A Stylish Attic Conversion for a Philly Victorian

In this attic makeover featured on DIY Network's Good, Better...Best , a Philadelphia couple opts for a blend of modern and traditional elements as they transform their 1,000-square-foot attic into usable living space.

Attic Conversion, Before

Philadelphia IT specialists Rachel and Greg are restoring a 6,900-square-foot Victorian home that comes with a large fourth-floor attic. The design dilemma: whether to go traditional, modern or something in between.

Attic Conversion, After

Though the restoration on the main floors of the home largely retains the period feel of a traditional Victorian, the design plan the owners chose for the attic conversion is described as "urban-eclectic" — mixing the old with the new, the traditional with contemporary.

Attic Conversion, Before

The owners selected the mixed motif design over two others that were proposed: a "reclaimed vintage" plan calling for all Victorian and period design choices, and a "modern loft" that would be contemporary throughout.

Attic Conversion, After

The final design retained the exposed wood beams from the original attic. The bath located between the two main living areas is enclosed in frosted glass to introduce a contemporary look while allowing more light to flow through the space.

Attic Conversion, After

The bathroom features a large shower enclosure, travertine tile and an etched glass door. The upstairs bath is waterproofed with a special underlayment used in place of cement board.

Attic Conversion, After

Some of the more traditional elements integrated into the mainly modern bath include the freestanding basin sink, the exposed wood and the arched windows.

Attic conversion, Before

The overall floor plan for the attic conversion called for a full bedroom and bath, a man cave for Greg and a craft area for Rachel.

Attic Conversion, After

Rachel's completed art-and-craft room features granite countertops and plenty of storage — both open and enclosed.

Vintage Find, Before

This claw-foot tub, left in the attic by the home's previous owners, is about to get a dramatic facelift.

Radical Transformation

What was once a bathtub is now a loveseat — and one of the furnishings in Rachel's craft room. A diamond grinder was used to create the cut-out in the cast-iron tub, which was then re-glazed in black and outfitted with a custom sofa cushion.

Attic Conversion, Before

The attic plan called for a bedroom that the owners could utilize while renovation work was being completed on lower floors.

Attic Conversion, After

The cozy new bedroom makes good use of the existing wood beams and exposed brick. The surface of the brick is visually softened with a whitewash finish.

Attic Conversion, Before

One aesthetic challenge for the attic makeover was balancing the design preferences of Rachel, who favored a contemporary upgrade, and Greg, who preferred keeping things traditional. The integrated approach they ultimately selected makes for a very workable compromise.

Attic Conversion, After

Materials for the conversion include a dark granite surface and birch plywood for the built-in shelving. Maple hardwood floors, in a dark mocha and distressed finish, are used throughout the space.

Attic Conversion, After

Greg's rec room/man cave includes plenty of bookshelf space, a comfortable leather chair and a Wi-Fi equipped flat-screen TV. The Solatube Daylighting system brings natural light into the space, collecting sunlight from the outside and transferring it into the rooms below by means of mirrored tubes.