Historic House: Bedroom & Bathroom Remodel

Category: Renovations, Remodels & Additions

Historic House: Bedroom & Bathroom Remodel


Scroll down for “before” photos and project description.


Before: Although the room featured beautiful exposed timbers and a surprisingly high ceiling, the living space was concentrated under the sloped roofline, while poorly designed closets, with unreachable space, ran the length of the wall with the high ceiling. The bathroom squandered precious space under the eaves as well “splurging” on separate shower and tub and a technically double vanity (although in order to use the right hand sink, one could not be more than 5’ tall). And awkward “hallway” led to the two rooms.

After: the two rooms, all closets and “hallway” were gutted; the “hallway” and approximately 1/3 of the former bathroom were added to the bedroom. Ductwork hidden behind the hall closet had to be relocated.

Operable skylights, carefully fitted in-between historic eaves, were added to both rooms to for more light and fresh air. (Dormers were originally considered but eventually discarded because of the combined cost factor and structural impact they would have on the historic roof.)

The bathroom floor was leveled and, except for the commode, the electric and plumbing were redone. An oversized tub, classic and budget-friendly subway tile and a glass-wall create a bright and airy shower and bathing area. The heated bathroom floor (under the budget-friendly penny-hex tiles) and a powerful ceiling fan (which pulls in air conditioned air in the summer) negate the need to run ductwork into the room.

The finished bedroom includes dramatically increased storage. Closets were added on either side of the north-facing bedroom window (after the walls were insulated). Off-the-shelf “upper” cabinetry was added under the roofline for storage of shoes and accessories, with a niche shelf above. A walk-in closet was added in the space occupied by the double vanity in the prior bathroom, and another closet was added in the dresser-vestibule area.

Living space was shifted to the portions of the room with higher ceiling, creating the feel of a much bigger room. Additional space was found by annexing the former “hallway” into something of a vestibule for the dresser, chair and yet another closet.

Bedroom retained the pine flooring laid around 1900 and a small closet under the attic stairs, with its original tongue-and-groove door with original hand-hammered hardware (behind the full length mirror). The existing paneled wood doors were reused wherever possible.

Not part of the original renovation plan was the timber post and beams framing the space between the dresser-vestibule and the bedroom. Although the timber was partially exposed in the prior rooms, it wasn’t until the demo was complete that both homeowner and Journey Well saw the potential to maximize the room’s primary architectural feature. The horizontal post and some of the braces were missing, due to prior renovations. Journey Well used salvaged barn timbers to recreate the original post and beam arch.