of the flirting I had to do for this one. Optimistically we aim to complete this renovation by the end of summer, but it will be totally OK to take it slow since this project will be isolated from the main living space. There is no real deadline to get it completed, and I would really like to get the details right to take this room up a notch.

To be honest, I am very tickled by this renovation project – there is almost no dusty demolitions, only minimal structure changes, lots of customization, and DIY heavy. I will come back with inspiration photos and a more detailed plan for the Murphy bed wall next week. At the mean time, do not beat me up for starting another project…I knew I had told everyone in my life that we are done with the 2020 renovation!