Our Addition: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In many ways, the addition room is what makes our house great. It provides so much casual living space and creates a partially-open floor plan from the kitchen to the living area. It’s something that most Victorian houses just don’t have.

That said, it poses quite a few renovation and design challenges . . . so, let’s go through the good, the bad, and the ugly of our addition, and the early work to turn this room around.

The Good

As I mentioned above, there are quite a few good things happening in the addition currently. It’s a large space with lots of natural light. It’s got a fantastic floor plan, with a partial opening into the kitchen and a peninsula breakfast bar area.

The other great aspect of the floor plan is that it is only partially open. The kitchen is still defined as it’s own space. I’ve never really understood why people want a clear view of everything happening in the kitchen, especially when someone is trying to cook while others are watching a movie. It just doesn’t seem convenient to me.

The last great thing about our addition is the storage. THE STORAGE! (Sorry, I just get so excited after living in a small house with nowhere to put things.) We have not one, but two, large coat closets at the end of the addition near the back door. I’m not even sure yet what we’ll store in the second closet. The first is plenty enough room for our coats, boots, and hats and such.

So basically, the space is fabulous. The positives pretty much end there though, so let’s move on to the bad and the ugly.

The Bad

Well, where do we start? First, the flooring in the addition was parquet which I really don’t mind, but this parquet was water-damaged so it had to go. We removed it easily enough just by using a shovel to pry it up. We were not enthused, however, to find a layer of vinyl flooring underneath. This all had to be scraped up, which took us five weekends in a row to complete. Not. fun. at. all.

Plans for a knotty pine addition room in an old Victorian house. #rehabdorks

Our addition before any work was done. The parquet floors had already come loose in the middle.


Plans for an addition in a Victorian-era home. #rehabdorks

Another angle of our addition room before any work was done. If you look closely, you can see the side of the weird box next to the door.


The room also sported some water-damaged ceiling tiles that needed to go. My dad came up to help out while I was at work. He removed all of the ceiling tiles while Michael was scraping the floor. Kudos to dad! We will replace those with drywall for a clean, updated look.

Removing ugly ceiling tiles. #rehabdorks

My dad, ripping out all of the stained and ugly ceiling tiles.


Pulling down ceiling tiles in a Victorian fixer-upper. #rehabdorks

Getting the final few tiles pulled down.


The Ugly

The knotty pine look has it’s place, but it doesn’t really work in this Victorian-era home. Not only is it not aesthetically right, it has quite a few gouges and scrapes that would make it pretty difficult to salvage. Instead, we will caulk and fill the scrapes and then paint the knotty pine a nice bright white to soften and lighten the whole space.

There are also a ton of minor, but bizarre, issues happening in our addition room. There is a box built into the wall next to the door. We cannot for the life of us figure out the purpose of this crudely-built wooden box. Whoever built it just notched out a rectangle in the wall and then lined it with wood. Bizarre.

The walls are also covered in old tape, stickers, and a crazy amount of hardware for shelves and curtains. We will have to remove all of those and patch holes before we paint the walls.

Our Tentative Plans

We’ve made some progress already by scraping the floors and tearing down the ceiling tiles. Our next moves will include priming and painting the knotty pine, and adding drywall to the ceiling. Once we’ve finished that, we can start tiling. We’ll finish off with some minor room projects like painting the back door and rehanging and refinishing the closet doors.

A renovation of an addition in a 1920's Victorian house. #rehabdorks

Our addition room after the parquet tiles were removed. Notice that we still had vinyl tile to scrape. Ugh!


An addition in a Victorian home before renovations. #rehabdorks

Our addition after the floors were completely scraped and the ceiling tiles were removed. We will be adding drywall to the ceiling, painting the paneling and tiling the floor.


We plan on painting the walls either white or a very light grey so that the space stays neutral and bright. We are using a dark grey concrete-look tile for the flooring that will extend into the kitchen. This will also tie into the concrete countertops we are planning in the kitchen.

We will face a major design dilemma in hiding the odd box next to the door. There is no way that we can match the knotty pine in that area so we pretty-much have to create a built-in of some sort. We could create a tall end table to catch keys and mail as we walk in the door, or perhaps a shelf for shoes? We’re still thinking it through. It’s quite a conundrum. If you have any ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

As for the closets, I would like to attach some half-round molding inset about an inch into the door to form a rectangle. This will give the doors a more finished look. We can then paint them a soft accent color (or maybe a bold black) and switch out the old hardware for something more modern that will work with the hardware we are using in the kitchen.

The back door is currently an ugly faded yellow color. Other than that, it’s really not a bad-looking door. We will paint it either white or a nice accent color that will work with the nearby closets and other room colors.

Hopefully all of these changes will completely transform our addition into an awesome living space. It will also be neutral enough that we can add some colorful embellishments with our furniture, curtains and rugs. I can’t wait.

Update: You can see some of the progress we’ve made in this room now that we’ve painted the walls. We need to add some finishing touches with the paint and then start to tackle the kitchen, but we can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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