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Home improvement mavens: Do I do this or do I not?

NOTE: If you’re just here for the politics, you’ll probably want to skip this one. But if your also read Living Freedom for arts & home improvement, I’d appreciate your thoughts.


This winter, The Wandering Monk and I are tackling the remaining interior home improvement projects. As many as we can, anyhow. With luck, in the next two years everything but the flooring will finally be done.

This winter’s projects aren’t big, but they’ll make a big difference.

There’s one I may or may not do. It’s been on my mind for a couple of years. One day I think, “Yeah, let’s do that!” The next day I think, “But OMG, that could be a disaster!”

I asked the Monk his opinion on it a few months ago and he said unequivocally, “Nope, don’t do it.” Then when he was here earlier this month, he seemed to think it might not be such a bad idea.

At the moment I’m about 90% in favor again. But tomorrow is another day. So, Dear Commentariat, I’m asking your thoughts.

Here goes:

This is the living room at Mo Saoirse Hermitage. Please pardon the construction materials stashed around it, especially the stray doors.:

It’s a nice room. I’ve always liked it. At 23’2″ x 13’2″ it’s a pleasant size and proportion. It has two archways that open onto small nooks about 8′ x 10′. It also has a pair of wide openings into the kitchen, which in turn opens onto the sunroom.

Overall, we’re talking a huge open space for a small house — 43′ from the east wall (top wall in the floorplan below, back wall in that photo) of the living room to the west wall of the sunroom, approximately 21′ from the north wall of the living room through those nooks to the south side of the house.


The back part of the house — which if I’d have been smart, I’d have torn down when I bought the place — is much smaller and a bit cramped. It had two bedrooms back when, but one got sacrificed to deconstruction. It had 1-3/4 bathrooms (albeit the full bath was derelict, with holes in the floor, disconnected plumbing, and dead mice and spiders in the bathtub); one bath remains, but it’s nice.

Still, I’ve now got just a one-bedroom house with a way-wide-open front and cramped behind.

So I’m thinking of doing this to the living room. The orange highlighted area would be new:

In short, I’m thinking about slicing the living room in half to create a second bedroom.

It would make a terribly small and much darker (but call it cozy or intimate) living room. But oh, what a fabulous, light-filled bedroom!

To give you a better visualization, here are three pix. In the first, I’ve placed a shoji screen approximately where the new wall would be:

Everything to the right of the shoji would be living room:

Everything to the left of the shoji would be bedroom:

At present, the two small nooks beyond the arches seem separate from the living room. But the nook off the proposed bedroom, which has a wider arch, seems nicely to become part of the new room. I envision a bedroom with a separate office/art area.

The nook that would remain off the new, smaller living room is harder to envision as part of the room. And unfortunately there’s no way to widen the arch without causing minor problems like the front of the house falling off.* Still, with clever painting, the right placement of furniture, and harmonized flooring, what’s now the arched entryway could be visually integrated into the much narrower living room.

So ….


  • Fabulous big bedroom
  • Place for guests to sleep
  • Ability to keep office/art work areas out of sight
  • Second bedroom ads value to the house
  • Potential for adding a 1/2 bath to that space someday
  • I finally get to use those nice glass doors that have been sitting in the living room being a nuisance for several years
  • Cozier living room and much easier to heat LR, kitchen, sunroom “unit”


  • Living room becomes small and darker
  • Living room is now smaller than the kitchen and much smaller than the kitchen/sunroom together
  • If the Monk and I add that wall and it turns out to have been a horrible mistake, it’s one I’ll have to live with forever

There are other small considerations. But those are the basics.

After two or three years of waffling like a cornered politician, it’s time to decide. The Monk and I will be finishing the laundry/sewing room in January. But after that, it’s do or die don’t do on this plan.

So, Commentariat geniuses, lend me your brilliance. Please.

Posting will be “lite” tomorrow and New Years day, so that’ll give anyone interested (including me!) time to mull the Big Decision.

To the non-interested, thanks for making it this far.


* Considering some of the “issues” I’ve run into with the former Ye Olde Wreck in the 5.5 years I’ve owned, loved, and frequently despaired of it, the front falling off actually might qualify as a minor difficulty. But I’d still rather not add “replace front of house” to any to-do lists.


  1. free.and.true
    free.and.true December 30, 2018 2:06 pm

    Love the pics and all your gear-in-waiting. Especially that bohemian-looking Craftsman door. ;^)

    Hm. Off the cuff, how about a few Socratic questions?

    First: If you’re planning to stay in this house for life, basically, then what’s the benefit to you of “adding value,” other than possible higher taxes and insurance costs? (Not to mention the construction costs you’d pay.)

    On a related note, would you be required to deal with building permits and all that if you add a bedroom and/or bath?

    Second: If your proposed new bedroom would mainly be used for guests, and would likely cut down on that nice spacious living room you like, then would it make more sense just to use the shoji screen or something similar for times when you do have overnight guests?

    Third: If you did add the proposed partition, would that help to stabilize the overall structure and ceiling for the long term, and/or would it cause issues with the floor or foundation?

    Fourth: Are there other ways you could put your doors and such to use, and enjoy them, without a major overhaul?

    Fifth: Regarding art/work space, is there something causing you to move away from your cheerful sunroom as the place for that purpose?

    Sixth: Must you decide immediately? Can you leave the shoji screen in place, for instance, for a few weeks and see how it all works on a daily basis?

  2. GIJeff
    GIJeff December 30, 2018 2:07 pm

    Hi-hi Claire,

    Have you considered simply moving the bed to where it would be in the Bedroom That Would Be and using your shoji or something similar to give you the privacy you need when you need it there. I mean, you do live alone and I didn’t get the impression you had guests often, so is privacy really an every day issue? insert internet meme here “Why not both?” It’s a bit unconventional, but I don’t think that would bother you. That way you can have EITHER a huge bedroom/living room OR move the partition into place and have the Bedroom That Would Be separated as desired. Heck, maybe try that option out for a bit and see how you like it, given you only have to move some furniture and a shoji around to test drive it. I like modularity, myself, and versatility goes a long way toward making you happier with your decisions long term. Just a thought…


  3. Fred M.
    Fred M. December 30, 2018 2:18 pm

    Claire this is a great idea to bring 2018 to a close. A second bedroom and separate work area would add immeasurably to the quality of living you would have in your Hermitage. As far as having a small living room, you can always add skylights and/or a judicious use of mirrors that will also make a small room seem large. Also the use of light color paint will help to brighten the “new” living room. And remember as long as the wall isn’t a bearing wall you can easily remove it (or modify it) at some later date. Now with respect to the arch over the left shoulder of Ms. Modigliani, ask The Wondering Monk if he could make that into a half wall (you would still have the support for a bearing wall, but it would now be open to the “new” living room. I would encourage the modification!
    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year Claire!

  4. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2018 2:37 pm

    Oh, this is good, free.and.true and GIJeff. This is just the kind of thing I was hoping for. It hurts my brain, but in a helpful way.

    First the shoji and issues of privacy. I actually have several screens that I’ve used over the years and they’re fine for what they are and what they do, but not as a permanent solution. They’re becoming clutter. I’ve considered more permanent, but still movable, room dividers — something like this:

    They can be expensive and they still take up a lot of space. A movable partition is a possibility. I also like modularity. But I do have all those doors to use up!

    On free.and.true’s questions:

    First: House value. Good point. If I stay in the house as I hope and intend to, then adding value (and saleability) has only one purpose, and that’s to leave more to my chosen good causes after I die. No permits would be required for a new interior wall. Technically, one might be required for a bathroom, but since I’m merely replacing a 3/4 bath that was there before, maybe not. If I can avoid permits, then taxes shouldn’t be affected.

    Second: Temp spaces for guests. If the space was only for guests, I’d put a bed in one of the nooks and curtain it off. And you guys are right; I don’t have a lot of guests. But I like the idea of a real second bedroom for other purposes. I have a lot of work/office equipment that could use a temporary home out of the “public” areas of the house.

    Third: Stability/issues. Shouldn’t have too much effect one way or another, but if anything, having another wall holding up the attic and tying the LR walls together is a plus.

    Fourth: Other uses for doors. Possible. The French doors could go into a future garden shed and the Craftsman door could go between the living room and back wing. (I dread having those French doors sitting in the living room for several more years, though. Sigh.)

    Fifth: Why move from the sunroom? I love the sunroom. It makes a great art room. But it makes an even better sitting room/working on the computer room, which is what I’m using it for now. The sunroom is wide open to the rest of the house and when I’m making a mess, it becomes a very public mess.

    Sixth: Must you decide immediately? Yes. Partly just because I’ve already been waffling several years, but partly because if I don’t build that wall, I’ll have to use the doors elsewhere — and one of the elsewheres affects how we approach the very next project in the queue (finishing the laundry/sewing room).

    But I see that both of you raise the issue of movable partitions, which I like. If only there was a solution for using those pretty doors I already have!

  5. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2018 2:47 pm

    Fred M. — Yes, I would LOVE to have skylights, and such things as skylights and mirrors could make a world of difference in a smaller, darker room. Skylights are a risky proposition in this soggy climate, but I love them. Even small sonotube-type skylights would significantly brighten the space.

    And you remembered the “Mo” table! Considering I blogged her several years ago, that’s some impressive remembering. Or wait … do you mean the Modigliani-sort of “lady” standing beside the video table? (So many Modigliani women suddenly in my living room.)

    In either case, very interesting notion about a half-wall. That might apply with either arch.

    And Happy New Year to you, too, Fred.

  6. Pat
    Pat December 30, 2018 3:42 pm

    (Written while you and others were commenting.)

    I ditto all of free.and.true’s questions.

    You could push the orange line back a foot (making a slightly bigger L-R), and use curtains between the art room with the picture window, and expanding the area for the back bedroom — perhaps with a Murphy bed or some substitute. The curtains could be put on a beam across the bedroom width. You could even put two doors on the L-R wall for entrance to the art area and the bedroom area (though that would use up L-R space). I’d hate to see you give up that space and light for guests who may not be there that often.

    (Question to ponder: How many guests do you plan to have, how often will they be visiting, and how long will they be staying? Sounds to me like you’re giving up your hermit license 🙂 if you’re building that big a bedroom in that size house. The bedroom space, or the entire room, should do double-duty for when you have no company.

  7. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2018 3:53 pm

    “You could push the orange line back a foot”

    Funny you should say that, Pat. Where to put that line has been the big issue. If the current LR were just a foot longer, I could find a place for the line/wall that would make me perfectly happy. As is, when I move the shoji to where I like the LR wall, the BR gets too narrow and vice versa.

    I’ve thought about a Murphy bed; I really like those things. But I tell ya, just pricing the hardware for a Murphy bed will give you such sticker shock! Anyhow, I have a nice IKEA bed frame ready for that room and just need to get a mattress for it when the time comes. (No, I didn’t acquire the bed because I expected to create that room; it’s one I’ve had for years, but it was too big (visually) for my current 10ish x 11ish-foot bedroom.)

    Ah … that guest issue. Nope, not giving up my hermit license. I’ve never had a guest yet (except ones with four feet and fur) and don’t plan to have many. You nailed it when you say double-duty bedroom. It would be nice to be able to have overnight guests, but it’s not something I plan on.

  8. Iwoots
    Iwoots December 30, 2018 3:55 pm

    Several things came to mind, but have already been covered (like the tubular skylight – wow, just checked Home Depot; I think prices have come down on those from years ago).

    The only consideration I would add is – Do you know any local realtors whose opinion you could ask?

    Staying put seems to be your preferred option, but we all know how “something” can suddenly change; necessitating a house sale & move. A local realtor (maybe retired, so you don’t have to worry about a “pushy” opinion) may give you a better idea about what future buyers may be looking for (personal example – at one time, single people I know rented; now more buy their own homes even if marriage/family are no where on the horizon).

  9. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2018 4:00 pm

    lwoots — Your thoughts on those “somethings” that can get in the way of plans to settle forever are the same as mine. I want to stay here. But frankly, the PNW, which used to be a sort of “friendly, laid-back blue” is turning the other kind of blue with frightening rapidity.

    But I’m in luck on the real estate front. I’m on great terms with a broker of impeccable artistic taste and non-pushiness who lives just a few blocks from here and would be glad to come by just to give an opinion. She knows the Monk, too. And last time she came over to see our progress on the place, she even brought me eggs from her chickens. 🙂

    And the price has come DOWN on something — anything — to do with construction? I must check that out.

  10. Iwoots
    Iwoots December 30, 2018 4:01 pm

    Guess I should expand that comment: What will sell in your area better in the years to come one or two bedroom? Something already remodeled, or something that the next owner can tinker with?

  11. Joel
    Joel December 30, 2018 4:15 pm

    Are you going to regret the loss of that big open space in the middle of your house?

  12. david
    david December 30, 2018 5:56 pm

    It’s just an idea, but you could attach the old doorswith hinges and put lockable casters on the bottom of them. Voila! Lockable, rollable, privacy screens.

  13. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2018 6:18 pm

    lwoots — That’s a good question, and it’s true that the population and market for houses might be changing. I’ll ask that real estate broker I mentioned, but my guess is people are always wanting that spare room.

    Joel — Regret is entirely possible. No matter how I’ve tried to visualize (and I have had that shoji screen in place, sometimes a day at a time), I can’t tell.

    David — Damn. Now that’s clever thinking. It might even work if the doors weren’t glass. Sure, I could put curtains on them. But …. nope. Nice out-of-box brainwork, though. A whole new idea to kick around.

  14. jed
    jed December 30, 2018 6:56 pm

    I’m slighly amused by your quandary. Because I remember Cabin-Sweet-Cabin, which IIRC the whole thing wasn’t much bigger than just your spacious living room. And IIRC you liked it very much. So my guess is that your tendency for comfort is more towards smaller spaces.

    I, on the other hand, would never chop apart a spacious area, unless I had a significant reason for it. Especially if it meant cutting down on outside light coming in.

    I chuckle a bit too, at the concern over “public” areas. But more seriously, any houseguests worth having shouldn’t be troubled by the view of whatever works in progress are on display, and in fact, are probably interested in your various projects.

    However, I’m detecting a little tendency to want to keep seperate things seperate, and I can appreciate that, since I suffer from having pretty much everything — office, library, workshop — altogether in the living/dining areas, such that I don’t really have what you’d consider to be living/dining areas.

    If you like to hang lots of art on your walls, then adding a wall gives you more display area.

  15. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2018 7:04 pm

    Oh jed. So true. This “small” house has about three times the area Cabin Sweet Cabin did — and already way more rooms. And I get you chuckling about “public” areas and those overnight guests I don’t have. But yeah … you also get it on “keeping separate things separate.”

    Tiny spaces are charming — and you’re right again that I might enjoy that too-small living room. But there’s nothing as wonderful as the right places to stash stuff or the right place to work without making the whole house feel like a kindergarten classroom on fingerpainting day.

  16. Jim B.
    Jim B. December 30, 2018 7:11 pm

    You said:

    “But I tell ya, just pricing the hardware for a Murphy bed will give you such sticker shock!”

    Oh Please, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Somebody, probably cheaper than you and me, will have figured a way. And Voila:

    Take your pick.

  17. Mike
    Mike December 30, 2018 8:55 pm

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to get a pull out sofa for house guests instead of building a new bedroom to be used once or twice a year and loosing that bright open space?.

    What you could do is a simulated run for a week or two. Hang up a tarp to simulate the wall and see how that is for a week. Then you will have a much better idea of how it will look and work.

  18. Arthur M.
    Arthur M. December 31, 2018 4:35 am

    Via stream of consciousness commenting…

    Unless you’re up for moving exterior walls, room size is what it is.
    “Purpose of the space” will drive the decisions, but there are always more purposes discovered than originally considered.
    Murphy beds are expensive, unless you build your own; a hinged platform, equipped with a (fairly thin) futon cushion won’t extend too far from the wall, and with a dry erase board on the bottom adds function to a function-shared office space.
    A hinged bed with hinges bolted to wall studs better be in the right place to start with; hinges attached to furniture pieces (bookcases, desk sections, etc.) can be moved (maybe not far, but sometimes that’s enough).
    Consider different hinging functions: we usually think of beds as hinged from the longer sides (as against a wall) but they’ll also work hinged from one end, and with some “engineering imagination” during the build, can be hinged from each end and meet in the middle. Don’t rule out a longitudinally (or laterally) hinged bifold arrangement, or 4 folding panels that meet in the middle (hint: the necessary stiffness can be achieved with bracketry underneath to accept lengths of plywood; a 1X6 made from 2 glued-together sections of 1/2 plywood is exceptionally strong. Tip: cheap 1/2 inch plywood has 3 layers, the good stuff has 5 or more, hardwood plywood is better (and pricier) than pine, and often a 3/4X6 of hardwood plywood can be stronger than 1X6 made from 2X 1/2 pine plywood. Using 3X of 3/4X4 hardwood plywood is often easier and cheaper than 1X or 2X of 1X6 made from 2 pieces of 1/2. Tip: when making multi-thickness plywood panels, first cut slightly oversize, glue together, then cut to exact final dimensions. Another tip: plywood rarely has perfectly 90 degree corners, and opposing sides are often slightly out of parallel, so a perfectly square cut you make is preferable to using the factory-cut edge. 3rd tip: hard to find (it almost always has to be special ordered) and pricey, but plywood is available in 10 ft and 12 ft lengths, usually only hardwood plywood.
    Temporary partitions – as in very lightly frosted glass panels hung from ceiling-mounted tracks – allow moving a lot for guest privacy, a little for hiding office clutter, still permit light to flow between spaces (“very lightly frosted” means it doesn’t hide shapes, just obscures sufficient detail so guests don’t feel naked in the space, still allows lots of light flow).
    Flexible materials temporarily installed allow “testing” the changes (ex: taping Visqueen in place of semi-permanently mounted sliding glass panels, a cardboard shipping box of approximate size to simulate the hinged bed, painter’s tape on the floor to mark furniture/wall positions, cardboard strips (or 1X2 furring strips) attached to ceiling & floor with tape to mark wall corners, etc.) .
    Sometimes a door can be a window, and sometimes a window can be used as a door – it confines wall space to a single use, but replacing a window with a glass panel door, especially if part of the glass panel is openable, allows extending not only sight lines to create the impression of larger space, it extends the physical space to allow use of whatever space is on the other side of the door.
    Eisenhower is credited with “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Home improvement is hand-to-hand combat with space, materials and money, and thusly dependent upon plans. And, since “no plan survives contact with the enemy” the plan must – within reasonable constraints – be flexible.

  19. bldrgrl
    bldrgrl December 31, 2018 7:55 am

    Hello Claire. First let me say thank you for your blog. I am a professional builder and a long time lurker intrigued by your quandary on this topic. My suggestion is that you think about a more post and soffit concept utilizing top mounted barn door hardware. The area in your floor plan marked French doors can stay French doors, but in the area you show as a solid wall, maybe consider instead just enough wall at each end, and soffit to accommodate a pair of doors hung on the aforementioned barn door hardware. Slide them closed, mess hidden, privacy provided. Open them, air, light, space. I lived in the PNW for years and sacrificing openness and light indoors is just counter intuitive to me. Enjoy your project, whichever way you go, the work and resulting beauty that you and the Monk have accomplished on a house most folks would never have even taken on is most impressive!

  20. deLaune
    deLaune December 31, 2018 8:00 am

    A few thoughts from a fellow hermit.

    Your current living room is light and open — a grand entrance foyer. When you step into the room, you feel welcome and, I dare say, pampered by the luxury of (mostly) unused space. This psychological value should not be lightly dismissed.

    From a utilitarian viewpoint, the “living room” is a television room and a passageway to the rest of the house. It also yields a view your work space which, I suspect, you would prefer to be private. Because your house is small, embarrassing clutter tends to accumulate.

    You have already mentioned some advantages to dividing the space. I will mention a few more.

    Your work spaces will be private. No one will see the books, papers, building materials, art supplies, and other inevitable clutter.

    With the clutter hidden away, you might be more comfortable inviting new friends over for coffee or a chat. There is less space that must be kept neat and clean.

    The new living room need not be gloomy. There are many inexpensive LED lighting solutions available. One possibility is continuous tape, hidden in a cove near the ceiling. Some types can be dimmed, or programmed for different colors, to change the mood (on a gloomy day, crank it up to “daylight”). LEDs last a long time and cost little to run.

    Hope this has been some help.

  21. ExpatNJ
    ExpatNJ December 31, 2018 11:39 am

    – ‘Pocket Doors’ (they slide in/out of walls)
    – Inflatable Beds (*not* inflatable mattresses)
    – Bunk beds (modular)
    – Hammocks

    Voila! Instant virtual private 2nd bed/room, with no Permit or permanent construction issues to resolve (except bathroom schedules).

    – Loft? MY feelings are previously known: you can’t go out horizontally, go vertically.

  22. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 11:52 am

    ExpatNJ — I like pocket doors. But more doors, I don’t need! I need walls to put the current doors in!

    This house does have some beautiful potential sleeping-loft space, but the Monk and I spent several hours exploring it and talking about how best to use it. We decided that the potential “issues” outweighed the benefits. Pity, though.

    BTW, the French doors were originally intended to go in one of the archways, along with some colored plexiglas squares as side lights. That would have turned one of the nooks into a small guest room (albeit not a “legal” bedroom, as the windows don’t have big enough openings).

  23. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 11:55 am

    DeLaune — Definitely helpful. You also “get” my way of thinking quite well.

    And ooooooooh, I like the idea of light stripes behind a cove. That’s something else I’d never have thought of but will consider if I end up dividing that room. This is probably mere fantasizing, but having, say, three tubular skylights for day brightening and the cove lighting you describe for night lighting would be spectacular.

  24. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit December 31, 2018 12:02 pm

    “And you guys are right; I don’t have a lot of guests. But I like the idea of a real second bedroom for other purposes. I have a lot of work/office equipment that could use a temporary home out of the “public” areas of the house.”

    Sounds like you’re really looking for a clutter room. I can relate to that because our “second bedroom” is exactly that. With a smallish house, a clutter room is a definite must. 😉

  25. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 12:02 pm

    bldrgrl — Welcome the Commentariat and thanks for sharing your expertise and experience. Yeah … making a room darker in the PNW is definitely counterintuitive. Sigh.

    It took me a while to grasp what you meant about leaving the French doors, then having sliding barn-mount doors where most of the wall would have been. But I think I see where you’re going.

    I hadn’t thought of anything like that, but I had thought of putting windows high up in the new wall to let light filter in from the proposed bedroom. I’ve got three scrounged windows of various sizes and designs, plus a dozen 12″ colored plexiglas squares. Using a few of them wouldn’t fully open up the room again the way your barn doors would, but they’d solve part of the problem. (The windows, fortunately, are stashed outside so they’re not driving me as crazy as the doors, which live inside the house.)

    Thanks for you compliment on the house. I swear, if I’d truly known what I was getting into, I’d have … Oh, well, truth is I’d have done it anyhow. But there were times the Monk and I both questioned my sanity. I couldn’t have gotten this far without him.

  26. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 12:05 pm

    “Sounds like you’re really looking for a clutter room.”

    Yes! Very much that, too. If I were just aiming to create a guest bedroom, many of the solutions offered earlier would work. But the new room — if I do it — will be multi-purpose, with clutter absolutely being one of the purposes.

  27. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 12:08 pm

    Arthur M. and Jim B. — Yep, where there’s a will there could be a Murphy bed. Thanks for the link, Jim. But much as I like Murphy beds, I do already have an IKEA bed that’s either going to go into a second bedroom or go in search of a new home. Currently its frame and slats are tucked into a corner of the living room, as annoying as all those spare doors, awaiting my decision about their fate.

  28. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 12:13 pm

    “Temporary partitions – as in very lightly frosted glass panels hung from ceiling-mounted tracks – allow moving a lot for guest privacy, a little for hiding office clutter, still permit light to flow between spaces (“very lightly frosted” means it doesn’t hide shapes, just obscures sufficient detail so guests don’t feel naked in the space, still allows lots of light flow).”

    Yes. I’m very attracted to the idea of translucent panels. In fact, if I didn’t have furry family members, I’d even go for rice-paper screens.

    Good tips on ways to work out the space in advance, too.

  29. Claire
    Claire December 31, 2018 12:14 pm

    “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to get a pull out sofa for house guests instead of building a new bedroom to be used once or twice a year and loosing that bright open space?”

    If I were only wanting the space as a guest bedroom, you’d be absolutely right. I’d never give up all that open space and light for those so-far imaginary guests. 🙂

    The simulation is a good idea and I’m definitely trying to work that out.

  30. larryarnold
    larryarnold December 31, 2018 3:42 pm

    Sorry to be late – catching up from vacation.

    Right now it’s your forever home; build what you want. As my wife often says about my firearms, “It’s not an investment unless you’re willing to sell it.”

    If you want a work/clutter room, never mind it being a bedroom for scarce guests. (Although I’d love to visit, But it’s not likely, my grandkids are in the opposite direction. ;-))

    If it’s a workroom, would moving the orange wall up a foot or so, maybe in line with the front wall of the top closet/shelves room, allow enough clutter space?

    It’s my understanding that the NorthWet doesn’t get the kind of cold found in the Dakotas, otherwise I’d suggest putting a door between the entry and the living room, to keep winter wind from coming in the front entrance and hitting the back wall. That would also get wet coats and boots out of sight of the living room.

    Otherwise, what everyone else said.

  31. Zendo Deb
    Zendo Deb December 31, 2018 4:03 pm

    It is going to come down to how you use the space.

    “A place for guests”

    I have a more conventional house, and the 2nd bedroom is done up as a guestroom. I never go in there. (I use it for some miscellaneous storage) Well, I do go in to clean once in a while. (How can there be so much dust?)

    Originally I thought I could coax my sister to visit regularly. She isn’t that far away, but she has been here exactly 1 time.

    My family room is oddly shaped – broken up by a fireplace. It means that the TV doesn’t really fit in that room, so it is in the front room right now. No matter how I arrange things the house – which is a decent size for one person – isn’t really big enough for a Superbowl party etc. I can have a few friends over, but then it starts to feel crowded. if there are 5 or more of us.

    So. Do you have overnight guests? (Figure out a way to turn that alcove into a temporary bedroom – I suggest a Murphy bed. Do you have friends over for Superbowl, Oscars, Movie night?

    I think the answer to these questions will help.

  32. Ruth
    Ruth January 1, 2019 5:57 am

    Not a builder, and SO not renovating a house.

    But I’m kinda with Zendo. We have a 2nd, spare, bedroom, and a 3rd room that was originally a bedroom and one set of former owners turned into a mudroom and connected it to the garage. They’re both dim and dark and are basically never used except for storage.

    Pretty much the only thing they do is hold clutter. We never use them. Dust! Cat fur! Dog fur! Ok, they’re useful for separating the various animals when they’re eating, that’s about it. Opening the two rooms back up into the main house wouldn’t really work, due to how the house is setup, but if money wasn’t an issue, I’d TOTALLY open those two rooms to each other to create a larger more open space there.

    I totally get the want to be able to use the new room as a clutter room.

    And I kinda regret having that space. Maybe if there was a way to turn one of them into a huge pantry, instead of stacked random clutter. But for an “office/clutter room”? Yah, I regret them.

  33. Claire
    Claire January 2, 2019 10:57 am

    “Right now it’s your forever home; build what you want.”

    Yeah, if I only knew what that was in this case. But all these thoughts are certainly helping me get there. BTW, I did think of putting the French doors between the entry and the living room. But you’re right that we rarely get the kind of cold that justifies it. Also, everybody who who knows the place uses the back door, anyhow.

    And who knows, if I did build a bedroom, I might actually welcome some guests. Could happen.

  34. Claire
    Claire January 2, 2019 11:04 am

    Thanks Zendo Deb and Ruth.

    Yeah, I can see regretting a clutter room AND regretting cutting big spaces into smaller ones — at least without extremely good reason. And Deb, you’re right about those questions. Currently, I have friends visit only infrequently and in small numbers. But I’d really like to break up the hermitude with, say, once a month Scrabble or Monopoly nights.

  35. Claire
    Claire January 2, 2019 11:08 am

    Well, after reading what everyone’s written, I’m still no closer to a real, definitive decision. But you all have given me new aspects/alternatives to consider.

    And as usual with these things, I’m finding that my gut reactions to your comments are telling me as much as the comments themselves. Sometimes I’ve reacted strongly in favor or strongly against a suggestion without conscious reason. Then I have to stop and figure out where that strong reaction is coming from and what it’s really saying.

    Thanks for all this — and Happy New Year.

  36. just waiting
    just waiting January 2, 2019 2:08 pm

    Sorry I missed the party.
    We’re not real big on overnight houseguests either, and wouldn’t make our biggest room 2 smaller ones to accommodate the possibility of having them.
    Instead, how about taking the money for materials and the Monk’s pay for the job, put it in a mason jar, label it Motel Fund and put it away in the pantry. If we do end up with guests someday, we think it would much more comfortable for us to send them to the Motel 6 after desert has been cleared.
    Happy new year!

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