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The Haverford Carriage House Tour - 2nd and 3rd Floors

Second floor landing with built in window bench

We are firm believers that the best homes are designed from the inside out. Starting from the flow of life, harmonious furniture placements and comfortable clearances, half the magic of working with us is the next- level space plans we put together for our clients. With our Haverford Carriage House clients, we had the unique opportunity to create the second and third floors of their home from scratch, building on the major revisions we made to the first floor layout and staircase placement. For this family of five we integrated four bedrooms (one with ensuite powder room), a laundry room and a full bath on the second floor, and an expansive primary suite including his and hers dressing rooms, two full baths, and home office on the third floor.

A visual recap of the "before" 2nd floor

The existing 2nd floor encompassed 3 bedrooms and two small full baths. We kept nothing of the original structure, taking the building back to the rafters and correcting some levelling issues before framing an all new 2nd and third floor on the original stone foundation.

Before, during, and after construction

The second floor den was to be the designated "big tv" space, with the formal living room housing a more modestly scaled flatscreen. We envisioned it as a place for movie nights, crafting, games, and sleepover parties, as well as the ideal guest bedroom featuring its own private powder room.

We brought all the energy and vibrance of the designs from the first floor into this jewel box of a room, starting with a stunning multicolor floral wallpaper that features such beautiful detail that one of our clients' little ones genuinely thought we painted the flowers right onto the walls. Tall beadboard wrapping the room brings in a traditional touch, as well as being a very practical way to protect the paper from splashes.

At our clients request, we opted for double doors in this powder room rather than a standard single 30" door. This way, they could leave the doors open to enjoy the views of the paper and the light through the south facing window in the powder, without a full door protruding into the den.

The laundry room is on this floor as well, and it serves at least three purposes: to delight, to launder, and to house the most refined kitty litter boxes we have designed and produced to date. Hidden behind closet doors with arched kitty cutouts are the litter boxes, as well as a shelf to house extra litter and bags. Tile flooring runs all throughout - even inside the cabinet, making litter cleanup easy.

Laundry Roomboard

We indulged our clients love for 'critters' with this majestic, fantastical stag wallpaper, and continued the theme of beadboard wainscot to create a practical finish on the lower walls of this room. We included upper cabinetry for storing laundry supplies, and added wall mounted drying racks plus a hanging rod mounted over the laundry sink. We also included a vent fan in this room, to stay ahead of any kitty smells.

One of our kitty clients

Last but definitely not least on this floor is the kid's bath. Our clients explained that the bathroom was a major social zone for their girls, with the eldest being very into her beauty products and all three liking to hang out together while getting ready. We laid out a generous space for them, with a large standing shower, sink vanity and vanity desk plus a custom storage cabinet for overflow of products.

Mosaic hex tile gives a sweet, traditional element to the design of this room, while the custom vanity and triple medicine cabinet lean more contemporary and fresh. A rattan chair in a fresh green is feminine without being overly girly, and the printed linen roman shade adds a layer of pattern to the airy space.

Girls Bath Roomboard

On the shower floor we used the same hex tile to create a custom border pattern, keeping the space feeling open and bright by opting for a freestanding teak bench in place of a built-in shower bench.

As lovely as the rooms on the 2nd floor are, the hallway is its own beautiful moment: full of light from both sides, with comfortable clearances and the continued thread of our gorgeous custom white oak staircase from the first floor. Our clients were delighted with the proportions and views in this intermediary space once the framing was complete enough to get a real sense of it.

We rarely deviate from approved plans, but we did add in this window bench mid-construction.

It feels like a special place to sit, read and daydream, the kind of thing that childhood memories are made of.

First floor to second floor, second floor hallway, stairs to third floor, third floor landing and hallway

Finally, we arrive on the third floor - a parental paradise. The entire floor is taken up with the primary bedroom, two full baths, a walk-in closet and a combo dressing room & office.

We made the most of every inch on this floor, building storage closets into areas where the eaves made angles and a storage bench under one of windows.

Primary bedroom, post construction

We also added a sweet, personal touch by salvaging the little half-moon window from the original primary bedroom and working it into the design above the window facing the bed.

The views on this floor are so lovely, and it feels like being in a treehouse, with the tops of trees waving in the breeze outside the windows.

The first of two full baths on this floor belongs to the Mr. of the household. At his request, we designed a simple, tailored bath with marble floors, a rich stained oak vanity and a blue shower wall tile with subtle glaze variation. A self-professed man of simple tastes, he was very pleased with the design, as well as the mere fact that he could now stand up straight in his shower!

'His' Bath Roomboard

On the way over to 'Her' bath, we pass through the office/dressing room, which our client has decorated so nicely herself - she has great style! We made the call mid-construction to add a skylight to this room for a bit more natural light. Closet storage is hidden behind mirrored french doors that give the illusion of a larger space and hide what is inside.

The cherry on this supreme sundae of a home is 'Her' bath; perhaps more akin to a spa or a private hammam. We designed a unique but very functional layout for this unusually shaped space, creating a tiled 'wet room' that encompasses both the shower and toilet. The contractor, plumbers and tile setters thought the whole idea was mildly crazy, but they did their part to make sure the water stays where it's meant to and drains perfectly.

The tile, custom made for us in this colorway, is a standout feature in this bath. Bath and shower fixtures are vintage-inspired for that old-house charm our clients loved. A chandelier made of delicate glass spheres is hung evocatively over the freestanding tub like a larger-than-life cluster of soap bubbles.

Next to the tub, we tucked a playful embroidered armchair and a sheepskin rug, a cozy spot for cats and kids to keep mom company at all times.

We chose a vanity in a rich stained wood for this bathroom to counterpoint the airy and feminine aspects of the design. A backless vanity stool upholstered in a custom plaid fabric is perfect for sitting and doing one's toilette, and also tucks in nicely when not in use. The massive gilt framed mirror is one of our fabulous vintage finds and really makes this a bathroom fit for a queen.

'Her' Bath Roomboard

Make no mistake though - this is Cricket's sink!

Thus concludes our house tour for this project, which was truly special and one for the books.

Our client wrote us the most heartwarming note a few months after moving in, saying "I need a hobby now because this house project has been on my brain for 10 years and now the never-ending list is done.  So thank you for caring for every detail and making it happen.  You all are wonderful to work with and we so appreciate the incredible creative work you do. Thank you truly to the entire team for making this all possible."

We loved creating this special home for our clients. Knowing that we truly delivered them their dream home makes all the untold challenges of executing a project like this worth it, and then some.

Photography by Rebecca McAlpin


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