This Old Victorian Reveal: 2nd Floor, Before, Design & After

Finally, finally the full reveal of the before, design and after of the upstairs floor of This Old Victorian is here! Finishing the second floor specifically our master bedroom really marked the culmination of this crazy five year renovation project. And I couldnt be happier with the final result. I cant to hear what you think.

Ahhhh, theres the grown up master Ive been dreaming about basically for an entire decade. But lets back up and start from the very beginning. Because its a very good place to start!

We actually did the more dramatic and extensive renovation of our upper floor, (as compared to the ground floor), if you can believe that. While the original layout featured four bedrooms, it actually left a tremendous amount of wasted space. And with only one teeny tiny totally insufficient bathroom, it really was not practical for how we live today. So we went to work. Nearly 24 months of work to be exact. The original floor plan for our upper level is on your left, the remodel on your right.

As you can see from the plans above, we accomplished three major things with our overhaul of the upstairs:

  • Removed the second set of stairs, reclaiming a significant amount of usable floor space
  • Created an entire new kids bath using the fainting room off the front bedroom
  • Built a master suite, connecting unused hallways, the original bathroom & the fourth bedroom

While our new layout did result in losing a bedroom, now there is not a single square foot of wasted space and I have the master of my dreams. So everyone wins! Now for those oh so glamorous Before shots.

This space was oncescary and then became our soothing guest room.

Our master bedroom had an auspicious beginning. We filled in that archway, created a second closet and obviously that fireplace had to go!

There was nothing really masterful about the original master bath. But it made a great closet!

What is now my sons room started off the same color as the original Apt 34. Hows that for full circle?

Can you imagine a lovely vanity and a deep soaking tub under that window?? Nope, I can hardly figure it out either. But keep scrolling to see how we got there.

Here is the 2nd floor in process.

Demo of what was to become my master closet and then master bath.

From the stairwell back to what would become the kids bathroom.

We made sure to preserve original 1850s architectural details like the arched hallways and glass transoms above each door.

What lath and plaster looks like when scraped back to its bare bones.

My master bedroom looked like this 1.0 version for the better part of two years.

And here is the complete(ish) tour of our second floor!!

As you ascend the stairs from our entry, you turn right to find two doors facing one another. One leads to our sons room, the other to our master. This bedroom was the last space I completed as its design challenges plagued me for quite some time. You can see my documentation of the master bedroom saga here.

This is where I ran up against design novice limitations. The layout and scale of the space just stumped me. I finally realized I needed yet another custom piece to deal with the rooms unconventional window placement so enter Lauren Nelson Design. Lauren and her teams custom designed bed & amazing custom fireplace finally helped me realize the bedroom of my dreams! Lauren also sourced the exceptional vintage rug and an amazing refinished dresser (which you can see here) to complete the space. While I never thought Id put a bed below a window let alone two it is exactly what this room requires and it lives so well now. I just lay in bed and gaze lovingly at that fireplace. Swoon.

Reno tip: know your limits Learning by trial & error is both too time consuming and $$$. Youll save yourself time, money & marital drama if you just hire a pro when you need one.

As you move from our bedroom area, you enter a passthrough en route to the master bath and encounter two more doors. On one side sits a pocket door for our WC. The other pocket door leads to what was the original upstairs bath and is now my walk-in closet!

dream closet on apartment 34dream closet on apartment 34

I worked with California Closets to create my custom dream space. You can see the entire story about creating my closet right here.

The end of the passthrough leads to our master bath. I wont sugar coat it. A master bath the size of a bedroom is luxurious for sure. Two full vanities, a soaking tub and a massive walk in shower offer that spa like feel that I should probably work to appreciate more than I ever take the time to do.

If youve been following along all these years, youll already know that my master bath was another ride on the struggle bus. Lighting is both my crowning jewel and my nemesis, but after multiple attempts, I think I finally got it right. You can see the story all about my major rookie lighting mistakes in our bedroom and master bath right here.

My sons bedroom , while shoebox-shaped and smallish, still offers plenty of room for fun. Two windows allow natural light to spill in all day long. Wall-mounted shelving and a toddler bed maximize the floor space to ensure theres plenty of room to play and keeps the space whimsical!

The rooms curved wall long served as my major design conundrum, but Carters love of outer space finally sparked an idea. I found a set of constellation decals on Etsy and simply colored over the stars with a glow-in-the-dark marker. Now he has his own starry sky to admire as he falls asleep every night.

You can see the entire story about Carters toddler room design (and his original nursery) by clicking right here.

Finally, there is our kids bathroom. I was rather disappointed that this bathroom did not make the cut for Domino, so I had to be sure to share it here. I so love this space. The floors, my first major design decision, are hexagon handmade tile by Fireclay set in an ombre pattern. They start dark at the doorway and transition to white as you hit the tub. While difficult to see in this image, the tub is also surrounded by Fireclay tile, this time running in a vertical stacked pattern to create a clean, modern look. The floating vanity really lets you appreciate the tile floor and helps the room feel a bit bigger. I intentionally did not install a backsplash for an extra clean, modern look. Three years in and the walls still look great. This room is whimsical and playful but has the classic bones that will grow along with our four year old.

The only other upstairs space you do not see here is our guest room. While in an ideal world every single corner of This Old Victorian would have been perfect for Domino, but real life often gets in the way. So instead the guest room served as my photo staging area hence why it is absent. You can see our guest room here though.

And there you have it. I hope this gives you a (more) complete picture of this renovation process. I hope Ive given you a realistic view into what a true restoration entails. Ive certainly learned more than my fair share about all things interior architecture, renovation, restoration and figuring out how to turn a house into a home. Ive leaned its not a quick and easy process, but instead takes time, commitment and a whole lot of patience.

But the end result is worth the wait.

For the complete tour of the first first floor of this Old Victorian, CLICK HERE.

For the online feature in Domino magazine, CLICK HERE.

For the entire five year history of this renovation saga, CLICK HERE.


Master Bedroom
custom bed lauren neslon design / bedding rough linen / lumbar pillow custom lauren nelson design / custom fireplace lauren nelson design / rug Tony Kitz / bedside lamps almond & co / stool skagerak / the Marset ginger pendant ylighting / curtains the shade store / walls roman clay by portola /

Master Bath
tub & tub filler kohler / dancing pendant menu ylighting / walls white wisp benjamin moore / stool elsie green / tray skagerak / towel parachute / art cristina coral /

Carters Room
LampsPlus Tides Pendant/Bitte Wooden Toys/Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Paint/PomPom at Home Pillow/Ferm Living blanket/Toddler Bed/Sloth print/eSale Striped Rug/Woopsy Desk Lamp from LampsPlus/Pehr Designs Alphabet Bin/Overstock Wing Chair/Sutro Tower /Overstock Woven Basket/Room & Board dresser/Room & Board end table/Calico Corners Roman Shades/Minted Art Print/Stacked Bookcase from Sourced By Good/Birch Coat Rack/Jennifer Ament print/ custom framingFramed & Matted/Windy Chien Helix Light/Cork Globe/Throw Pillow/Lego Storage

Kids Bathroom
swing lamp/fireclay floor and shower tile / kohler tub and faucet / silestone counter top / custom vanity / ikea mirror serena & lily dip dyed stool /

photography by seth smoot for domino magazine
produced by kate berry
styled by rosy fridman

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