Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

Craft Room Alcove Makeover

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Sometimes you get lucky.

Handan and I had been puzzling over what we were going to put in the weird little alcove at the top of the stairs leading up to the craft room from the kitchen.

craft room alcove before

Why? Why would they put a 36×18 nook with a sloped ceiling at the top of a staircase just before a door? It’s not big enough for a chair. Lord knows I could use a little sit-down every now and again after hoofing it up a flight, but not in this nook!

Can’t put a proper tall cabinet or even a stand-alone pantry due to the sloping ceiling. Why didn’t they just make the upstairs room bigger and do away with the wall on the right? I’ll never understand these subdivision builders. I’d call them out on some of these design choices but to do so would be a disservice to the word “design.”

alcove before

I don’t know. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe stair-top alcoves are all the rage down here in the South. Maybe I’m just a Northern ignoramus when it comes to these things.

“Did you meet the new Yankees?” Blanche says, taking a sip of her sweet tea.

Daisy glances up from the pimiento cheese sandwich pinched between her thumb and index finger. “You mean the ones who don’t know about the stair nook? I met the gentleman of the house, and you’ll pardon my saying so, Blanche, but he seems dumber than a pickled turnip.”

“Bless his heart,” Blanche says, fanning her bosom.

“Bless his heart,” agrees Daisy as she bites into the triangle of cheese and bread.

So yeah, if there’s a reason for the nook/alcove, please let me know!

Our original thought was to put one of our nine IKEA Havsta base cabinets in that space. It fits, but all that would really accomplish would be taking away storage space from inside the craft room. And in this house without a basement, storage space is more valuable than a gallon of water in the Sahara Desert.

Just the other day, my babes was scanning through Facebook Marketplace looking for more crap beautiful vintage furniture to cram showcase in our overstuffed well-appointed house. Presently, her face lit up and she showed me a 72-piece (or so it seemed) bedroom set for sale in Shalimar, about an hour drive from where we live. I wanted to point out that we already have a bedroom set, and besides, do we really need to bring more stuff into the house when we’re not even close to dealing with that we already own, but I kind of enjoy living, so I kept my thoughts to myself and merrily agreed to her plan.

“Sounds great, my babes!” I said. “Lemme just grab my keys and load some carrying straps into the truck!”

Turns out the couple selling the bedroom set were moving a few streets over (oh, how convenient and easy!) and they had other items for sale, too. Not one to pass up a bargain, my dearest babes hopped on one of the items.

A serving dish?

A small decorative pillow?

Perhaps a vase or a small decor item?

Madam, please! You should know better than that! Nope, what we also bought in addition to the 89-piece bedroom set was a 7000-pound (or so it felt) treadmill that was assembled inside their home by hulking professionals. To remove the beastly thing required a partial disassemble and one of the most difficult and awkward carrying jobs of our long careers of carrying difficult and awkward things.

But now we have a partially-disassembled walking machine on our lanai…so that’s nice.

And we have a 96-piece bedroom set.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I’ll be refinishing all 124 pieces of this 107-piece bedroom set.

I call it job security.

But then a wondrous thing happened.

A miracle, really.

In a fit of inspiration and clemency, my babes announced that the dresser component of the 133-piece bedroom set would be the perfect addition to the alcove at the top of the stairs.


And best yet – I wouldn’t have to refinish it in any manner!

I’ve never agreed to a plan so fast.

We measured the alcove and measured the dresser. The body of the dresser would fit perfectly, but the decorative overhangs on the top and bottom of the dresser would not.

man pointing to dresser overhang
man pointing to dresser overhang

This was an easy fix. All I needed was five minutes with a handheld circular saw, and this dresser would fit into the alcove at the top of the stairs! I just needed to cut along this line.

man pointing to part to be removed from a wooden dresser

Easy Peasy Chicken Squeezy.

I love working outside in the Florida sun and warm breeze. With a 12-inch speed square, I cut equal strips from both sides of the dresser component of the lovely 149-piece bedroom set my babes bought from a listing on Facebook Marketplace.

man cutting the overhang off a dresser
man cutting the overhang off a dresser

When I flipped the dresser on its head to cut the bottom pieces, I saw that I wouldn’t be able to make the cuts with my handheld circular saw. Instead, I removed the trim pieces – they were held on with 3 screws.

man removing bottom trim from a dresser with a screwdriver

I then cut them to size with my table saw.

man cutting dresser trim pieces

And then I screwed them back on.

man modifying dresser trim

For the final pieces that wouldn’t unscrew I used a flush cut saw.

man cutting dresser trim pieces

I then used furniture repair markers to match the color of the cut faces with the rest of the dresser.

Before carrying the dresser upstairs, I first painted the alcove with Swiss Coffee, our new go-to white for Northern-exposure rooms.

When Handan and I went to install the dresser into place, we discovered that the door trim was getting in the way. I removed the left trim piece, slid the dresser into place, and then reattached the trim piece. That sucker is truly built-in.

We now have five big drawers in which to store anything leftover from the rest of the craft room.

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

It’s a perfect fit in its new home!

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

We may someday change the pulls, but for now, the ones it came with will do just fine.

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

I know this is a very small space, and the dresser already fills most of it, but Handan wanted the space that is left to be kept as-is except for the vase and wreath displayed in the center of the dresser.

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -
Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

I think her less-is-more approach is perfect for this small space.

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

This was just a quick little makeover to a perplexing alcove.

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

Simple, but I think we made the best of it. Next up – the craft room reveal! And maybe then I’ll get around to making over the new 164-piece bedroom set my babes found on Facebook Marketplace. ๐Ÿ˜„

Craft Room Alcove Makeover -

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Craft Room Alcove Makeover -
Craft Room Alcove Makeover -
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  1. Problem solved! And nicely-done too. It’s amazing: with the right tools, you can do just about anything. (Watching how-to YouTube videos helps a lot too, just saying.) Anxious to see the progress of the craft room. And will also be watching to see what you do with the other 155 pieces of bedroom furniture. Boom!

    1. Gotta be honest, Iโ€™m really not liking that you cut the dresser up like that. However itโ€™s yours so what else can I say other than donโ€™t plan on ever selling it.

      1. No worries, Tina! It works for us and that space, and at this point (since I had to remove and re-install door trim to make it fit) – it’s a built-in. We won’t be selling it. If we ever sell the house, it’ll be staying right where it is, lol!

    2. Hi Michael, the craft room is finished! We just need to clean up a bit, and then I’ll be sharing it with you guys next week. Yeah, I’ll be getting a jump on that 235-piece set real soon!

  2. Can’t wait to see the craft room and what happens with the ever expanding bedroom set, lol. Very creative solution to the awkward alcove. As a decades-long resident of the south, I can say that there is no awkward space, angle, cavity or cranny that a buider is afraid of making into a ‘niche’ to confound a new homeowner. Preparing ourselves to move from hot, humid Houston to Denver in a couple of months so really enjoying watching your journey into your new home. As an avid quilter and stained glass crafter, I am looking for inspiration for my own space in our new home. Keep up the great work!

      1. Now that you live in the south Greg, you should know what โ€œBless your heartโ€ really means. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
        I love your alcove fix! You and Handan make a good team!

    1. Michelle B. My very good friend’s daughter will be selling more than a quilt store’s stock of wonderful quilting fabrics in Denver because of the death of her mother. They are all sorted into color groups. You will be in awe at the quality and quantity of supplies. Maybe even a Janome machine.

      Now how can we communicate if you are interested in seeing what’s available. Sale will most likely be in June. I doubt that Greg would be the go-between???
      Ruth G

    2. I have family in Colorado and when I visit I love the dry air and don’t feel the heat even when it is hot. I never have a bad hair day in Colorado!

  3. My husband and I built a Victorian style house a couple decades ago and we had two such alcoves. One for his gun cabinet and one for an antique secretary. Guess it’s a southern thing. We live in southern Louisiana.

  4. my friend lives in a house with a mystery “closet” next to her upstairs linen closet. Same size door as linen closet, but when open, it is only about 8″ deep. She never could figure out its use, so she hangs all her kids school pictures and artwork in there like it’s a hidden treasure trove.

  5. We had a condo with one of those odd areas. It was explained to us it is for displaying a small table and/or an art piece. We’re not that fab (and thankfully, we are no longer there). When we were looking at houses there was one that was 20″ wide and 10″ deep in an odd area of the hallway. No clue why or what the original owners were thinking on that one? So, odd niches aren’t just a southern thing – guess they are an odd thing in this area as well (eastern Washington).

    Love how this turned out! And got a kick out of reading about the ever-growing bedroom set!!! Chris could totally relate to this! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next!!

  6. Fantastic solution! I wouldn’t have thought of cutting down the trim. It looks great!

    Now, if that alcove had been downstairs, it would have made a great bar area. However, creating a bar area just outside your craft room might have raised a few eyebrows.

  7. Well, Greg, I would think it should be perfectly obvious what the area is meant for! Itโ€™s right around the corner from your private Craft Room Loo, right? Storage for your toilet paper collection!!
    You could still install some wire shelves above the built-in dresser, and presto! Always ready!

  8. Lovely! The perfect statement piece for the little alcove. Well done, Sir. Well done. And great idea for where it should reside, Handan!

    1. Our house in Florida had a couple of those niches/alcoves. It definitely is a thing there; as my ex husband’s 2 Florida houses have had them as well. Mine was just a small space in the hall with a shelf that was great for small knick knacks.

      You really had me cracking up with your Southern ladies and ever expanding bedroom set. You’d better get it stained and set up quickly before it will no longer fit in the house. Good luck!

  9. When I saw the space I instantly thought floor to ceiling built in cupboard. The storage! But then I saw the dresser and oh, oh my, so lovely ๐Ÿ˜ I can see why Handan had to have it! Itโ€™s beautiful, and with the slight revisions it does look built for the space! So, perfect! Iโ€™m interested to see all 111-pieces of this bedroom suite and what youโ€™re going to do to them ๐Ÿคฃ But I canโ€™t wait to see the craft room and be craft-room-envious!

  10. Please clone yourself, you make everything look so easy. And , more importantly, you know what to do.

  11. Love your home project and crafts.
    Alcoves are not just a southern home trend. Iโ€™ve seen them in many homes in Michigan and Colorado. Actually they are also found in gardens, churches, restaurants, mansions, and castles. For some reason we love to display things. Your idea for the built in is more my style.
    Question, what color paint do you use for the trim in your Swiss coffee painted rooms?

    1. Hi Trish, so far I’ve left the trim to its original color. When I do get around to it, I’m probably going to use ultra pure white like in Suwanee, but I’m not 100% on that yet.