Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

Have you ever fantasized about renovating your home?

Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer Handmades was done daydreaming. It was either time for her to either seriously revamp her house, or else she needed to find a bigger place to live.

But Chelsea and her husband had an idea. If they could turn their home’s unused attic into the master bedroom, it would be like adding an entire new floor!

One problem: the space needed a full floor-to-ceiling overhaul.

Not only was the attic completely sealed-off, it was filled with 100+ years of insulation and coal. Just look at that photo below! But Chelsea managed to come through the experience with more space than she expected and her sanity intact…


Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

We absolutely love how the bedroom turned out with 2 awesome prints by Chelsea’s photographer husband Tec Petaja hanging over a Mid-Century Bed, our Penelope Nightstands, and Overarching Wall Sconces.

So how did she do it? Read on!

Chelsea shares the 4 essential house renovation tips that she learned from her attic overhaul, and it’s good advice for anyone who’s ever thought about revamping their home.

Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

1. Create A Flexible Timeline

“If you have the luxury, take the projected timeline loosely. I get that this isn’t an option if you have a baby on the way and the space needs to be done before she arrives. But if this is a renovation that has no real pressing timeline, yes, stay on task, but also hold it loosely. There will be plenty of other opportunities that will make you want to pull your hair out and this doesn’t have to be one of them.”

Mid-Century bed - Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

Sconce - Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

2. Get Referrals First

“Work with people who will show up when they say they’re going to show up. Ok, this was one of the times I wanted to pull my hair out. Though we still ran into issues, I’m sure it saved us a lot of time and headache by asking for referrals from people who’d gone down the renovation path before us.”

Bedside table - Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

3. Do Your Price Research

“If you have a budget that you’re trying to stick to, do your research. Sourcing from local stores and online shops on Friday nights wasn’t how I wanted to spend my evenings, but I think the money we saved in the end was worth it. Again, it was a task that almost drove me crazy (trying to find real hardwood floors for under $4/ft that matched our existing 100+ year old floors was no joke), but looking back, I’m so glad we were able to save the money and not come out house-poor when all was said and done.”

Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

4. Keep Your Sense Of Humor

“Laugh at yourself and the mess you’ve gotten into, and know that it’ll all be worth it in the end. If you can’t laugh about all those absurd moments and small sacrifices to your daily routine, you’re going to end up crying instead. Don’t be fooled, I had a couple killer meltdowns. But taking the reno with a grain of salt and some perspective on how trivial my woes were went a long way.”

Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

Move your mouse over me
Attic Overhaul + Renovation Tips by @chelseapetaja | @westelm

Chelsea Petaja is the artist and designer behind Oh My Deer Handmades. Browse + shop Chelsea’s work in her Etsy shop, and you can follow her on Instagram + Pinterest + Twitter.

Photos: Tec Petaja

Get the Look

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chelsea Petaja

July 31, 2014

Thanks so much for sharing, Jake! You and West Elm made this space look especially beautiful. ūüėČ

How to Find a Killer-Steal-of-a-Deal-Old-Fixer-House

July 31, 2014

[…] out this stunning¬†attic renovation over at West Elm’s blog Front + Main…seriously […]


July 31, 2014

Was hoping to get more real info on costs, issues, etc and see larger photos of the space itself. I have an attic like this and would love to know more, is it a walkup, did they have to install stairs, etc. Pictures of the homeowner and close shots of furnishings aren’t all that helpful.


July 31, 2014

Beautiful, beautiful sanctuary. Texture, color and calmness abound. But… I am dying over those wall sconces!! I mean, really. And, the West Elm vibe is going on — those pillows are perfect.

Thanks for showing your home.


August 1, 2014

LOVE LOVE LOVE those bedside cabinets! The brass detailing is divine too.


August 1, 2014

Amazing! Where can I find that throw blanket on the bed?

Life and other wonderment | A Thousand Threads

August 2, 2014

[…] this beautiful attic renovation by Chelsea […]


August 4, 2014

Love this, so happy you shared!!!


August 5, 2014

I agree with Jill, it would have been nice to see more pics of the final room (including a panned out pic like the before so we could see the ceiling) and some details instead of so many blurry pics of the owner jumping on the bed!

INTERIOR JUNKIE » Vrijdagmiddag Inspiratieboost

August 8, 2014

[…] Local Milk Blog. 2. Live Sweet Cinnamon. 3. West Elm. 4. Design Love Fest. 5. Wayaiulandia. 6.¬†enmiespaciovital. 7. Esther Horchner. 8. White […]

Weekend Links | See Shel

August 8, 2014

[…] OBSESSED with this attic […]


August 12, 2014

I agree with Jill. I am about to renovate an attic space exactly like this. Would love to see what the head heights are, if you added dormers, etc. Photos of the work while it was being transformed would be great!

Trouble Sleeping | Anne the Adventurer

September 22, 2014

[…] (Photo of Chelsea Petaja via Front and Main) […]

Barret Anthony

October 11, 2014

I agree with above – this is a beautiful photoshoot, but not really about a renovation. Not entirely helpful unless you want to pin a pretty picture of a bed.

One Day | Toku-Ora

November 19, 2014

[…] ¬† ¬† 2 ¬† ¬† 3 ¬† ¬† […]

A modern, west-coast inspired bedroom – Eavan Elizabeth

February 2, 2015

[…] All photos by TecPetaja for West Elm […]


July 10, 2015

Oh please, where is your gown from???


August 9, 2015

I adore the white dress. Perfection. Where can I find one?


August 10, 2015

Beautiful renovation! It can be a long and grueling process to renovate, but the end result is so worth it. The attic turned into a lovely bedroom oasis. I love all the light and the simple decor is lovely.


October 21, 2015

Hi Chelsea,

That transformation is nothing short of amazing! Just wondering did you do your own painting? I’m currently on the lookout for a good painter… not sure where you’re based. I’m in Auckland New Zealand.


November 25, 2015

Can someone tell me where I can find her beautiful nightgown? In love!

teresia davis

May 30, 2016

I Just loved it ūüôā

Related Posts