As many of you know we have four teenagers in the family. Two of them have been sharing a room for over six years, tension was mounting, and it was high time they each got their own private space.  So, since September our house has been in a state of some disarray.

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To make this transformation possible, with our limited space, we decided to turn two adjacent rooms into three.  This work compromised of building two new walls, knocking down the old wall in the middle, laying new pipes, moving three radiators and putting in a new window. There was also the need for a small hall with doors into two of the new rooms, insulating the walls and building a new high inner ceiling in the new middle room. Then there was the plastering, painting, building of the raised beds, bookshelves and storage facilities.

When you list it like that, maybe it is no wonder it all took quite a few months…

 We are now nearing the finishing line and would like to share some of our solutions and ideas here, in case someone has the need to build a similar space.

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But first some pictures of the building process. When looking back through them we are actually amazed that we managed to live in the house this past winter when all the work was going on. It was a cold, very dusty and arduous experience.

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As the rooms have a good ceiling height we decided to insulate and put up plasterboard to create a high inner ceiling. We then cut up the old bunk-beds and created two separate high beds, complete with new ladders and a lick of stylish grey glazing paint.

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Alana found a couple of rolls of wallpaper in the charity shop and we used them for the newly plastered wall. This room already had built in cupboards and the high ceiling so was much less work then Alex’s new room.

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When the bed was built Alana could move back in, set up her gym and get a place to practise her keyboard. She is very happy with her new space, and despite it being quite small, there is room for everything she wants.

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Alex likes to read and she wanted lots of space for her books and art materials. We built a book shelf out of 2”x1” and 6”x1” planks from the builder’s merchants. To stabilize the shelf we also added horizontal 2”x1” planks to the front.

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Another requirement was a desk and we build it out of sturdy ash planks, the same as the window sill. It is not all finished but already occupied. Under the desk is a movable storage unit for art and study materials.

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The bed goes up and slots in over the small hall bit so more floor space is created, while creating a relaxing area for reading and rest. This room is even smaller than Alana’s but it has all the components that Alex asked for and she is happy with the results.

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A built in cupboard was created with some inexpensive shelves from IKEA and planks of wood. It will have a fabric curtain added at a later date.

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Now that the girls are happily settled into their new spaces they actually like to visit each other’s rooms for a chat, to discuss homework or just to chill out. Their laughter is ringing out through the house and makes us smile. We are sure they enjoy time together safe in the knowledge that at any moment they can retreat back into their own private spheres.

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Now all we have to do is finish work in Josie’s room that was cut smaller in the process and needs to have the new wall plastered and painted and a few decorative touches added. But that is for another day.

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