Planning for our “Main Level Project” – all because of a toilet…

We’ve been talking about our next big project for a little over a year. I am ready to get a move on this thing. In fact, I’ve got a free day on Friday – as in tomorrow. I’ve got no work, no plans, no distractions, nada. I am thinking I may start a little demo for this project – just don’t tell Tad…

I’ve done measurements and a few sketches with our tentative plans.

The highlighted pink area is what I have officially labeled as our “Main Level Project”.

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Here is the new space plan proposal – up close…

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We will be moving an existing bathroom to a new location – what is now a small walk in closet. I think this will be the most extensive and problem solving part of the project. We’ve got to get all the plumbing to the new location. I don’t see that being an easy part of the project.


We will move this entryway wall a few inches – like 4ish inches or so – towards the front door. I realize 4 inches doesn’t seem like much, but it is necessary if we want to be able to include a toilet in the new bathroom.


We will also move this existing bedroom wall out about 27 inches. The bathroom entrance will stay near where the current closet entrance is – it’s on the left in the photo below. We will also create a reach in closet for this room along this wall. This room will become a guest room so we feel like a reach in closet is more than adequate.


There will be one slightly odd thing in the room – the existing window will be in the corner of the room. The new bathroom wall will end up about 6 inches from the right side of that window. I am trying to decide if that is going to be ok with me.  I like asymmetry so I think it will work for me. It might not work for our symmetrically oriented guests though. I guess we will just have to see.


This is the view from our dining room. It annoys Tad that you can see the toilet from the dining room. That is why we are moving the bathroom elsewhere.  Yes, this toilet is the reason for this whole entire project!


We will expand the guest room by about 2 feet into the current bathroom space. This wall on the right will move left – over past the edge of the existing cabinetry.


This purple wall will move back into the existing bathroom area. The bathroom window and all the space in front of it and to the left of it will be added to the new future master bedroom – about three additional feet. Again, three additional feet doesn’t sound like much, but in an older house like ours, three feet is huge. Three feet will potentially allow a king sized bed – if we feel the need for a king sized bed.


As a result of all this space reallocation, we will need to replace two windows. One window is currently a frosted bathroom/shower window. This will be replaced with a regular non frosted window – and I am now wondering if we should enlarge the opening and make it the same size as the other window in the room – that would involve adding some saw cutting and/or masonry work to the project. I will need to give that some more thought.



The other window is a small clear window that looks onto the front porch from the current closet – which will become the new bathroom. That window will need to be replaced with a frosted window. Nobody wants to be seen from the front porch or see out to the front porch while using this new little room. One might be a bit exposed if we kept it clear glass.



We will replace plaster and lath walls/ceilings with drywall pretty much everywhere. All the wall movement will make it difficult to salvage the plaster walls/ceiling in the bedrooms. The ceiling in the living room and dining room is on the verge of failing – we’ve got a serious sag. And – Tad has a serious dislike of plaster and lath. I like it but it is pretty difficult to repair. Oh – and – have a good laugh at my faux paint treatment on the living room /dining room ceiling. I never actually finished the treatment – not that it would look any better than it does now. I will say the one good thing that the faux treatment has done is hide all the sagging and cracks up there. We are looking forward to flat, nice, bright, white ceilings.




While the ceilings are open in all these areas, we will reinforce the ceiling joists – like we did in the kitchen. Actually, in the kitchen, Tad insisted on removing and replacing all the ceiling joists in there. I hope we can just reinforce the joists in the rest of the house. Tad also feels like this is a good opportunity to repair the roof rafters in the attic – while the ceilings are open – and the joists are strong enough to be walked on. It is one of those things that I’m not completely excited about doing, but it does need to be done. We have a few cracked rafters up there. We really don’t want the roof caving in. That would not be great.


We will add insulation in the ceiling/attic space – like we did in the kitchen. We liked the denim insulation we used in the kitchen so we will use it in the rest of the house as well. Tad hopes to also add sound proofing between the interior walls.


Some recessed lighting will be added in the new bathroom, the living room, the dining room, and maybe the bedrooms. I like recessed lighting – as you already probably know.


We will also install new hardwood flooring throughout. I would like to keep our existing original floors and just have them refinished, but they are in really rough shape. There are multiple bad patches (from previous owners),

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a few weak/maybe rotted spots,


and several heat registers/air returns that need to be patched in (since we now have radiant floor heat – we no longer need the forced air vents).

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We will also need to patch where walls will be moved. So, it does seem that the obstacles are too great to overcome.


Despite all these old flooring issues, I would like to at least keep the old floors as a subfloor and install the new stuff over the top. Tad doesn’t agree – he wants to rip out all the old stuff and put in a plywood subfloor. I plan on standing firm on this issue. I think we should keep something of the original house intact. I believe it should be the floors!

Then, comes all the finish work – woodwork, tiling, paint, decorating. This stuff is all still in my head – not yet on paper or out there for discussion yet.

Prior to formally starting the project, here are a few things we are needing to work out…

  1. I think we would both love to hire this out – get it all done in a few weeks. On the other hand, I don’t want to hand over all my money for work that I feel we could do ourselves.
  2. Do we need architectural drawings? I’m not sure. It seems pretty straightforward so I am leaning towards no. Tad says yes.
  3. I want to do this project in phases – create the new bathroom first, then demo and fix the bedrooms, then do the living room/dining room. Tad wants to do it all at once.
  4. The flooring situation. As I already mentioned, I want to keep the old floors. Tad does not. Actually, I’m not sure why this is on the list to work out – we are keeping the old floors :)