Before and After: A Dingy 1920s Bathroom Gets a Statement-Making Revamp

updated Aug 12, 2020
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Credit: @thebrghouse

Sometimes a room makes you go, “Hmmm.” As in: “Hmmm, why would you lay a bathroom’s tile on top of other tile, place a toilet and sink at an odd intersection, and waste precious bathroom space with a second, sealed-off door?” At least, those were the questions that Diane and Lehrick (@thebrghouse) had to ponder while renovating the bathroom in the 1920 Craftsman bungalow that they purchased this spring.

As soon as they received the keys to their new house, they got going on that bathroom so that they could handle its reno before moving in. “In addition to updating the plumbing, we just wanted to create a cleaner, brighter space that could feel luxe yet inviting,” Diane says.

Credit: @thebrghouse

The pair decided to take the room down to the studs. “We worked with a wonderful local contractor who was able to guide us in finding small details we would never have thought of,” Diane says. Tip noted!

One of the contractor’s ideas was to install extra large, green subway tile from floor to ceiling in half of the room, which “gave the room a sumptuous splash of color, while the white walls opposite kept the room feeling airy and bright,” Diane says. For the floor tiles, Diane and Lehrick went back and forth between two graphic options, in the end choosing a geometric yet neutral look.

Credit: @thebrghouse

The pair was excited to discover that the existing bathtub was an old, cast-iron one made by American Standard, so they opted to reglaze it and order a shower curtain rod to fit its measurements. Then, they chose a mirror and sink with similarly notched corners and installed brushed brass fixtures there and throughout the room. A heads-up on those fixtures: “If you decide to go with a ‘premium’ finish like brushed brass, know that almost every vendor will mark it up and you end up spending quite a bit for that complete look,” Diane says. “We still have to refinish the tub overflow/drain pieces and the toilet lever!”

When it comes to keeping an eye on costs, Diane recommends measuring and reviewing dimensions at least twice before purchasing, and shipping delicate items via freight. “We received two shattered toilet tanks and one shattered bowl before we ended up buying from a local supplier,” Diane says.

Credit: @thebrghouse

All in all, the reno took about a month and cost approximately $12,000, including fixtures, materials, and labor. And now the room looks nothing like its lime green-accented former self, instead giving off simultaneously eye-catching yet grounded vibes.

“If you want to go bold, choose a few details that really pack a punch in order to create a harmony that isn’t too loud,” Diane says. “We made multiple mood boards to try and better visualize the space with all the materials we chose. It’s so tricky to know what the final product will look like, but the mood boards definitely helped!”

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