When you purchase a century-old home you are, most likely, buying it for its history and charm rather than for modern day luxuries and conveniences. When we began our Kansas City home search, about four years ago, we were drawn to the area of Brookside for its historical charm, as well as proximity to shops and restaurants. We would drive down tree-lined streets and admire how all the homes were different from one another, each with their own special characteristics and curb appeal. It’s easy to become wistful when meandering up and down the well-manicured blocks of lovely older neighborhoods but, in reality, these homes oftentimes are as equal in their share problems as they are in their beauty.
One of the most common issues with older homes is space. Open floorpans were not a “thing” in the early 1900’s, closet space is often teeny tiny and bathrooms are scarce. Unfortunately the way we live today doesn’t meld with homes of the past.
When we came upon our current home we knew that it wasn’t exactly laid out perfectly for our family but we saw the potential. The attributes that the home did possess convinced us to take on the large project of transforming this house into one that would become just the right fit for us.
In our first round of renovations we tackled the awkward floor plan of the second story of our home. We were able manipulate the existing space and create 3 bedrooms on this floor instead of two. We moved the Master Bedroom from the front of the home to the back and gained more space for the room, and the addition of a walk-in closet, by bringing down a wall that opened to a back “sun porch.”
Walls were removed to create the new Master Bedroom.
The new wall for the walk-in Master closet goes up.
A plastic wall protects the sitting area of the bedroom from construction mess.
We had also hoped to add an en suite bath at this time but budget constraints made it impossible. “Oh well,” we thought, the kids were still very little, and our hall bath was a pretty good size for a Brookside home, so we could share the space comfortably. Here is the thing with kids though, they grow… quickly. All too soon our family bath became very crowded. So, about two years after our initial renovation, we began round two – adding a master bath.
The plastic wall is back! Protecting the finished bedroom from bathroom construction.
Since adding a master bath had been discussed in our original plans, we already had the space ready for it in our new master bedroom. We had turned the space into a little sitting area in the bedroom which I had actually grown quite fond of. What I enjoyed about the space was the full wall of windows across the back of the house that brought so much natural light into our bedroom. I also liked how open and airy the entire bedroom felt. As excited as I was about adding our own bathroom, I also was sad to break up this space.
Luckily, our contractors at Catalyst Construction were very patient and willing to work with my hang-ups about losing bedroom light and space and helped in formulating a new plan for the bathroom. Now, this plan wouldn’t necessarily set well with many homeowners but, to me, it made perfect sense. Make the bathroom smaller than the original plan. This the time when most people say, “are you crazy?!” Trust me, I understand that response, but if you saw our bedroom as it was before and saw the bank of windows overlooking the Trolley Trail with the colors of the sunset on full display, you would get it too. So we scrapped the plans for a big master bath that would have taken away two big windows from the bedroom and created a more “efficient” space that only took away one window.
The bathroom wall goes up, dividing a window bank.
Original plans would have placed both windows in the new bathroom space.
Design became very important, and a little bit challenging, once the decision was made to downsize the space. We needed to maximize the available space in the new bathroom as much as possible while taking care to not let it feel cramped and crowded. We wanted the same airy and bright feel that was found in the bedroom and we hoped to accomplish all of this while giving the space some serious style.
The new walk-in shower stall is walled in.
One of the changes we made in downsizing the size of the bath is losing a bathtub. Not a huge deal to us as my husband and I are more shower people and there is a nice tub in the hall bath. While we did lose the tub, we were still able to get a large walk-in shower.
Prepping shower for tile.
We also sacrificed a double vanity. That one hurt a bit, but as we rarely are getting ready at the exact same time it works out just fine. Once everything was roughed-in we got serious about design elements of the room. To keep things light and bright we chose a seamless shower door, classic white subway tile for the shower walls and a gorgeous feature shower floor in Penny Round Cloudy Porcelain Mosaic from the Tile Shop. We had to wait on a back-order of the tile but, once installed, it was completely worth the wait! It is so pretty!
When it came to our vanity design I searched high and low for a pre-made vanity to fit the space but I could not find one in the style that we really wanted. Once again Catalyst Construction came to our rescue. Using an inspiration picture that I found on Houzz, they were able to custom build the sleek modern walnut vanity that we visualized for the space.
A large vanity cabinet divided by shelves provides plenty of space for bathroom necessities.
A vintage Persian rug from River Market Antique Mall adds a pop of color to the space.
For vanity countertops we chose a white Quartz from Premier Surfaces paired with a white subway tile backsplash.
A sleek and modern Hansgrohe faucet takes up very little counter space.
We finished styling the bathroom with a basket for towels and a pair of framed photos taken on a trip to Barcelona, Spain.
We completed the space with a custom sliding barn door made by Catalyst Construction.
I am so happy with how our petite Master Bath turned out! In taking care when deciding on the details of the space we were able to create a functional and beautiful bathroom retreat and prove that small spaces can be large on style!