When Lora Klenke and fiancé Zach Brandon combined their families last year they wanted to do so in a way that helped the newly joined siblings bond—particularly the three teenage girls.
There had to be a way to bring the young ladies together and give them a special shared space. So the couple had a glamorous idea — turn an underused closet into a Parisian themed hideaway.
And so the “Glam Room” was born.
“I think in bringing two families together it’s really important to have the children excited about moving to a new home and put their stamp on it by having them involved in the process,” Klenke said. “Having the glam room for (the girls) got them excited about coming together as a family, getting sisters and designing the space together. They helped us pick the counter tops and design the drawers.
“Everyone had so much fun doing it. It became a family project.”
The closet, over the course of eight months, was transformed into a glittering pink and white dressing room haven complete with three separate lighted mirrors for each of the girls to get ready and distinct areas to store their own beauty products. The individual mirrors are also stylishly complemented by independently controlled dimming lights.
It’s an ideal space for the girls to invite friends over for makeovers or to get ready for school dances.
According to Klenke, the glam room is “perfect for Homecoming” and “everyone gets ready here.”
At the entrance of the room is a massive barn door with an over-sized mirror affixed to the interior side—a perfect way to check out entire outfits, according to Karsyn Gibson.
Hailee Brandon, the oldest of the three girls at 17, said people are always surprised to see pictures of the glam room and it’s definitely an enviable space.
Although the major room upgrade was made for the young ladies of the house, the two college age young men in the family weren’t left out of the fun.
Klenke said they took the spare room next to the glam room and made it “the gaming room” for when the boys are home from college. Though that really only involved moving desks and computers.
The downstairs bathroom of the household was also remodeled.
As avid HGTV watchers, Klenke and Brandon thought that taking the small downstairs bathroom and making it large enough to suit their three teenage girls wouldn’t be so bad. They were going to take out a wall and extend the bathroom into the closet area.
If a whole house could be made over for $100,000 on HGTV, a bathroom couldn’t be that expensive, Klenke said.
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However, they realized quickly that the TV price wasn’t even a ballpark estimate.
Klenke added that taking the HGTV price tag and multiplying it by five equaled a more realistic “real life” price tag.
Abe Degnan, owner of Degnan Design Builders, oversaw the remodel and helped the family through the decision making process.
Home remodels for families to feel that the home is uniquely theirs are becoming more popular, although the concept that this family went with isn’t as typical, Degnan said.
“People personalizing their homes and doing what they want and what suits their family is on an uptick,” he said. “It’s about people of all ages. It’s about people who are empty nesters personalizing for themselves or people who have teenagers doing things like the glam room or families with little kids doing what’s right for them. A trend in customization is not just for kids areas, but all areas.”
It was a matter of finding a way to modernize the space and keep the clutter out, but it was also a way to modify the room in a way that wouldn’t be impossible for someone else to change if they sold the house sometime in the future, Klenke said.
The family of seven has lived in the home for more than a year together and, although the glam room was not complete upon move in, the plan to bring the girls together through the remodel went well.
Without bickering for counter or storage space, the three young ladies have had plenty of opportunity to bond.
Hailee Brandon is the resident makeup guru who often helps her soon-to-be stepsisters get ready.
“Sometimes we don’t even get ready in here we just listen to music,” Karsyn Gibson said.
Though all three girls, including Emma Gibson the youngest, were all in agreement that the room is not usually as spic and span as it was on the day that the Wisconsin State Journal photographer and reporter arrived.
A fact which made Klenke even more grateful for the glam room.
“Our downstairs bathroom is the one visitors use,” she said. “In order to keep all (the girls’) stuff off of the counters we put it in the glam room. That way, when people come over, they don’t see all the clutter.”
Regardless of the deeper intentions of making over the room and the relationships it sprung along the way, Hailee Brandon had a single sentiment about the closet to dressing room makeover.
She said her Instagram photos are now even more amazing because the room “has really great selfie lighting.”