The dramatic primary bedroom before and after for our 100+ year old farmhouse was the biggest remodel on the main floor. It includes an eight-foot bump out, new walk-in closet, lots of windows to bring in the view, and DIY projects to add back the old house character.
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We've reached the last room on the main floor of our 1900s farmhouse renovation - the primary bedroom!
This room got a great transformation and has become a wonderful place to get away to read and we look forward to each night and morning we spend here.
If you haven't, be sure to catch up on the other parts of our farmhouse before-and-after series:
- Living Room-Dining Room (this also includes some intro and background to our remodel)
- Hall & Laundry
- Main Bathroom
- Primary Bedroom
- Exterior (including foundation & addition)
The main bedroom now is probably the most dramatic to see, judging by the reactions of people who see it in person (though I think the kitchen was the most dramatic before and after on the main floor).
It's because the large banks of windows and the high ceiling make it pretty different from the other rooms, which is both a good and a bad thing (more on that later).
Do we love how this room turned out? Oh, yes - the first few nights after moving in, we kept saying how it felt like we were visiting an AirBnB somewhere!
But would I do things differently if I could go back? Well...yes, as you'll see below.
Primary Bedroom Before and After Video
Note: I'll provide sources to everything I can at the end of the reveal.
In order to have a main bedroom on the first floor, we had to bump out the back of the house since the room there was only 7.5 feet wide.
The original room did have a queen bed in it when we toured the house, but the head and foot almost touched the walls, so one person would have to climb over the other to get in and out which obviously isn't ideal.
We only needed eight feet to take it from a cramped room into a spacious main bedroom with a walk-in closet (we did take two of those feet to widen the bathroom, as you can see from the dotted lines on the plans above).
That shouldn't be hard, right? I read all the time about people adding 3 feet here and 4 feet there.
But if you have dealt with county or city building permits, you know there's nothing easy about it, lol.
This is one of the reasons both the foundation and bump-out took a year to do - we had to find people to draw up plans, get the permits, do the foundation, build the frame for us.
And none of it was easy. People were hard to find, the county didn't like our plan, no one really knew how to easily add a foundation to an old house.
Thankfully, we worked through all of that and got the outside done, which left the interior finishing to us.
Which brings us to the major thing I regret:
Raising the ceilings higher than the 9 foot ceilings we already had.
We now have an 11-foot high ceiling in this room. I think the reason I said "yes" to the suggestion of the builder without thinking it through was because we all love the dramatic high ceilings.
I mean, they look so good on Instagram and Pinterest and every one ooohs and aaahs over them.
But after I said yes, the problems and expenses associated with the higher ceiling just piled up:
- Once the standard 3x5 foot windows were installed, they just seemed so small in all that wall (see photo above). We purchased transom sized windows and had to pay to have them installed (photo below).
- All the electrical had been wired at the 9-foot level, so had to be extended, including adding another box in the attic section.
- We lost all the attic storage space - and that was about the only storage in the whole house.
- We had to purchase a taller ladder as well as a rolling scaffold to work on the higher walls and ceiling.
- The cost to finish the walls were a quarter more than they would've been and the added trim we needed for the windows really increased the price since we were using quality finger-jointed pine.
- The price of curtains to fit the now 10-foot long windows was astronomical - I ended up buying linen and blackout fabric and making some simple panels that are just clipped to rings (and do you think I grumbled while dealing with the huge swaths of fabric??).
- Hanging curtains is never fun, but up higher just compounds the problem.
- Every time you need to do anything - change a bulb, reattach a curtain clip, dust a cobweb, you need to get the special tall ladder.
I know it's a beautiful look and we do enjoy it, but I would never do it again. Especially because I think it's too different from the rest of our simple farmhouse, which of course was one more thing I didn't think about at all.
Farmhouse Primary Bedroom Before and After
Back wall from doorway before.
Same view after. You can see why we wanted to open up the room to the views!
I distressed and stained 2x6-inch fir boards to look like exposed rafters - we made a video showing how we did this easy DIY project you can see here.
I like the way it helps to cozy up the tall ceilings.
The shot above helps you to see how narrow the room was - just seven and a half feet across.
The same wall now.
Unfortunately, there are code rules that didn't allow us to have a window closer than four feet to the electrical box. It was too much money to move the box to the other side of the house, so we have a box in our room.
Brian is designing a ladder that will hold blankets and quilts to cover it. I think it will be a nice, colorful accent there, too.
This is the other side of the room and the built-in closet shelving, which was a good use of the space, I think. It had just seen its day, though.
I think this before and after of the door to this room really gives you an idea of how much higher the ceiling is now.
So. much. wall.
I do love the contrast of the old salvaged wood door and dresser in this room, as well as the new wood floors that continue from the rest of the house.
I wish our old church pew was wood, but we only had room on our porch for it in our last house and it began to fall apart. To save it we screwed and filled and patched, so it has to be a painted piece now.
It needs to be another color, though - I'm just not decided on what color yet.
Oh, and I'm putting together a collection of thrifted and vintage oil painted landscapes for a gallery wall above the pew which will help with all that white wall.
Here's another shot of the closet wall before.
The wall after - though the original wall stopped about where the dresser is. The eight feet we added gave us the walk-in closet.
When we found the vintage doors from a house being remodeled in town (you've seen two of them stripped and used as the door into this room and the bathroom), one of the doors was a single-pane door with a full length mirror inset on the other side.
Score! I knew it would be perfect for the closet door, with the mirror to the inside. We hung it with barn door hardware, and I LOVE having that mirror right where I get dressed.
(Note: I'm still searching for a vintage knob that would work for this door!)
We lined the closet with cedar tongue and groove planks - it was only a little more than paying someone to tape and mud sheetrock and we were noticing problems with moths at the other house on the property.
The ceiling was clad in reclaimed wood my brother found (and installed for us, along with installing the cedar!).
Funny story about the light fixture:
In the video I say that this closet light is the original fixture we found in the room - because I thought it was.
As Brian was editing the video, though, he realized that we had inadvertently installed a vintage light my friend had bought for us here and that the bedroom light had been installed in the pantry!
Oops. Yep, if you scroll back up, you can see they aren't the same.
Oh, well, we DID reuse the original, just not where we thought we did!
Here's another favorite thing in our closet that was a last minute addition - this small square window.
It's WONDERFUL to not have to turn a light on in the middle of the day when you run into the closet for something. And it's so nice to have natural light to see by when trying on clothes in the mirror.
Plus, isn't it cute?
The final before again shows just a bit more of the back wall which now looks like this:
No, I don't get tired of looking out the windows.
I found the vintage watercolor over the bed years ago at an antique store and the frame was already painted that green color. It was one of those nice moments when I hung it up and saw that it coordinated perfectly with the green nightstands.
Speaking of the nightstands, they are another favorite DIY that turned out way better than I expected.
I had planned a whole before-and-after of the project, but I've lost any before photo - seriously. Arrrgg.
So, picture these side tables (that first belonged to Brian's grandma and then mom) with a peeling and faded brown wood finish, a shelf about halfway down the legs, and three sides of scalloped edges bordering the top.
The scallops were too frou-frou for me and shelves just make me think = dust. I was looking for simple and elegant. In fact, at first I refused the tables - until I started looking at buying both new or old. Yikes, things are expensive!
So, Brian cut off the shelf and scallops and I filled the spaces with wood putty and then sanded them a lot.
I sprayed them with primer and it was when I sprayed them with the same green paint I used for the island and bathroom cabinet that I could see how wonderful they were going to be (btw, I used this same paint sprayer I reviewed and it still works great all these years later!).
The original brass pulls with their years of patina...sigh. So pretty against the green, right?
Primary Bedroom Sources
Paint for Walls and Trim: Simply White, Benjamin Moore (matched at Home Depot with Behr Premium)
Green Paint for Nightstands: Custom green, 'Boxwood' I had mixed according to the formula found in this article on Miss Mustard Seed
Window & Door Trim: 1x4" primed finger jointed pine boards
Wood panelling for walls: Utility Panel, 1/8 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft
Flooring: 3/4" Viking Hardwood Essence Oak 5" Wide 3/4" Thick Solid Hardwood (no longer available). Similar on this page at FloorsToYourHome.com (Awesome service, really recommend looking there to see if you can find something)
White Ceiling Fan: Hunter Dempsey LED Ceiling Fan
Metal Vintage Style Bed: My exact bed is no longer available, but this is a similar style where I bought ours (or I might go for this fun style now)
Bedding: Queen Linen Bed Set from H&M (the best prices!)
Decorative Pillow: Old Pottery Barn cover
Barn Door Hardware: SmartStandard 6ft Heavy Duty Sturdy Sliding Barn Door Hardware Kit
Curtain Rods & Clips: Room Darkening Blackout Curtain Rod and 1.26 diameter curtain rings with clips
Linen Fabric: Middle weight bleached linen from Fabrics-store.com
Blackout Lining: Hanes Drapery Lining Blackout Eclipse White
Be sure to let me know what you think of our renovation in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram! If you know someone who'd enjoy the series, feel free to share - I so appreciate your support!
MORE ABOUT THE 1900 FARMHOUSE
- Our New Farmhouse Fixer - The Before Tour
- Exterior Farmhouse Fixer Before Tour
- Farmhouse Fixer Yard Tour Before
- Farmhouse Fixer Year 2 Review + Video
- Farmhouse Progress Year 3 (+ Tour)
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Lovely! I especially like the green of the nightstands - it's a similar green to the one I used to see around my grandparents' farmhouse (built @1870). The great thing about old farmhouses is that they always have quirky elements; it's part of their charm. If you ever need storage and can't figure out what else to do with that big expanse of wall - I've seen lots of shallow, built-in-looking cabinets that go up to a high ceiling, in the old farmhouses (especially around doors).
And thank you - I never thought of taking off trim to make a table less frou-frou - this has me looking harder at the bones of furniture now!
Dear Jamie, First time writing from New Zealand! We have the opposite seasons to you so I re read your garden pages 6 months later when the seasonal advice applies. What a project you have going on! I have had a smaller 2 storied cottage now for just under 2 years and have endless delays with supplies and workmen, and I live there amongst the renovations. I do some things myself but need experts for building work. It heartens me to read of your journey.
Thank you for the detailed account of the "how" side of the project. Much appreciated.
Oh, lovely to hear from you, Alaine! I'm so glad it is encouraging - it definitely hasn't been the TV style done-in-a-month type of remodel, lol.
Just keep your eye on the end - that helped me a lot when I was SO tired of caulking and painting. 🙂
Jamie, The view is gorgeous and I love what you did! Good job and thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Dama!
Colleen Richardson says
You did a fantastic job. I love this bedroom and what a view you have of the mountains! I especially love the green night table. Just love everything about your house!!
Oh, thanks so much, I think the tables really bring the room together (and to think I didn't want them at first, ha!).
It's beautiful! Love the green tables
and beautiful windows. Why do you call it a primary bedroom? I've never heard that term.
Apparently that's what all the designers are calling master bedrooms now - the "master" is seen as a negative term. I see both primary and main, but primary mostly now.
It will probably be like a car - you'll start seeing it all the time now, lol.
Marlene S. says
I would spend lots of time in there, so peaceful and lovely view.
We do! 🙂
So wonderful. Looks like a such a relaxing space! Great job!
It is - thank you!