November 14, 2010

The Little Bathroom

Our house was built in 1930. It was actually started in 1929 and completed in 1930 and the 1930s details are my favorite part of the house.

No house is perfect though and when we bought the house one of the bathrooms still had the original peachy-pink and green tile on the floor and walls. Somewhere along the way, I'd guess around 1972, someone added a truly-atrocious brown wood vanity to the bathroom. To top off the 1930s-meets-1970s look they must have been going for, they put up what is probably the ugliest light fixture I've ever seen.


That bathroom was on the top of my list of things to change when we moved in. Eric took a sledge hammer to the bathroom cabinet and we replaced it with a beautiful white porcelain sink with chrome legs. We had the cast iron bathtub professionally re-glazed, the walls repainted a very pale creamy yellow and I added a shower curtain that coordinated with, but toned down, the peach-and-green color scheme and a simple woven blind.

The tile actually grew on me but some of the wall tiles have been damaged over the years. I had this great idea to take tiles from behind the radiator and replace the damaged ones. It only took three contractors to convince me that it would be impossible to remove any tiles from the cement they were set in 80 years ago. Those same contractors also let me know that removing all of the tile would be difficult, messy and would likely damage, or destroy, most of the plaster in the bathroom and even in some of the adjacent rooms.

So we've just left the bathroom partially remodeled.

And then I had an idea. If the wall tile couldn't be removed, maybe it could be covered up.

I didn't want to do anything to the floor tiles, which I really love and are in perfect condition, but I thought we might be able to do something to the wall tile.

Well, we did. And I love how it turned out. The original tile is still surrounding the bathtub, none of it was damaged, and the original tile is still on the floor. It looks even prettier than ever against the white wainscoting.


The next thing to go was the groovy light fixture. I've replaced many of the fixtures in the house with vintage fixtures so I headed to a great local antique store to look for something appropriately-sized. I found a beautiful European-made reproduction chandelier that's sized for a bathroom.



And while I was checking out at the antique store I noticed a paper on the counter that said THE NATE BERKUS SHOW in big letters across the bottom. I couldn't stand it so I asked, "Are you doing something for THE NATE BERKUS SHOW?"

It turns out that they were. They actually had an extensive list from the show for a makeover that the show is doing for a family in Ohio. I was at the store on Wednesday and they were filling a truck and driving everything to the house so filming could begin on Friday.

I later learned that the owner of the antique store's daughter is Nate's Senior Designer and they do lots of work with him. How fun would it be to e-mail an antique store a list and have a truck full of furniture show up two days later?


  1. I adore wainscoting, but am afraid it never would have occurred to me to put it over the tile. The result is gorgeous, and I love the chandelier in the bathroom, the effect is stunning!

  2. It's just beautiful, Krisi- your ideas really made it all come together perfectly. The chandelier tops it all off- gorgeous!!

  3. Cool idea. Bathroom looks fab.

  4. Anonymous6:57 PM

    A friend of mine was going to remodel her kitchen and when they removed the old refrigerator they saw the most incredible tile on the floor. They decided to pull up the entire floor and low and behold there was this gorgeous tile. There were holes where the weight of the refrigerator bore down so she methodically went to tile store after tile store, including Ann Sacks which began in OR and is now all over, and she found matching tiles and they put them in so if you had wanted to I imagine you could have found some matching tiles. What you did does look quite lovely.

  5. Wow. How lucky for your friend! There is nothing prettier than beautiful old tile.

    Our biggest problem was that the tile was set in concrete. This isn't how they install tile now and it makes it nearly impossible to remove tiles without causing quite a bit of destruction. When they installed the bead board concrete screws were actually breaking on the concrete that was beneath the tiles.

    They truly don't make things like they used to!

  6. Looks really lovely Kristi!! You have good taste!

  7. k1polzin7:24 PM

    I love it! Gorgeous!

  8. Anonymous11:11 AM

    I love it! Well done! The chandelier is the perfect finishing touch.


  9. Just in time!! I'm about to update 3 bathrooms in my home and would love to have the resource info for your light fixture and the porcelain sink with chrome legs.

    The way I have been planning to deal with my old GREEN tile and old PINK tile is to have it reglazed in WHITE .... along with the tub. But, I must admit I love the wainscotting idea for at least one of the three. :)

    Please list the antique store info and the sink info.

    Many thanks,

    P.S. I am full speed ahead on Eliza Grace's Fancy Nancy Swim Soiree. We are up to our necks in feather boas,tutu's and fancy candy. To top it off she has her fanciest swim attire ready to go... with a tutu attached, of course.

  10. I liked it before, but you had me at chandelier...

  11. Your bathroom looks great. Classic, clean and beautiful!!!

  12. Wow! Your bathroom looks wonderful! Enjoy it!



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