Flashback Friday : Guest Bath Adventure Grand Finale (Part 5)

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Ahhh… Completion. The project started as a way to allow guests to have their own bathroom when they stayed with us, and to increase the number of showers in the house to two. It ended with a burst of charm in the house, and publication in This Old House Magazine. What a whirlwind!

The tub was the one real splurge in the room – I wanted a clawfoot, and Doug wanted something that had jets for his legs after a run. We were able to get a win for us both with an air bath tub from Vintage Tub and Bath. Since it has air jets, clearly it’s not made of cast iron, so it’s not insanely heavy, which is sort of nice! The other advantage to a free-standing clawfoot is that you can put it in front of windows (frosted or curtained windows if you live downtown!). This helped us to have the floorplan we wanted, without closing up any doors or windows. And, I really don’t think that there is anything more beautiful than clawfoot tub hardware. It’s so fantastic.

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The floor turned out spectacular. I love pattern – so having the dark groutlines against the diamond really brought out the pattern. Continuing the floor into the shower was a no-brainer.

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I know we talked about the shower in the last blog post, but it clearly needs mentioning in the recap. It’s pretty and sparkly and shiny and I love it. And I miss it, now that we’ve moved to Martin Place.

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Building the linen closet was really fun! Staining it to match the original woodwork in the room was even more fun. Seeing the grain through the stain brought out the beauty in the wood, and the whole piece looked like it had always been there. And SO MUCH STORAGE. The shelves inside are about 3 feet deep.

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The Vanity. I loved it. The base is an antique desk that we found around the corner from our house for $40. I had always envisioned re-purposing a dresser here, but when we found it, I thought : 1) It’s a guest bathroom. You don’t need much storage. 2) The wood tone matches the room PERFECTLY. 3) You love the floor. This doesn’t cover it up. 4) It looks more like a vanity from olden times. 5) It might be really, really cool to see the exposed plumbing. 6) It’s FORTY DOLLARS.

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So, we bought it. To tie it in to the rest of the room, we used the same quartz from the shower bench as the countertop – after we removed the original desktop – and I echoed the door handles that I used on the linen closet. And I found this darling little bench at Midland Art and Antiques, and I reupholstered it to clash pattern mix with the floor.

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The sink was a gamble. Which I think paid off? I don’t know. It’s CRAZY modern, but it went so well with the black quartz, and I loved the idea of trying to evoke an old washstand. But it’s still very modern. For the faucet, we chose a single handled faucet, which reminded me of an old water pump. All together with the desk-vanity, it’s a pretty unique look.

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I took this picture at Christmas. Generally, we don’t have a Nutcracker guarding our sinks. We make then fend for themselves.

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Here she is. I kind of love her.

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I loved her enough to enter her (and her sister, Master Bath) into the This Old House Magazine Reader Remodel Contest. You know, why not? Let’s see how she does against 1300 other entries. I could only submit 6 photos. I was STRESSING. I kept asking Doug : “This one? Or this one?” He was so supportive : “Does it matter? There’s no way we’re winning.” I promptly hushed him, lest the bathroom hear, and think that he didn’t love her.

A couple of months later, I got an email.

“I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that you’ve been chosen as our “Bath” category winner! Congratulations!! Details on prizes are to follow.”


There was more to the email than that, but I just kept reading that sentence over and over.


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(I told you she was pretty and could win, Doug.)

The process was pretty cool. We submitted our own pictures, talked to a lot of copy editors, and filmed an online feature (which, we filmed ourselves – my dear friend Laura was our camera gal – and then This Old House edited it). Movie stars and coherent speakers, we are not. But it was fun. You can check out the video here:


The July / August 2010 issue of This Old House Magazine


Cover and Article Re-Printed with Permission

(Leslie Monthan, Deputy Copy Chief, This Old House Magazine)


It’s definitely one of the coolest experiences we’ve had. Maybe Martin Place will make it on the pages of a magazine sometime in her future!

One more room for Flashback Fridays is complete! I’m not sure what’s next. The kitchen on Jackson Street? We shall see!

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  1. I *love* that you make your sinks fend for themselves most of the year. Sinks these days are getting so pampered with year round guards. Way to stay authentic!

  2. I am loving your blog! This bathroom is fantastic. In our locality we can’t have a hanging light over a tub. We rehabbed the original tub manufactured in the late 1890’s and wanted to hang a chandelier above it but the building inspector had a different idea. I have chandelier envy!

    1. Thanks! We are super lucky to have tall ceilings – even taller in the “new” house. One way to get around the “no electricity over the tub” issue is to put up a candle-lier – a chandelier with candles. I mean, then you have flames and fire to contend with, but if it’s the LOOK you really like, you’re totally allowed to do that! Just an idea!!!

  3. Great job! The layout fits the space you have really well, and it feels spacious, but not big and empty like many bathrooms built in former bedrooms.

    I am a big proponent of separate tub and shower. Combining them is always a compromise, and when you have the space, keeping them separate really lets you have the best of both. We were limited by space in our house, so I did a cast-iron skirted tub and tiled surround for the shower. We had a window in the middle of the wall beside the tub, so I rebuilt the sashes, frosted the glass, and painted them with a marine enamel, and used various tile shapes to mimic standard sill and apron window trim. I cut down and sewed a plastic shower curtain to cover it, while still showing off the tile work. It keeps the window so dry I think the marine paint was unnecessary. Bottom line, a window in a shower isn’t a big deal if you manage the water.

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