In case you aren’t aware of my every doing (are you not watching on insta-story?) we are renovating the new house… on speed (metaphorically of course). Two weeks ago we revealed the plan for the downstairs, and now it’s time for the upstairs.
When we thought about buying the house there were 1 million positives, but two pretty big negatives – only one bathroom upstairs (for all four of us to share) and very little closet storage. I’m talking like one closet per room. I knew we could fix the kitchen but I didn’t know if these were problems we could solve, but no house is perfect, right? The house was built in the 1920’s and people didn’t hoard 25 chambray shirts back then like we/I do now. Brian and I had a huge conversation about it – would we be willing to sacrifice the closets/storage and sharing a bathroom in exchange for a backyard, a beautiful old house full of so much charm, and in Los Feliz (our desired neighborhood). We said yes. That weekend I did a HUGE purge in my closet, inspired by my future downsizing. I got rid of 15 bags of clothes – many of them still good. Stay tuned for the announcement of what I did with them but it has a lot to do with ThredUp.
I looked at what was left in my closet and thought, YES, we can downsize. Our current closet wasn’t even that big and now it was only 1/2 full. Brian was more bummed about sharing the bathroom than I was, but he got over it. We both agreed that these two reasons weren’t why you don’t buy what you otherwise thought was such an amazing house for you and your family. It had a great backyard, it was in a great school system, it had good light and so much charm. My skinny jean collection would have to go, and I may never have that adult-worthy sophisticated double vanity that you see in the movies, but what we do get in exchange would be worth it.
So we brought in an architect to help us and we gave him the challenge of adding a bathroom and more storage just to see what was possible. The upstairs is not huge – with each bedroom being medium-sized. There was a linen closet, but otherwise it felt like all the real estate was spoken for.
A week later he came back with a plan and that we were SO very excited by. Sure, it would be chopping up some of the rooms, but ultimately it solved some problems and would add so much value to the house.
As a reminder here is how the house was laid out before:
Here is the one bathroom the four of us would share:
The bathroom has so much charm and I did want to keep that feeling, for sure but in a new, more functional way.
Here, below, are the closets that would house all our lives. These closest were barely 24” deep and while they are adorable we all know this is just not an easy way to live. Their visual original charm is trumped by the daily nuisance of clothes being piled up because they can’t be stored properly. Even though I’m a messy person, I HATE visual chaos and this would be bad for my daily mental state and probably not good for our marriage.
This was the master but is now Charlie’s room:
This was a kids bedroom but will now but the master:
And now Elliot’s room:
But, it’s not like it would be cheap. It’s hard to say how much doing this was but I’d say around $75K. It’s all just monopoly money isn’t it??? (That is sarcasm, folks … it just feels like there is no way its real and thank god for loans). At a certain point it becomes how long is a piece of string?? If you are already renovating the downstairs and under massive construction then why not just throw in the upstairs while you are at it? HA. We had the architect/engineer plans. We had the contractor that was ready to do it … you spend a lot once but never have to think about it again, right?
Of course now that it’s happening I can’t believe we considered ever NOT doing it. It’s 80% done and it’s already such a better house and life for us.
So how did he do it?
First – he created a master suite. He pulled from the hallway and added a new entrance into the ‘suite’ which you can see in the new floor plan below. You walk in and either go left to the bedroom or straight into the new bathroom.
Then he pulled some space from the bathroom and gave it to create a larger master closet. It’s not a grand walk-in like in a new house, but its big enough for us. The bathroom now doesn’t have a bathtub, just a shower which sure, is a bummer, but what can you do? We could have fit a tiny tub, but instead we chose to do a pretty larger shower. All in all it’s not your typical new master bathroom size, but its great.
Last he pulled space from each of the kids bedrooms to create a jack and jill in between them while still adding or keeping their closets. This is going to be so amazing for us and our kids. It’s the perfect sized bath for them and since it connects their rooms they have no reason to wander into the hallway at night. His first set of plans needed tweaking so it wasn’t as simple as a quick ‘we signed off on it!’ but the revisions were small and we were on such a quick timeline that we all worked hard to get to the best place the fastest we could.
Two weeks later after we got the permit we started demo.
And here it is with the drywall up:
And now that the drywall is up and painted it looks so good. We are already making one change in the above – we are reducing the size of the entrance of the closet to be only 24″ wide so we can have more wall space for a dresser on the outside and closet space on the inside.
On to the master bathroom:
We demo’d and reframed, relocated the plumbing and electrical. Those windows are being replaced obviously. It now looks like this:
I don’t think I’ve ever in my life moved into a bathroom that was new and fresh. I’m so excited it’s insane.
The jack and jill is getting there:
Now that the walls are up, the new suite is happening, and the jack and jill is being tiled, it’s as if it was always been this way. We are reusing the vintage doors around the house, don’t worry. The kids bedrooms got smaller, but not enough to make them dis-functional.
Charlie’s room is still plenty big for a kid or even a teenager even though we stole some space from it to make the jack and jill bathroom.
I was so worried about matching the original plaster, but they did such a great job (stay tuned). What’s not shown on the below is that the right side of that jut out is his closet.
We chose paint colors last week (did you see the facebook live???) and we have begun. Stay tuned for that post but things are looking so GOOD!!!
Now to Elliot’s room:
Framing and drywall is up and ready to go.
We painted it last week and while I actually love the color, I missed it too much being a tone (we chose Blackened by Farrow and Ball). I think it’s because we painted the ceiling, too, (we had to) so it was too overwhelming despite it being such a soft color. It didn’t help that there is so much light in there, that it just bounced the pink around almost aggressively. So its a neutral now – but check out this pink!
See? It’s so pale and pretty but I knew already that I wanted to bring in more pink elsewhere and put the walls back to a neutral.
I can’t believe how much it feels like how the house should be. We are matching the plaster and reusing the doors (although they are too small for code so we have to custom make to match which GUESS WHAT? IS SUPER CHEAP!!!! (opposite, like $800 a piece). We are tight all upstairs but I love it. I’m sure when they are teenagers I’ll wish we had more space but for now since they are so young I love that we are up there, all snuggly and safe within feet of each other and that if they need anything we are so close, and it somehow feels really protected and lovely.
I’ll get to the design plan later of each room don’t you worry. I sound like such a broken record, you guys, but it’s all happening so fast that it’s hard to really even create the content at the same time! Tile is going in the bathrooms now, then beadboard, wallpaper, toilets/vanities and fixtures. There may be some things we have to tweak, because when designing so fast things happen, but I love everything so far and the new layout gets me so excited every time I think about it.
Up next … the kitchen design plan and layout. Stay tuned, folks.