The Upstairs Bathroom

· Because a family of four needs a second toilet. ·

Nov, 16, 2021

I think I’ve mentioned (over and over) that our first priority once we got the house was to settle the kids in as much as possible. This prioritized the upstairs bathroom, which looked like this when we moved in:

Not beautiful (the CARPET! the BORDER! the WEIRD CUPBOARD BETWEEN THE VANITY AND TOILET!), but honestly, in a house this old, it’s nice to have a space already dedicated to doing your business, in addition to a room with plumbing and electricity. Oh, I probably should offer some perspective on the upstairs. Here we are, on the top of the stair landing, at the front of the house. There are 5 rooms on this floor – four equally sized bedrooms and one bathroom.

Okay, so now that I hope you can imagine yourself there, imagine helping to demo:

Removing wallpaper. Highly recommend Audible and headphones for entertainment when doing any remodeling.
This is my rock-star mother-in-law, Bonnie. At 80 years old, she shows up one day when we’re working and asked what help we needed. I tell her nothing that I really thought she could help with. Next thing I know, she’s ripping out a vanity and pulling up rotted wood. Who has a better mother-in-law than me? NO ONE, THAT’S WHO.

Also, real shiplap. Eat your heart out, Joanna Gaines.

I look back on the dates these photos were taken and cringe a bit. If you’re in the midst of planning a renovation and came here for before and after photos, I’m disappointing you. We did demo in late August; it’s now November and we still don’t have a completed bathroom. It just takes time – no HGTV Quick Reveals in real life.

After much deliberation, we chose to keep the footprint of the bathroom the same – it was hard, because we have 12 and 14 year old kids of different genders. They are in the prime of desiring privacy, and each had their own bathroom at our previously renovated house:

Kate’s bathroom on Jacobs Branch. Tile: Floor and Decor; mirror: West Elm; sconces: Shades of Light; shower curtain: Anthropologie; vanity: locally sourced; paint: Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
Eli’s bathroom on Jacobs Branch. Tile: Floor and Decor, Vanity: locally sourced; paint: Benjamin Moore

I mean, who wants to curl their hair while their brother takes a shower? So we really wanted to make a private toilet room at minimum, but the window placement and overall size (7’10×7’6) made extra walls and door pretty impossible.

But families do it all of the time – the previous family here had four kids and the parents upstairs, all with one bathroom! So my privileged kids would be fine. And they agreed the layout worked for them.

We did choose to remove the tub so they could have a bigger shower. We added a bench and niche for toiletries.

We still had to update the plumbing and electrical, so with the removal of the old ceiling, this will be a very “new” bathroom for this old house.

Stay tuned for how I attempt to keep the old character through the finishes. It’s a great story!


  1. Reply

    Chuck Rooney

    November 16, 2021

    Bathrooms seem to take a lot of the budget. But it’s looking good.

  2. Reply


    November 17, 2021

    I am so loving these posts!! I can wait to see it finished…gonna have to buy a bigger tub of popcorn Lol.

  3. Reply

    Maria Greene

    November 17, 2021

    I shared a bathroom with 3 sisters and mom. Nothing like taking a bath with one 1 sister on the toilet, one brushing her teeth and the other applying mascara. Dad had his own restroom. 😁

    • Reply

      November 17, 2021

      We’re all four sharing a bathroom now, so it’s been….interesting. My kids won’t forget this, that’s for sure!

  4. Reply

    Sarah Caldwell

    November 17, 2021

    Thanks for sharing, Molly!
    Way to go, Bonnie! : )

  5. Reply


    November 17, 2021

    Really enjoying watching this house transition to “livable”. Keep the posts coming.

  6. Reply

    Martha Feland

    November 17, 2021

    The shower looks great and the entire bathroom looks so much larger! Great work!

    • Reply

      November 17, 2021

      You know I think so highly of your taste, so your compliment means the world!

  7. Reply


    November 17, 2021

    I can totally sympathize with the slow process that is home renovations. Our kids bath is sitting with stud walls and since our electrician just told us that January will be the earliest he can get to us, they will be living with it a while longer. The HGTV 6-week completions are definitely not realistic. But I know that you will create a beautiful bathroom that the kids love and is still true to the house and its history.

    • Reply

      November 17, 2021

      Yes – it’s so hard to make decisions, then once you do, you have to wait for progress!

  8. Reply


    November 17, 2021

    I love seeing all the photos! And I’m just jealous there are FOUR bedrooms up there. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how the bathroom turns out!

    • Reply

      November 17, 2021

      Are you suggesting Randy and I have more kids??? hahaha

  9. Reply


    November 17, 2021

    I’m enjoying your blog. I have friends who got their bathroom renovation paid for by letting a hgtv crew follow them around for a week while they did it.
    You guys are TV talent worthy!!

  10. Reply


    November 20, 2021

    Love Eli’s shower!! The bathrooms look great! Loving seeing you renovating…you should consider Vloging!!! For real! I would watch!!

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Molly, lover of history, old homes and wine (maybe not in that order). Discover our journey of renovation and restoration of an 1870s farmhouse in Southern Appalachia.

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