The Master Bedroom Breakdown

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Since I alluded to it in my last post, I thought you guys would love to know the whole story of our master bedroom renovation. We did this one in the days before the blog, and I kind of explained things in this post, but you deserve a start-to-finish story. One with before & after pictures and all the nitty-gritty details!

Let’s start with the basics. This is what the master bedroom looked like on HAR (our local MLS service). Somehow, this made us want to check out the place in person (well, probably not this room in particular).

And here’s what we found on our first walkthrough – the famous “person-sized hole” picture. Those sneaky realtors & their deceptive camera angles!

Before we moved in, I wasn’t so sure about this room. To me it seemed dark, dingy, and slightly scary. (I don’t know why, but our house kind of creeped me out in the beginning.) The reason for the hole (or the story we’ve fabricated) was this – there was a broken PVC pipe in the attic and there’s ample access because the attic space above our bedroom is full-height, with enough room to stand up straight. We figure someone tried to fix the broken pipe, but fell through the ceiling in the process. Hence, “person-sized hole.”

Later we found the pipe was the condensation line from our air-conditioning unit. When the AC was on, water poured from the broken pipe, through the master bedroom ceiling, and onto the carpet (why did we buy this house??) So that was one of the first fixes Ethan & my dad made before moving day. Once the pipe was fixed, there was the ceiling to deal with. After evaluating the time & money it would take to repair the ceiling ourselves, in addition to our lack of expertise in the land of drywall, we decided to hire it out. And thank goodness, because we might still be sleeping upstairs if we hadn’t!

Before the drywall crew came in, there were some changes I wanted to make to the ceiling layout (enter the interior designer with a plan). Here’s what we were dealing with.


Yes, you’re seeing that right – only two can lights to illuminate the entire room. It was incredibly dark and that just wasn’t going to cut it. I really wanted 4 can lights, essentially in the 4 corners of the room, so the entire space would be lit evenly. There was just one problem. My ideal can light location was the exact spot of the air vents in the room. So what did my dear husband do? He moved them for me! (It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. He actually had to buy new duct work & run it in the attic…not the most pleasant job in the middle of July). Here you can see the old & new air vent locations.

After we removed the one can light you see above, our drywall crew patched up the “person-sized hole” (covered by plywood in this picture) and the far air vent holes (closest to the window), along with various large holes in walls throughout the house.

And since Ethan & I like to tackle everything at the same time, we were painting as well. My brother & his girlfriend were a HUGE help (thanks again guys!) and tackled the ceiling & walls. But Ethan & I were left to do trim work in the evenings. Did I mention we had no lights at this point? We were painting by candlelight strategically positioned lamps.

And did you know that painting trim takes forever? First there’s all the prep work (tape, sand, putty holes), which is a complete pain in and of itself. Then we needed at least two coats of paint because the new trim color was so much lighter than the existing paint. No wonder we’re dragging our feet with all the trim & door painting upstairs!!

But back to the master bedroom. Here’s an awful iPhone picture as we finished up the trim work on a Saturday morning (note the existing yellow door…it’s still yellow today). In case you’re wondering, all the paint is Benjamin Moore (Walls – Grey Owl, Trim – Super White, Ceiling – Decorator White).

At this point, we’d just brought Abby, the (very little) puppy, home with us & were desperate to move into our master bedroom. Reason being, she woke up 2 to 3 times each night to go out, wasn’t allowed upstairs (and still isn’t) and neither Ethan nor I could hear her itty bitty bark from our upstairs bedroom. So we took turns sleeping on the sofa with her for a few weeks until the master bedroom was habitable. We were both completely sleep deprived, but how could you be mad at this adorable face??

Or this one?

How about this one?

Oh my goodness – I forget how cute she was! (Probably because I was so sleep deprived.) Don’t you just love looking through old pictures?

Well, we eventually moved into the master bedroom. It took a few more months to install the new can lights (with a ridiculous amount of help from Ethan’s dad), but that seemed like a bonus after all the other work we did! Here’s the current after/progress picture. You may notice that we installed wood blinds as well. Not just in this room, but throughout the house.

I’m not calling this “after” or “finished” because we still have some work to do – new carpet, furniture & draperies, just to name a few. But for the time being, I’m pretty proud of everything we’ve done!

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