#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: 2nd Floor Stairwell Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from another renovated area of our 1800’s home project.

Just by adding a few decorative details, we updated an area of our home that is often overlooked—a stairwell!

Read on to see the details of the entire renovation of this space.

Design, Renovation and Photography by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Design, Renovation and Photography by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

What we did:

  • Removed the carpet

  • Cleaned and shellaced the original trim

  • Laid new carpet (Carpeting this stairwell and the second floor proved to keep our heat bills lower in the winter as the heat doesn’t all rise from the 1st floor to the second anymore as it did when we had the wooden floors bare. It also made the stairs safer as they are very steep.)

  • Added shiplap to the landing area that separates the first floor staircases (the foyer and the “servant stairs”) from the second floor stairwell (Want to know how to hang shiplap? Watch this video my husband and I created!)

  • Painted the walls, shiplap, handrail, and ceiling

  • Restrung the rope and pulley system in the original window

  • Shellaced and hung a shutter (one that we found in someone’s trash) on the window. We keep it open during the day to allow lots of light to flow into the stair area, and close it at night.

  • Hung a new sconce (not seen in the photos)

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: 2nd Floor Hallway Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from another renovated area of our 1800’s home project.

This hallway was very sad looking due to the paint colors (painted by the previous homeowners), drop ceiling and more. We added some ceiling lights, paint and more and made something AS SIMPLE AS A HALLWAY a very pleasant space in our 1800’s home.

Read on to see the details of the entire renovation of this room.

Design, Renovation and Photography by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Design, Renovation and Photography by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

What we did:

  • Removed the carpet

  • Removed the drop ceilings

  • Cleaned and shellaced the doors and original trim

  • Hung a new drywall ceiling and finished out the walls (the space that was covered by drop ceiling had to be filled in and finished with drywall)

  • Laid new carpet (carpeting this floor proved to keep our heat bills lower in the winter as the heat doesn’t all rise from the 1st floor to the second anymore as it did when we had the wooden floors bare)

  • Added chair rail and ceiling moulding

  • Painted the walls and ceiling

  • Hung a new sconce (surrounding it with a decorative wall plate) with an Edison style bulb

  • Wired and hung 2 ceiling lights (from IKEA) to brighten the space

  • Added these wireless switches for the ceiling lights

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: Office Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from another renovated area of our 1800’s home project.

This room could be considered one of the four bedrooms in our home, but we chose to turn it into our home office.

It features a large closet as well as a door that opens to reveal a screened-in porch, known as a “sleeping porch”. When you open the door to the porch and then open the master bedroom window and door (there is a door between the office and master bedroom) a beautiful breeze sways into the home. This would have been an ideal way to cool the entire second floor in the 1800’s when air conditioning didn’t exist.

Little did we know that screening in the porch would also provide our Maine Coon cats their favorite spot to hang out in when the weather is good. They love watching the birds, squirrels and bees!

Read on to see the details of the entire renovation of this room.

Design, Renovation and Photography by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Design, Renovation and Photography by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

What we did:

  • Removed the carpet

  • Removed the drop ceilings

  • Removed the layer of thin drywall plus two layers of wood paneling

  • Cleaned and shellaced the doors and original trim (luckily we found it behind the wood paneling and drywall layers)

  • Hung a new drywall ceiling and walls

  • Laid new carpet (carpeting this floor proved to keep our heat bills lower in the winter as the heat doesn’t all rise from the 1st floor to the second anymore as it did when we had the wooden floors bare)

  • Laid faux wood vinyl flooring in the closet.

  • Painted the walls and ceiling

  • Hung a new ceiling fan/light

  • Wired and hung a secondary light to brighten the room.

  • Screened in the porch and laid turf-like carpeting

  • You can see a air conditioning window unit in the “before” photo. Before moving into the home, we had a central heat/air conditioning unit installed to heat and cool the first and second floors, then added in-room heat and air units to the attic space.

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: Closet Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from another renovated area of our 1800’s home project.

We finished renovations of this space years ago (it was actually the first room we worked on), but this is our official “before and after” post! I think I love this space the most….I call it my “getting ready room” because it’s much more than a closet!

Not having a closet in our master bedroom, we decided to turn this small former bedroom into a large walk-in closet. Thinking ahead, we made only small adjustments to turn it into a closet so a potential buyer could easily convert it back into a bedroom if they wanted.

Read on to see all the renovations we made in this area of our home.

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden, Renovations and Design by Tommy and Carolyn J. Braden

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden, Renovations and Design by Tommy and Carolyn J. Braden

What we did:

  • Removed the old carpet

  • Removed the drop ceilings

  • Removed the layer of thin drywall plus two layers of wood paneling

  • Refinished the original wood flooring (it was painted so Tommy had to do A LOT of sanding with a drum sander which took quite a bit of time)

  • Cleaned and shellaced the original trim (luckily we found it behind the wood paneling and drywall layers)

  • Hung a new drywall ceiling and walls

  • Painted the walls and ceiling

  • Hung 3 new ceiling lights (Tommy did have to get the help of our electrician friend to assist in wiring the room for the extra lights. This is how Tommy learned a lot about wiring lights and then was able to do the rest of the house on his own).

  • Added brackets and shelves to 2 1/2 of the wall space for clothes and shoes

  • My make-up vanity (seen in the photo) was originally pea green. Tommy bought it at a thrift store and refinished it over 15 years ago. We have had to have a new mirror created for it when the original broke during one of our moves.

  • The other cabinet (seen in the photo next to the vanity) is one I use to store my jewelry on stands so I can see it all better.

  • The existing closet is used to store bags, a chest of drawers, laundry hampers and some additional clothing/shoes.

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

Photos by Carolyn J. Braden, Joe Dubberly and Mike Sturgeon

Photos by Carolyn J. Braden, Joe Dubberly and Mike Sturgeon

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: Attic Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from another renovated area of our 1800’s home project.

We finished renovations of our attic space years ago, but this is our official “before and after” post!

Thankfully this space didn’t need nearly as much work as the rest of our home, as someone had already converted it into livable space. Everything we did in this space was cosmetic.

We would love to see this space have another bathroom added or have it turned into a master suite (as a couple of homes in our area have done), but with the rest of the house needing SO MUCH WORK (new ceilings and walls were needed EVERYWHERE!), we’ll leave this task to someone else to tackle (after we sell it) IF it’s something they want.

Read on to see all the renovations we made in this area of our home.

1800’s Attic Stairwell Renovation by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

1800’s Attic Stairwell Renovation by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Attic Stairwell:

  • Removed the old carpet

  • Refinished the original wood on the stairs and landing area

  • Removed the iron railing. Tommy then made his own railing with new and old materials to fit the design of the house.

  • Painted the walls, ceiling and trim

  • Added a new closet door handle

  • Added new flooring in the closet

  • Added new lights

1800’s Attic Rooms Renovation by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

1800’s Attic Rooms Renovation by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Attic Rooms:

  • Added moulding (to room 1)

  • Painted the walls and ceiling

  • Hung a new ceiling lights/fans

  • Added new closet door handles

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: Front Entrance Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from another renovated area of our 1800’s home.

Many parts of our home entrance have been completed for several years (the sidelights, paint removal on the door, new door plate, decor) but we recently decided to make some more updates to freshen the look.

Read on (below the photo) to see all the renovations we made in this area of our home. Tommy also has included some of his tips!

Photos by Carolyn J. Braden, Renovations and design by Carolyn and Tommy Braden

Photos by Carolyn J. Braden, Renovations and design by Carolyn and Tommy Braden

Front door:

  • Removed the screen door

  • Replaced the door knob with a vintage knob we found on Ebay

  • Removed the layer upon layer of paint from the door using a heat gun, a scraper and tiny tools (it was a slow process but it worked VERY well!)

  • Re-glued the wooden veneer where needed. Tommy used a playing card to get the glue into the tight spaces between the door and the veneer.

  • Replaced the back plate (area around the door knob) with a vintage piece we found at an architectural salvage place

  • Painted the door with black Behr Marquee Exterior Paint

  • Shellaced and varnished the floral wood trim around the glass window

  • Added a new lace curtain and cafe rods (interior)

Photos by Carolyn J. Braden, Renovations and design by Carolyn and Tommy Braden

Photos by Carolyn J. Braden, Renovations and design by Carolyn and Tommy Braden

Front Entrance:

  • Added sidelights. We found them at an antique mall. They needed repairs, but since they fit the holes we found (where the original sidelights used to be until someone removed them at some point), we couldn’t pass them up. We found a local stained glass repair person and he fixed them beautifully!

  • Removed some of the exterior siding (to reveal the sidelights)

  • Painted the area around the door white

  • Painted the threshold light gray

  • Added new porch lights

  • Painted the columns and railings

  • Renovated the door

  • Added a bench and decor

We would like to see this home with the original columns (instead of the black iron ones), but we are fine with them as-is for now.

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: Dining Room Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from more completely renovated areas in our 1800’s home. The dining room has been done for a while, but we have recently glazed the windows (outside) and removed some outside debris, so it reminded me it was time to show it off!

Read on (below the photo) to see all the renovations we made in this room of our home.

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden, Design and Construction by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden, Design and Construction by Tommy and Carolyn Braden

Dining Room

  • Removed carpet and drop ceilings

  • Removed a non-load bearing section of the wall to open the room and create an entrance into the kitchen.

  • Created our own “sliding door” system using items found at Lowe’s and Home Depot as well as doors we found in a dumpster.

  • Added stained glass windows (They are hung by simple hooks at the top of the window so they are removable).

  • Cleaned and shellaced all the wood. See the process we used by clicking here.

  • Refinished the floors (My husband sanded them with a drum sander and then applied two coats of de-waxed shellac and two coats of polyurethane. We followed this same process with most of the original wood floors throughout the house).

  • Hung new drywall on the walls

  • We left the ceilings open (no drywall is hung). The inspiration came from an issue of Southern Living magazine where they featured a house (around the age of our home) with the same open concept. We love it!

  • Added crown moulding

  • Painted

  • Hung an elegant dogwood wall paper on one wall as an accent

  • Hung a new ceiling light

  • Added a new door to the closet (the closet is not original, but we decided to keep it so we had a place to hang coats for us and guests).

  • Added a storage space at the top of the closet using beautiful wood doors we found in someone’s trash pile. (They even look original to the house!)

NOTE:

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations ON OUR OWN.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too

#ItsaBradenfulLife 1800's Home: Foyer and 1st Floor Hallway Renovation

Here are some before and after photos from more completely renovated areas in our 1800’s home. The foyer has been done for a while, but the 1st floor hallway was only completed a couple of months ago.

With the help of my husband’s father, we have completed all the renovations on our own.

AND FYI—none of us are contractors or have backgrounds in this kind of work. We’ve just researched and learn as we go! You can learn a lot from YouTube too!

Read on to see all the renovations we made in these two areas of our home.

Foyer:

  • Removed carpet and drop ceilings

  • Added stained glass sidelights (We could see there were actually places for them when we removed the walls. We assume someone had taken the originals out at some point. We came across some that were a perfect fit at a local peddler’s mall. We had them repaired and then installed them ourselves.)

  • Cleaned and shellaced all the wood. See the process we used by clicking here.

  • Refinished the floors (My husband sanded them with a drum sander and then applied two coats of de-waxed shellac and two coats of polyurethane. We followed this same process with most of the original wood floors throughout the house).

  • Hung new drywall on the walls and ceilings.

  • Added crown moulding

  • Painted

  • Widened the entry way into the living room (not seen in these photos)

  • Hung a new ceiling light and sconces

Foyer Before and After Carolyn Braden Itsabradenfullife.jpg

First Floor Hallway:

  • Removed carpet and drop ceilings

  • Refinished the floors

  • Hung new drywall on the walls and ceilings.

  • Painted

  • Hung a new ceiling light

  • Painted the “servant” stairwell attached to this area. See how we completed that renovation by clicking here.

First Floor Hallway Before and After Carolyn Braden Itsabradenfullife.jpg