The Powder Room Project: An introduction

In order to understand our Powder Room Project, a brief explanation necessary.

Off of our kitchen is a butler’s pantry.  Here is what is looks like:

I consider it a miraculous gift that the original sink and cupboards are still there.


IMG_1815About a decade ago, previous owners added a toilet.  While totally practical and convenient, the addition of the piece of furniture pretty much banishes food preparation and storage from this room.  To your right of the butler’s pantry, is another room.

Here is what it looked like when we moved in:



The door shown is opposite the one that opens into the butler’s pantry.  This one opens into the dining room.

A bit of history of this room: According to the woman who lived here for 40+ years, this house was divided into apartments/ boarding rooms during the WWII for the wives of airmen, whose husbands were living on the airbase in town.  One apartment was made up of our living room and dining room, and this room + the butler’s pantry served as the kitchen.


Also- let me draw your attention to the top of the trim… these remain only in this room, the butler’s pantry and in the hallway by the upstairs bathroom.  Everywhere else, they have been cut off.  I am SO THANKFUL that whoever decided to cut them off, decided to leave them in these rooms.  I wonder why they did- probably because they were the most “unseen” rooms of the house, but the romantic side of me hopes that it was because they knew that some day, I would want to know what the trim originally looked like.

Back to this empty room.  If anyone has ideas of the original purpose of this room was, I’d love to hear it.  My guesses are a pantry or a scullery.  I’d so love to know.

So, we were left with an empty room- what a luxury to have in a home!  The list of things to do with the room was fairly short:

  1. Closet- tempting, so practical, so needed, but so… boring
  2. Office- this would have been oh- so wonderful… but we do have room for a computer elsewhere.
  3. Powder Room- the winner!!  Making this into a powder room would allow us to rid the butler’s pantry of the toilet, allowing us to open it up to the kitchen and to use it as additional food prep/ storage space.  Plus- what is more fun to design than a powder room with 10 foot ceilings and points on top of the trim??


As soon as Christmas was over, we dug in, and over the last month we have done a lot of cool stuff in the little extra room.  Stay tuned!




Kitchen Remodel… Phase 1

In September, with the addition of our 9+ foot salvaged pine cupboard, we began Phase 1 of our kitchen remodel.  In Phase 1 we plan to accomplish:

  1. More storage in the form of kitchen cabinets and open shelving
  2. New paint on the walls
  3. New paint in the butler’s pantry
  4. Remove toilet from the butler’s pantry
  5. Remove door separating the kitchen from the butler’s pantry
  6. Strip the wooden countertop in the butler’s pantry and possibly strip at least the upper cabinets as well.
  7. Add a little “work space” in the butler’s pantry (room for a laptop and notepad)
  8. Create a powder room out of the old laundry room

Phase 2 will most likely take place next winter, and will involve new floors in the kitchen and possibly the removal of a wall, which would completely free up configuration of an island, the stove, fridge, etc.


So, we are mostly done with Step 1.  As I mentioned, we brought home a 9 foot tall unit from the Twin Cities in September.  But long before that, I had been stowing a cabinet away in our garage that I had found on a Facebook swap site.  I don’t think I have a before picture (DARN!) but it was a rusting pine cupboard out of a farmhouse in Iowa.  It was painted barn red; perhaps even originally.  We stripped and sanded and coated it with poly and wa-laa!


The perfect little spot for all of my pretty bowls and vases.  The lower, covered shelf is the perfect spot for my spices.


Step 2 is also complete!  I have no regrets about painting the trim and beadboard teal.

And now we jump ahead to step 8… powder room! I have been waiting with bated breath for 2 years for this project!  This is going to be fun!



PS- here is another preservation-based article I wrote for the paper.