Before and After: A 119-Year-Old Bedroom Gets Its Groove Back

updated Mar 1, 2020
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Old houses already feel cozy and warm—and houses can feel extra cozy and deeply personal when they contain some reference to your family’s history. To say that Julia McClanahan’s home holds a lot of family history is an understatement: In 1901, her great-great-grandparents built the house—”Big Mama’s house, as it’s known around town and in the family,” Julia says. She and her husband, Zach, bought it in May 2018 and spent more than a year working with pros to restore all 3,700 square feet.

In the master bedroom, renovations cost roughly $3,000. The couple decided to pull up the carpet and refinish the original Douglas Fir wood floors, repair the plaster walls, and replace the electrical and lighting. They also moved the bathroom door over a few feet, removed a closet that had been added, repaired and tiled the fireplace, and painted the walls, ceiling, trim, and fireplace mantel.

The work’s not totally done, either: “I still plan to strip and refinish all of the doors in the bedroom and would still like to hang art above both nightstands,” Julia says.

She feels relieved to be rid of the “horrible carpet” and holes in the walls. “My favorite thing about this room is the Persian rug that I got for only $200 at an auction,” she says. “The rug truly makes the room!” She also loves how the fireplace no longer appears to disappear into the wall—thanks to both installing an oak mirror on top of it “to give height to the fireplace to make it more of a focal point of the room” and painting the mantel in Sherwin-Williams’ Homburg Gray. “It would have been nice to strip the paint off of the fireplace and refinish it,” says Julia, “but that will have to wait until I can recover from stripping another fireplace and 22 doors in the house.”

This renovation marked Julia and Zach’s second major home restoration project. For anyone else embarking on one, Julia recommends “staying true to the style of the house,” she says. “If you live in a mid-century home, your renovations should be in tune with that. If you live in a Victorian home like we do, stay true to how that home was supposed to function and flow.”