So, when I posted the tour of the first floor a week ago, I did not intend to hold out on you a whole week before sharing the second floor! I’m such a withholding tease. I went ahead and arbitrarily decided that I was going to finish the kitchen on/by today, which was total madness and obviously did not happen. But I DID drive myself crazy trying to make it happen, and that’s half the fun of this whole renovation thing, right? Just letting yourself become a totally filthy feral lunatic rat-person who forgets how it feels to eat and pee and wear clean clothes and sleep? I’m doing it right?
ANYWAY. SECOND FLOOR TIME. As I keep mentioning, the house was split into 2 units in the early/mid-70s. As far as we can tell, the couple who owned the house lived exclusively on the first floor, and according to some neighbors, they rarely had tenants in the second floor apartment. Accordingly, the second floor is both oddly well-kempt and a little neglected, but overall in better shape than the first floor.
At the top of the stairs is a door (which locked us out automatically once, and we had to go digging through our 1 million keys to get it back open!) and this whole crazy wall situation. The wall doesn’t reach all the way to the ceiling (I guess for air circulation? Or because wood panelling comes in 8′ sections…), but it still makes things extremely hot and extremely dark/narrow/creepy in this hallway.
Luckily, it looks like it was built around the original banister, so I’m pretty confident that when we take it down, everything will be totally intact underneath. This isn’t a huge space or anything, but it’ll be so amazing to open this hallway back up.
The top photo on the right shows the hallway looking toward the front of the house, and the door on the left is the attic entrance. There’s a full, small set of stairs leading up the attic, which is really cool. The middle photo shows the woodwork that wraps the stairs——it goes all the way up from the bottom step, wraps around at the top and follows the floor on the second floor. You can kind of see it in the first photo, too.
The bottom photo on the right is the hallway looking from the front bedroom door to the back of the house. We’re coming for you, banister! Soon you will be revealed and so pretty! Fingers crossed.
My favorite part of the hallway is where the wall curves in front of the entrance to the front bedroom. So pretty.
At the front of the house (directly over the possible den, possible office, possible library room) is this bedroom, which is the one we’re using now. The freeze-thaw effect caused the original wallpaper (under other layers of wallpaper, under several coats of paint) to start to separate from the wall in a lot of places, which is why it looks so crazy. The walls seem like they’re in good shape underneath, though.
In the top photo on the right, you can just see the entrance to the bedroom closet, which is actually pretty large. Houses this age usually don’t have many closets (and they’re usually really small) because people would have stored clothes and things in large wardrobes, but this house actually has quite a few good-sized closets—which I hope means that nobody down the line decides they need a “master suite” and starts rearranging all the walls, or something like that. When we finally get to the point where this room is a priority, I’d like to get electrical run in the ceiling for an overhead light. Right now, the only light source in the room is that little landlord sconce (not old, not cute), and the closet is completely dark.
At the end of the hallway (and attached to the front bedroom), is this little room, which was probably a nursery originally. This room is really small, and every wall has either a door, a window, or a window and a radiator on it, so there’s no way to really make it a dressing room or anything requiring big furniture. I like the idea of using this room as an office, maybe, or just putting a twin bed in it and having it be another guest room? Undecided. It gets great light, though, and is probably in the best shape of any room in the house.
By the way, the floors on the second floor are in much better shape than the first. The polyurethane is super thick and super duper shiny, so we’ll probably want to redo them at some point, but that can certainly wait.
Back at the back of the house is the second bathroom, which is directly over the first floor bathroom, but a little bit bigger. It’s kind of a weird hodge-podge of eras and styles (guessing the last renovation was in the 50s or so, based on the floor tiles and tub), but it’s going to be SO great when we renovate.
We already had to replace the toilet (this one was probably original to the house having indoor plumbing, and was really leaky, had a cracked tank, and would have been really inefficient, anyway), but I LOVE the door (although we need to change the orientation), I love the mirror, I love that little shelf under the mirror, I love the stained glass window (the only one in the house), and OMG THAT SINK.
When I first saw that sink, I almost pooped myself. It’s so awesome. Whenever we meet people in town who looked at the house when it was on the market, they all remember that crazy sink in the second floor bathroom. Of course we’ll have to keep it, although I wouldn’t be opposed to trying to convert to a single tap. Double-tap sinks are cute, but annoying to use.
This bathroom definitely needs a clawfoot tub someday, right? Right.
To the right of the bathroom door is this room that we’re calling the middle bedroom. There isn’t anything in it right now, but it’s a nice size (not huge, not small) and should be a nice place someday. It has a weird light fixture and a weird newspaper from 1941 just sitting on top of the radiator.
It also has a super cool window bay, but I can’t tell what’s going on with it. I know there was a problem with the roof here and the realtor had new drywall installed and some wood pieces put in to fix it. I’m pretty positive that there should be windows on the sides, too (based on the moldings), but either they were torn out at some point or they’re encased in the wall. I have no idea. I’d love to restore all of that someday, but I guess some paint and maybe a window seat or something could go a long way in the meantime. It’s a mess right now.
Ceiling is a bummer, obviously. The actual ceiling should be quite a bit higher than this one, so it’s possible it’s hiding up there under those acoustic tiles. So many mysteries in this room.
Speaking of mysteries…this room! This is a weird little closet room off of the middle bedroom, except it isn’t set up to be a closet. Instead, it just has a few weird layers of weird linoleum, the pine plank subfloor, and…another closet. Creepy closet inside the creepy closet! I love it. The tiny closet fills the space under the attic stairs, and I love how miniature it is. That door is like 4 feet high. Maybe it should be Linus’s room.
I actually dig this tiny weird room, though. It has a nice big window, and I’m psyched to take all that weird crumbly flooring out. I think with the original subfloor painted white (it’s already painted, and I don’t really want to try to strip and refinish it), this could be a cute little space. I’m actually tempted to make THIS an office (I know I keep saying that about every room…we won’t have 4 offices, I promise), because I really like working in small, contained spaces—it helps me stay focused and keeps me from getting distracted by all the projects staring me in the face everywhere in this house. I DO wish this room had a door, but maybe we’ll find it somewhere or be able to move one from where else or something.
It’s also *slightly* possible that this room could become a laundry room, as it’s kind of the only place to put one on the second floor. Maybe. Also not a priority right now.
Here’s the upstairs kitchen! This is the kitchen we’ve been using while we’re working on the downstairs one, so I guess I’m glad it’s here. Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later!), I’d love to make this room a bedroom, maybe with a couple of twin beds, since we want to be able to sleep a lot of people in this house). Even though we’ll probably want to gut this room eventually——the walls are all masonite, and the ceiling is weirdly and unnecessarily low——we can totally make it cute without going through all that. The hardwood is right under this sheet linoleum (and looks to be in OK shape, from what I can see), the cabinets easily pull away from the walls, and we’re planning to re-use the stove in the downstairs kitchen and sell/donate the fridge. The stove is probably from at least the early 70s, but it’s in pristine shape and works well. Anyway, I’m excited for this room to be cute! We’ll get there!
That’s it! I made this little alternate floor plan, for after the demolition. I know it’s very similar, but taking out some of that stuff is going to make a HUGE difference to how the upstairs feels!
Next up, the exterior!