… our busy designer/craftsman

Our designer/craftsman (aka son) has been super busy with a big job. Designing, tearing down and rebuilding a kitchen in Portland (swyftdesignworks.com).

He has moved windows, put doors in new places, installed arches, and made all the cabinets, shelves etc. etc…. Not your basic kitchen remodel.

Looking good! Almost done.


Meanwhile, back in Astoria, our little Victorian is waiting patiently for his return. It too will get a new kitchen!

Presently … our old kitchen is half torn up. Part of it had to be moved to the dining room area :). Still functional but awkward.


How to create a Victorian bathroom in a house that never had one…

Our designer decided to go with the classic, small black and white floor tile and white “subway” tile walls. Bathroom design and fixtures are comfortably modern.


Remember our upstairs floor plan? One old bedroom was turned into a LARGE bathroom by a previous owner. The new design is for two smaller (although good size) bathrooms including a master bath with a large shower…

Tiling in process! Looking good.

Tubs, toilets and tapers

Plumbing work on the newly redesigned upstairs of the house was done simultaneously with the new walls. The change from one very large bathroom upstairs to two smaller (although really good size) ones required new plumbing everywhere. We are not plumbers – so we hired a great local contractor.


First, we needed to remove the downstairs kitchen ceiling to access and then replace the existing plumbing. Interesting! We found that the ceiling had been dropped quite a bit. We discovered the old paint and cute wallpaper. New plumbing will be higher so we can raise the ceiling!

Note: All the new supply lines and drains will be on the INSIDE of the house. The old drains were on the OUTSIDE of the house. Coming from an area that sees 20 below zero in the winter – this was alarming.


Tubs and toilets… one of the “small” bathrooms upstairs got a six foot tub! The other will have a large shower. More on that later…


Plastering is an art form (as far as I am concerned) so we hired an “artist” and expert to get the job done quickly.

Our designer/carpenter/craftsman (son) is doing a lot of this work himself (https://www.swyftdesignworks.com/ ). We add additional help when we can. We know our limits though and our skills do not include plumbing and taping/plastering.



Do you remember our red cedar sheathing and walls throughout the house? Well, we decided to have an accent wall in each of the upstairs bedrooms. We pulled all the tacks and threads out and did a bit of sanding (see previous posts about netting and wallpaper in old homes). They are looking really nice!

From the top down…

We bought our house in Astoria because it had a number of very nice original features – original ship-lap siding, staircase, some windows and doors, high ceilings, wood floors (fir we think) and others. With that said, over the years there have been a number of “upgrades” that need to be corrected.

Together with our planner/designer/carpenter (full disclosure here – he is also our son) we decided to start with the second floor restoration.

First, we set up the downstairs as a one bedroom/studio apartment.


Then we planned the upstairs.

Here are some “before pictures” of the upstairs … note the swirly ceilings, old sheet rock over ???, painted paneling, and painted wood floors.



One “interesting” upgrade on the second floor is a GIANT bathroom. Previous owners took one of three original bedrooms and put in a large bathroom. My grandmother did the same thing with her old house back in the 1930s ish.

pre-sale photo 11

THE PLAN… our designer came up with a new floor plan for the second floor. It includes three bedrooms a master bathroom and a hallway bathroom for the other two bedrooms. Next stop – Town Hall and a building permit…


From: https://www.swyftdesignworks.com/