When we first moved into our home two years ago, we decided to wait a while before starting in on any major renovations, including tearing out the bathroom, so we could really get a sense of how we used the space and what we needed (which I would recommend to anyone considering a major renovation). This thought process lasted exactly eight hours. The next morning, after rooting through our many boxes to locate the hair dryer, my morning routine came to a screeching halt. “There is no outlet in the bathroom!” I said to a very confused husband on the other end of the phone. Silly us, we forgot to check if there were outlets in each and every room. Funny thing is you’d think we would have noticed seeing as how the light switch that powered the lights in the bathroom was on the outside of the bathroom.
The bathroom quickly moved to the top of the ever-growing TO-DO list.
As with all of our (many) renovations, this one took longer than necessary we had originally planned. Big surprise. Those of you who have done this sort of thing may feel our pain. While it took nearly six months (no that was not a typo) the end result makes it all worth it. Nearly a year later and I still smile every time I walk in the room and flip on those gorgeous sconces, or turn on that classic faucet to fill my jetted tub for a well needed soak. I know you are wondering why it took so long to finish one measly little bathroom. Well, allow me to demonstrate...
Here is our bathroom BEFORE, in all it’s pink-tiled glory. (Note, this is what the bathroom looked like when we took our first walk-through. Just wanted to make that clear in case you were starting to get suspicious about my ownership of towels, bath mats, and those sticky decals for the tub that all match this bathroom so pukingly perfectly.)
This bathroom was original to our 1945 cottage, thus the pink tile, faux marble countertop, and a ‘toilet-nook’ sized for a very small woman. This is no exaggeration. My step-father, who has very broad shoulders, had a very uncomfortable bathroom experience and announced that people were definitely smaller in the ‘40s. I’m 5’6’’ and I too hit my knees against the wall when I...well, you get the picture.
For all it’s drawbacks, this little bathroom did have some positive points. This faucet, for instance, was original. It looks pretty bad here but we could see through all the soap scum and water spots to a classic design. I knew right away that I wanted to keep it; It had that classic vintage look that I was after. At first I suspected that it would need to be replaced due to it's age. However, when we took it apart, we realized that all it needed were a few new gaskets and a lot of CLR. We were thrilled to know that she would work after all, and that we wouldn't be forced into purchasing a spendy reproduction look-alike. (What? Don't you assign gender to your faucet? She does look like a girl, no?)
A close-up of our little stunner before her day(s) at the spa.
What we accomplished or I now consider my husband a bathroom superhero (it’s flattering I promise, and even better, it comes with a tool belt and not some girly cape):
- Ripped out everything down to the studs so that we could re-wire and re-plumb the whole shebang. Who knew a girl could get so excited about outlets in a bathroom? (look closely at the picture above, the best feature is hiding behind the bath salts and seashells!)
- Removed the wall opposite the toilet and moved the toilet to the recess. This was not an easy task. I'll spare you the boring details, but I will say this: moving the main plumbing stack in a 1945 cottage is definitely something we don't ever want to do again. This space was actually a closet that was previously accessed from the other side. We figured the space would be of better use in the bathroom, so we closed it off from the other side and opened it into the bathroom. There is now plenty of space in front of and around the ‘business’ area.
- Removed old cast-iron tub (heavy as all get out) and installed new fiberglass jetted tub (heaven as far as I’m concerned). Because this bathroom is small we found a new tub that fit the dimensions of the old tub enclosure, but is a lot deeper. This is a great option for those of you who think that a jetted tub isn't feasible in your space. An added bonus: this one ran half the price of the bigger models.
- New gleaming white subway tile (seen through the mirror) all the way to the ceiling to add the illusion of height and space. We used white chair rail tile to finish off the sides and the top.
- Installed a versailles pattern tumbled travertine floor. It adds just the right amount of rustic elegance.
- Installed bead board wainscoting. A necessity that turned into a feature. Gotta love that! After chipping off the old pink and white tiles, the poor plaster walls were crying out for some vintage covering. (Oh wait, that was actually the man of the house, insisting that he couldn't possible be required to patch ALL those holes)
- Converted an old wine buffet found in a second hand store to a new vanity, and had a stone yard custom cut a granite remnant to fit the serpentine top. The baskets hold essentials, and shelves on either side pull out for more counter space, something every bathroom needs.
We are extremely happy with how everything turned out, especially considering that everything was done ourselves and on the cheap. Stay tuned for more on how we reused and repurposed several items from around the house to stay under budget and also lessen our contribution to the landfill (which we are pretty passionate about)!
p.s. I am posting this at DIY Day @ A Soft Place to Land, Before and After Monday @ Thrifty Decor Chick, Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch, Make It Yours Day @ My Backyard Eden