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June 12, 2013
With a little ingenuity, attics under the eaves can be transformed into bright, light living spaces.
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  This four-level penthouse apartment in New York has some quieter moments (to contrast with the multistory reflective slide snaking throughout). Designed by architect David Hotson_Architect with interiors by Ghislaine Viñas, this top-floor bedroom is a minty moment of repose. Set into the dormer at the opposite side of the bedroom, the alcove bed occupies a wedge of space extending up to the attic-level oculus window. Photo: David Hotson.  Courtesy of David Hotson.
    This four-level penthouse apartment in New York has some quieter moments (to contrast with the multistory reflective slide snaking throughout). Designed by architect David Hotson_Architect with interiors by Ghislaine Viñas, this top-floor bedroom is a minty moment of repose. Set into the dormer at the opposite side of the bedroom, the alcove bed occupies a wedge of space extending up to the attic-level oculus window. Photo: David Hotson. Courtesy of David Hotson.
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  Mike McDonald, an Oakland, California–based builder, faced a common problem for Bay Area homeowners: an aesthetically pleasing, historically significant, but structurally shaky Victorian. So he lifted the structure, added a basement sublayer for his office, and topped it all office with a new attic addition (pictured). Photo by: Jason Madara  Photo by Jason Madara.

    Mike McDonald, an Oakland, California–based builder, faced a common problem for Bay Area homeowners: an aesthetically pleasing, historically significant, but structurally shaky Victorian. So he lifted the structure, added a basement sublayer for his office, and topped it all office with a new attic addition (pictured). Photo by: Jason Madara

    Photo by Jason Madara.
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  Frequent Dwell architect-subjects El Dorado, Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri, completed this attic renovation in Kansas suburb Leawood. The Tyler family challenged the firm to add a playroom, a bedroom, and storage to their existing home without modifying the volume and footprint.  Courtesy of El Dorado, Inc. .
    Frequent Dwell architect-subjects El Dorado, Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri, completed this attic renovation in Kansas suburb Leawood. The Tyler family challenged the firm to add a playroom, a bedroom, and storage to their existing home without modifying the volume and footprint. Courtesy of El Dorado, Inc. .
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  The snug attic of a former fisherman's cottage outside of Copenhagen, designed by Norm. Architects, contains a platform bed, custom designed by Bjerre-Poulsen to maximize storage and fit the unusual space. Photo by: Jonas Bjerre-Polsen  Photo by Jonas Bjerre-Polsen.

    The snug attic of a former fisherman's cottage outside of Copenhagen, designed by Norm. Architects, contains a platform bed, custom designed by Bjerre-Poulsen to maximize storage and fit the unusual space. Photo by: Jonas Bjerre-Polsen

    Photo by Jonas Bjerre-Polsen.
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  In the same Copenhagen apartment, a small bed for the daughter of the family is tucked under the eaves on the other side of the photo wall. Photo by: Jonas Bjerre-Polsen  Photo by Jonas Bjerre-Polsen.

    In the same Copenhagen apartment, a small bed for the daughter of the family is tucked under the eaves on the other side of the photo wall. Photo by: Jonas Bjerre-Polsen

    Photo by Jonas Bjerre-Polsen.
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  In the tiny sleeping loft of this attic studio in Stockholm, a platform bed with two drawers beneath sits under a photograph that the owner snapped in Rio de Janeiro. The inset spotlights and a small shelf at the end of the bed offer light and additional storage. Photo by Per Magnus Persson.

    In the tiny sleeping loft of this attic studio in Stockholm, a platform bed with two drawers beneath sits under a photograph that the owner snapped in Rio de Janeiro. The inset spotlights and a small shelf at the end of the bed offer light and additional storage. Photo by Per Magnus Persson.

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  In his Cambridge compound, architectural designer Beat Schenk eliminated the attic and several walls to create a more fluid and open space. Photo by: Adam Friedberg  Photo by Adam Friedberg.

    In his Cambridge compound, architectural designer Beat Schenk eliminated the attic and several walls to create a more fluid and open space. Photo by: Adam Friedberg

    Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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Architect David Hotson and interior designer Ghislaine Viñas designed the alcove attic bedroom in this four-story penthouse in New York City
This four-level penthouse apartment in New York has some quieter moments (to contrast with the multistory reflective slide snaking throughout). Designed by architect David Hotson_Architect with interiors by Ghislaine Viñas, this top-floor bedroom is a minty moment of repose. Set into the dormer at the opposite side of the bedroom, the alcove bed occupies a wedge of space extending up to the attic-level oculus window. Photo: David Hotson. Image courtesy of David Hotson.

While attics are especially cozy in winter, a bright and airy renovation is more than possible, as these five homes illustrate. And why shouldn't they be filled with light? Attics are on the top floor, so capitalize on their proximity to daylight and accent with white paint, built-ins to manage clutter, clean paneling, and dormer windows to help the effect.

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