Before and After: A $350 Bathroom Redo Brings Vintage Charm to a 200-Year-Old Home

published Nov 12, 2023
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A surefire way to add some charm into your home is to scout out antique pieces — even for an unexpected spot like the bathroom. When Suzy Frigo decided to update her family bathroom in her 200-year-old colonial home, she wanted to honor the house’s history by bringing some “antique soul” back into the room, which she shares with her husband and their five children.

“Our home has almost two centuries of charming character. But a main bathroom remodel from the previous decade stripped away the home’s history,” she says. “While clean and functional, the bathroom lacked personality and aesthetic.”

Suzy says the previous bathroom featured a “monotonous gray-blue-white color scheme” that felt too modern against the rest of the home. To bring some life and charm back into the space, she knew that she wanted to incorporate some vintage pieces to honor the 1830s colonial home.

Credit: Suzy Frigo
Credit: Suzy Frigo

The star of the show is an upcycled vanity.

It was absolutely Suzy’s lucky day when she found a vintage dresser left on the curb. She knew the dresser had the potential to be a charming vanity that would inject some character back into the bathroom. 

“This salvaged dresser felt meant-to-be,” she says. “Finding it was the serendipitous spark that ignited our project.” While the dresser had some minor scratches, it felt important to Suzy to leave some of the imperfections along her journey to crafting her ideal bathroom vanity. “Personally, I like it when antique furniture shows some history,” she says.

To turn the dresser into a functional vanity, she shortened the drawers in the back with a jigsaw to make room for plumbing to go behind them. She sealed the wood vanity with polyurethane. To complete the vanity, Suzy bought a new vessel sink and faucet — which were on sale — and used existing plumbing to make them functional.

The vessel sink and faucet came with templates to create holes on top of the vanity. “The internet was an invaluable resource for helping me figure out how to pull this off,” Suzy says.

Credit: Suzy Frigo
Credit: Suzy Frigo

Swapping the paint, mirror, and light fixture finished the room.

Suzy opted to keep the white paneling on the walls, but she replaced the light fixture and the mirror with standout pieces that were more in step with the bathroom’s antique-inspired aesthetic. Finally, she painted over the gray floral wallpaper with Behr’s Muted Sage, a deep, earthy green tone that is a consistently trendy hue in the interior design world.

The whole renovation took two days and cost less than $350. Suzy is a seasoned DIYer, but she notes that the simple project is the perfect one for beginners. “The bathroom is now an oasis that reflects my mission to honor my home’s history.”