Plans for the Second Floor

Category: Restore & Repair

This weekend we're getting a real start in on the second floor. We've gotten a few things started before (like this and this) but our real focus on getting the whole floor done starts today.

So, it makes some sense to clarify exactly what we're intending to do...

Current Planned

Our plan involves moving several walls, including modifying both original closets. One becomes an enlarged master bedroom closet while the other becomes a reading nook (a project already underway).

The master bedroom will have a vaulted ceiling, although we're still trying to figure out exactly how we want that to look. Our major thought is to have a beadboard ceiling. We're also expecting to install a skylight.

The master bathroom will become a little smaller and a lot less pink. We'll be removing the existing tub and replacing it with a glassed-in shower and then a clawfoot tub under the window. The toilet and sink will be replaced.

The second bedroom looses its closet, which is OK since we're expecting it to function as an office or nursery (speaking from a purely architectural standpoint at this point, of course!). We're thinking a freestanding wardrobe can function as a closet when necessary.

Finally, the unfinished portion of the floor will remain that way for the forseeable future. We have visions of that serving as a light-filled studio space, but that's probably so far off it's depressing to think about too much.

So that's that plan. There are plenty of detailed decisions still to make, but we've got plenty go to on to start with. We get things started tomorrow when some friends come over to help us tear out as much of the bathroom as we can get through.

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You might think twice about replacing the toilet. The new ones you buy now are water saving types. Some of them use more water then the old ones as often they don't flush completely requiring 2 or 3 flushes. I understand they contain 1 1/2 gal. of water... POPS"30"

Hi Pops!

Good advice! We looked into that, actually. This toilet is beyond hope. It sat unused upstairs for a few years I imagine. The rust stains on the porcelain are very bad, the unit is chipped and it is plain old disgusting. The cost to refinish it isn't worth the cost of keeping it, since refinished porcelain cannot be scrubbed (I don't mind waxing and 409'ing the tub, but I'm not keen on waxing the toilets! :)

However, for the rest of you reading this, if you have a "good" old toilet, heed Pop's words. Some of those old toilets are excellent.

Just another comment on getting rid of the old toilet. We had a similar situation in our bathroom remodel. We planned on replacing our old American Standard toilet from the 1920's because ours was really gross. There was this weird rust colored, gloppy looking sludge that looked soft but was really hard attached to both the inside of the tank and the bowl, it was gross. But we found that because of the rough in distance (distance the waste pipe sits away from the wall) we couldn't find a replacement toilet that would fit. The only one I could find with a 14" rough in was a commercial toilet from TOTOUSA. Old houses typically have a 10" or 14" rough-in. Nowadays the rough in is 12". Better check the rough in distance, and if you decide you want a new toilet, I'd start looking now, you'll probably have to search to find one you like, you may be able to find one at an architectural salvage yard but be prepared to pay a pretty penny. There is a way to install some sort of extender to the waste line to allow you to install a toilet with a 12" rough in but it's definitely a job for a plumber and I'm not sure it's an ideal solution. We had already pulled ours out of the bathroom so when we couldn't find one we liked I decided I would see if there was any hope with what we had. I ended up scrubbing and chipping the rust out of our old toilet bowl and then scrubbing with bon ami, it looks like new. Pop is right, those old toilets are pretty nice, and the old porcelain is amazingly resilient. If you have any interest in cleaning it up, send me a picture and I'll let you know if I think it's salvageable. You may be amazed at how well it could clean up.

By contrast, when I remodeled my bathroom last summer, I got rid of the old toilet and bought a Toto. It's only 1.6 gallons per flush, but it actually flushes better than my old toilet--and my water bill has gone down about 25%.


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