We had a couple of guidelines as we started:
So, here was the starting floor plan for the First Floor. This is a surprisingly large bungalow, with 6 rooms on the first floor, as well as an enclosed porch. As previously discussed, the challenge was in the location of the staircase to the 2nd floor (click here for photos). We knew we needed to move the staircase, but with the steep pitch of the roof, it couldn't be along an exterior wall - you needed enough headroom to walk up the stairs, which required you to land in the middle. Everyone came up with ideas...we tried putting them over the basement stairs, but that just created issues on the 2nd floor. We tried moving them around in the 'staircase room', but didn't like that either. Then Dominic, our plumber, suggested eliminating the front bedroom and creating a much larger Living Room. Brilliant! We've now nicknamed it 'Dominic's Plan' and are really pleased with the layout.
With the rearrangement of the staircase, the 2nd floor saw lots of changes. We now have two nice sized bedrooms. The new Master Bedroom will be in the back of the house and includes a large walk in closet. The front bedroom got a little bit smaller, but is still a nice sized bedroom (15' x 12'). And we've created a brand new space that we've nicked named 'The Loft'. It's an area at the top of the stairs where we will install a big skylight on the sloped ceiling and add a built in bookcase. There's room for a desk and comfy chair - what a wonderful spot to curl up and read a book!
One huge learning for me as I've renovated lots of homes? Plans are really just a guideline. Once you start gutting these old houses, you tend to find surprises and need to be flexible to figure out what makes the most sense. So stay tuned, we're sure to be making a few tweaks as we go along!