House Renovation - Upstairs

During the final phase of our house renovation the second floor went through the most significant transformation. Besides having no heat in the back bedroom, the biggest issue we had with the upstairs was the lack of a bathroom. Our house had one full bathroom at the far end of the house and one sketchy bathroom in the basement that only Buffalo Bill could love.

The first trick was finding the space for a half bathroom without losing much of our already limited closet space or making the bedrooms too small.  Our initial thought was to try to squeeze one between the two bedrooms, but we realized that the location of the chimney would make this impossible.  The back bedroom had a rather large closet that ran along the length of that room so it was decided the best course of action was to cut that closet in half, using one half for the bedroom closet and the other for the bathroom.  The half of the closet dedicated to the new bathroom would be much too small for the bathroom so the bedroom wall was moved in order to create enough space.

This was the closet in our back bedroom which was expanded into the new bathroom.

The new bathroom being framed.

The door on the left was originally the door to the back bedroom but is now the bathroom door. The door on the right was added for the back bedroom.

For our new bathroom, I chose black and white tile for the floor and purchased a vintage metal medicine cabinet on Ebay.  The black and white vanity was a simple one from Lowes, but I added the starburst backplates from Rejuvenation for a bit of retro bling.  Because of the slanted ceilings, there wasn't much we could do with the back wall, so the guys built some shelves which I use to display some of my vintage goodies and to store extra linens.  Since storage is such a premium in our house, these shelves are wonderful to have. For the walls I chose the color "Horizon" by Benjamin Moore, as a neutral backdrop for the pink and aqua I used to decorate the bathroom.  

Our new bathroom.

Our new display and storage shelves.

The medicine cabinet was a vintage one found on ebay.

Some of my vintage bathroom items.

My favorite part of the bathroom decor is the one wallpapered wall.  When I was little, my grandmother had a pretty fabulous house decorated in the height of early 70s fashion. The bathroom in her den was papered with black and white wallpaper featuring toilets, tubs and sinks. This was always a favorite for my siblings, cousins and me.   After she moved, I always regretted not taking a photo of this paper.  I dreamed of finding an old roll of this wallpaper and hanging it in my bathroom, but this proved to be an impossible search.  I finally came across a photo on Flickr of the exact same wallpaper and decided to make my own.  Using that photo, I recreated the pattern in Adobe Illustrator and had it printed on wallpaper at  The wallpaper itself was of really good quality and the printing is superb.  I hung the paper myself, which took some doing, as I had to cut around all the shelves and along the angle of the ceiling.  Chris helped on one particularly long piece, but there really wasn't much room for both of us to fit, so I had to do most of on my own.  I'm very happy with the finished result.  It was exactly what I had hoped for and is a fun little surprise as you walk into the room.

Our reproduction wallpaper printed at

The wallpapered wall. Papering around the shelves was not the most fun task in the world.

Since we moved a wall to accommodate the new bathroom, the back bedroom became quite small. We were afraid that it would feel cramped and dark so our contractor suggested vaulting the ceiling to give it a feeling of more space.  The existing ceiling joists were left exposed and the ceiling itself lined with shiplap.  To let in some light, a small triangular window was made for the peak and we chose a schoolhouse-style light to hang down between the beams. As I was always looking for more storage space, the "roof" of the bathroom was turned into a platform where I could display my collection of vintage suitcases and hatboxes.  

The "before" version of the back bedroom

The "before" version of the back bedroom

The new bedroom vaulted ceiling and new schoolhouse light.

The new bedroom vaulted ceiling and new schoolhouse light.

The other side of this wall is where the bathroom is located. The "roof" of the bathroom makes a great place to store and display vintage suitcases.

Between the two bedrooms is a space created by the chimney. Previously, this space had been turned into a very shallow and practically useless closet.  We decided this space would be perfect for custom built-ins for both bedrooms.  The back bedroom's built-in now holds my collection of vintage purses.

The original closet next to the chimney.

The new built-in shelves. The quilt on my bed was made by my grandmother and is one of my most prized possessions.

My vintage purse collection on the new shelves. The elephant in the corner was knitted for me, by my grandmother, when I was little.

I love this room so much!  The vaulted ceilings gave the room the space it needed and the exposed beams add some warmth and interest to the room.  True, it's still a small space, but it doesn't feel cramped at all.

The little triangular window was custom made for the space and lets in a surprising amount of light.

The vaulted ceiling with exposed original beams.

The front bedroom changed the least.  Like the back bedroom, built-in bookcases were added but the rest of the room remained the same.  Because we have very different sleeping habits and have the space, Chris and I don't share a room, so this front room doubles as Chris's room and my sewing room. For both this room and the back bedroom, I chose to have the walls painted "Galt Blue" by Benjamin Moore which matches the original color found in the upstairs closets.

The original front bedroom.

The renovated front bedroom.

My sewing space and the built-in bookshelves.

We are very happy with the new rooms and especially excited to finally have a bathroom upstairs.