Before & After & After Again, Part 4: A Bathroom

I saved the least exciting for last. Sorry. I’ll make this one quick. Suffice it to say, we DESPERATELY needed this bathroom repaired and re-done. It was leaking, rotten and had an extremely slippery floor. We patched and fixed as much as we could to make it last as long as we could and then when we finally got the money we had it re-done!


I used the wonderful book Bungalow Bathrooms to help make period-conscious design choices. We decided to go with the standard: an all-white “sanitary bath.” This was very typical of bathrooms until the 20s when things got colorful. I was also very relieved to find that the tile was easy to find. We used American Olean from Lowe’s.


This was the bathroom in 2006 when the lady who owned the house before us bought it. It was re-decorated in the 80s, but completely re-done in the 60s. Originally, this room was a tiny closet under the servant’s stairs that contained a toilet and a sink. It was enlarged and the stairs removed to make a handicapped accessible bathroom on the 1st floor.


Very soon after we moved in. Pretty grotty. Maddy cat loves it though. In the summer she likes to lay on the cool tile.


Things got really bad about two years after we bought the house. We had major leaks into the basement, and I could not keep the mold from growing in here. Turns out the concrete pan was cracked and water was under the mortar bed. These tiles came off really easily. You can see the mold growing underneath! My DH patched the pan and re-tiled the floor. It lasted another few years until, it started leaking again. This time really badly.


Honestly, we had no idea it was so rotten! This is awful! The pan was completely sodden and soft, the wood black and completely rotted.


Hello basement!


We even had to have some of the joists replaced. I’m so glad we finally got the money to do this. It really was on it’s last leg.




Don’t know if you can tell but this is the old doorway to the kitchen from the servant’s stairs. They framed it in and it became the back shower wall.


Now for the most fascinating part! When our contractor opened the ceiling we found the old stairwell (sans stairs, of course). It was so cool to see this big dead space that we had no idea was there. I thought it had all been used when they put in a linen closet on the second floor here. But nope, there was still lots of room!


See the wide boards on the right? That is the flooring for the 2nd floor lined closet. The yellow ceiling is the floor of the third floor stair landing!


The lovely new tile is going in! I’m so relived to see my home now healing from her “surgery!”


Good thing we have another bathroom!




Love the window-sill! We are on the National Register of Historic Places, but when we were listed some of our windows were aluminum. 3 as a matter of fact. All done by the original family in kitchen and bath renos. Since we have 81 other historic windows they said it was ok. We wanted to go back with a true divided light wood window here, but then got metal because this area is so wet all the time. Some day we will replace the other two metal windows with wood.


Relief! Now we are working on our second-floor bath which also needs re-doing. I hope it will be done before summer starts. We usually have a lot of company then. Maybe not this year though.


Happy, water-tight bathrooms to you from Kansas Street,


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