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Home & Design Favourite Room: New possibilities found in a remodelled attic

Melissa Kluger's favourite room in her Toronto home is this attic 'mom cave.'

Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Melissa Kluger’s bright, airy and very un-cave-like “mom cave” is more of an oasis. The Toronto lawyer, who owns a media company and publishes a magazine for legal professionals, won a makeover of her third-floor attic with retailer Homesense.

“The idea was to play off the traditional man cave, where a guy has a space to himself to do the things he likes to do,” she says. For Kluger, it’s a space for work, “dorky” hobbies, exercise and spending time with her eight-year-old daughter “more like friends."

It helps that the space is removed from the rest of the home, so she’s not “thinking about laundry and dishes and all the other things that have to get done in the house,” Kluger says. And its vantage point makes for great views, too. “When you look out the window, you see treetops. It almost feels like you’ve gone to the cottage, when really you’ve only gone up two flights of stairs,” she says.

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That sense of remove, pre-makeover, had resulted in the space being neglected. “Originally, it was a family room, but when I got divorced it wasn’t a room I went to as much. My daughter was young and I was busy with her,” Kluger says. “I don’t even recognize as the place it was before. [The makeover] has infused and refreshed it – and that was really needed. It feels like it belongs to me now and that’s a real gift.”

There was one catch, however: Kluger didn’t know what the redesign would look like until the makeover was complete and all the new furnishings had been installed (the reveal happened at a television taping). But she wasn’t too worried.

“I worked with their designers to tell them what kinds of things I liked, how I wanted to use the room and what kinds of design influences I was interested in,” she says. Kluger compiled a Pinterest page that focused on contemporary, mid-century modern and Japanese minimalist references.

And they listened. The geometric shelves and rattan and wood side chairs would live very comfortably in the rest of her home, alongside her other furnishings, Kluger says. Other items were a surprise, albeit pleasant. The peel-and-stick wallpaper, ambitiously installed in the angular, multi-surface alcoves, highlights and activates areas previously solely occupied by plants. The new plants are fake, though they still bring joy and “look amazing.” The sofa, for its size and colour, was also an unexpected indulgence. “It’s not something I would have bought myself,” she says.

The comfy couch and chairs – and lack of television and toys (Kluger’s daughter can bring them up, but they can’t stay there) – means the space works great for adult socializing, too.

“It surprised me just how much space there was to fill and how many areas there are that could speak to my different interests. I don’t think I realized how full and beautiful it could feel in here,” she says.

Over time, Kluger plans to evolve the space: “I’ll inject it with more of my own personal touches,” including travel photos and her daughter’s artworks. “I can see how we will grow with it over time.”

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For now, Kluger is thrilled to reclaim a space in her home that had been disused for some time. “It’s a room that I feel very happy and relaxed in now. That’s special for me and something I didn’t even know I needed.”

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