1991 - Half Bath Project

One of the very first projects we worked on when we purchased this property was the bathroom. Since we were on a deadline to complete the project and get moved in we did not document it very well, rather we just forged ahead with the renovation. But we did take a few pictures of what the original bathroom looked like before we started so will post them here as a reference.

Foyer door of original bathroom

To start with a bit of explanation about the history of this house may be needed to fully understand how this bathroom came to be and why it needed some help. As you can see in the picture above the decorating is a horrid combination of 1950's tourquoise and salmon pink mixed with a mid 1970's fern print motif. UCK!! Originally this space was a bedroom in the 1930's house. The first bathroom facility in this house was in the basement with a toilet stuck in one corner and a shower cabinet in another. Then at some point this bedroom space was converted to a bathroom with the access through a door that opened into the small hallway between the kitchen, living room, and second floor stairs.

All of what we think of as the history of this room is based on studying the building techniques and trying to associate dates based on that information since we had no contact with those that lived in this house in the past. It appears that in 1975 when the flat roofed family room and master bedroom addition was added a new door was added to the new hallway with a set of steps to allow access from the new addition. This then resulted in two doors leading to the same bathroom. We viewed this arrangement as creating two problems. First there was only one bathroom serving the entire house and the second was the two doors. the door you see in the image above is the door leading down the steps to the 1975 addition.

Salmon Pink tub and toilet

As you can see in the picture above the 1950's vintage tub and toilet were salmon pink and in very good condition. We have a theory about scarey colors and bathroom fixtures, "the uglier the color the longer they last and look good." And so it was with this set. Other than a few rust stains they were as good as the day they were installed and cleaned up beautifully. Now we know that out there somewhere is someone that would have loved to get their hands on this set to construct a retro bathroom, but in our mind they simply had to go. Unfortunately our budget did not allow for any immeditate changes so we worked around the colors.

As we mentioned before, we did not take many pictures of the project so can only describe the process and show a picture of the final result. We started by ripping out the old closet area and then building new walls to provide a 5 foot wide by 9 foot long bathroom area for the half bath. This was located so the original door became the access point for the half bath. We built a smaller closet from the back wall of the half bath to the outside wall of the old bathroom and this provided a linen closet for the main bathroom. The picture below shows the new half bath complete with new vinyl flooring, wall paper and a pedistal sink and toilet.

New half bath viewed from central hallway

The work in the larger bathroom was more a matter of using as much of the old as we could since we knew that at some point this bathroom would either be replaced or renovated. The original vanity was moved from the north wall onto the east wall, which is the new wall for the half bath. This made plumbing simplier since the two sinks were back to back and it also made a wider access into the bathroom. We built a wall on the end of the tub and installed a shower head, modifying the existing tub faucet, and then installed a low end shower surround. The picture below shows the newly paiinted and relocated vanity as well as the smaller linen closet in the corner.

Relocated vanity and linen closet

As you can see we installed new flooring, which was a press and stick floor tile. I made an error in judgement thinking I could apply this directly over the existing hardwood floor. The tile looked good for a year or so then started cracking at all the joints in the wood floor. Sandy was able to find a striped wall paper that had all the colors of the original bathroom and tied the whole mess together in a way that was not at all bad looking.

As mentioned earlier this bathroom project was intended as a temporary patch and remained in use for 9 more years until we replaced it with the new master bathroom. This space is now opened up to the 1975 hallway and is the home office space.

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