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The Second Floor is Taking Shape

Hey, no more visible lathe! We have walls!

Hallway: Now with Walls!

That’s the door we’re going to reuse for the new nursery, casually hanging out all akimbo at the end of the hall there. You know, where the 125-year-old subfloor is exposed? Living with the floor ripped up like that for a few weeks hasn’t been as bad as we initially thought it would be, but one of the kids’ bedrooms is over there so we will be glad to have an actual floor down sooner than later.


The wood on the second floor wasn’t in great shape when we bought the house, and when we started pulling it up for this project, we saw why. It’s a very thin material — not nearly as nice as the solid wood downstairs. It’s old for sure, and it has reached the end of its useful life, so we’re going to go ahead and redo the whole hallway rather than just patch the portion that we’re working on now. It’s something that we knew would need to be addressed eventually, but doing it now will mean holding off on some of the more fun stuff we’d rather spend our money on. (Sorry, potential front porch swing. Maybe another time.)

Kitchen to Nursery Conversion

There was a strip of wood molding along the walls in the former kitchen (soon to be nursery!) at chest height, matching up with where the beadboard backsplash behind the kitchen sink ended. After the wood was removed, the wallpaper had to be partially stripped so that any patching to be done could adhere directly to the wall. It looked like the paper was just applied over bare drywall in some sections and we were worried about potential damage, but it’s peeling off fairly cleanly and easily with just water. After our contractor is done working in there, Brandon will finish stripping the remaining wallpaper.

Wallpaper Removal Head Start

I’m about seven weeks from the baby’s due date now, so I’m not sure how the timing’s going to shake out, but the baby will sleep in our bedroom at first anyway. Really, we’re just aiming to get the loudest, most disruptive work completed in time, and thankfully that looks like it will be on schedule.

Moving the Door Over

We’re still a ways off from finishing the conversion of the kitchen on the second floor into a bedroom and finishing the hall, but it’s moving along.

Hallway Renovation

We were going to keep the original doorway to the room and reuse one of the other doors to fit. The cabinetry is staying though, and it would have been difficult to find a good spot for a bed without making the room awkward or blocking access to drawers. So I talked to Brandon and the contractor about it and we decided to move the door across from the other bedroom door on that side of the house.

Second Floor Layout
(You can see the original plan here.)

The hallway bumps out into the room a little on that side (where the door will now be placed) because we didn’t want the hall to feel cramped, and it also makes it easier to bring furniture in and out of both rooms. Since the radiator is behind the door (and thus unusable floor space anyway), it doesn’t make much of a difference on the new room itself, and the little nook that will now be next to the door will be a great spot for a comfy reading chair or a desk.

New Doorway Plans

Framing for the New Hallway Section

My sister came by over the weekend, and I was explaining the dangers of scope creep to her. We’re moving the door, which means we’ll also need to move the room’s light switch over. We need to put down new flooring from where the hallway built-ins started all the way to the bedroom doors, and now we’re wondering if we should redo the flooring in the entire hallway at once. I’m not looking to change the look of the wood — it’s appropriate to the house — but there are a couple of soft spots that do need to be addressed eventually.

Ripped Up Flooring, Lathe Behind Original Plaster

Hallway Progress

And then there’s the whole issue of finding a replacement for the bathroom storage that we lost. There is a huge bedroom closet that could be split into two, with half of it accessed from the hallway near the bathroom. We could probably even reuse some of the wood that we saved from the built-in that was removed, but that isn’t a project that we’re going to do right now. Instead, I’ll reorganize the small linen closet down the hall and be on the lookout for a shallow dresser, cabinet, or armoire to place near the bathroom.

Moving along, moving along…

Demolition Ahead

We’re about to start on some big changes to the second floor of the Victorian!

Second Floor Kitchen Demo Plans

Second Floor Remodeling Layout

Thank you so much for all of the input and comments when I first wrote about our possible plans for the space (here and here). We’re still mostly going with my initial plan for reconfiguring the hallway, but I was swayed to keep the kitchen cabinetry. We’ll reuse it as closet and dresser space, as well as storage for books and toys.

Having all of the built-in storage in the hallway right outside of the bathroom has been great, and we’re sad to lose it. Making another bedroom out of an awkward second kitchen is worth it though, and we think it’s much closer to how the house was originally laid out.

The Plan

• Remove the sink cabinet
• Remove beadboard behind sink
• Repair or replace wood floor beneath the sink cabinet if necessary
• Remove plumbing and gas hookups from the kitchen space
• Swap out the sink for the one in the kitchen downstairs, if possible
• Remove the door and doorway separating the kitchen from the family room
• Trim door to size and rehang in existing doorway off the hall
• Remove the built-in storage and open up the hallway
• Remove carpet from the section of the hall near the stairs
• Repair or replace wood floor in the new section to match the rest of the hall
• Remove the door and doorway near the stairs
• Open up the end of the hall as much as possible (there may be issues with load-bearing walls and a need for headers)
• Add L-shaped jog to the end of the hallway, closing it off from the new room
• Split and relocate light switches (two switches are for the room, one is for the hallway light)
• Relocate doorbell
• Skim coat plaster walls in the hall section near the stairs (it’s textured, and the rest of our walls are smooth)
• Strip the wallpaper
• Repair walls
• Add baseboard trim to match existing throughout

There will be a whole host of other things to do when it comes time to decorate, so tasks like painting and selecting new lighting fixtures aren’t even on the radar yet. Right now, we’re just hoping we can get the construction portion of the project done before baby number three arrives in September!