Bathrooms Exterior & Garden Kitchen My Office The Snug The Victorian House

The Victorian House: Kitchen, Bathroom, Office, and Back Porch #1

Here’s the rest of our new house’s first floor! Think of this as ‘The First Floor: The Wallpapered Edition.’ (There will be more upstairs, too.)

You’ve seen a glimpse of the kitchen already. Here she is, in all her glory.

Wallpapered Kitchen



Tin ceiling! Not original, but period-appropriate.

Tin Ceiling

The stove is not vented. It’s wood burning on the left, gas on the right. We immediately blew out the pilot light five minutes into owning the house, and had to run to a neighbor for matches. Then it happened again, and again (but at least we had the matches to relight it). Good times!

Antique Stove

Here you can see the house’s back stairs on the left, and the bathroom on the right.

Wallpapered Kitchen

The bathroom has a small-scale geometric wallpaper above white beadboard.

Bathroom, First Floor

The bathroom upstairs on the second floor only has a tub. The kids take baths, but Brandon and I usually shower, so this may be our primary bathroom.

Bathroom, First Floor

Bathroom, First Floor

Here’s the room that will become my office. It slopes down considerably, but when we had our home inspection, I also brought in a structural engineer to assess this room and a few other spots. His verdict: it’s an old house with some quirks, but it is structurally sound. (In fact, he placed it in the top 10% of homes he has seen and was impressed by its good condition.)

Floral Wallpapered Office

Floral Wallpapered Office

It leads to a little porch (and I do mean little) that can only be accessed from the room. Such a great spot!

Back Porch #1

Back Porch #1

You’ve seen the entire first floor now, between today’s photos and the ones in yesterday’s post. Tomorrow, we head upstairs!

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  • Laura @ Rather Square
    August 27, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Your office is cute. Somehow I find the wallpaper in there kind of endearing. And that little private porch!

    I noticed a window A/C unit, is there not central air installed in the house?

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 10:23 am

      No central air. It will be character-building for the kids! ;) Brandon and I both grew up without A/C.

      • Alana
        August 27, 2013 at 11:44 am

        Nah—You don’t need central air. These old houses were built without it and have all sorts of structural elements intended to naturally cool the home. A few strategically-placed window units and you’ll be good to go. Our family house in Galveston doesn’t have AC either and it’s just fine.

      • Xenia
        August 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

        I did not grow up ti A/C either. My home does not have central air. It was built with floor vents on the first floor which helps to keep it cool. The high ceilings also help. I do very nicely without A/C. For the second floor I will sometimes put the window A/C in, but not every summer. I see how it goes and if I need it then I put it in. Having central air is nice, but not having it is not a death sentence either.

  • Stacey
    August 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Such a beautiful home!
    I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned this, but how old is the house?


    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

      It was built in 1891.

      • Ally
        August 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        So amazing, and it’s in such fabulous shape too! There is only 1 person on the entire planet who was alive when your house was built. He would’ve been 1 yr. old and he turned 123 yrs. a month ago. He lives in Bolivia and his name is Carmelo Flores Laura. Crazy eh?… And yes, I am Canadian! LOL

  • Elisabeth@YCCII
    August 27, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I kind of hope you keep the wallpaper! Especially in the kitchen. And that stove! My mother has an old stove like that she bought *brand new* off an elderly woman who had never taken it out of the box. It works beautifully, but perhaps the fact that it had never been used had something to do with it. Maybe it’s fixable? I hope I hope! This house is *such* a treasure.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      I like the wallpaper! It’s not what I would choose, but it works really well in there. Brandon’s not such a fan though. And that stove — he’s not such a fan either. I want to figure out a way to make it work for us!

      • Annabel Vita
        August 30, 2013 at 4:28 am

        If this were my house, I’d make the upstairs kitchen into a giant craft room and put this stove in there for occasional use heating water for tea etc, and then put a spiffy modern range downstairs.

  • Andrew Schultz
    August 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

    So much gorgeousness! Congratulations. You will be an awesome owner of this place. Can’t wait to see your projects unfold. I spy a rad dishwasher (Fisher and Paykel? I miss mine) among other beautifully done updates. I already have a mental list of things I bet you will be tackling (cream carpet, perhaps?) but what an amazing starting point!

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      You have a good eye! Yes, there’s a dishwasher to the left of the sink. And yeah, the carpet’s not a favorite…

  • Barb Langlois
    August 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Can’t wait to see that little office porch with the Nicole touch! It’s going to be so awesome, I know.

  • Jessee Maloney
    August 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Yep! The layouts almost exact to the house I grew up in!! The room with the porch was my bedroom and as a kid I thought it was so cool to have my own porch! (It’s actually the reason I bought a house with a top floor porch as an adult)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      There is another matching porch upstairs!

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project
    August 27, 2013 at 11:03 am

    That toilet is awesome! I’ve never seen a wood tank like that!! Is it just some sort of veneer? Are you planning to keep it? I’m loving this house already! Congrats again! :)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      It needs some minor repair, but we’re keeping it. It’s kind of cool, right?

  • Laurie
    August 27, 2013 at 11:03 am

    So sweet! I can’t help it, I like the kitchen wallpaper. Maybe not so MUCH of it, but I am a sucker for blue and white so anything blue and white makes me happy.

    This really is a fabulous house. I’m so impressed you guys found it and get to play in it!

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      I like the blue wallpaper too! It really works in the house.

  • Kristy Daum
    August 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I was just looking at my kitchen this weekend wondering how I could return it to some of it’s historical charm (my house is circa 1880) and I think your kitchen has given me LOTS of ideas…and that’s even before you add your special touches.

    In a separate note, my parent’s home (circa 1890) has original tin ceiling in 3 rooms. When I was growing up, I assumed that all homes had tin ceilings. It’s a nice memory.

  • Leyla
    August 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for sharing the pictures! I love all the woodwork in the place but I am very much looking forward to seeing what you will do with all the rooms.

  • KJ
    August 27, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Nicole, your new home is so gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what you do with the house, especially with all that natural woodwork. I bought my first natural-woodwork-filled house this summer and I definitely need some inspiration! Although our house is much newer than yours… built in 1929. ;)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Aw, it’s just a wee baby of a house! ;)

  • Amber
    August 27, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but rarely comment! However, your new house has me gaga! I love everything about it! The character and charm! Loving the toilet and sink! Like seriously, I’m loving this house so hard! Can’t wait to see your touches!

  • Lindsey
    August 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

    ohh nelly am I jealous!! Super awesome! Unfortunately, my town in Alberta just celebrated 100 years and there is nothing this rich in history. Beautiful!!

  • Jams
    August 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Whoa. This is so gorgeous! I can’t wait to see you style it!

  • Valérie
    August 27, 2013 at 11:28 am

    You will have so much fun making it your own… the house has terrific caracter already! Cannot wait to see what you will do and add to it! Congrats!

  • Joanna
    August 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Your house is amazing! How fantastic to own such history. I’m totally intimidated by your stove though. My paranoid husband would be waking up every two hours at night to make sure we weren’t all passing out from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      We’re intimidated by it too. We made sure that the CO detector in the room was in good working order, but it wouldn’t detect a gas leak (I think there are separate alarms you can get for natural gas).

  • Caitlin Wallace Rowland
    August 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I’ve noticed lately that your posts have been trunicated. It’s such a pain to jump over to your site from a blog reader (I have a deep hatred for trunicated posts, I generally don’t even bother to read them since I read most blogs from my phone and most websites aren’t super mobile friendly), any chance you would consider not trunicating them? I don’t want to miss out on your content!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your new house though! Can’t wait to see how you decorate it!

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Sorry, Caitlin! I don’t truncate them often, but these posts sharing the house are photo-heavy and they can fill up the front page. It’s not a new standard practice that I’ll be adopting for every post going forward, but it does work well for the next few that I have coming up.

    • jo
      August 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      I hate it too caitlin. i often don’t bother reading posts with the “jump”.
      can i second the request for less truncated posts?
      i totally understand though, with these photo heavy posts that it’s kind of a neccessity.

      love the new house.


  • Stacy
    August 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    You’ve moved into a mansion! Seriously. This is the house of my childhood dreams. Your children will have a magical life there I’m sure.

  • miss alix
    August 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Wow it’s really a beautiful house. I love every inch. You weren’t kidding when you said that room sloped, but at least it’s structurally sound! Can’t wait to see what you do with the place!

  • Nikki
    August 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    First, this house is so beautiful! Congratulations!

    Second, our first home had no AC and initially I thought it would be the first major project. But we ended up living there for about 6 years and never put in central AC. The window units were fine and were actually very cost effective for us, since we didn’t have to pay to cool the whole house and only used them in rooms we were in. The white noise was nice at night too.

  • Lianne
    August 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    This one is so lovely already you might have to change your blog to making it “more” lovely.

    Is there room in the kitchen for a free-standing island to give you more countertop space?

    It looks like there is no lack of storage in this house – so many wonderful built ins.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      The house isn’t hurting for storage space, but there is a definite lack of counter area. I think we can fit something small next to the radiator, and I’m also looking into placing a wall oven in the far corner, but that’s a tentative early idea.

  • Michelle @ AM Dolce Vita
    August 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    The house is so well kept considering its age. And the bathroom is so original and adorable. Love that pedestal lavatory sink.

  • Rebecca H
    August 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Love the flower wallpapers!

  • ddu
    August 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I have to laugh because your “before” kitchen reminds me of the kitchen in the movie Moonstruck. Remember everyone gathering around the great table there and screaming, arguing, making up and getting engaged? One of my Top 10 Movie Kitchens! Best wishes.

  • decor8 holly
    August 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I LOVE your kitchen wallpaper (just not with the brown). I would adore that wallpaper in an all-white kitchen with either non-varnished wooden floors or white wooden floors and a smeg. Gosh that is so great to imagine!

  • Glenda
    August 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Wow! Wow! wow! I can’t wait to see what you do with your blank canvas. Amazing stuff I’m sure !!!

  • Jessie
    August 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Swoon-worthy! Can’t wait to see your personal touches in there!

  • Nicole L
    August 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Swooning and in awe of how brave you are tackling this project! We’re currently house hunting, and while nothing we’re looking at is on such a grand scale I’m still very happy to live vicariously through you on updating a Victorian!

  • CTDC
    August 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Congrats on the house! You can just tell that this is one of those really special houses where the owners are almost like custodians, preserving the treasure for the next generation. What I think will be amazing is to see you take what is a beautiful but obviously dated house (in a good way) and give it that fresh infusion of modernity that you bring to all your projects. I am really looking forward to watching the evolution.

  • Lynn
    August 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I am so jealous I can hardly stand it! In the early 2000, my hubby and I moved into a house somewhat similar, (built in 1917) and absolutely loved almost everything about it! You guys are so smart to invest in something old, built to last! I wish you joy, peace, love, and a wonderful life in your beautiful new (old) home!

  • Nicole
    August 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    So amazing! How many square feet is it? And I have a thousand questions about the kitchen! What kind of wood are the cabinets and are they easy to use (open the drawers and etc)? So fun, Nicole! I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  • Amber
    August 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Your new home is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to see all the great things you do to it. Congrats!!

  • Jill
    August 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I love your new house — so far, my favorite room is the dear little porch. Looks like the perfect place to pass some quiet time.

  • Mary
    August 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    That is some house! I love old homes but storage is usually an issue.
    I’m excited to see how you handle it.
    Your bath could so easily be turned into the famous “Rita Konig bath” published in Domino.

  • laura
    August 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I kind of hate you right now! But in a loving, happy for you kind of way, of course! I’m a looong time reader and so excited for you and your family. ;)

  • Elizabeth
    August 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Such a gorgeous house!! Can I just say that I’m so happy for your family and the decision that you made a while back to stay in Chicago area. I remember when you were considering moving to San Francisco at one point, and I was really concerned for you, as I don’t think you would have found this lovely of home in SF for a good price.
    This house has such a neat feel to it and I can see how you guys will fit into it seamlessly!
    Many congratulations and on your fantastic home!

  • RobinD.
    August 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    wow, I love your new house! I am really not a fan of woodwork that is too nice to be painted, but in this house it is very acceptable :)
    When I saw the kitchen with the wallpaper, I just swooned. To me it brightens all the wood and complements it beautifully. I get how it could be “too much” for some, but that’s how my mother decorated when I was growing up, so I could definitely life with it, even if it’s not what I would choose.
    It is flamboyant, in a good way.

    This will be very fun to follow – very best wishes to you and your family!

  • Cassie @ LittleRedWindow
    August 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    This house has so much personality! I love it! But do you feel like its strong existing style is going to limit what you feel like you can do to it?

  • Chelsea Wilson
    August 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    That stained glass made me gasp!! This house is going to look amazing once you start decorating it!!! It doesn’t know how lucky it is yet! Congrats!

  • Elizabeth Gren
    August 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    I adore the windows in the kitchen! Enjoy your new home.

  • Tina@TravelingMama
    August 28, 2013 at 1:18 am

    eeek! I LOVE your gorgeous home! Will you be keeping the wallpaper in your office? It’s lovely, but I’m curious if it fits your vision for the room. So glad you are keeping it in the kitchen! We had gas tanks for all of our ovens and heaters in morocco. We kept a carbon monoxide detector right next to the tanks. Some of our friends always kept a window cracked near theirs.

  • Juliette
    August 28, 2013 at 2:39 am

    I’m loving this house! It reminds me so much of a B&B type of place and I’m really curious to see how you guys inject your own personality into it. It looks like the former owners probably could’ve had it in an issue of ‘Victorian’ magazine, yet I can’t imagine you going all out on ruffles and lace, lol. Exciting times!

  • madeleine
    August 28, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I had a stove like yours when I lived in NYC. Do yourself a favor and get a modern stove. You can leave that one in the kitchen or in any other room for decoration if you like, but it makes it so hard to cook and cooking for a family is a challenge already. Eventually I did get a modern stove and kept my old stove, I put plants on it.

  • MelD
    August 28, 2013 at 6:37 am

    I wouldn’t change a thing in the kitchen and shower room, they are beautiful.
    I would try not to add much, either, there is so much detail, minimalism requires nothing more!

    If you did add a new stove for practical reasons, I would recommend putting a bespoke wooden surface on the old one and using it as counter space – now I kick myself for not doing that when I had an old stove that we rarely used in another house.

  • Jessica
    August 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

    What a lovely place! The ceiling in the kitchen is a dream. Do you think you’ll paint the trim this time? There’s so much of it!

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  • Evelyn W
    August 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I’m seeing an epic Bed and Breakfast with this multi-apartment functionality.

    Make money from your home? Using your awesome style?

  • Julie Kuberski
    August 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I cannot even deal with how beautiful your new home is. You have one jealous admirer over here. ;)

  • Danielle Oakey Interiors
    August 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    This house is incredible! How many sq.ft is it? It looks huge!

  • Natalie
    August 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    We never had AC growing up in New York and we were just fine!

    Your home is GORGEOUS! I mean wow wow wow wow wow stunning and BRIMMING with potential! I can’t wait to see what you do with this already amazing space!! :)

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  • lara jane
    September 2, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Hey, I saw this place on Old House Dreams! So know that if you alter it in any unfavorable way, I know your address! ;)
    I’m only halfway joking! haha!

    It’s a gorgeous house! Congratulations! I’m so excited to see it redecorated!

    • lara jane
      September 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Shoot. Please delete this, Nicole. I don’t want some nutso being able to stalk you via the info on the other site. Sorry I mentioned it!

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  • judy
    January 28, 2014 at 12:31 am

    I’m looking at all of the pictures again and I get such an impression of all of the people who must have gone in and out of all those exquisite rooms. Your pretty cherubs playing on the floor of the kitchen made me so aware of how sweet just being alive really can be. and is there anything of greater value than a home and family. So sweet-I know you will add your enormous talents to your lovely new home-give it a little nudge into the 21 Century!

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  • Nine Dark Moons
    July 12, 2018 at 8:34 am

    love the glass tiles on the back porch! i might have to make some of those for our yard.

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