27 September, 2011

Phase 1 of the Bathroom Restoration -- Done!

Ted's dad was over recently to help with the finishing touches on the bathroom restoration. We are not doing anything with the old cast iron tub at this time, except to clean it. We may, in the future, convert it to a walk in shower as Mom gets older, or we may just add more support bars, we're not sure yet. Whatever we do, that will be phase 2.

This is the bathroom cabinet that was under six coats of thick, enamel paint when we moved in. It took me an embarrassingly long time to strip all the paint off because I also decided to strip the paint from the walls as well. Yes, you read that right. We stripped the walls down to the original plaster as much as we could. Old plaster walls are much more sound-insulating than drywall, and easier to break into and repair, too. So we're making an effort to keep everything original when we can. The crazy thing? The bottommost coat of paint was THE EXACT SAME SHADE as the color we selected to paint the room. How weird is that?

The bathroom is tiny, so is kinda hard to photograph.

The light fixtures were original, but rather plain. So I found these vintage 1920s fixtures on eBay, and saved the ones we removed to place elsewhere, maybe in the basement. Ted rewired these for safety and installed them.

The sink we inherited with the house was a 1970s monstrosity, not worth saving because damp and rot got to it from behind. We found this vintage-inspired one online.

The vintage-inspired faucet set.

And my very favorite bit! The pillbox toilet, a perfect centerpiece in a 1920s bathroom.

What you don't see in these pics is all the work Ted did behind the walls, replacing the old cloth wire, rerouting the plumbing, and replastering the wall after he broke into it -- yeah, he went all old school on that last bit, researching how old plaster walls were constructed and building the three layers up himself. Now that he's got it down to a science, I'll photograph the process as he makes a repair in the tenant unit later this month and post it here. What he did discover is that there were very few good tutorials on the process, so we hope to encourage people to consider replastering as an alternative instead of tearing out and dry walling. We still have some work we'd like to do here, for example, Ted needs to cut some new decorative trim pieces to replace the ones we couldn't salvage, and I'm working on a new stained glass window for the door, which currently sports plain privacy glass. I'm working on a pattern to match the vintage stained glass in the living room, carrying the theme through the house. Maybe by next spring I'll have that done.


Peter McCarthy said...

Hi There! Kudos on the bathroom rehab! I particularly like the light fixtures. I am an electrician in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. Most of the buildings I work in are 80-100 yrs old. I can't tell you how many of those exact light fixtures I have pulled out of buildings over the years...lol

Keep up the good work. I admire your taste.

Peter McCarthy
Peter McCarthy Electric Co., Inc.

Unknown said...

That is a most excellent faucet, and I love the toilet, too! I've never seen anything like it. Do you mind sharing your sources? We are rounding the corner on our kitchen and we've got an eye on the upstairs bathroom next!

Joanne said...


Sorry to get back to you so late. We got it from Sunrise Specialty, but I'm not sure it's available anymore. You can try Googling "pillbox toilet."

Good luck!

Joanne said...

Oops. I was looking at the wrong site. You can find the toilet here: pillbox toilet.

Karen Anne said...

Not even a photo of a Christmas quilt? :-)

Jocelyn said...

Love your bathroom, beautifully done! kudos. :o)

Karen Anne said...

Coming up on six months since the last post... :-)

Hope everything is okay.

Simone UK said...

I left you a comment in an old post about a colour chart (made by elves), I hope you get that one as I'm very interested in that picture. Your bathroom renovation is great. As I said in that comment, I have the pink original bathroom but the tiles are in back nick. We have original bath but it's not that great condition and the sink is later. I love yours!

Jim said...

Looks amazing. Where did you get that faucet? It's so hard finding faucets that look right.

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