How a couple turned their claustrophobic attic into a spacious master suite

How a couple turned their claustrophobic attic into a spacious master suite

Who: Bryan Kerr, the 33-year-old co-founder of Every, a banking app; Iris Kerr, a 35-year-old art director; and their kids, ­Violet, one, and Quentin, three.
Where: The Junction

When Iris and Bryan bought their house in 2012, their least favourite area was the attic. The already cramped space had been awkwardly split into two tiny bedrooms with a closet between them. The entire floor wasn’t good for much beyond storage.

A renovation seemed like the best cure, so Bryan recruited a friend to help gut the space. Then a contractor adjusted the pitch of the roof to create more headroom and finished the interior, turning the formerly neglected third floor into a welcoming, 345-square-foot master retreat with space for a large bed and plenty of ­storage.

A year and a half later, Iris and Bryan hired another contractor to build a corrugated steel rear addition, and its flat roof now serves as the attic’s walk-out deck. Inside, the attic has new windows, including a round one reminiscent of a boat’s porthole. Solid ash floors, a whitewashed pine ceiling and two banks of knotty American hickory closets give the space a warm, cocooning effect. One panel in the closet system hides a compact Japanese toilet with a sink on the tank. A steel, glass and wood staircase makes for a stylish entry. “It feels so good in the space now,” Iris says. “Like you’re outside.”

Here’s the exterior. The round window replaced a small, square one:


Here’s how the window looks from the inside:


They added the staircase in 2015. The original stairs weren’t up to code:


The barrel is from Gilson’s Point Farm, on Lake Scugog in Little Britain, Ontario. Iris grew up there:


A compact toilet with a sink built into its tank saves space:


A door leads to the deck: