check sheets | sherpa cushions | sconce | vintage rug (similar) | wool rug | bookcase | art | night light
We spent the majority of our New Year’s Eve in the Tree House sleeping loft, piled onto floor cushions underneath warm, dim lighting. After Lucy went down for the night in the master, we tiptoed up the loft ladder and played Heads Up (did you know there’s a Friends category?!), sipped on tropical cocktails and laughed until our sides ached. And we did all of this underneath a freshly painted ceiling – and walls, trim and window!
We made waves in the sleeping loft just one month ago, but it already looks so different. So clean! After initially sharing that we would be painting the ceiling, we knew there might be some pushback. There was, which is understandable. Those ceilings were – and still are – so cute. So cute! Unfortunately, the beams – and the walls and the trim – photographed way more beautifully than they appeared in person. Let’s zoom in:
The trim is made up of simple, primed 1 x 4s, and although they appear to have been spackled (but not sanded down), the putty had cracked and dried up over time. Edges and gaps were never caulked (or at least not enough caulk was used), but most importantly, it was never even painted at all!
Each bed has the sweetest little cubby next to it, and although the insides of the shelves had at least one coat of paint applied, there should have been a good primer coat, too. In some cases, I think spackle was used where there should have been caulk, and vice versa. (Insert shrug emoji here!)
At the foot of each bed is a panel that leads to the attic which is where our HVAC system is housed. The door panel and trim were in the same rough shape as the shelves and window:
And here’s the sad truth about the beams: They’re faux! They’re made up of a combination of 2 x 4s and decorative trim with beadboard panels making up the slope of the ceiling. You can see below that the beadboard panels were popped into place – and that was it. Done! Ha, but seriously, those panels had never been spackled, caulked or painted. The faux beams were stained, and although they were never sanded, we were actually okay with the rough texture. It’s charming!, we agreed. However, the beams felt so visually heavy. There were so many of them, and between the beams, the railing and our living room ceiling, it was all so much.
We craved light and airy. Although the ceiling is pretty tall for a sleeping loft, we knew it could feel so. much. bigger with bright white paint! We weren’t looking for the loft ceiling to make a statement. We also knew this was a big (like, really, really big!) job, and for the sake of our own time and sanity, we hired it out. Best decision. (If you’re in southwest Michigan, we used Arthur, and we could rave about him all day.) Our painters repaired, patched and caulked all visible seams, pocks and nail holes, and while they were at it, they painted our window black, too! Now it matches the others throughout the rest of Tree House – hooray!
Sleeping Loft | Pre-Paint
Sleeping Loft | Painted
We used Valspar Ultra White (untinted, straight from the can!) in a satin finish for the ceiling, trim and shelves, and the walls are Benjamin Moore Cloud White in an eggshell finish, which is the same color that continues down into the living room, kitchen and mudroom. Because Tree House is on the small side, we wanted the paint to stay cohesive from one room to another. Cloud White is so warm and pretty, and it was the unicorn of whites that looked great from space to space! (It only took us about 50+ swatches to find The One.)
The paint job was completed the week before Christmas while we were in Chicago, but our painters texted us at the end of every day with updates. When we drove up to Tree House for NYE, it was like Christmas morning all over again! We are so, so happy with the results – even better than we could have imagined.
What’s left for the loft?
- Lighting: Those CFLs aren’t cutting it (ha)! We need to figure out a solution for soft ceiling light with a low depth and a way to point them downward, as opposed to that silly angle. Between the sconces and nightlight, there’s already a really lovely glow, but it would still be nice to have overhead lighting. We’ve been leaning towards these bell flush mounts!
- Railing: The rustic railing, while… well, rustic, just isn’t for us. We’ve lived with it for over a year, and we thought it might grow on us over time. It hasn’t. We’d love to play with modern meets traditional and create a metal railing similar to Chris and Julia.
- Safety gate: Once we land on the design for the new railing, we’ll incorporate a safety gate and handrail for the loft ladder.
- More accommodations: I think we’re going to DIY a trundle bed! We’ve discovered that a ‘cot’ sized mattress is the best fit to slide underneath one of the twin beds. It should be a fun, fast project. We’ll definitely share!
- Wallpaper: We think that a subtle accent wall using wallpaper could be really fun, but we haven’t found the perfect paper – yet. We want it to feel ethereal and in a similar colorway to the walls.
Almost all of the tasks above are currently being planned or in progress. We can’t wait for the first slumber party in this space!
I can’t remember if you’ve posted the answer to this but are you planning on renting Tree House out as an AirBNB? And if so, when? I’m in Chicago and I’d love to stay here sometime!
We will! It will mainly be our family’s restful getaway, but we’ll definitely be listing it for others’ enjoyment when we’re not there. We’re not in a hurry to get it done (there’s still a whole bathroom renovation on the list), but we’ll be sure to let everyone know! Maybe next year?
I love this update! It would have been even more satisfying if you would have copied the close up shots after the painting had been done. Thanks for including all of us in your projects!
Funny because on Monday I probably spent over a hour looking at that blog post by Chris and Julia’s railing! Have you started talking to people about building it?
Hahaha, their railing is SO good! Also loving My Simply Simple if you’re looking for more inspo. We’re talking with a fabricator in SW Michigan right now!
We also loved CLJs railing and used it as inspo for ours. We initially had a hard time finding a company/person to do the job because it was a “small” job and some were way over quoting. Thankfully, someone came through with a great price and the end result was perfect!
Oh it looks SO much better! Great job. It’s really coming together.
Those paint /caulk / lack of primer issues you describe are so similar to what we found in our new house. It looked so spotless in the real estate listings (aka photos) but up close the white paint and imperfections are so gnarly.
I love the painted beams, I think wood beams in a sleeping loft would be hard to pull off. Good choice!
Ha! Gnarly is a great descriptor for what we were dealing with, too. Paint to the rescue!
Ahhhh the power of paint!!! Looks amazing!
I love it. I was just looking and Chris loves Julia’s painted ceilings and loved them too.
FYI – the link to the flushmount doesn’t work!
Don’t feel bad about painting the beams! We bought a house with the U.G.L.Y. (EST) faux beams in the main living room that were actually made of wavy STYROFOAM! Then they sealed them with an ultra shiny sealer (ugh!) and hung a chandelier in the centerish of one of the “beams”. Our immediate thought was to rip them down but we realized how much drywall patching that would leave us. So paint was our answer and it couldn’t have been a better choice! I think it worked magic for the height in your space & look forward to seeing what you do next!
Eeek! I’ve heard of styrofoam crown and trim, but the whole goal is to caulk and paint it properly to trick people, hahahaha. Oh, dear.
Love this transformation! It’s such a great backdrop for everything else now. Can’t wait to see all the rest you have planned for up there!
Also FYI – the link for the flush mount lights you mention doesn’t seem to be working. :)
Oh, thank you on both counts!
I love the beams white! Seeing the angle with ALL the wood, we get it now. What I can’t stop thinking about is the dog bed in the loft ?
They’re floor cushions for people! :)
It looks so bright and fresh! What a difference paint makes. Have you consider leaving the bigger log portion of the railing but maybe adding metal rods for a mix of modern and rustic? Just a thought.
We have! But we just can’t bring ourselves to love the log railing, no matter how hard we try.
Yes!! This. The log rail is part of what makes it a tree house. Take out the spindles and replace with black metal and see if that modern-s it up enough.
It looks great! What photographs well and what looks good in person can be so different. It’s a strange thing. Anyway, I’m excited to see how the other things develop!
Lovely! Do you have a source for the striped comforter at the end of the twin beds? Thanks!
It was from Crate & Kids, but it looks like it’s no longer sold, unfortunately!
I have that same CB2 bell light in the white w/ brass mount. I love it so much. I have it in my tiny hallway. Produces great light. I’ve had it up for almost a couple of years. Highly recommend!
Oooh, love hearing that! Thank you!
I know you guys are already going in a diff direction up here, but I saw the room in this lamp ad and immediately thought of your loft and how you’ve been changing to all these neutrals in your Chicago house. https://www.serenaandlily.com/clifton-pendant/217232.html
I have always loved that sleeping loft that they use in Serena & Lily shoots!!