We began working on the half bath almost as soon as we moved in, even before unpacking boxes in the garage and figuring out who would have each room. And there’s a reason for that, and I could explain it to you, but I don’t think I’ll need to if you see this:
This room was even worse than our kitchen, because the small space made all the “features” feel like they were attacking at the same time. The wallpaper border…the shell sink…the cobblestone sheet-vinyl…the nursing-home faucet… A quick trip to the bathroom turned out to be an unwanted trip back in time to some place with heady grandma perfume and nappy hand towels and a need to escape to a place in the current decade.
So we ripped it out.
Actually, ReStore ripped it out because they are lucky, happening upon the opportunity of ripping it out for free and selling it for top-dollar to the hordes of shoppers looking to update their home with these very items. Or maybe they’re just nice. Either way, it seems that sometime after they took our bathroom with them, they started refusing to take out any more bathrooms of similar value.
Anyway. The bathroom had to go, and instead we had to find something to replace it with. And if you’ve been reading my blog for the past several months, you will know that we prefer pre-loved building materials, as we often find amazing things at ReStore for cheaper than we’d find regular stuff at Home Depot.
Both the pros and cons to doing it this way are endless. On the pro side, you find very expensive materials that designers have ordered for their clients and given away because they either ordered too much or changed their mind, and the prices are lower than new materials at big-box stores. On the con side: you don’t get to actually choose what you want your space to look like beforehand, and whatever you find, you have to retrofit into an existing space. It’s also hard work finding the materials and coming up with a plan for them. They are usually only available in limited quantities, so your plan has to take into account the amount you have, not the amount you need.
But for those gutsy enough to attempt it, it is worth. it. There are hundreds of possibilities if you have more imagination than cash, and you’d be surprised what you can create from someone else’s leftovers.
I like a lot of different styles and looks, so my main objective when designing a room from ReStore is that it uses high-quality materials, is well-designed, and fits in with the rest of the house. I am generally open to anything I can make for cheap that fits those criteria.
Originally, we thought we’d use a pedestal sink we already had in the garage, and hoped to find a designer-y brass faucet for it. We painted the walls a warm, olivy black I loved and installed hexagonal marble tile on the floor. But we couldn’t finish it because we couldn’t find a high-end brass faucet for cheap, and I really, really thought that would be the perfect finishing touch. I had my eye on a Newport Brass faucet at an upscale design showroom, but it was hundreds of dollars. But oh-so-amazing. We lived with the bathroom like this for awhile with the pedestal sink, and got a brushed nickel faucet for it from Home Depot that we spray-painted gold.
Spray-painting a faucet is a really good idea for faucets that never get wet, used, or cleaned. For us, it turned out to be a disaster that required extensive use of Goo Gone and toothbrushes.
Then came a little miracle that began Version 2.0 of this bathroom. It all started with finding a brand new brass faucet made by Newport Brass (YAYYYYYY!) at ReStore. The only problem was that it was a wall-mounted faucet, which meant we’d need a vessel sink instead of a regular one. I knew that would be really hard to find at ReStore (they probably have 100 regular sinks for every vessel sink), but I didn’t care since I just picked up Newport Brass for less than a Home Depot faucet.
Vessel sinks are not my favorite, so we didn’t want to buy a new, nice one and spend a lot of money getting my faucet to work (rather than just buying a different faucet for a regular sink). Finally, we found this concrete trough taken from an outdoor fountain at ReStore:
It was already sealed and expecting to get wet, so we hauled all 200 pounds of it home. The plan was to make a pipe base for it. Which we did, and it was a mistake. The pipes alone cost $200 with all the fittings and looked scrawny and cold when put together with the sink. Thankfully, we could return the pipes and start over. This is what it looked like (and the tiles laying on the back of it I’ll explain in just a minute):
In the meantime, we saw this chunk of a beam that someone gave to ReStore, and bought it to see if we could make a base with it that was nicer than regular 4x4s from Home Depot.
We also needed some sort of tile behind the sink, so the wall-mounted faucet wouldn’t go straight into the drywall. While we were searching for the base of the sink, we found Waterworks tile from ReStore that’s normally a fortune. It was a really rough and rustic subway tile that was such a dark blue it was almost black. Most of the tile at ReStore is nowhere near high-end, so if you find something like that for cheap, you work with it. We only had enough tile to go on the wall with the sink and the small wall with the light switches, so that’s what we did. It also happened to match the paint we had put in there months earlier, and coordinate with the hexagonal tile marble floors.
So we made the base:
Then Dave figured out how to secure it to the wall, make the drain work (which was no easy feat since this wasn’t actually a sink with a regular drain), and install a small piece of marble as a shelf for hand soap. But, here’s how it turned out!
The medicine cabinet we got at the Pottery Barn Outlet last summer, and the bowl is an antique transferware wash basin for holding extra hand towels and toilet paper. Here’s the rest of the bathroom:
Here’s a picture which shows more of the frame collage:
And finally it’s done, after being unfinished since we first tore down the wallpaper border one year ago. Here’s a before and after, side by side.