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Victorian Homestead Second Floor

During the second-story restoration of this 1874 Victorian farmhouse, ducting for a high-velocity system was added to heat and cool the upper stories. The ceiling was dropped 4 or 5 inches to install the ductwork (and can lights). The second floor didn’t have electricity until 1987, so it had been mainly storage space during the home’s middle years.

On the second floor landing, a small brass lighting fixture from the 1940s was restored, as was the stenciled hallway flooring. The wide-plank poplar in the up- and downstairs hallways is the only original flooring remaining in the house. The homeowners also installed a cherry-wood wet bar with an onyx backsplash and countertop. The sink is stamped copper.

The front bedroom houses three original pieces: a bed, a dresser, and a restored rocking chair. The closet has been enlarged. Most of the doors had transom windows above them for airflow. The transoms over interior doors were rectangular; the ones over exterior doors were rounded.

Just off the front hallway is space that used to be used as a bedroom, which we converted to a sitting area. The door on the left leads to the attic and cupola; the closet doors hide utilities and a stacked washer/dryer unit.

The half-step down beyond the sitting area once led to the servantʼs quarters, and was known as “below the salt.” The stain on the wood here is all original. These areas were transformed into another bedroom and a bathroom suite. The plantation shutters in the bedrooms are new.

The back-to-back bathrooms  were all one bedroom when the house was built. A son of the original homeowner wrote a poem on the wall, which we preserved: “Remember me today, Forget me not tomorrow. Remember me in your happy times, Forget me [in] your sorrow.”

Faux graining was popular on poplar, which shows no graining of its own. The homeowners preserved all the faux graining in the house. At some point in the bathroom door’s history, a tiny face became part of the graining.

The walls in the narrow back stairwell were re-plastered and a handrail and wooden safety gate (not shown) were added. The steps themselves were given some extra framing underneath to make them safer, but the treads were left as-is, worn from decades of use.

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