Ladies and gentlemen, I am thrilled to report this message. For the first time since the 1940s, this house has a first floor bathroom.
And even more than that, it is GORGEOUS.
It took us nearly a year to do this room (along with two others to be revealed soon). Drawing on inspiration from what scare historical references I could find, we did our best to create a historically sympathetic space with modern conveniences.
And dare I say, we SUCCEEDED. WITH GUSTO.
I was aiming for something warm and neutral in this room. Through one door is the super moody master bedroom with its Hague Blue walls. Through the other door is the deep green-gray of the mudroom. The bathroom color needed to compliment both rooms without overpowering either. After looking around and holding up countless samples, I finally looked up at the chandelier shade. OH. Ok. That was the color. And I dare say we got pretty close.
The trim is all primed with oil based primer and then painted with two coats of semi-gloss straight out of the can. All the woodwork is crispy and bright and really elevates the elegance of the space.
Knowing we were going to create a wetroom, we knew that most of the walls and floor were going to be tiled. After scouring many websites and archival plumbing catalogs, I finally landed on a solution. Starting with the floor. It was inspired by a design I found in an American Encaustic Tile Catalog from the early 1900s.
We modified it slightly as the original design was too busy in this small space. The result is that the floor is really the star of the show in here. Maybe. One of the stars. It’s just too good for words.
All tile was purchased from Floor & Decor. I believe we spent less than $750 for the entire room of tile. That is a STEAL in my book.
We dry fit the white penny tile first then pulled some out in strategic locations, backfilling them with the charcoal tile. We thinset down everything at once and carefully centered the black tiles properly.
The spacing is 19 tiles between the medallions left to right and 25 rows of tile top to bottom. The single dot should end up right in the middle of the pattern. Just in case you want to have my exact bathroom floor. :D
I am so so happy with the tile so far. Because it is matte, it doesn’t get slippery when it is wet. The charcoal is just the perfect color that is not too dark but still dark enough for some drama.
The wall tile consists of four different pieces. A chair rail, a pencil tile, plain field tile, and a cove base. For the cove base, we left off the bottom 3” of field tile and filled in the gap with thin strips of 1/8” cement board. Then we set the cove base tiles right on top. The result looks somewhat similar to the early 1900s style of a thicker base tile with regular field tile.
I can’t say enough how utterly amazing this bathroom feels. I was aiming for something that had the essence of the old bathrooms with lighting placement, tile design, and fixtures. But obviously this is a bathroom for the 21st century. I think the Victorians would be proud.
This bathroom is the only bathroom on the first floor. And what’s more, the usable bathroom area (not counting door walkways) is less than 6’x6’. In other words, this bathroom is TINY. To maximize the usable space and minimize visual weight, we chose to install a curbless walk-in shower with a corner curtain. The floor around the shower drain is sloped to collect water, but due to the small tile, the slope is hardly noticeable.
Another big factor for installing a curbless shower to increase accessibility for aging. While the shower may not be large, it has certainly been more than functional!
The sink was a vintage eBay find that we cleaned up and installed. The surface had been reglazed at one point but was flaking off badly. Brandon spent hours meticulously scraping off the new glaze with a plastic razor blade. He also dismantled, cleaned, and reassembled the original hot and cold taps. We have a full sink with mixed hot and cold water just around the corner in the mudroom so we opted to keep the original separate taps.
Though I can’t find anything that looks like this sink that is new, I included a pretty decent alternative below as well as all the finishing hardware we used.
Am I allowed to be in love with a toilet? Too late. I am. This is the BEST vintage looking toilet around. So much so that I want to buy another one for the upstairs bathroom just in case they discontinue it. It’s seriously so good looking. We replaced the seat and handle to match the brushed nickel in the rest of the bathroom.
Built In Cabinets:
Brandon is a wizard who can literally build anything. These built in cabinets provide so much function for our bathroom while being absolutely beautiful.
The tall cabinet next to the toilet serves two awesome functions. First, the lower portion holds toilet paper, extra shampoo, hand towels, and other miscellaneous bathroom items.
The top portion is actually connected to the cabinet in the mudroom. This means the storage cavity is extra deep and gives us the perfect place to store towels (which can be loaded from the mudroom side). I also managed to sneak a small makeup station on one shelf, complete with back of door mirror.
The medicine cabinet was another custom build. We ordered a custom piece of beveled glass for the front along with two custom glass shelves for the inside. We have more than enough storage for our every day toiletries over the sink.
The chandelier is a vintage find from Turkey of all places (thanks, eBay). I included an alternative for it below. The sconces are new and we got them on a pretty great sale. They perfectly combine vintage and modern.
Most of the switch plates and outlet covers in the house are ordered through Amazon.com, but the company is Classic Accents. They have dozens of different styles and colors to choose from. We have chosen these matte antique brass plates and they are just gorgeous. Heavy duty and look stunning in person.
All of the planters in this room (too many - I know, I know) are vintage or thrifted. The art and trash can are also vintage. But I did buy a few things for the space and included them below!
This space was literally a concrete porch when we started. A LOT went in to making this bathroom and these are a few of the products we found super helpful during the process.
That’s all for now!! Let me know what you think and if I’ve missed anything. We’re so happy with how the bathroom turned out and think this is a great option for renovating a bathroom with a vintage feel on a budget.
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