Inside A "Wes Anderson Meets Worst Nightmare" Bathroom Renovation

Inside A "Wes Anderson Meets Worst Nightmare" Bathroom Renovation

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Dabney Frake
May 23, 2016
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
Name: Ashley, Brian, Charlie the Boxer, & Baby on the way
Location: Sterling, IL
Years lived in: 1 1/2 years; owned
Room: Upstairs Bathroom
Room Size: Roughly 120 sq ft.

Ashley and her husband moved from Denver to a small town in Illinois a couple of years ago, buying an old 19th Century home in the process. It came with a real doozy of an upstairs bathroom. Since the couple is pretty hands-on (Ashley does a lot of DIY projects here at Apartment Therapy) they planned to tackle the space themselves. Just to keep things interesting, Ashley found out she was pregnant with her first child after getting started on the project — and was still working on it past her due date.

Here's Ashley, here to tell you about the house and the state of the bathroom before the renovation:

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Tell Us About The House Itself

It's a 4-bedroom 2-bath Italianate that was built in 1875. The downstairs bath was added in the 1980s, the upstairs was added in the early 1910s or 20s from what our plumber could tell. The home was in livable condition when we moved in, but had been sectioned off into two apartments at one point. Since we moved in we've been working on ripping down all the wallpaper, re-plastering and painting, updating plumbing and electric, and removing any sign of the upstairs apartment — in addition to other basic housing projects. The downstairs bathroom and kitchen are also on our "to do" list.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

What Condition is the Bathroom in Now?

This is what the bathroom looked like when we first moved in. With its pink carpet and pink wallpaper with sparkly fish, it's a mix between "worst nightmare" and "Wes Anderson/charming."

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Here's a close up of the wallpaper in case you couldn't really appreciate it from afar.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Underneath the carpet was tile with pink and turquoise glitter polkadots, and then underneath that a gnarly sub floor. At some point we ripped it all out and found tons of holes in the original floor where a radiator once sat behind the tub.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

What Is It About the Room That Doesn’t Work Now?

In addition to the obvious aesthetic choices, we also hate the current layout. Whoever remodeled it last time stuck the toilet in the far corner of the room. It's about 10" away from the tub, which itself sits about 20" away from the wall. Squishing everything into one corner —especially in a room this large — makes no sense.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

How is The Bathroom Being Used Now?

We've been calling it Chuck's Room (Charlie, or Chuck, is our dog). While the room was in shambles, we kept his dog bed in there. It's one of the warmest rooms upstairs, so he had a somewhat cozy place to hang out while we are away from the house.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

This is the view with your back to the bathtub. The door on the right leads to the staircase downstairs. The door on the left is a linen/storage closet and it is pretty much empty.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Who Will Use the Room When It’s Done (Besides Chuck)?

Since it's the only bathroom upstairs, it will get a lot of use. The bathroom is situated just outside the master bedroom, so we will be use it on a day-to-day basis. The tiny door to the left of the tub leads directly into the guest room, so we will also share it with friends and family when they come to visit.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

What To You Want to Room To Feel Like When It’s Done?

The rest of the house leans heavily on colorful thrifted, vintage finds, so while I want it to fit in with the rest of the house, I'd like it to be a step up in terms of luxury — more boutique hotel experience than Goodwill. Once it's done, I envision myself casually stopping in several times a day to ogle it. We should probably have a chair in there for maximum ogling enjoyment.

See what happens next in Ashley's bathroom below:

  1. How To Turn Your Pinterest Dreams Into Remodeling Reality
  2. How I Moved & Refinished This Clawfoot Tub (And Lived To Tell The Tale)
  3. Reno Reveal: A Major DIY Bathroom Redo (Done Just Days Before Giving Birth!)
  4. Before & After Makeover, Multiplied: One Bathroom Styled Three Ways
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