We had big home improvement plans when we started our renovation. When speaking with family and friends, they wanted to hear all the details — but, this one is hard to explain unless we can walk you through our home, even when you’re familiar with it. So, this is my invitation to YOU to take a tour of exactly what has been going on around here for (almost) the last year. Please, grab a coffee and let me walk you around…
Here is our ^original upper floorplan. We went through so many drafts of exactly what we wanted to do because we didn’t want to expand on our 1500 square foot home, but we desperately wanted to change the flow! We struck gold when we finally asked ourselves, “What if we move the stairs?”. Eureka! That would fix EVERYTHING. Just exactly what did we want to fix? Let’s take a peek at the new upper floor plan…
Our Home Improvement Goals for the Upper Floor:
- To use our side entrance as a main entrance
- To create a “great-room” to feel more connected during family-time, and when entertaining
- To add a shower or bath in our master bedroom, en-suite
- To increase the closet space in our master bedroom
- To ditch the “bowling alley” feel
- To claim the unused square footage in our home (ie: endless hallways)
- And the bonus after moving the stairs… we wanted to give the Kiddo a small en-suite bathroom
Our home is a walk-out bungalow, built in 1976. All of our living space is actually upstairs, and our “basement”, which is ground level, is where our front entry-way is located. The old position of the stairs meant zig-zagging back and forth through-out the house to achieve simple tasks, like bringing up our groceries. If we were able to utilize the side entrance, it was a quick trip up the exterior staircase on our side deck, straight into the kitchen.
Why weren’t we using the side entrance to begin with?
We had a whole lotta hallway action in our previous home design. And it started with the side door. Upon entering the side entrance, you would be squeezed into a long hallway, literally no wider than the width of the door itself. It meant entering our home in single-file, kicking our shoes off into the middle of the floor, and squeezing your way down the hallway to the kitchen. Not great for us, certainly not great for our guests and a total pain when dealing with any bags or groceries.
What a change! Ripping down that looooong wall, widened our kitchen, new great room and our side entry way. It gave us breathing room and the space for shoes and packages — a place to rest as you come through the door. Now, we have a double-wide entrance way with no hallway to speak of…
All of this old hallway space was reclaimed in our new layout. It gave us so much more living space!
Now, you enter the home and are immediately in the kitchen. Lots of room for shoes and coats, in our new foyer area, and perfect for those pesky groceries. Total home improvement! You’ll remember the finished kitchen tour here.
Making a “Great Room”
It used to be the kitchen and the living room were on exact opposite ends of the house. Kitchen duty kept me away from our guests whenever we entertained, and the wall partitions and central staircase limited the number of people that could be together.
Now, it’s so easy to gather together, and keep on top of whatever is bubbling on the stove, and pull up lots of extra seating so no one misses out on the action. No more bowling alley!
Our Master Bedroom
Previously, I was pretty satisfied with the size of our bedroom but it lacked storage, so we had extra wardrobes taking up space in the room. The little 2-piece en-suite was always convenient, but the space wasn’t utilized properly, and we had to cart our towels and personal care products back and forth to the main bathroom for bathing. It could be better.
Moving the staircase allowed us to take ownership of what used to be the living room and claim it as our master suite. Now we have enough room for a king-sized bed (to which we exclaim our happiness for on a regular basis), a very large en-suite bathroom, including that shower we always wanted, AND a wrap-around walk-in closet where we transplanted our beloved Ikea Pax wardrobe system. Our little bonus? The switcheroo put our old brick fireplace in our (new) bedroom area, adding oodles of character, warmth, and some interesting architectural details.
I shared a little taste of the new master bedroom when I revealed my fireplace makeover. If you haven’t seen it all, be sure to take a peek!
Ditch the Bowling Alley!
Chopping off one end of our home and claiming it as our master suite, and ditching the endless hallways created a pretty awesome, and central, great-room in our home. It’s wider than it previously was (when it was just our dining area), and it’s directly connected to the rest of the house. Entertaining has never been so great! And, dining is a breeze — we can pop up at the new island for quick breakfasts and snacks, or plop ourselves over at the dining table for big meals. A simple turn of a few dining chairs connects all of our guests into the great-room and allows for tons of seating and an easy flow.
It also makes the flow to our outdoor spaces make so much more sense! Straight from our dining area and great room, right out to the small front balcony we have. And, of course an easy trip up our side deck steps straight into our kitchen. Our deck is large, and it’s where all of our outdoor seating is located — having it right off the kitchen with no skinny hallway, makes it that much easier for outdoor dining.
Treating the Kiddo
All these renos led us to a little extra space if you can believe it. And we realized if we moved the Kiddo to the middle bedroom, and simply sealed up the old master bedroom’s access to the two-piece en-suite, and opened up the wall in the Kiddo’s room (on the opposite side), she could have her own little bathroom. Some careful planning allowed us to add a couple feet to the room letting us add in a small stand-up shower stall for the little munchkin. What used to be a useless hallway in our old space was sealed up to create the Kiddo’s bedroom closet. We were able to steal the space from the original closet space and give it to her new 3-piece bathroom. It couldn’t of been more perfect!
ALL of the bathrooms still have lots of finishing details left to do (ie: tile, and shower glass)… but you can take a look at how the rest of the Kiddo’s bedroom space turned out, right here!
We’ve got a long road ahead. Did I mention the downstairs space is completely unfinished? It’s been through the demo, walls are gone, beams have been installed, but other than that, it’s completely untouched and unfinished. Uneven cement floors are calling my name… but it’s all good. Our upstairs transformation has completely changed how we live, without the need to increase our square footage, and we’ve checked off all the boxes that we were hoping for.
For now, I can give you a little sneak into our downstairs space! Remember, the stairs are in an entirely new location and we’ve completely blown open our downstairs area…
From foyer closet to main staircase. It’s been an amazing change downstairs so far! The demo shot shows our temporary staircase in place, and in the progress shot you get a sneak peek of our gorgeous solid wood, open-riser, staircase that I am completely smitten with!
You can see we have a long way to go but it was so fun to finally give an update on where our home improvement journey is at! I’m looking forward to sharing all the steps along the way, and finishing off our home — and, of course, sharing it all with you!