Before & After: The Closet-Bathroom

Look! Over there! It’s a closet! It’s a bathroom! Wait, what? It’s a….closet-bathroom? That’s what I said out loud to the Mr. the very first time we saw what would become our master bathroom.

vintage_bathroom_remodel

Have you ever had a home renovation project that has plaqued you or haunted you? It’s the large project that just sits in the back of your mind and you keep telling yourself, “Oh, we’ll get to it…eventually.” Well, that was our master bathroom. This eye sore (which is putting it mildly) has been a project that we have been putting off for about 6 years. The family that built our home in the early 1960’s, probably turned what was once a tiny closet into an even tinier bathroom. Don’t get me wrong…its was a great bathroom if you had a headache, a long day or even a hangover….as you could sit on the toilet and place rest your head on the cold, porcelain sink at the same time. But if you wanted to stand up, turn around or dare I say, move about….forget. Too small.

Here’s what it looked like for the past 50-some years. Pretty scary.

before_renovation

 

Unless, of course…speckled, stained, cracked and peeling tile is your thing…than, I guess that’s cool. Love that stained, filthy grout!

before_tile

 

The sink was the original Kohler sink, but it desperately needed to be recoated and was just too large for the tiny, tiny room. It also reminded me of something you would see in Orange is the New Black TV series.

before_sink

 

Beige, beige, everywhere beige. The towel bar was a real hoot for anyone who dared to empty the waste basket….as one would receive a mild concussion as you stood up and nearly knocked your block off as you smack the back of your cranium on the rickety towel bar.

before_towel_bar

 

Nothing like coming home from a long day at work and freshening up in your lovely lavatory. NOT.

before_floor

 

And as small as this bathroom is, this was one of the longest ongoing renovation projects that we have ever done. All said and done, I think it took us from this past February to May of this year. There were some tricky plumbing issues, demo days, painting, tiling, electrical work and of course…searching for a new sink that would actually fit in the space.

vintage_kohler_toilet

 

We used leftover tile from our kitchen renovation project, so we were able to save some cash there. We decided to stick with the same theme throughout our home and go with classic white subway tile with a dark grey grout (all tile came from Best Tile). We decided to keep our original Kohler toilet and here’s why. When we renovated our full bathroom, we realized AFTER we threw away our toilet, that we needed a toilet that had historical home proportions due to the original radiators being located directly behind the toilet. Modern toilets have a fuller skirt and therefore the base of the newer toilets are too wide. So, again, we were able to save money by cleaning up our old toilet and installing some new plumbing. We repainted our radiator covers and VOILA! Good as new! Ain’t she pretty?

vintage_bathroom_sink

The largest task by far was removing, installing and shopping for a new sink. We ended up finding this little cutie at Ferguson’s showroom. You can find a similar one here for around $177. Words cannot express how much I love this little sink. It’s all you need to wash your hands and brush your teeth. And the fun, little oil rubbed bronze faucet is just the perfect way to top it off. Home Depot sells a similar Kohler model here for $109.

bronze_faucet

I wanted to continue my vintage theme with a schoolhouse inspired light fixture. However, finding one that would fit just above the original built-in medicine cabinet was a challenge. I ended up finding this one from Destination Lighting for only $49.95!! SCORE!! It gives off the perfect amount of light and also offers a nice glow.

schoolhouse_vanity_light

 

 

So what went wrong with our little bathroom renovation project? As we were putting in the finishing touches to our project…the Mr. and I looked at each and other and realized….WHAT THE SHAZAM??!!!! WE FORGOT TO INSTALL A TOILET PAPER HOLDER!!! Geez Louise!! How on earth could we have overlooked that when we had the bathroom tile installed?! I immediately started combing the internet for the best deal I could find on a free-standing, oil rubbed bronze toilet paper holders. After reading several reviews, we landed on this one from Taymor and I couldn’t be happier. The color is dark and rich (doesn’t have a cheap, spray on paint color) and the weight of the stand is much heavier than I expected. And in the end, I really like being able to move it around the small room.

 

toilet_paper_stand

duravit_wall_mount_sink_plumbing

We can finally sit back and enjoy our little closet-bathroom, as well as thankfully scratch it off the to-do list! I’ve been bringing fresh roses from our garden into the home this spring…as I did here with a little mint green vintage vase and an old Fairmont’s cheese box (perfect for hiding jewelry or other small trinkets). Enjoy your spring!!

antique_fairmonts_cheese_box

 

 

Porch Column Makeover – Faux-Real!

There are certain aspects of original vintage home charm that I love, love, love…and other elements…um, not so much. Glass door knobs, YES! Original wavy glass windows, YES! Original creaky wood plank flooring, YES! 1960’s antebellum style turned wood porch columns….No no no! When we purchased our 1960’s brick colonial almost 7 years ago, the exterior need a major facelift. It had been painted pea soup green with dark green shutters and light green trim…including our lovely porch columns. The first year we were here, we had the exterior painted and decided to change the trim to classic bright white. That worked for a while, but still left me with a feeling that I needed to be sitting on the front porch in a giant laced hoop skirt, fanning myself, ready to serve our guests with a glass of cold sweet tea.

1960_porch_columns

I’ve read a lot of articles online in the blog-world lately of folks adding faux wood beams to the inside of their homes. This got me thinking…what about adding that same rustic charm to the exterior of our home?

Not much to look at here...skinny white columns...yuck!

Not much to look at here…skinny white columns…yuck!

Enter the HGTV show Fixer Upper. If you aren’t already totally addicted to this show, like the Mr. and I are, then you will be as soon as you watch one episode. Not only are Joanna and Chip Gaines about the cutest, most lovable couple on the planet Earth…the budgets they work with to improve the homes they work on is realistic. The average American family does not have $1.5 million to spend on a vacation home in Bali, nor do they have $300,000 to renovate their modest suburban home. That’s why we enjoy Fixer Upper so much…their interior decor style is classic and comfortable, with a nod to vintage, and their renovation projects seem to be in the realm of achievable.

Here are a few snapshots we used for inspiration:

exterior_wood_beams

exterior_wood_beams2

 

exterior_wood_beams3

exterior_wood_beams4

 

The Mr. and I kept noticing how the Gaines like to incorporate a rustic Texas style of stained wood exterior beams on their remodels. We wanted to use that as inspiration for our own porch columns, but without the heft price tag of completely ripping our current wood beams out and hiring an architectural team rebuild our porch structures. Luckily, we knew some local carpenters (Don’t Call It A Flip LLC). We showed them a few photos of what we were after, they were able to find a great price on some local cedar wood and knocked the job out in 1 day!! They simply built new porch columns AROUND our old ones, so we didn’t have to rebuild the structures from scratch.

Then the Mr. spent a 2nd day giving the new beams 2 coats of stain and sealer and VOILA…no more Gone With the Wind inspired porch columns. We used an exterior semi-transparent stain/sealer by Sikkens in Chesnut Brown. A gallon of this awesome stuff runs about $40-$45 at Home Depot.

sikkens_exterior_wood_stain

 

 

Here’s the final product! Pretty awesome, huh?

 

DIY_porch_column_makeover

Why did we wait 7 years to do this project? I have no idea. Sometimes you just need some inspiration to get the motivation you need to complete those DIY projects. Hopefully, this will show you that this type of project is affordable to easy to achieve…and if you are handy with woodworking, this project is totally doable in a few days. Now only if my garden would grow back so we have something to look at!