Backyard Bunkhouse, Hollywood Royal Family Edition


Originally published on Remodelista

When actors (and hands-on remodelers) Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen decided to downsize to a 1949 three bedroom fixer-upper in Studio City, LA, they had to find space to fit their family of six. The fact that their four boys, ages 15 to 24, all happen to be giants made the need for extra room that much more pressing. Fortunately, the previous owner had built a palatial workshop-tool shed for himself in the backyard.

In their transformation of the unheated workshed, the couple corralled their talents—Pays is now a professional interior designer and house flipper specializing in recycled design (see Amanda Pays Design), and Bernsen, one of the stars of the television series Psych, has serious carpentry skills having trained early in his career under his builder uncle. The results are a bunkhouse that stands ready for coming-and-going grown children and guests, plus a mezzanine ideal for drum playing and painting. And, surprisingly, it was all built on a (relative) shoestring.

 Pays and Bernsen entirely lined the interior of the workshed with scrap wood siding from a now defunct salvage dealer. They whitewashed it by painting it (Benjamin Moore Simply White—”with a brush not a roller,” specifies Pays, “I like to see the strokes”) and then rubbing it with a rag. They upgraded the old concrete floor with a new layer of poured concrete. And built a mezzanine level; Corbin himself hammered the wooden ladder with metal railing that leads to it. The finished interior is spacious enough for a hangout area, plus side-by-side bedrooms.

True, most unheated backyard workshops aren’t stuccoed and shingled—and positioned next to pools. Pays and Bernsen painted the structure a warm concrete gray, replaced its sliding glass doors with old front doors from Old Good Things, and added a barn light from a swap meet. The windows are original, but in several spots were relocated.

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