Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Back Hall Bath

All a woman needs is a good bath.
- Hedy Lamarr

Welcome to the best... and only... bath completed thus far in Freeman House. Welcome to the Back Hall Bath!

For those of you contemplating the renovation of an old house, know this: bathroom arrangements during renovation are... tricky. Heck. They're downright scary. During the two months this bathroom was gutted and restored, I brushed my teeth with a bottle of water at the screen door. I used the facilities at a nearby McDonald's. And I showered outdoors. In November. Gosh, I was stupid. But I learned an important This Old House lesson: always, always start with the bath. Always.

This small, rectangular room was terrifying when I bought Freeman House. There were layers of curled, cracked linoleum covering rotten hardwood floors. There was a stained, grimy sink. There was a window over the tub and an extra doorway, both of which were destined to be framed in and sheetrocked. There was an ancient, cracked toilet. And there was a clawfoot tub. It was the only thing worth saving in this disgusting room.

The substructure of the bath had to be torn out and replaced. The floors are now 4 1/2 inches thick, not counting the ceramic tile I laid myself. (Hardest project to date, by the way.) The room got a layer of new sheetrock and paint. A new pedestal sink and toilet were installed, as was a glass-fronted cabinet. (I have commitment issues with standard cabinetry, I discovered.) As for the old iron clawfoot tub, my Dad and I sanded, glazed and reinstalled it with new plumbing and a shower surround, which makes it easier to love while scrubbing armpits and things.

This small room cost almost $6,000 to renovate, even doing some of the work myself. Almost makes me want to put a few outhouses in the back for the rest of y'all. But I guess everyone deserves a hot, candlelit bubble bath in a clawfoot tub every now and then....

That is, after all, one of my favorite things about living in an old, crooked house.

Welcome to the Back Hall Bath at Freeman House. Hope you can stop by for a soak soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in a 1930 house that we call Quirky Cottage. I'm always looking for bathroom ideas and am frustrated because so many Cottage blogs are willing to show you the contents of their most intimate drawers but not their bathroom. Thanks for the peek at yours.
Rita in Oly