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.


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.



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



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.



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.



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



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.



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?


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.


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.




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.




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!!




Junk Drunk at the 55th Shenandoah Antique Expo

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all you lovely ladies out there! Good thing my mama and I share a love of antiquing and all things rusty. We decided to celebrate our Mom-hoods by spending the day together at the 55th Shenandoah Antique Expo and Flea…one of our favorite events in Virginia. The spring show is always one of my favorite outdoor activities and if the weather is going to be nice, it’s always a good time! We usually get up at the crack of dawn and drive an hour and a half to get to the show on opening day as the gates open at 9am. We usually end up staying until about 2pm…because that’s how long it takes you to walk through all the tents, barns and buildings!! But if you do your roundup early, no worries…Staunton, VA is only about 10 minutes away, so you could continue your adventure by exploring that cute town!

Overall, I was crazy surprised by the amount of antique advertising. It was almost overwhelming. This was on my list during last years show when I walked away with a really cool turn-of-the-century builders sign from Richmond. The prices at this years show, however, skyrocketed! I would say prices started at $275 and went as high as sun. It was still exciting to see all the different examples of vintage branding and typography!


Another item that I was surprised to see in almost every booth, was some sort of steamer trunk. I actually have one of these in my own home as a coffee table…it’s a fun example of form and function…as you can actually use these for storage if it doesn’t smell of moth balls!


I’m thinking of using this as my new Facebook profile pic? Does it say, “Please, someone, I’m burning up out here…please hand me an ice cold coke”? Note to self, BRING A SUN HAT!!


Not as many vintage/antique toys as I expected to see, but these two little tractors were a great example of what you can unexpected find at this show. I hope whomever is interested in these purchases both of them as a pair!



I truly love anything unique, handmade and with an interesting patina or finish. This small cabinet/cubby almost functions as folk art, as it was definitely a one of a kind, handmade piece. You could just see how much this piece was loved and used throughout the years. I could see this piece used on a desk, in a laundry room, hung on a wall in a kitchen…again, I like items that are unique in form and also functional.


She’s sassy, she’s classy and she’s my mom! Here is she is striking a pose with some Vegas showgirls in the hot, hot sun!


I’m always surprised to see awesome examples of Arts and Crafts furniture at these type of events, which usually cater to early American collectors. Here we have a petite Gustav Stickley rocking chair, priced around $850.


Do you have a great room or a large entry way in your home? This early 1800’s faux grain painted armoire would be an awesome addition to your collection.


This particular dealer had their tent set up like an old general store. I loved the great display for antique rolling pins. I love collections that are groupings of different varieties of one kind of object.


More smatterings of antique treasures…lots of chests, dough bowls and needlepoint rugs.


Here I am in classic “junk drunk” mode. I think the lack of a cold lemonade, feeling overwhelmed by all the antique treasures surrounding me and the frying sun was starting to go to my brain.


This was another surpass, as I have only come across a few Arts and Crafts settles in all my years of antiquing. These are items you usually do not see in the south east. New Jersey or New York or California, you can probably find these all day long. I was lucky enough to come across one of these a few years ago at a local consignment shop…so it now sits in our man-cave/music room/office.


There are two outdoor barns full of dealers and treasures, located on the far side of the outdoor lot. I loved this busted ol’ step back cupboard. You could enjoy this piece as is, or break out the palm sander and some chalk paint to give it new life.


This was one of the pieces I was drooling at and wanted to stuff in our car ride home. It was a petite Arts and Crafts bookcase, but not made by any of the big craftsman furniture dealers. It was a handmade example and had a piece of old oak bead board for the backing of the cabinet. Absolutely adorable!


I sent this photo home to the Mr. to tell him that I bought this GIANT truck stop sign and give him a heart attack (I didn’t really purchase this, but wanted to). I absolutely LOVED the color and type on this sign. It was rusted in all the right places. Imagine this sign in a bar or restaurant. (I’m starting to think I need a career as a scout for props). One friend suggested I put it in the car by having both ends hang out of the windows, giving our car a set a wings. Good idea!!


And what Savvy Seeker blog entry would be complete without a photo of a ginormous pie safe. I love how big and chunky this one was…everything was big…down the knobs and feet. Great piece!


Overall, we had a great day just being together. I love that my parents get just as inspired by all the textures, colors and shapes of antiques as I do. Here we are, our little clan, stopping for a quick snapshot off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, overlooking the beautiful valley below. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!