Main Floor Renovation Plans

We moved into our new home back in August and it is FINALLY time to start renovations, after many months of planning! Our contractor started demo this week, so I figured it was about time that I shared the plans with you, huh?

Our home is from 1961 and needs a full interior and exterior renovation. Don’t worry, we’ve done this before… but this time will be a little different. We’re hiring our some of the work and doing other parts of it ourselves. The first part of our project involves the main floor: the living room, kitchen, dining room, porch, and staircases.

I am still working through some last-minute design decisions but wanted to share the general plans with you all so you have a better idea of what you’re seeing on Instagram! Furnishing details are also still being worked out but I’ve decided on the majority of the hard finishes.

What we’re hiring out:

  • demo
  • structural work (knocking out structural wall)
  • drywall (hanging, taping, mudding, priming)
  • kitchen install
  • window replacement
  • HVAC work
  • staircase replacement
  • gas fireplace install
  • reframing of closets on entry floor

What we’re doing ourselves:

  • flooring install
  • electrical work & lighting install
  • plumbing work (maybe?)
  • painting
  • fireplace tiling
  • backsplash tiling
  • trim & moulding
  • decorating & design (of course!)

The Design Plan

In general, I want this floor to feel light and bright, but also cozy and comfortable. To accomplish that feeling I’m incorporating lots of natural and warm-toned materials like white oak flooring, dark gray granite countertops, and mixing black and brass fixtures. The walls will be painted White Snow by Sherwin Williams, and the cabinetry will be a mushroomy-griege color (still deciding on that!).

Sima Spaces #SimaSixtiesSplit Main Floor Hard Finishes
Main Floor Finishes: lots of natural stone, warm colors and bright, cozy vibes!

The Kitchen

I won’t spend a ton of time talking about the kitchen, because I already wrote a whole post about the design plans (granted, that was just “round one”, but it’s pretty detailed).

Here is the before: cramped, dark, and just a little less than magazine-worthy!

We plan on removing all of the walls, adding a large island, pendants above the island, building the microwave into the island, adding a large builtin range hood, larger 36″ gas range, and moving the dishwasher.

We’ll paint the majority of the cabinetry a mushroomy-griege color (debating Symmetry or Mushroom by Sherwin Williams). The island, range hood, and floating shelves in the corner will be stained oak. The flooring will be engineered oak. The countertops will be honed dark gray granite with white and tan veining. I got to see our countertop slab in person for the first time just recently and made a last-minute decision to swap it out with a different piece that had different veining!

"Elegant Gray" granite slab: Sima Spaces countertops
Here is our countertop slab with the tile, flooring, and paint colors that we’ll have!

The ceiling will be vaulted, and we’ll build soffits down to the top of the cabinetry so they are “built in” rather than open on top.

Again, check out this post for more info on the kitchen!

The Living Room

The living room has great natural light thanks to the large picture window, but otherwise feels pretty boxy currently thanks to the wall between the living room and kitchen and some strange shutters between the living room and dining room. The brick wood-burning fireplace is large and outdated but acts as a great focal point for the room.

We’ll be removing all of the interior walls, so the entire floor will be open. We will be replacing the floor with engineered hardwood, and replacing the original windows with white windows. We also have plans to vault the entire ceiling, which will be the most dramatic transformation of them all! The main wall between the living room and kitchen is structural, so we need to install a huge beam for support, and the roof line here offers us the chance to vault the ceiling so we’re going to go for it.

We went back and forth about what to do with the fireplace, but ultimately decided to replace it with a gas insert. It is just more practical and functional for daily use and family life. We have another wood burning fireplace in the basement so now we’ll have the best of both worlds. Minnesota winters get very chilly and maximizing coziness is super important! I’d love the ability to just be able to “flip a switch” while watching Netflix rather than having to go through the hassle of building and tending to a fire, not to mention the smoky smell and air quality issues that is impossible to avoid with a wood burning fireplace. We are lucky to be able to partner with CenterPoint Energy’s HomeServicePlus on this project so we got a bit of a discount, but it is still a costly undertaking. I have no doubt that it will be 100% worth it, though!

We’ll have the fireplace brick cut in smaller on the sides, and re-framed to be flush drywall with the tile we’ll install around the fireplace. We’ll build builtin shelving on either side of the fireplace, install a Frame TV above the fireplace, and add sconce lights on either side of the TV.

On the ceiling, I’d love to install white oak beams that match the flooring. I’m envisioning 3 of them, spread at equal distances across the entire floor.

The Dining Room

The dining room feels very boxy since has a wall between it and the kitchen, and the strange shutter situation between the living room. There’s a large wall of mirrors on one wall that does make it feel bigger than it is, but I’m not easily tricked, ha! On the other side is an old sliding glass door that leads to the porch.

We plan on replacing the chandelier, the window, and hopefully building a builtin sideboard for extra storage underneath the window. The ceiling will be vaulted in here as well and the room will be open to the back of the kitchen. I’d love to get a large extendable dining table for when we’re able to entertain family and friends again, and I found some awesome vintage cane bentwood chairs that I need to refinish.

The Stairs

We bought this house knowing that the stairs needed to be remodeled, but we weren’t quite sure of the undertaking it would require. The treads are too short, so our feet don’t fit on them, which is not only inconvenient but also dangerous! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve tripped up or almost fallen down the stairs because it’s just not a natural stair-like muscle memory movement for your body.

The house is a four-story-split, so there is an entryway floor, then a basement, and the “main floor” with the kitchen, and a floor with bedrooms. There are 3 sets of stairs. We’ll be replacing the two sets between the entryway floor and the main floor, and the main and the bedroom floor.

By “replacing” I mean they will completely take out the staircases and install new stringers (the part underneath that the stairs sit on) that have larger treads. When we do that, we run into headroom issues because the stairs will come out farther into the room. In order to meet code, there are certain heights and lengths that each step can be, and with that we run into issues with the ceilings on each floor, which is one of the reasons for the vault on the main floor. We’ll also be removing the wall in between the stairs for each floor to open them up, which I think will make a huge difference!

We aren’t touching the basement stairs because it would require more major work like jackhammering out the concrete slab on the entryway floor, or reframing the basement ceiling joists ($$$$). Instead, we’ll just put carpet down and call it good. We figure replacing the two main sets of stairs that get used literally every day is the priority here!

I want to do white stair risers with oak treads that match the other flooring. The railing will be a rectangular stained oak, and the spindles will be round black metal that are built into each tread.

Staircase design plans: Sima Spaces
Staircase design

So there you have it! Demo started this week, so I am sharing updates on Instagram so be sure to follow me if you don’t already. As soon as I have design decisions made on furnishings I will get posts up for each individual space!

I’d love it if you left a comment below with what you’re most excited for! Thanks for following along!

Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. When I'm not designing or renovating homes, you can find me working as a pediatric ICU RN, snuggling my dog or cat, skiing in CO, soaking up the sun on our boat, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio!

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