Framing It Up

When we purchased the property, the existing stairs were pretty… but not very practical.
They had a sharp 90 degree turn and a landing on a ‘hill’ between the den and downstairs bath.
Can you imagine trying to move furniture upstairs? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slipped making that turn as a kid playing at Grandma’s house.
Viewpoint of stairs from den, circa 2015
Through the door on the landing is the downstairs bath
View from downstairs bath
View from living room, circa 2015, stairs ended in den over by Raggedy Annie

Blaine and I thought they should just come straight down…. no twists, turns, or hilltop landing. This would allow for a bigger den / office space, a more grand entry with a line of sight upstairs, and overall just easier/safer path from the first to second floors.

The old house thought so too. 🙂

After we pulled up the carpet, we saw that the stairs actually used to come straight down! We also saw that the den used to be enclosed.

It’s hard to see from the dark photo, but differences in flooring was our evidence
Sorry for another dark photo, but look closely…

The Stillwell design also reassured us in our decision to make ’em straight again.

Old twisty-hilly stairs gone
Dad and Blaine made a new stringer which tied on to the straight portion of the existing stairs.
While prepping for new stairs, we saw signs that there was once a big fire. We think the entire top of the house was redone in the 1930s after the fire. That’s probably when the “fancy” stairs were put in.
Charred existing post, evidence of previous fire
More fire evidence below old stair treads


Old burnt floor at bottom of new straight stairs
More burnt studs downstairs
New string in place with temporary treads
Notice the den is now also framed-up just next to the stairs. We plan to add a pocket door in the new smaller opening there.
New stairs come straight down and den enclosed, viewpoint from living room
Let’s go upstairs and see some more framing…
At the top of the stairs is the kid/guest bathroom. This was once the only bathroom upstairs and now it will be one of two. The old tub used to sit flush against the exterior wall under the window, and its new placement will be inset to the left of the entry.
Upstairs kid/guest bathroom entry
Standing in bathroom, tub to fit where black step ladder is


We’re going to reuse the old cast iron bathtub, here it waits in the master bedroom


Testing the fit in its new home
Opposite side of the tub’s new home is the bathroom closet.
Bathroom closet entry to the right
We’re going to keep this space basically as-is. You can’t have too many closets!
Bathroom closet, circa 2015
Speaking of closets, the east bedroom got a new much needed bigger one!
Matt and Blaine framed up it up
Standing in east bedroom, new closet entry straight ahead
Here’s a peek inside it
Over in the master bedroom, its original closet remains but it now shares some of the space with new duct work.
Original master closet, which now houses air ducts
We took one of the upstairs bedrooms, mom’s old bedroom, and turned it into a master en-suite bath and closet.
New closet entry left, and new master bath entry right


Master closet
The new master closet and bath are separated by a wall. The master bath will have a large shower instead of a bathtub. It also shares a wall with the kid/guest bath to the north.
Master bath entry


Master bath, shower will go where ladder is
Let’s go back downstairs……
Besides the new stairs and enclosed den, there are a couple of other changes down here.
The original arch from the living – dining rooms is gone. Instead of the arch, we’re planning to install the old french doors that once separated the breakfast – dining rooms.
Entry from dining room to living room scooted left (north)
New framing downstairs also includes a small pantry off the kitchen. It’s basically located where the old kitchen sink and counter once was.


New pantry wall up
New pantry framed up (behind fridge)
The downstairs bath once had a closet. It will remain as a closet, however it will be accessible from the den/office now. We plan to add electrical outlets in it so the printer and other unsightly electronics can be hidden away.
Downstairs bathroom closet, circa 2015
Downstairs bath, closet now accessible from den only, radiators waiting their turn to be reinstalled,  chaise cushions dog beds in floor 🙂

The other major change downstairs is the mudroom’s new closet.

Standing at back door entry, new closet right, new hall leading to kitchen left
On some of the new frames, we left notes for the next renovators… who hopefully won’t be working on the house for at least another century long after we’re gone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *