Sensitive Renovation & Restoration in our 1907 Victorian


In 1966, the third generation of the original family that built our house renovated it for modern living. Many things they did were wonderful; some changes had to be done even though part of the history and layout of the House was forever changed. I’m glad these changes were made. I’m equally glad I am not the one that had to make any of those hard calls- like losing the servants stairs so their grandmother could have a handicapped accessible bathroom on the first floor.

Some things I did not agree were good- like putting red carpet in the upstairs bathroom, or putting a tiny drop in range in the kitchen. But overall I felt that they did a good job of meeting  halfway between 60 years of the past and planning for the future.

The upstairs “Valentine” bathroom.

Now, as the lady of this house, I have a historical opportunity, just like the owners before me. Major work will soon commence.

We cannot wait or put off any longer our bathrooms and kitchen floor. The floors are on their last legs. Both bathrooms leak and can’t be fixed without redoing showers and retiling floors. But decisions, decisions!

What path will I choose with my family for our house?


My husband and I have spent many, many hours talking about what we want, how we can spend wisely and what will be best for our history. I was able to find some really excellent old house bathroom and kitchen books for people who don’t want to just order an IKEA kitchen or have a garden tub in their bathrooms. Thanks to the help of these books our kitchen and baths will not look like anything on HGTV. And that is a very good thing considering our home is 112 years old!

Not just for bungalows! There are lots of examples of turn-of-the-century “sanitary” baths and lots of help in this book. It has helped me through this whole process. Examples are below.

We listened to our house, so it will be restored as much as possible to how it would have looked in 1907. Then we listened to our family, and kept things that made sense for our future.

Over the seven years we have lived here we have also been blessed to visit lots of our lovely neighbors’ homes. If your neighborhood is in the same era you can learn so much by looking at other homes and noting what was standard for the time and original features. Here are pictures of a spanish-style home that sold last year. The 5 baths were all pretty much “high-tech” for 1909 and studying the pictures helped us plan our renovations.

Our plan is to keep our downstairs bath as it is: handicapped accessible. As much as I would love to have my servant stairs back (they used to be in this space) I realize there is no where else to put a bathroom and one day we will need that handicapped bath on the first floor. It will get a new floor and a new tiled shower. In the interests of wise spending we will keep everything else. These are the before shots! (Kitty photo-bombed, of course!)

We will also not be adding the TV-Reno required master bathroom, instead keeping our original upstairs bath as our family bath and restoring most of it to a 1907 “sanitary bath.” That means white hex tile floors, claw foot tub and subway tile walls. But to save money we will keep everything else.

I love that our new Le Creuset Soliel dutch oven matches the daffodils! ☺️

The kitchen is just getting a new floor, but we have resisted gutting it and installing a cold marble shrine to gourmet cooking. (This wasn’t hard as we don’t have the money anyway! Lol) We all love cooking and I just can’t see our family being happy in a kitchen like that. Besides those kitchens are so boring! I want color! They are all the same! I love to see different things- that’s how I get inspired to try new things in my house.

The brown, faux, alligator skin vinyl flooring will be gone soon! And in its place will be a lovely warm, soft linoleum floor of ocean pastels.

I love our kitchen with its white cabinets and glass handles, it’s old range keeping it cozy in the winter. Our books and Frankoma are there too and our family eats and spends a lot of time there. The heart of your home should reflect the people who live and work there, not what a realtor thinks is good resale strategy.

I have a big built-in china hutch from a Craftsman house that burned down. It has leaded diamond glass doors. It suffered quite a bit in the fire, but I’m going to try to restore it to fit on this wall. The lead caning has to be repaired (it almost melted!), some new glass installed, and it will have to be painted.
Look! The same people that wrote the bathroom book did a kitchen book! It’s absolutely wonderful if you are looking for ideas of classic kitchens, kitchy kitchens, colorful kitchens, family kitchens, or just need some ideas that are not “granite/stainless/snap floor/open shelving” kitchens. Because those are a dime a dozen, and the only other offerings in magazines and such are so outrageously expensive you’d have to sell your firstborn child to afford them!
I mean LOOK at these gorgeous kitchens! And a cool old stove? Yes, please! This one is a Wedgwood. All these pics are from the book! 😄

We had people here this weekend getting estimates to us and we should be able to order materials by Tuesday! I’m so excited! I can’t wait to show you the next phase!


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