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Our Upstairs Renovation Plans

Our Upstairs Renovation: The Before & Plansvia

There’ve been no shortage of sneak peeks and hints about our upstairs renovation project over on Instagram. But today I’m finally sharing all of the details of our plans, the process, and more!

Disclaimer: This is not a “pretty” post, so I included the dreamy inspiration photo above just for fun. We’re nowhere near that, but a girl can dream, right?

Why We Are Renovating

Our home is a 3 bed /2 bath built in 1911. That means we have some elements of character like the original staircase but plenty of modern updates like the kitchen, updated semi-open layout and an addition from the ’80s. But because of the changes, it also has a unique layout with the master bed & bath on the first floor.

We always knew we wanted to upgrade the upstairs. It includes two more bedrooms, a small “den” space, another bathroom and a linen closet.  We didn’t truly need this space when we first moved in except for guests and storage and it functioned just fine for those purposes. We always said it was the definition of “lipstick on a pig” and would need some extra loving once we started spending more time up there.

The Process

Our contractor started about two weeks ago and has made a ton of progress already! This is the first time we’ve done a renovation of any scale (our Denver house was flipped before we moved in) so I’m still not quite sure what to expect.

We started the process by researching flooring options ourselves and then getting two bids from contractors that were recommended by friends and family in the area. I’m not sure where we would’ve started without those recommendations. But once we had our guy, we relied on this post to make sure we were thinking through all the questions and clarifying the important elements.

Our Upstairs Renovation: The Before & PlansOur Upstairs Renovation: The Before & PlansAfter demo day. The new master bath is immediately on the right. The master bedroom will be to the left with the future nursery straight ahead.

The Plan

So what exactly are we doing in this upstairs renovation?


  • Ripping out the old flooring — there is stick-on laminate flooring and even leftover carpeting in one of the closets, which all has to go!
  • Leveling the entire floor (old house = awkward settling), and replacing with consistent hardwood flooring throughout.

Closets, Trims & Doors

  • The trim and doors are in pretty bad shape, so they’re all being ripped out and replaced.
  • The doors are also all weird. The handles heights are all different, the linen closet door doesn’t fit properly, and two of them don’t close. Amazing the things you miss when you’re house shopping! So, we’re installing new, modern wood doors inspired by Studio McGee, which I think is going to make a huge and immediate impact.

Bathroom — the biggest expense & undertaking!

  • Gutting everyyything. Bad tile, bad bath fitter tub, terrible vanity & medicine cabinet. Our guests tell us it was fine but to me it was just barely serviceable.
  • Reconfiguring the layout of the bathroom to function better for two people. This includes moving the door frame, relocating the toilet, vanity and adding sconce lighting.

Our Upstairs Renovation: The Before & PlansOur Upstairs Renovation: The Before & PlansThe future nursery!

As you might’ve guessed, a lot our renovation decisions are driven by the fact that Baby P will be arriving in July! One of the upstairs bedrooms will become a nursery and the other we’ll convert into our master. Our current downstairs master can then be used as convertible playroom / guest room.

We might not have upgraded in so many areas (“designer” doors, for example) if it was going to continue as a kids and guest only space. But T-man and I both feel like it will be worth it to make sure we love it for the forseeable future.

Now that you’ve seen the gritty details and the before, I’ll be sharing our design direction for the new-and-improved master bath next week! It promises to be a much prettier post.

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