1911 bathroom project - help!

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

Moderators: oldhouse, TinaB, Don M, Schag

lisascenic
Posts: 922
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:17 am
Location: Oakland California
Contact:

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by lisascenic »

Also, consider faux-painting the bead-board, instead of stripping. Faux bois isn't all that difficult. Certainly easier than stripping layers and layers of paint...

sooth
Posts: 1277
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:17 am
Location: Cornwall, Ontario
Contact:

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by sooth »

I LOVE your current bathroom with the wood floor and old fixtures. I agree with replacing the ugly medicine cabinet.

If your reason for replacing the toilet (which I think looks neat!) is because it doesn't work properly, or because it's not a "low-flush" type, there are easy fixes for both. For the first, you can just replace the interior workings (ball cock, valve, etc) for about 30$. To "convert" it to a low flush, just fill a 1L or 2L plastic bottle with sand or rocks, and sit it in the tank where it won't hook any levers/parts.

As for the sink, it looks amazing, and if you're worried about rusted out pieces, you can usually repair/replace them. But I think what you're saying is that the hole around the drain is rusted out. This still might be fixable, and you can always try it before you swap it.

As for the t-g, I would probably try to just scrape/clean the joints with something like a V-tool, and then clean it with vinegar/scrub brushes. IF the finish is dull and flaky, it's probably shellac, and can be easily fixed/refreshed/redone without stripping. This includes fixing flakes, "alligatoring", and other surface defects. There are about 1000 threads you can search about shellac.

For the floors: I agree that something like a b&w tile would look cool, but is there anything really wrong with the wood floor? I rarely ever get my floor wet, since I dry myself in the shower/bath before stepping out, but a simple floor rug (with a plastic underneath) would look nice, too. Or even a painted floor cloth on thick canvas. Just some ideas for you to ponder.

For storage, is there any place you can hang something like a small (preferable old) wall cabinet or shelf? Is there floor space for a narrow bookcase?

As for the medicine cabinet, I'd match your gorgeous "architrave" style door trim, and go with a 1920's style medicine cabinet:

Image

These can be bought pre-made for a few hundred bucks (which I find expensive), or you can custom make one with just a few pieces of trim. It's basically just a box with shelves and a decorative front. You could stain it to match your casings.
JC
1923 Foursquare
Clockmaker, & Old House Enthusiast
http://my1923foursquare.blogspot.com/
Image

sooth
Posts: 1277
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:17 am
Location: Cornwall, Ontario
Contact:

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by sooth »

Actually, looking back at the pictures again, you could get a really nice looking cabinet in the wall over the toilet (between the two walls). It could be a freestanding piece on the wall, or a custom built-in (wall to wall). Something with curved bottom brackets like this would look nice (but with solid doors):

Image
JC
1923 Foursquare
Clockmaker, & Old House Enthusiast
http://my1923foursquare.blogspot.com/
Image

Trevi
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:04 pm
Location: Plymouth MA
Contact:

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by Trevi »

I haven't been on OHW in a lOOONG time because of a double computer crash but I've finally found my way back here (and remembered my log in info) and this is my 1st posting.
We also have only one full bath on the second floor but ours has been gutted for almost 2 years! There's a plywood sub-floor, a toilet and a really ugly pink tub from the 70's. No walls, no sink, no floor, no ceiling. We thought it'd be easy to remodel it with functionality as well as "period-correct" style but it hasn't proved to be that way.
I think your bathroom is BEAUTIFUL. I'm probably late with my response but the light fixture you picked out is BEAUTIFUL.
NEDS (New England Demolition and Salvage) has been a GREAT place for us to find all kinds of things we need to replace in our old home. They have everything!
Personally, I love your floor. A lot of wooden floors were painted back then because the paint was the "sacrificial surface" meaning you could repaint for less then putting in a new floor. I just fought my husband to get a wood floor installed in my bathroom so obviously I like it. I plan to varnish my floor to keep any water from seeping in but it could just as easily be painted (there are 2 painted floors in our house). I think if you can pinpoint that the floors have been painted for a long time, I'd keep it because it's original. If not, or you just don't like the painted wood floor, you can rent a sander and strip that in half a day.
I'm a fan of the natural wood so you know what I'm going to say about the bead board. I'd spend the time cleaning it with a special tool and some great cleaner. You can (If you're so inclined) hire a company like Servpro to come in and clean it for a one time price but I like to do things myself. Gives me a sense of pride. If you paint the bead board it'll look like everyone else's bathroom. Right now it looks really special... like a piece of art that needs someone's TLC. :D
I found a beautiful old cabinet at an antique store that was 60$ and it'll be PERFECT for a medicine cabinet once my husband adds a couple of shelves inside. We're also building a cabinet almost identical to the one Sooth posted a picture of. Keep in mind you don't HAVE to put the "medicine" cabinet over the sink. Mines going over the toilet with a flat, framed mirror over the sink.
I'm so jealous you still have your claw foot tub! we've been looking for just the right one for almost 2 years. We'll be hitting NEDS within a few months because we have almost everything else and now it's time to face the music. I know it'll be expensive but I just can't face keeping the modern 70-something pink tub... even if we repainted it!
Good luck in your endevor and PLEASE- keep us all updated with pictures!
~If you look closely you can hear the souls of those who came before you

Check out our renovation endeavors at http://www.harlowfarmhouse.com

Image

Lynners
Posts: 584
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:44 pm
Location: Minesing, Ontario

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by Lynners »

I LOVE those upper cabs, Sooth! Wonder how much they would hurt the bank account, haha.
The Carson Farmhouse, 1899
Minesing, Ontario, Canada
Image
http://www.firsthomedreams.com

KirstenN
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:00 pm
Location: Toronto and Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Contact:

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by KirstenN »

I hope we haven't scared you off, HydePark!

I finally found the bathroom picture I was looking for, although it's not as useful as I'd hoped:
The attachment Queen Anne cottage bathroom small.jpg is no longer available
And you can see a bigger picture at this link: http://serialenthusiast.blogspot.com/20 ... hroom.html (Click on the picture, and then in my browser I have to right-click and pick "view image", then I can zoom in).
Attachments
Queen Anne cottage bathroom small.jpg
Queen Anne cottage bathroom small.jpg (48.35 KiB) Viewed 5398 times

Vaso7
Posts: 705
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:50 am
Location: MA

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by Vaso7 »

For my claw foot tub I bought the fixtures from
http://www.signaturehardware.com
and I am very happy with.
The inside of the tub I decided not to refinish. I cleaned it really well using the magic eraser sponges and then a few nicks and rust around the drain I painted with a special white enamel. It is not perfect but pretty good.
The feet I stripped and repainted antique bronze.
The floor I had sanded and poly.
I cleaned the t-g of my kitchen with steel wool and d-alcohol and that worked very well.
Image
1902 Shingle
Designed by Wales&Holt for Mr and Mrs W. A. Cary

Alexander
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:06 pm

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by Alexander »

I would think it is a bit rare to have so much original stuff in your bathroom. I think it is beautiful. With that bead board cleaned and the walls painted an interesting color it would be smashing. Unfortunately my PO thought she was Tina Turner and tore out the 1911 bathroom and replaced it with a sunken tub, shower, 8 feet of counter with double sinks, a 5 x 8 foot mirror over the sinks and 21 round light bulbs around the mirror. Perhaps it is perfect for a whore house in Vegas but not a 1911 house in rural Pennsylvania. Unfortunately every woman loves the bathroom and I hate it. I would trade you in a heart beat!

I was in a bathroom like yours once that had sage green ( sort of a silvery green) walls and the exterior of the tub was also sage green with a bit of silver brushed into the legs just a hint and there was a delicate garland of ferns and berries in tarnished silver painted around the outside of the tub it was very soft and quite beautiful. The silver picked up the chrome legs of the sink and faucets. Although it was repainted it looked like it had been there 100 years and the woman that had the bathroom displayed great linen towels with fancy monograms. And those great old tubs can hold two nicely.

Before you tear anything out or paint over the bead board try to save as much as you can that is original. I am sure in time you will come to love it.

Regards,
Alexander

Don M
Posts: 6965
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:35 am
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by Don M »

When you remove that 70's vintage medicine cabinet you may find that the original cabinet was recessed into the wall & can be rebuilt from there. Even a ghost on the wall behind the cabinet would give you a good idea what its size & shape once was. I agree with Anglito that you could have shellac that only needs freshening. At least try her suggestion first befor sanding etc. Good luck.
1840 Limestone Farmhouse
Image

senegal_jen
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: Greater Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: 1911 bathroom project - help!

Post by senegal_jen »

Alexander...your post made me laugh out loud. My parent's house in OH had red wallpaper in the bedroom that was the bedroom that was the accompaniment to your bathroom :lol:

Hyde Park...what did you decide? If you haven't, when I redid my condo in JP, I had an odd space I had to fill for my medicine cabinet. So I bought an new, unfinished oak cabinet from Woodcraft Furniture in Quincy. It worked out well...just another thought.

Good luck and keep us posted...I need ideas for my renovation!!!

Jen

Post Reply