The Second Floor Landing

Once we had the entryway floors pulled up, we were ready to move onto Phase 2 of Weekend Project – demolish that second floor landing!

When we showed you the floor plans for the house, we weren’t sure if it would be in our budget to take down the wall that partitioned the second floor from the first; then again, what is our budget again? While we have a loose idea of what we can and can’t afford, we felt it was worth asking our contractor about. Since they would already be repairing drywall throughout the entry, putting up new ceilings and patching the walls where we had pulled down room partitions, how much more could patching the landing cost?

Full disclosure: $350. That’s how much.

With that number in mind, we knew it would be worth it to move forward for a few reasons:

  • The quoted cost would be for us to proceed with demo – taking down all the drywall to the studs. This would save us the man hours they would otherwise charge. And since we love a good sledgehammer, we were all yeah!
  • With the entryway + stairs being something we can’t wait to complete, it didn’t make sense to carefully restore the stairs, paint the walls and update all the trim if we knew that another big mess was around the corner.
  • This, in turn, would save us money on paint (since there would no longer be walls to cover), time (since we could make as big of a mess as we’d like; after all, we don’t have to worry about protecting anything at this point), and overall cost vs. if we had decided to wait. (If we would have waited, the charge in man hours would’ve been more costly since they weren’t already doing other drywall work in our home.)

Knowing that this was the best decision for us now, we charged full steam ahead! (Scott even dressed up for the occasion.) Getting through the wall that separated the now-studio space from the stairwell was fairly easy – lathe, plaster and all (we’ve learned to just embrace it!). In about an hour, we did this:

Eliminating that tiny closet, however, was a bit more of a challenge. The closet itself was completely boxed in by strong support panels (the darker wood boards on the right of the photo below), so it required a lot of sledging, a lot of pulling and prying, and a lot of muscle. On a side note, that closet is no longer necessary, since you might remember that we’ll have a whole room for studio storage! This room is located directly off of the landing; see it in the floor plan, above.

But once it was removed, we could see what a difference (!) it made. Since the half-floor of the closet won’t be needed, we’ll gain so much head space in the stairwell – something that Scott had been hoping for. (Me on the other hand? My 5′ frame barely noticed.)

Now when you walk up the stairs from the entryway, you see this! On our first test run of coming up the stairs (with every change in our house, we like to walk out of the room, then pop back in and go, hell yes!), we were thrilled with the amount of light that poured in, not to mention, our sweet little archway that’ll welcome you.

And if you’re looking towards the landing from the studio, you see even more light from that north-facing window; how awesome is that? The second floor already gets so much light (like, a ridiculous amount), but this new opening allows for light from 3 sides. 3 sides! 

The wall of lathe you see will be patched and repaired with drywall, and once we decide on the perfect height, a very shallow half wall (perhaps just slightly taller than knee-height so that you’ll still see the whole window we’ve uncovered) will go up where the studs are. Right now, we’re imagining that we’ll cap it off with a gorgeous piece of wood from our local lumber yard, and maybe – down the road! – we’ll have a long bench there with some hidden storage.

While we were working on the landing, we took advantage of all the dirt and rubble (because omg, there was so, so much dust flying around) to pull up all the trim lining the stairs. The trim had seen far too many layers of paint, gouges and history to be worth restoring, so by pulling it up now, we’ll able to lay down something that’s clean. New.

But there was just one more thing we wanted to tackle – the entryway ceiling. This had to come down for 3 reasons: ONE) The entryway light was very off-centered with the new layout (keep in mind it was centered before we pulled down any walls), TWO) the ceiling was already chopped up from the partitions that had come down, and THREE) it was all part of the transition from the underside of the second floor closet. Our contractor told us it would be better to rip the whole thing out, and by doing so, he’d give us a clean slate, and we’d get a newly centered light out of it, too.

And that, my friends, was our weekend. And you better bet we’ve been spending our nights on the couch with wine (me), brews (him) and Netflix (both). Which, by the way, what’re you watching lately? We don’t have cable, so we’re devouring Orange Is the New Black and finishing up Breaking Bad. Tell us, what’s next for our queue?

BIG PS… We’re taking an extra long weekend to decompress from all of… this! Our only rule? No phones and no laptops (but definitely a camera!). We’ll come back next week with refreshed brains – and less aches in these backs. While we’re out, The Pet Shop will still happily be receiving orders, and all instructional emails will be sent out on Monday, August 19th. A great weekend to you, and we hope you’ll take a time out for yourselves, too!

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  • Katie8.14.13 - 6:58 AM

    Still no bare feet in the house, huh? :)

    It looks great! You two are making some seriously amazing progress, and I love the way you’re documenting it all. One question, though: where’s the couch hiding?

    Enjoy your weekend off!


    • Kim8.14.13 - 8:14 AM

      Katie, no bare feet! Not until we start seeing some drywall around here… The couch stays under a drop cloth in the living room, and our television is resting on a teeny, tiny end table. It’s certainly not ideal, but those soft cushions are SO welcome after a long day!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K.8.14.13 - 8:26 AM

    You can really start to see it all coming together now! I can’t believe hoe much work you guys have gotten done!! Enjoy your well-deserved weekend! We love us some Wilfred, good ol’ Law & Order, and Star Trek :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim8.14.13 - 8:32 AM

    Hannah, Scott enjoys Wilfred from time to time – me, on the other hand? I can’t seem to get into it! Maybe I’ll give it another try…ReplyCancel

  • Jodi8.14.13 - 8:33 AM

    looking good!! and seriously. so. much. light. i’m a little jealous over here.ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square8.14.13 - 9:13 AM

    Such amazing progress, I am really impressed. Especially with your energy levels! You definitely deserve a long weekend. Enjoy the rest and hope you (and your muscles) get recharged.ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie8.14.13 - 9:22 AM

    After you have finished Breaking Bad and OITNB, do yourself a favor and binge watch “Small Town Security” on Netflix. It is an AMC reality show (only 8 episodes – 20 minutes each). It is so strange…. I can’t even explain it. But I promise you, you will thank me. It is so, so awesome!

    Enjoy your long weekend!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.14.13 - 9:49 AM

      Emily, noted! Thank you for the recommendation!ReplyCancel

  • I’m falling more and more in love with this house every post… it’s a lot of work but I can really see the potential… this will be one amazing house when you are done with it!ReplyCancel

  • Kim8.14.13 - 10:25 AM

    Emily, we feel the same way (and thank you!). While we knew we loved it when we started, every swing of the hammer makes it that much more gratifying.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home8.14.13 - 11:08 AM

    What a difference! After long days of rearing children, we like to melt into the couch while watching Continuum or Awake on Netflix. Never in my life did I think I would enjoy science fiction, but those are some good mind bending shows!ReplyCancel

  • rebeccaNYC8.15.13 - 10:31 AM

    oh my goodness, what a difference! A break is really well deserved!

    We just finished up the AMC series “Hell on Wheels” on Netflix (no commercials to ff through) and we loved every moment. The character development is wonderful, the photography and costuming are superb, and the history of the railroad fascinating. The new season started Saturday, but we hate watching with the commercials. We are going to start “Breaking Bad” next. Love binge watching.ReplyCancel

  • kelly8.15.13 - 2:56 PM

    From Netflix if you haven’t seen it yet, West Wing, Cheers, then Frazier, The Cosby Show, Myth Busters,ReplyCancel

  • Pie8.15.13 - 9:50 PM

    I love how your transformation is coming along. Can’t wait to see the finished place!

    Shameless (the US version) is one of my current faves. William H. Macy is the best! And Emmy Rossum is so so good in this. Pretty sure it’s up on Netflix!ReplyCancel

  • Yay! Enjoy your time off!

    Breaking Bad is a such a good show. I keep hearing good things about Orange is the new Black.

    Recently we’ve been catching up on How I Met Your Mother (we were super late to that party) and we started New Girl. Both are awesome!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.19.13 - 10:14 AM

      Thank you for the show tips, you guys! We’ll have to dig in to these. We have 2 episodes left of Breaking Bad (boo), then it’s back to the drawing board. We’ll be coming here for your suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • Tina S.8.21.13 - 12:21 PM

    House of Cards. Queue it. Watch it. Love it.

    Orange is the New Black is what I’m trying to work through now. It’s a great show!

    And you can’t go wrong with The Catherine Tate Show, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, Parenthood, The IT Crowd.ReplyCancel

  • Kim8.21.13 - 1:57 PM

    Tina – yes! Parenthood! I forgot that’s been in my queue for a long time. Will do!ReplyCancel

  • Stairs! Done! | Bichona10.20.14 - 8:03 PM

    […] a labor of love would be the Understatement of the Year. Starting at the upstairs landing, we knocked down the partition wall for the second floor apartment (eliminating an unnecessary coat closet and raising the stairwell […]ReplyCancel


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