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Our Upstairs Demo Plan

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.

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  1. Wow! This is going to be fabulous for your family. I’m amazed at the new layout–who would’ve imagined you could tweak the old floor plan to truly fit your needs?!? Nice work!!

  2. These are all such great plans, thanks so much for sharing the process!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  3. This reminds me of Brandon and Brenda’s bedrooms! Which, every 90s girl knows was THE BEDROOMS to covet.

    1. :-))) I thought the same thing!
      I love it!

  4. This entire project makes me so sad. Why buy an original 100 year old house and tear it to shreads so u loose all of its character. You insult the details in the home, “the beams are made of cheap wood and in a newer home I would have removed the detail.” Really 100 year old original beams and u label them cheap, this coming from a person who promotes Target for a living (nothing wrong with Target folks I love them but they are not known for being high end.) I’m sorry this 100 year old home doesn’t fit your modern lifestyle but it should have been sold to someone who would have restored it not demoed it for blog content and a potential magazine spread. There are plenty of bad demoed houses in LA you could have fixed but u choose something that was in its original condition WHY. The house can’t be put back what’s done is done and I’m sure it’ll make lovely blog content for your sponcers but can u at least try to be respectful tinthe small amount of original house you left and not call it cheap?

    1. haters gonna hate

    2. RUDE ALERT. Cindy, how about we all come into your home and criticize all the choices you’ve made!?

    3. I understand what you are saying, but just because something is original does not make it good quality. Do you really expect her to keep damaged floors, just because they may be original? She has been very clear that she is respecting the age and style of the home, even keeping the doors for goodness sake, which probably costs more than new doors.

    4. Cindy,
      Sometimes my thoughts run in a similar vein as yours, but I feel compelled to defend Emily. My thoughts:
      1. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it was well done or has character.
      2. Being old doesn’t make something inherently valuable.
      3. Sometimes old stuff has to be replaced for safety/environmental reasons!
      4. Life in the old days wasn’t always as great as we like to imagine it was.

      I think there was a bit of discussion on this blog re improvements made to dwellings in Italy, France, Spain, England–in those cases the buildings were much older, and the results were stunning. These spaces were not restored to their original state but modernized. So it can be done without sacrificing character.
      There are a lot of things in this house that strike me as very strange and not in a good way–extremely tight corners, and is that a window in the closet?!? This house is lucky that a professional like Emily can spend the time and money to truly rescue it–it needs a lot of work.
      I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

      1. I’m with Susan. Old is not always good, and it certainly doesn’t always last forever. My guess is that neither the kitchen nor the bath are original to the house – probably because they NEEDED to be updated to be functional. And they once again need to be updated to be functional. As Susan said, there is a lot of strange stuff going on in this house, and I think it was poorly designed to begin with. “Cheap wood” is cheap wood, generally that was meant to be painted. I appreciate that Emily is sharing what is involved in taking on this kind of project, warts, “cheap wood”, and all, and calling a spade a spade. This is not an example of a construction that deserves to be maintained for heritage reasons. This looks like a HUGE improvement to me, while also completely maintaining the character of the house – she is clearly doing that – and in fact upping its charm factor considerably.

    5. This statement, “but it should have been sold to someone who would have restored it not demoed it for blog content and a potential magazine spread. ”

      Not at all…it should be been sold to the person willing to pay for it and wanting to live in it. That’s it. And it was. And as the purchasers she/they get to use it how they want. There should be no rules regarding who any home should be sold to. There are enough rules about everything else (I.e. the doors not being to code.)

    6. I don’t usually comment here but as a practising architect, I have to disagree with your comment. I can’t speak to the quality of the beams, if they are “cheap” or not but I do applaud taking a 100-year-old house and renovating it so it is livable for todays standards. Adding a bathroom to a house that only has one and adding closet space is taking this house from an artifact to something that is extending its life so it can be useful/livable for many more years to come.

    7. If this entire project makes you so sad it’s time you stop reading this blog. You know full well the comments you made here will be incredibly cutting to Emily as she has agonized over keeping the character and integrity of her 100 year old charmer of a house. Houses are living breathing extensions of us they are not museums. If they do not grow with us and adapt with us they get demolished. This house has Emily guiding it to its fullest potential. It’s heart will grow many sizes hearing the footsteps and laughter of this new family running through it and in and out of its doors. It will sleep each night with a smile embracing Emily’s young family.

      1. thank you for your thoughtfulness!

    8. Cindy, that “someone else” might very well have bulldozed this lovely house. From Emily’s description, the lot, location and school district makes this very desirable property. And one can disagree respectfully and without snark.

    9. Very inappropriate comment Cindy. Emily is renovating the home to suit her family’s needs…not yours! And it is very obvious that she is lovingly trying to keep as much of the original charm as possible, but adding up to date functionality is also appropriate!

    10. Cindy, I’m with you to a certain extent. However, I think it’s a bit premature to start criticizing Emily’s choices just yet. We haven’t really seen the finishes, tile, materials, lighting, etc. that she has chosen. I think that will be a bigger determination of whether she is respecting the history and character of the house, not whether she is moving a door by a few feet or adding a discrete bathroom on the second floor. It’s not like she’s adding on a random addition or turning it into a McMansion. Even Gil Schafer, a top architect in the world and certainly one of the greatest living experts on historical American architecture and restoration, adds a bathroom here and there when his clients need it (check out the bathroom-disguised-as-a-wardrobe in the Charleston house he worked on!). In fact, he advocates for updating historic houses to fit today’s lifestyle while respecting the aesthetic of a home’s bones. I am a designer living in a 1952 ranch house that my husband and I inherited from his grandparents – we have a huge amount of sentiment/emotion invested in respecting the history of our house – and yet, for example, our bathroom had no electrical outlets because people in 1952 didn’t use hair dryers at home, or electric razors. But we put in discreet outlets because we need them! It doesn’t mean that we weren’t respecting the character of our home by updating it – to the contrary, we chose tile and finishes that one would’ve found in 1952, kept the original layout, etc. By the same token, Emily’s house doesn’t have to be a literal translation of 1920 to be respectful and have integrity. We’ll see if she chooses finishes and materials that are appropriate for the period and the architecture of the house. So far, her floor plan choices aren’t out of left field.

    11. I’m piling on here. When people are dying over changing even a single thing because “original” I always imagine 100 years from now, my descendants agonizing over ripping out the “original” shiny yellow oak in some “original” (orgasm) 1988 home.

      Some things are not in good taste simply because they are old. I (gasp) removed some stained glass windows from a bungalow. They were drafty with no feasible way of fixing them, and for me, they were ugly. I don’t think I would have chosen stained glass even in the 1920s. So out they came, and they were donated to someone who could love them and cherish them.

      And…I agree with the architect above. Updating a floorplan for modern usage gives this lovely home another 100 years.

    12. But Emily IS keeping the integrity of the house and making decisions for the good of the house. Do we see her ripping out everything, laying down concrete floors and white everything and glass tile in the bathrooms and calling it a day? No. Is she working within the bones to make it work for her family and make it livable. This isn’t a flip or flop show – pretty sure the end result will be of both quality materials AND respectful of the style.

      1. I normally read this from afar however feel compelled to write in defense here… To put things into context I’m an architect in Scotland, making a living out of renovating old [and I mean old] properties: regularly working on houses 200 – 300 years old. Just because something is 100 years of age does not make it good quality. A surprising amount of historic work is really badly done [The Georgians were the worst for using cheap timber – come to the UK and jump on the floors in a Georgian house and they literally spring up and down].

        The sign of a GOOD property is one which ADAPTS and molds with life… How do you think a building can be home to successive generations and last 100/200/300+ years if it isn’t adaptable? As previously mentioned, someone else would have torn down the house to monopolize on the plot, however someone with taste and a sensible mind is altering it, preserving its longevity.

    13. Well, I’m sad this made you sad – and obviously your comment is hurtful. My theory on restoring old houses is to make them really live again. Despite having a lovely family living in this home, it wasn’t cared for and it had to be tended to properly to keep it alive. I do makeovers for blog content, sure, but this is for my family and if we can live more comfortably in a 100 year old house while restoring it with as much original detailing as possible, then I feel confidant that that is actually showing this old house a lot of respect and love. We are even having custom doors made to match the original interior doors which I love, but are $800 a piece, which is crazy and not exactly where we want to spend money right now. But that’s how much we are embracing the original design of the home. I will say that I was wrong about the beams – after stripping them even further their wood is good and I’m so excited about them, we just had to get the faux finish off – so I will edit that out. I’m hoping to disprove your theory about me, but also understand that public renovations aren’t for everyone. 🙂

      1. I am a lover of old houses as well and I must admit that it was hard seeing everything go. Having said that I feel that you will respect the house, Putting in bathrooms and closets will make the house last longer. I was super curious if you are at least going to use reclaimed flooring?

    14. High fives to you Cindy, you’re welcome in my 110 year old home anytime!

      If you want modern, buy modern.

  5. Wow! Before I read , I have to comment:
    You look beautiful!

    You’re hair is perfect! It reminded me of a once mentioned makeup tutorial/more beauty posts. I’d LOVE that!

    Now…back to reading. 🙂

  6. I love it and am excited to watch this house become your home.
    I do have a question… Why didn’t you extend Charlie’s closet all the way to the wall where the window is? It’s hard to tell in the pictures if the window is in the way or if you feel he just doesn’t that much closet space.

  7. I think it’s awesome to totally tear apart an old house and make it new–and you’re staying true to the character of the house and making it so much more functional for your family.

    This plan is great. I have a jack and jill bath and it is so smart that your doors are opening outward into the bedrooms instead of into the bathroom–my doors open inward into the bathroom and it makes the bathroom sort of dysfunctional because the doors take up so much space in the bathroom when they are open.

    And I think you have plenty of space–I always shared a bedroom growing up and pretty soon I’m going to have four kids in a three bedroom house and I still feel like we have plenty of space. A family I knew had seven kids in a three bedroom house and they made it work.

  8. I love the Jack and Jill bathroom. It is very appropriate for your home. I live in a 1920’s Spanish style home in San Diego, and while we don’t have a J& J bathroom, there are a number of them in the neighborhood. Embrace pocket doors! They are space savers and often found in older homes. I think a pocket door going into the master bath would be great instead of the door hitting the toilet. Just a thought. I am excited to see the fixtures you picked out.

  9. WOW! What a great new workable layout. I follow your blog all the way from jolly England and have to laugh a bit about your size worries. We have one closet in our whole house! Your kids will feel cozy and safe when they are grown up too and the location/garden are well worth size compromises. We live in London for the area, not the size! I love all the design decisions so far as you have really thought about the needs of your young family. Can’t wait to see the rest!

    1. I’m with Nichole on the size thing, noticed it in previous posts too. From a European perspective this house is massive :-). I’m from The Netherlands and don’t think I know anyone that has two bathrooms and I think a lot of people can only dream to have one of the kids’ rooms as a master. Anyhoo… How awesome will having that Jack and Jill be! :-). Super excited to see where you’ll take this house!

      1. HA. I love hearing this. All we hear is – BUT WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO PUT YOUR CLOTHES!!!?? I think suburban houses have so much space and modern houses all have walk-ins so to many people our house feels small, but its the perfect size for us. thanks for the reminder.

  10. I like the new layout a lot and although it’s 2 small baths you had room, so well done. Our house will forever be a 1.5 bath home as there’s just no more room.

    Pocket doors on both the kids bathroom doors would’ve saved them some floor space. I’m really surprised at the choice to keep the slatted farmhouse interior doors, though, which are not really 1920’s door styles and really don’t match the style of the house very well. But yes, they are super easy/cheap to make.

    It’s nice that the house isn’t oversized with a lot of needless rooms. A nice, cozy, family house and yes, a YARD!

    1. I love those doors but funny that you say they are easy/cheap to make – we have two quotes now at $800 (which was way more than we budgeted). Hmm.. and I think they fit the casual vibe of the house but your comment is interesting. And there wasn’t room for pocket doors – we tried on both. 🙂 I think it was plumbing on charlie’s side that didn’t allow for it and then just not enough space on Birdies side.

  11. This is an amazing improvement! Thank goodness for creative architects! I love how you’re dealing with the green in Charlie’s room and I LOVE the pink in Birdie’s room. I would totally have kept it. Soooo soft and pretty. Which one is it?

  12. Emily, given the age of the house the code issue with the closet doors probably could have been addressed under the State Historical Building Code, which likely would have allowed you to keep the originals without the necessity of replication. Your architect might want to inquire.

  13. This is beautiful!! What a dream house! I just want to say, too, and not in a guilt-storm way, that even without all the renos, this is a pretty magical situation. I would go for it even if it had no closets at all! There’s always armoires, right? Anyway, pretty fun 🙂

  14. the one thing i would have done differently? re-situate the master en suite toilet so that it is not in the entryway to the master right at the top of the stairs.

  15. I am so confused. I thought that the room whitch had windows on two walls was going to be Charlies room. In that video you filmed couple of months ago you were in Charlies room looking out the windows with Orlando. Did the plan change or am I crazy? 😀 But anyway, I love the new layout, it makes so much more sense!

    1. The planned changed! Good eye, though. Yah, once we realized we could have a suite we did that instead – plus honestly that room has amazing views and two walls of windows so its just better, and selfishly we wanted it for us 🙂

  16. I too live in a very old house, built in the days when the privy was in the back yard. My baths, by todays standards are tiny but absolutely livable. Take advantage of every inch. A large narrow depth cabinet set into the studs can hold a vast amount of lotions and potions. I love following along with your reno.

  17. Have you thought about a pocket door/sliding door for the master bath? The door swing looks pretty tight.

    1. YEP. Pocket won’t fit, but we are considering a barn door right now (not to look like a barn door just to function like one). We have to have it custom made and we are slightly worried about having enough space to get furniture into the bedroom around that bend … but I think it should be fine. Its tight for sure, but yes we all agree that a door into the bathroom is a space suck.

      1. Love the plan – Such a smart updated layout. Sorry if this is TMI, but I do not recommend a barn door into a bathroom since there is no way to seal them. For a closet they are great, but I prefer acoustic separation between bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s incredible how ineffective a barn door, even a solid wood door, is to block sound! With a fan in the restroom the air movement between spaces isn’t really an issue, but sound is so much harder to coral then sound!!!

  18. What a wonderful way to make the house more livable for your family. Looking forward to seeing more

  19. Emily! I’m so glad you’re doing this. When you first showed the walk-through of the new place I thought “oh no…she’s going to wish she had her own bathroom”. And also good choice on moving the master bedroom. I’m approving every step you’re making 🙂

    1. Oh and to have your own bathroom that’s never been used…a lot jealous!

  20. I think the changes are a good idea and you’re making good use of the space. But could you think about the language?
    It’s quite hard to read every sentence including “it’s TEENY TINY!”
    It’s really not. Two adults and two children sharing a bathroom is not the end of the world. And many houses have no closet space and fit wardrobes in the room.

    I don’t think you’re doing it on purpose, and I like the changes, so hopefully constructive criticism.

    I agree with the pocket door suggestion if you can fit them in.

    1. I felt that too, though I hate to say it bc Emily is so, so sweet and is using her own perspective and preferences as a gauge. But yes…I would guess that a lot of us live in 2br 1bath homes or apartments with more than one child, and with little closets, and this can create sort of wonky perspectives. Truthfully, I looked at those closets and bathroom and thought they were normal to large.

    2. My thoughts exactly. I love what Emily is doing to the house and all those choices are hers alone and very exciting. But I read teeny tiny and then saw the photo and thought what!! I don’t live in the US so maybe that is standard? I have a 180 year old home and our one bathroom is half that size for both stories. I don’t begrudge the changes or the history changing or anything like that, but would like a little more perspective on how a lot of people live.

    3. I agree with Victoria. In my experience, most houses in Europe only have one bathroom. As an European, I don’t even understand the obsession with having multiple bathrooms. Sure, having more space is always better, but I really don’t understand what is so terrible about sharing a bathroom with your kids. Especially small kids. I do sometimes wish I had another bathroom, but for guests, not the kids. So, maybe someone can explain it to me? Please! I am actually really curious.

      1. I so agree and wonder the same.

        I also have the same question about built-in closets. I get that they are practical, but being European, I don’t understand how they are a necessity. Maybe it’s because Americans have bigger beds and/or more stuff?

        I am honestly wondering (not judging, but I am reading lots of American interior design blogs and some things I just cannot fully understand, probably because I haven’t been to the US).

        1. Gotcha, good note. I think i’m a bit sensitive about it because everybody’s reaction to the bedrooms/bathrooms/closet is ‘MAN THESE ARE SO SMALL’ so I’m just putting it out there as more of a defense mode, maybe. I think that its just people’s expectation of my house and their surprise of it being not particularily grand, puts me in that mode, but that is a good note and I’ll stop being so sensitive to the world. 🙂 I’ll edit now!

      2. Hi Luna, my husband and I have 3 kids, lived in a 3 bed 1 bath and moved to a 2 bed 2 bath. A big reason for the move was kids (especially small kids) need to go they need to go, they had a few accidents and tears because they couldn’t go when they needed to because someone else was using it so it makes it nice to have a open seat.

    4. Haha, I agree! When i was reading, I kept reminding myself that Emily isn’t crazy, she just lives in california and is probably more used to McMansions than historical homes. The closet she ripped out is basically what we dreamed of finding when we were house hunting. In terms of renovating versus keeping things, I think its true what some people have commented- if the house is not updated to meet typical expectations for houses in the neighborhood, it would probably just end up getting demolished. Its more sad to see that than to have some interior details change at the end of the day.

  21. I totally understand the pink blush dilemma. I REALLY REALLY wanted my baby girl’s nursery to be blush… but I got a wall painted and couldn’t deal with how pink bounced everywhere! It’s now SW Pure White and it’s so clean and relaxing.

  22. Emily, I love your blog and I’m excited to see your new house, but referring to $75k as “monopoly money” comes off as more than a little privileged.

    1. I think she was being sarcastic, to your very point.

    2. It’s called sarcasm.

    3. It’s a reference to using mortgage/borrowed money vs. cash out of your pocket.

      1. I was being sarcastic – but sorry if that didn’t translate. At a certain point it just feels like its all fake, like there is NO WAY that you could possibly be spending this much. Like what a fun game!!!!! but no, its real. It’s a real, terrifying, game.

  23. Your new plan is absolutely amazing! It goes to show that hiring an architect is worth every single penny and even though the rooms may be a bit smaller, you are getting two bathrooms. The old main bathroom seemed to have a great deal of wasted floor space. One idea you could consider if you need more closet space is the great modular units that they sell at IKEA. They can be made to look built in with some crown molding and a good carpenter. I am doing this in a guest room that has a small tiny closet and will now triple my closet space.

  24. Are you planning on keeping the original door hardware? If I recall correctly you have thumb latches , i remembered this because I moved into an 1800s home with the thinnest doors all outfit with thumb latches (or mostly just handles at this point, the latching mechanisms have disappeared). I have no idea if I should replace them with a thicker door and modern door sets, or try to replace the thumblatch? I’d love to know if you’re keeping them or replacing with something else

    1. We are keeping them!! Our doors aren’t that wide though, so for any of the new construction we have to get new doors, which are going to be custom, so sourcing the hardware might be a challenge, but we want to keep them. I also love the long hinges …

  25. I gotta say that the existing bathroom is NOT teeny tiny (I say this as a 24-year old renting in the Bay Area). With that said, I can see how new gargantuan homes feel spacious and free compared to my compact apt, and I dream of one day having a

    1. (cont) larger double sink bathroom. Couldn’t you have cut down the closet space and fit the double sink? I guess it’s always a balancing of priorities. Thanks for sharing, I’m looking forward to seeing what tile you select.

      1. I don’t think Emily’s new home seems gargantuan…I think it is a tasteful amount of space for a family of four to live and entertain in. (Of course, I live in Utah where most new homes are grossly gluttonously large, so I guess it’s about perspective. But still I think this house seems like a comfortable yet modest amount of space for their family.)

        1. Thank you 🙂 I had no idea that me saying ‘teeny-tiny’ was going to be so controversial! Editing now. xx

  26. Really enjoy reading your remodeling process, thanks for sharing! The floorplans really help in understanding the plans. Love that you are salvaging the doors in Elliot’s room!
    For anyone who is remodeling themselves, this free tool really helped me: https://app.mykukun.com/Home-Renovation-Costs you can estimate your remodeling costs and even calculate the ROI of that project.

  27. I think it’s wonderful your architect was about to create a jack & jill bath! Such added value to a family home. I’m such a fan of the arches over the tub and shower in the existing bathroom; will those be able to be recreated? I couldn’t tell from the progress photos. Good luck with the rest of the process–it must be very exciting to see your creative vision start to come to life!

  28. Yay! So excited for you guys, and I love seeing the “in progress” pictures.

  29. That second bathroom for the kids is genius. The architect had mad skills!

  30. Were you working with an architect or a magician? Pretty sure there’s some fancy magic going on somewhere… maybe an undetectable extension charm or two?
    I look at the original plans, scroll down, scroll back. Still don’t see how you pulled it off.

    Magic! (cue jazz hands).

  31. Wow, this is SO MUCH FUN to see this remodel. Thank you so much for sharing. There really isn’t anywhere else online or on TV where you get to see this kind of content (full-scale renovations from someone who has impeccable taste, with behind-the-scenes info. Also, I love that extra space in Charlie’s room (between the bathroom I think and the exterior wall with the window). It will be the perfect reading nook. I can just imagine down the road a little seven-year-old boy snuggled up with his mom or dad reading aloud Narnia or whatever. 🙂

    1. THANK YOU!!! What a nice comment. Thank you.

  32. Brilliant!

  33. great modification of the closets. but i really don’t get the thing of having bathrooms inside the bedrooms. .. I’m from Argentina and certainly that’s not the way houses are designed round here. … sorry if it comes nasty,but smells coming from the bathroom and moisture from showers are things i would definitely like outside my bedroom. Also agree on the one bathroom for a family with two kids is livable and comfortable. … don’t know if it is something you feel as a family need or if it’s common for a standard American Family

    1. HA. that’ interesting. It might be an american thing. We didn’t really need it, to be honest, but it was recommended to us by everyone – create that suite! So we did and I like it, but I understand your questioning for sure.

  34. Wow! Awesome post (as usual); again, knocked it out of the park Emily and team. I loved poring over those house plans and alterations and reading why you made the changes you did! Thank you for showing them to us. You have a very clever architect.

    I also learned a new term; Jack & Jill bathroom. I’ve never heard that before (though I am in Australia) we just call it a semi-ensuite…. which is very boring in comparison! Can’t wait to see more posts on these rooms, it’s exciting.

  35. It looks like you found an awesome solution for your upstairs! And I agree that having two bathrooms for everyone is so worth it. One question: did you consider pushing Charlie’s closet over so you could do a double sink for the kids? Seems like it might be helpful when they’re teens.

    1. A few people have said that an we really didn’t, but now I’m like ‘should we have?’ I think its big enough and we wanted a closet and to not reduce the size of the room that much, but I think that is a good idea and a valid point (although too late – HA). xx

  36. This is such a smart solution! Your architect nailed it. I love how it’s such a light touch (really!) on the current floor plan. It means you’ll be able to live there so much longer than maybe you were planning to.

    And, controversial though this may be, I really like this plan so much more than the plan for the downstairs (which ultimately doesn’t matter – it’s your house!), as this feels like you’ve really kept everything that was great about the upstairs. All the windows, the stair landing, the arrangement of the rooms. It’s really clever.

    Also – These are my favorite posts!! I know it’s hard to keep up, but really, I come here every day and whenever you’re blogging something that ISN’T about your house, I honestly just click away. I’d love posts on all the nitty gritty about timelines and material selections and permitting and finding contractors and subs to Get It All Done in such a short timeline. I am intimidated by the process, and we need to do something with our current house, but I’m mindboggled about where to start. Hearing how you’ve gone through this process would be really helpful. How did you choose your architect? What kind of direction did you give him/them/her? What hiccups did you encounter (you mention the doors… others?)? I’d be really interested in a series of posts about all that ‘boring’ stuff.

    Love your work! Excited to see the reveals!!

  37. I’m so excited about this renovation, I kid you not! Thank you for sharing everything in such minimal details, it is very interesting and, as someone else pointed out, not the kind of information you find around. I’m sure it’s not easy on you – how you arrange your own home is something very personal and people are always going to have an opinion (and sometimes chose to share it in some not-so-delicate ways). I, for one, am fascinated by the choices you made: I would have never thought of adding the bathroom or closet spaces, but agree that its going to make your lives infinitely easier. Keep up the good work, and thank you for always beeing so honest, it sure makes a difference; we do notice how every post here is super complete, personal and thoughtful. =)

  38. Emily, as someone who recently returned to her childhood home and is renovating it as a great place for adult me to live, it is wonderful to see you personalize this house piece by piece and make it a perfect home for your family. It’s always fascinating to watch a good contractor play floorplan Jenga and flip an existing space on its head, and this is such a functional improvement! I can’t wait for the finishes.

    (FYI, the bathroom photo caption still reads “teeny tiny.” Since it gave me pause as well — even by McMansion standards, any bathroom that can fit a separate tub and shower with floor space to spare doesn’t really count, does it? — I wanted to give you a heads up. 🙂 )

  39. I checked back to read all the comments on how brilliant your upstairs plan is. Instead I find a battle between preserving every jot and tittle of the original house and the forces supporting living in the 21st century.
    We live in a house built in 1929, a brick Tudor revival style two story with basement. We ripped out the 1960’s kitchen with 2 1/2 ft of usable counter-top and rebuilt it from the studs. We would have liked to open up the house but felt it would compromise the tray ceiling and plaster details in the adjacent dining room.
    We cut a hole into the eaves upstairs and wound up with a long skinny bathroom by building a dormer. I did specify mahogany for the built in vanity and moldings and sourced a vintage mahogany door. As I recall, the hardware (hinges, door latch plate and key hole cover plus the crystal doorknob) cost more than the door. Actually, the crystal knob cost as much as the whole door. We put a bathroom where no bathroom had been before. Oh, the horror! But we’d never use the top floor of the house without a bathroom up there … well, I’m not trotting downstairs every time I feel the urge.
    I think we struck a reasonable balance between what we needed and what the house was originally.

  40. Quick question – have you considered adding pocket doors? Especially going into your master ensuite? I don’t know what your dimensions are so not sure if that’s even feasible but it would definitely help in a small space. Can’t wait to see more updates!

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  42. Awesome Upstairs Demo Plan.. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  43. Wow, it all looks so lovely! I can’t wait to see the finished space.

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  45. Cindy, that “someone else” might very well have bulldozed this lovely house. From Emily’s description, the lot, location and school district makes this very desirable property. And one can disagree respectfully and without snark.

  46. Fidning a good, affordable architect has been hard, but it’s so important for me to get the floor plan right before we start our renovations. Do you mind sharing which architect you used if it’s someone you would recommend? Thanks!

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  49. I felt that too, though I hate to say it bc Emily is so, so sweet and is using her own perspective and preferences as a gauge. But yes…I would guess that a lot of us live in 2br 1bath homes or apartments with more than one child, and with little closets, and this can create sort of wonky perspectives. Truthfully, I looked at those closets and bathroom and thought they were normal to large.

  50. I am a lover of old houses as well and I must admit that it was hard seeing everything go. Having said that I feel that you will respect the house, Putting in bathrooms and closets will make the house last longer. I was super curious if you are at least going to use reclaimed flooring?

  51. 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

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