Wife's childhood bedroom converted to study for in-laws

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Project by AnthonyRH posted 11-20-2016 06:50 AM 1205 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My in-laws approached me about converting my wife’s childhood bedroom into a peaceful sanctuary space for them to relax in. They travel to Colorado every year, and requested a somewhat rustic look, with wood paneling the walls and ceilings.

I started this project while in pilot training for the Air Force, and as such it took quite a while to finish (a little over a year, I believe). In order to save some time, I recruited the father-in-law to do the demolition for me, and as such I do not have any legitimate “before” pictures, but I can tell you that the room was teal, pink, and yellow, with a unicorn wallpaper border around the top of the wall, and ceiling tiles that were in various stages of abandoning their posts.

The original request was for knotty pine, with a yellow stain on it to make it look like an aged bookshelf that my wife’s grandfather had built many decades ago and not deemed worthy of any sort of stain or protective coating. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of knotty yellow pine, and was able to talk them into using cedar instead. By shopping around and bargaining I was able to get the cedar for cheaper than pine would have cost.

The walls and ceiling are Western Red Cedar, with the rough sides facing out. The ceiling wood actually came from a different mill than the wood for the walls, because when you go into a box store in western Oklahoma and request forty-eight twelve foot long cedar boards, you very quickly exhaust their supply.

I cut tongue and groove on the cedar with a dado stack, and used a chamfer bit to cut the shallow v-shaped groove to add some visual interest. All told, I calculated that I did 4,800 linear feet of cuts for the walls and ceilings of a room that is less than 150 square feet.

If you look at the studs over in the corner, you’ll notice that some of them are newer. These were installed by the guy they hired to redo their bathroom on the other side of the wall. None of the new studs were attached at top or bottom, and you can tell one of them doesn’t even go all of the way to the floor! Needless to say, that all had to be fixed.

As you can see, the room was a total gut job. I decided to re-insulate the exterior walls, repair some poor structure in the wall between the bedroom and bathroom, and update and add more electrical.

The doorway is at an angle to the rest of the room, so I decided to get fancy and parallel the shortest wall in the room with the ceiling. Nothing was square, so I ended up cutting every single board with slightly different miters in order to get the whole thing to work.

The ceiling took me about a day and a half to install, due to the tedious nature of measuring all of those angles. It’s a lot slower to put up walls and ceilings whenever you know that taping, mudding, and caulk are not going to be options!

Back to the garage to build the bookshelves. The bookshelves and all of the trim were made out of soft maple. Thankfully I had a helper for this stage who took care of all the hammering for me. Huge time saver!

bookshelves in place.

The spotlights in the three corners are each controlled by their own switch, with the ceiling fan on a separate switch as well. The father-in-law is a painter, and I wanted him to be able to use this space as a home-based gallery if he so chose.

I probably forgot to mention that the door was also baby blue.

Starting to trim out the windows.

Staining the bookshelves on site…not ideal, but the work site and workshop are 90 miles apart…

More trim going up around the windows…

It’s not Colgate blue, but I think that the knotty alder door goes better with the transforming space.

My workhorse miter saw in it’s temporary/long-term home.

I removed the closet door and frame from this non load-bearing wall with the idea of turning the space into a reading nook. To that end I added a light fixture, and an outlet as well.

Trim going up around the ceiling/wall joint. Wanted to keep it simple to not distract from the red cedar.

Finally starting to apply the Danish oil finish on the walls/ceiling!

Miter saw stand doing double duty as a clutter storage area.

Working with the windows open and a respirator on to avoid succumbing to the fumes from coating every surface in the room with Danish oil.

starting to lay down the bamboo strand flooring over the ruined oak.

Tedious cut.

Getting there!

The final piece.

If you look closely you can see the tongue and groove on the stub wall. I left that section of wall to house the light switches for the main area and the closet reading nook.

I figure this project, including design time, took me about 200 hours of labor to complete. Most of it was done over long weekend days and nights working until about 3 AM to try to accomplish as much as possible. The in-laws are happy with the room, and are currently saving up so they can have me redo their kitchen!

8 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


2059 posts in 3898 days

#1 posted 11-20-2016 07:51 AM

Nice job. That’s quite an undertaking. Been there … done that.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Ivan's profile


16326 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 11-20-2016 08:48 AM

Beautiful room that’s for sure and also stimulating too.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View obi999's profile


213 posts in 4292 days

#3 posted 11-20-2016 07:11 PM

Oh wow, i can just say: wow thats great!

-- *** the german lumberjock ***

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4032 days

#4 posted 11-20-2016 07:13 PM

You did an amazing job transforming this room into the beauty that it is—well worth the 200 hours!

I’m sure the in-laws love it; and have fun on the kitchen!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View pottz's profile


11722 posts in 1869 days

#5 posted 11-20-2016 09:21 PM

great job looks like a very peaceful room to relax and read a book on a cold winter day.your choice of cedar over the pine was dead on,not a big knotty pine fan myself.really like those track lights fits the room perfectly.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View MinnesotaHack's profile


25 posts in 1787 days

#6 posted 11-20-2016 10:39 PM

Looks like a fantastic place to read, research and rest. Excellent work. Good luck on the pilot training.

View AnthonyRH's profile


33 posts in 3254 days

#7 posted 11-21-2016 02:30 AM

Thanks for the kind comments. It is definitely the most relaxing space in the house, and was well worth the effort.

I also successfully completed pilot training and now fly the kc-135r

View adam502's profile


32 posts in 2810 days

#8 posted 11-21-2016 03:06 PM

Phenomenal job. What an amazing transformation!!!

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