Monday House, part viii, rooms take shape


The new sub-floor is completely laid on the bedroom level. And level it is!

With a good base to work from, the new partition walls were quickly installed. They are in the same places as the old original walls. While this was an opportunity to make changes in wall location, there were no desired trade-offs for the owners. Making the master bedroom larger simply make the kids’ rooms too small. So the new layout is pretty much the same as the old. A few initially- planned changes to improve the master bedroom closet layout and to expand the bathroom to build over the former back staircase hole went ahead just as planned.

Note that the 6mil plastic vapour and air barrier was installed behind the partition wall joint with the exterior wall, to thwart sneaky drafts. Later, after wiring and insulation, all the walls will be wrapped before drywall goes up:


The original house had tiny bedroom closets because … original householders had tiny wardrobes. There was Sunday best and weekday work/school duds. Period. Maybe an extra pair of pants. But no walk in closets. And remember, there was often 2 – 3 kids per bedroom.

The space below the stairs to the third floor attic, shown below, used to be two 24″ wide shallow closets, one for the bedroom in the foreground and one for the bedroom beyond the stairs. Now it will be one bigger closet, and include some storage right down to below the descending stair treads. Best used for stuff not needing to be found again. Note too that the upper right corner of the closet will have a fun little triangle of wall jutting into it. Adds character. Looks like there might be a high cupboard also installed in the opening above the kids closet, as the kid’s closet has a ceiling right at the top of the new door frame. Great spot for out of season clothes and the like.


This is the view from the new enlarged bathroom space into the adjacent child’s room. The bright yellow light string and bulbs-in-baskets is rather arty:


As is the neat lineup of crowbars. Must be five o’clock somewhere …


Here’s the view from the main staircase & hallway to the area at the top of the stairs, where the old bathroom used to be and the “back stairs” used to come up. Now the area has new joists, new subfloor, is level, and plumbing will be added:


To help envision the bathroom, green tape was used to mark out where the shower and tub go on the south wall, and the approx location of the vanity is shown by the tape to the right:


Here’s a plan of the bathroom, although it is 180 degrees from the pictures, ie the picture looks from the door towards the window over the bathtub and the drawing is from the window looking in.


238 bathroom upstairs

The shower will have  a glass door facing the room, and glass wall separating it from the bathtub, so upon entering the room the division between the two will be almost invisible and the light from the window will be unimpeded. We hope.

Going back down the main staircase, a subtle change has been made to the old linen closet above. The master bedroom has been “squared off” and door better positioned to face the hallway. It is amazing how much additional functional space was gained by a few very simple changes. When descending the stairs, the new bit of cantilevered floor will be not noticeable. The decorative trim that was removed from the centre right fascia will be reinstalled later.


This floorplan, below, shows how the baby’s room to the top right has been incorporated into the master bedroom, and the linen closet removed, and the bedroom door relocated to be facing the hallway, and the new cantilevered bit of floor is to the right of the new bedroom doorway. The result is a 10’9″ x 17′ rectangle:

MP elec first draft second floor

(above floorplan shows the prior bathroom layout which has now been rotated 90 degrees right)


The back addition to the ground floor has turned out to be more solid than it looks. Making decisions about what to do with the space was not a priority, but with plumbers and electricians soon to be on site, decisions have to be made. So it seems it is worthwhile putting a half bath into the space, reinforcing the floor, insulating the walls and ceiling, and adding a proper low-slope membrane roofing material. All this is being done with an eye to someday expanding the existing footprint several feet south and west. So money spent on improvements here won’t be going down the drain, but will be incorporated into the dream addition / sunroom someday. One ongoing issue is the ceiling being a foot lower than the rest of the house, when what one wants is a soaring sunny space.



The addition was tacked onto the formerly-exterior brickwork of the house, which was then wallpapered and maybe plastered. It is a mess now, but that can be scraped off with a lot of stripper and elbow grease, and the brick cleaned or painted. It ain’t much now, but it does have potential:




2 thoughts on “Monday House, part viii, rooms take shape

  1. This is a great lesson in how to expect the unexpected in rehabbing. An older property here in Ottawa, with its specific construction methods of the period has its pros and cons. Well documented by you, it will help others make realistic estimates as they budget for their projects. A lot can be said for existing neighborhoods, often over-looked by house buyers, if one has the patience to put up with ever-changing schedules and budgets. A friend engineer said to me if the foundation is sound and the general structure is stable, then it is worth doing. Lifting a house (wood is very forgiving) to put in a new basement and foundation is extreme and will cost. But a realistic estimate should always assume complete interior gutting, to establish a budget. Scheduling will depend on careful sequencing of trades and a contractor who does not pull his workers off now and then for other jobs.

    1. I think inserting a new foundation is worthwhile primarily to create additional living space, for the residents above but which may also be an “accessory suite” ie rental. An apartment or AirBnB type use can earn considerable revenue. The time period when one maxes out the use of a building is rather short, ie when the kids are 4 to 20; but there is a long potential residency post-kiddos.

Comments are closed.