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The Lighthouse: Income Suite


One of the reasons this house was perfect for us was because it had the potential for an in law or income suite and my father would be moving up to join us on this big PNW adventure. And by “potential,” I mean there was a separate entrance to the lower level and a bathroom. This part of the house was like a time capsule that hadn’t been touched since 1970, which I actually appreciated because it offered a sort of blank canvas that is easier to work with – you’re not fighting through layers of poorly done updates. We knew we had to create a bedroom, living room, kitchenette, bathroom . . . at least it had walls (which is more than we could say about the other half of the lower level).

The scariest part was probably the “finishing room.” I looked up what that meant after reading it on the blueprints because it was being used as a hoarding space, complete with closets, and hidden compartments in a drop ceiling. I still have no freaking clue what a finishing room is supposed to be in the context of a residential house, but for us, it would be my dad’s bedroom.

You know what feels amazing as a minimalist? Demo. It’s so fun to destroy shit and throw it off the deck and it’s extra fun when it’s not your shit. But someone else’s junk that they generously (sarcasm) left behind? Downright therapeutic.

After the space was cleared, we found and a giant cut out hole that created a passage under the stairs to the other side of the lower level. The kids threatened mutiny if we closed it (A SECRET PASSAGE!!!) but Baba (my dad) insisted so it was the last thing we finished to give the kids ample time to explore the magic of the discovery.

Admire for a moment with me the concrete floors, paneled walls. drop ceiling, random holes and extra door.

Here’s the bathroom. Ew.

You guys, working full time and being a super husband and daddy AND renovating a house you’re living in is no joke. Being the supportive wife and fixer upper partner in crime that I am I took a photo when he fell asleep on the bathroom floor at 2 o’clock in the morning. Swedish – American plumbing conversion . . . zzzzzz….

Before I show the after photos for the suite, I need to include the disclaimer that this is my dad’s space, meaning I got to design the permanent fixtures of the space but everything in it is my dad’s. He has a much darker and redder aesthetic than I do and I didn’t want to fuss with his home to take the photos so you are peeking into his home exactly as he prefers it.

We carried the features of the upstairs bathrooms down to this third bathroom for consistency.

We carried the driftwood floors and warm light gray walls from upstairs down into the suite. The wood ceilings on the lower level are my favorite.

For the kitchenette we carried down the same cabinetry and hardware from upstairs but installed a butcher block counter and added a matching island on wheels.

His living room is the perfect little space for him to kick back and watch his shows.

We even removed those weird outdated built in cabinets and drawers.

The bedroom was probably the biggest transformation and is actually the largest bedroom in the house. We insulated and drywalled everything and closed off an extra doorway but the ceiling was actually the most work in this room as we framed and dry walled duct work and removed the weird drop ceiling. Instead of leaving the beautiful exposed high wood ceiling, my dad requested that we frame, insulate, and drywall the ceiling for sound proofing. We were happy to oblige to make the space peaceful for him. Apparently having 3 kids run rampant all day and into the night above your bed generates noise . . . go figure.

This self contained suite also has an interior locking door that enters into our shared jack-and-jill laundry room. Perfect setup, right?

Next up, the Master Bedroom and Bathroom.

You can also tour the bathrooms, great room, and kitchen, and rec room.

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

Gentle parenting, natural homeschooling, & simple living mentor

I'm Rachel Rainbolt

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