Earlier this week I shared an update on
all that we’ve been working on downstairs at our new (but very old) home. We’ve only been here for four months, but we really wanted to push to finish a few projects right away. The biggest of those projects was repairing and re-drywalling our upstairs hallway and ceiling because they were covered in rotting wallpaper and portions were exposed, leaving insulation, wires and other nasty bits out in the open. So once we had that project out of the way, we let paint do the heavy lifting of finishing the second floor and we plan on taking our time to do the rest. No matter how long it takes us to get the upstairs “finished,” Julia and I both feel so happy and grateful to have room to welcome our friends and family. Click through to see what we’ve done so far… xo, grace
At the top of the stairs: I wish I had a before pic, but we weren't able to get a shot before this hallway was opened up. We hired a local contractor to open this hallway from what was once a small 3.25-foot opening to what is now about a 7-foot opening. It made a HUGE difference and really brightened things up. We painted all the hallway doors black (BM Onyx) and the walls are BM French Canvas with BM White Dove. The rug is my favorite antique Iranian runner from Nightwood in Brooklyn. We plan on covering this section of the hallway, and the section behind, with Julia's parents' collection of antique egg prints.
To the left of the top of the stairs (previous pic) is our bedroom. When we moved in the floors had been painted yellow many times over the years. We decided to let paint do most of the work here, too.
We painted the walls BM French Canvas, the trim BM White Dove and the floor a standard porch paint white. We painted our "headboard" wall BM Onyx and the big purchase for this room was the pink and white striped rug from Dash & Albert. Julia made our faux-bedframe by combining three pieces of pine from Lowes with L-brackets to hide the mattress. The bench is from Julia's family's Passover table and the artwork is an old papercut I found at Hammertown in Rhinebeck. (The tiny bed on the floor is Hope's.)
This is our only closet in the bedroom and it looks like it was added on, but never finished. So Julia tackled this project all on her own.
Julia painted the walls and floors white, added three shelves on the left side and a hanging bar for clothes. I ordered a small sisal rug on Amazon and cut it to fit in place, since the floors were never properly finished in the closet. Now, with all of Julia's button-ups it looks like a tiny Steven Alan dressing room - I sort of love it.
This is the upstairs bathroom, which was added on/renovated when the kitchen was done, probably around 15 years ago. The floors are amazing, the tub is a dream and frankly, not much needs to be done to this room. We only made a few small changes.
We painted (same colors/trim as hallway and bedroom) and I added a small rug (I think this room needs a bigger one, for sure) from Genevieve Gorder's collection and my favorite antique mirror I found at Kill Devil Hills in Greenpoint a few years back. One of my favorite Paula Greif pottery pieces is holding a fern. I love to keep ferns in the bathroom because they do well in the extra humidity from baths and showers. Eventually we're going to hang the mirror and get new sconces, but it all works fine for now, so we're leaving it as-is.
The tiny nook next to the sink held a small, freestanding bookshelf that had seen better days. So we replaced it with shelves that Julia built from leftover wood we had. We plan on adding fronts to cover the supports, but for now they're functional and fine. We picked up a few striped baskets at Target to hold our toiletries and a bigger basket from Ikea for extra towels under the shelves.
This is the standing shower we use and it's kind of hidden behind the door. We added a plus-sign shower curtain from Target and called it a day. The hooks were from Brooklyn, we bought them at an antiques shop a while back. (The sconce in the hallway is from
At the top of the stairs (first photo) directly to the right is the previous owner's daughters' room. We thought about it and decided it would be nice to turn into Julia's home office because it gets so much light and will give her plenty of space to lay out pages for the cookbooks she's working on.
We painted the floor white (it was yellow before, like our bedroom) and put down my old Madeline Weinrib rug we used to use in the living room in Brooklyn. Jack from
helped us turn Julia's old filing cabinets into a 16-foot long desk with a piece of plywood added to the top. Julia made the sculpture on the wall from old packing tubes!
Our home used to be a guest house, so there are several rooms on the second floor that probably would have been subdivided into even smaller spaces before. The drywall in all of these rooms looks like it was done in the last 10-15 years, so I have a feeling the previous owner opened what was probably 5-6 guest rooms and turned them into 3. This is the first on the right, before.
We painted pretty much everything upstairs the same two colors: BM French Canvas (walls) and BM White Dove (trim). We bought inexpensive beds with
built-in storage at IKEA
(note: the HARDEST BEDS TO ASSEMBLE EVER, AVOID THEM!) because this room doesn't have a closet. We're still waiting and saving up to finish these rooms, but at least they're all painted and cleaned up now.
This is the second guest room on the right, before. The drywall had recently been redone (I think because of a leak, we can tell that might be an issue with the back two rooms) but hadn't been painted yet.
We painted this room the same as the others and Julia and I made quick DIY padded headboards using fabric I ordered from Etsy. We got basic plywood cut to size and then attached foam and batting and staple-gunned the whole thing together. We used IKEA curtains and a plain dowel to make a quick closet curtain.
Between the back two bedrooms is this small hallway and staircase that leads to the attic. When we moved in, this entire section of the house was covered in rotting wallpaper and the ceiling was ripped open and exposed because of a squirrel problem.
We hired a contractor right after we moved in to remove all the damaged walls and ceiling portions and re-drywall them. It was the most expensive project but was well worth it. Those exposed ceiling parts and old insulation falling out (filled with mouse droppings, yuck) were really gross and weren't safe to keep for long. These walls were painted BM French Canvas, too.
We painted all the doors in the house BM Onyx and lucked out because most of the doors already had antique doorknobs still in them. They don't fit properly (they're each about 2 inches too long for the doors), but they look nice for now.
This is the last bedroom, on the far back left side of the house. It's been our problem room because we know we have a carpenter ant and possibly wasp issue brewing somewhere in here. We found dead insects (and mold, ugh) in here and the pest company can't deal with them fully until spring when they'll come out of hibernation. Not looking forward to that...
We added the same IKEA bed to this room, made a DIY headboard using mudcloth I bought on Etsy and used the same IKEA curtains to cover the closet (none of the closets had doors). We had five friends come stay with us a few weeks ago and have just gotten around to finishing up the laundry, but I always drag my feet with these duvet covers.
Julia used leftover wood to make a tiny hanging side table/box for this room, since you can't fit much behind that door and still open it. I had the small white branch lamp from a few years ago and it fits perfectly in that tiny corner space.