Before & After: The Closet-Bathroom

Look! Over there! It’s a closet! It’s a bathroom! Wait, what? It’s a….closet-bathroom? That’s what I said out loud to the Mr. the very first time we saw what would become our master bathroom.


Have you ever had a home renovation project that has plaqued you or haunted you? It’s the large project that just sits in the back of your mind and you keep telling yourself, “Oh, we’ll get to it…eventually.” Well, that was our master bathroom. This eye sore (which is putting it mildly) has been a project that we have been putting off for about 6 years. The family that built our home in the early 1960’s, probably turned what was once a tiny closet into an even tinier bathroom. Don’t get me wrong…its was a great bathroom if you had a headache, a long day or even a hangover….as you could sit on the toilet and place rest your head on the cold, porcelain sink at the same time. But if you wanted to stand up, turn around or dare I say, move about….forget. Too small.

Here’s what it looked like for the past 50-some years. Pretty scary.



Unless, of course…speckled, stained, cracked and peeling tile is your thing…than, I guess that’s cool. Love that stained, filthy grout!



The sink was the original Kohler sink, but it desperately needed to be recoated and was just too large for the tiny, tiny room. It also reminded me of something you would see in Orange is the New Black TV series.



Beige, beige, everywhere beige. The towel bar was a real hoot for anyone who dared to empty the waste basket….as one would receive a mild concussion as you stood up and nearly knocked your block off as you smack the back of your cranium on the rickety towel bar.



Nothing like coming home from a long day at work and freshening up in your lovely lavatory. NOT.



And as small as this bathroom is, this was one of the longest ongoing renovation projects that we have ever done. All said and done, I think it took us from this past February to May of this year. There were some tricky plumbing issues, demo days, painting, tiling, electrical work and of course…searching for a new sink that would actually fit in the space.



We used leftover tile from our kitchen renovation project, so we were able to save some cash there. We decided to stick with the same theme throughout our home and go with classic white subway tile with a dark grey grout (all tile came from Best Tile). We decided to keep our original Kohler toilet and here’s why. When we renovated our full bathroom, we realized AFTER we threw away our toilet, that we needed a toilet that had historical home proportions due to the original radiators being located directly behind the toilet. Modern toilets have a fuller skirt and therefore the base of the newer toilets are too wide. So, again, we were able to save money by cleaning up our old toilet and installing some new plumbing. We repainted our radiator covers and VOILA! Good as new! Ain’t she pretty?


The largest task by far was removing, installing and shopping for a new sink. We ended up finding this little cutie at Ferguson’s showroom. You can find a similar one here for around $177. Words cannot express how much I love this little sink. It’s all you need to wash your hands and brush your teeth. And the fun, little oil rubbed bronze faucet is just the perfect way to top it off. Home Depot sells a similar Kohler model here for $109.


I wanted to continue my vintage theme with a schoolhouse inspired light fixture. However, finding one that would fit just above the original built-in medicine cabinet was a challenge. I ended up finding this one from Destination Lighting for only $49.95!! SCORE!! It gives off the perfect amount of light and also offers a nice glow.




So what went wrong with our little bathroom renovation project? As we were putting in the finishing touches to our project…the Mr. and I looked at each and other and realized….WHAT THE SHAZAM??!!!! WE FORGOT TO INSTALL A TOILET PAPER HOLDER!!! Geez Louise!! How on earth could we have overlooked that when we had the bathroom tile installed?! I immediately started combing the internet for the best deal I could find on a free-standing, oil rubbed bronze toilet paper holders. After reading several reviews, we landed on this one from Taymor and I couldn’t be happier. The color is dark and rich (doesn’t have a cheap, spray on paint color) and the weight of the stand is much heavier than I expected. And in the end, I really like being able to move it around the small room.




We can finally sit back and enjoy our little closet-bathroom, as well as thankfully scratch it off the to-do list! I’ve been bringing fresh roses from our garden into the home this spring…as I did here with a little mint green vintage vase and an old Fairmont’s cheese box (perfect for hiding jewelry or other small trinkets). Enjoy your spring!!




Happy Blog-Birthday! Favorite Posts of 2012!

Hey ya’ll! Can you believe this blog is turning ONE this week! Well, I can’t! I started this blog as part of my 2012 New Year’s resolution…to create a new outlet for my passion for antiques and for my other interests; writing and photography. I had no idea how I was going to do it or what I was going to say…but once I started, it all came pouring out! Looks like I enjoy talking…imagine that!

Wow! What a year! Here's to many more treasure hunting adventures!

Wow! What a year! Here’s to many more treasure hunting adventures!

I would like to also take this time to thank everyone who has encouraged me with supporting words like, “You can do it!” And I don’t even know how to thank those that have opened their homes and their shops to me and allowed me to pester them with endless emails and questions about their unique collections. You guys/gals are AWESOME!!

I thought we could take a look back at 2012 and see what ya’ll loved most about the

#5 – Seeking in Colonial Beach, Va

I’ve lived in Virginia for over 20 years and hadn’t heard of Colonial Beach until this past summer. What a fantastic destination spot!! Just over an hour from Richmond and Washington, D.C., this quaint Victorian town has a lot to offer it’s guests. Rich in history, friendly people, shops, restaurants and a small beach, it makes for the perfect day trip.

Remember this beauty? The Alexander Graham Bell family vacation home, now a B&B.

Remember this beauty? The Alexander Graham Bell family vacation home, now a B&B.

#4 – Before & After: My Bathroom

These photos don’t do it justice! It really is one of the cutest rooms in the house! I can’t express how happy I am with the way this room turned out…from the dark gray grout and the craigslist finds (Kohler sink and antique Hoosier cabinet). You’ll see some updates to this room this year too, as we are having the old cast iron tub refinished and the hunt continues for the perfect mirror!

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect mirror!

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect mirror!

#3 – Bathroom Inspiration

Before I start any creative project I always sketch out some thoughts and collect a variety of images that inspire ideas. Just like you, I love to see how other people update their older homes. This post was a fun collection of different bathroom styles with some small similarities.

Hello Barbie! How about a hot pink sink? NOT!

Hello Barbie! How about a hot pink sink? NOT!

#2 – Old House Charm: Before & After Banister

What was originally going to be a stained banister ended up as a painted banister. Not all home improvement projects go as planned, but sometimes a little experimentation can land you happy results!

Wowzers! Looking good! This minor change really added a lot of character to our foyer!

Wowzers! Looking good! This minor change really added a lot of character to our foyer!

#1 – Mason Jar Light Pendant

By far…the most viewed post was actually about taking an old mason jar and turning it into an inexpensive, yet funky light fixture! We get so many compliments on this little light pendant from visitors and it only set us back $28 for parts!

Mason Jar Light Pendant

The OG: Original Mason Jar Light Pendant

So that’s a look at the top 5 from last year, according to YOU, my wonderful readers!

And not to ignore lots and lots of other great stories, I thought I’d share just a few of my  favorites from 2012:

Stay tuned next week, as the Birthday Bonanza continues with a great GIVEAWAY CONTEST!

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.