Hall Bathroom Renovation

The Manor house has 5 bathrooms - 3 full and 2 half baths. But when we moved in we discovered that none were fully functional for an assortment of reasons. The shower surrounds were either decaying and collapsing, the water smelled of iron, tubs and toilets were stained green and brown with iron and copper residue, sinks were missing or leaking, toilets that overflowed for no reason in the middle of the night and flooded the floor below.

The 1st bathroom was the “West suite” bathroom as it was going to be the easiest. We replaced the old decaying shower surround and scrubbed the stains out of the old cast iron tub. In only a couple of weekends we had a functional bathroom (unfortunately these pictures were lost when my toddler tossed my phone in a sink full of water). After a year we decided we needed a 2nd fully functional bathroom. So we turned our attention to the hall bathroom.

Here’s the story of what became one of the greatest self inflicted scope creep renovations….

The entrance into the hall bathroom with the sink-less vanity. The desk that would become the future vanity is in the foreground.

The entrance into the hall bathroom with the sink-less vanity. The desk that would become the future vanity is in the foreground.


THe Original Plan…and then some

This was supposed to be a quick and easy weekend project. The plan was to replace the existing old vanity (that was missing a sink) with a new vanity and sink. That’s it. Nothing else. So I bought an antique desk with the plans of converting it. With the help of my FIL, the vanity came out easily enough. But then I realized that there was no flooring where the old vanity was which wouldn't work with my new desk/ vanity plans. After tearing up some of the old linoleum tile that was in the void left behind I discovered that the old hard wood floors were still under the tile and subfloor.

New Plan!! Lets go ahead and tear up ALL of the subfloor and tiling to reveal the 230+ year old hard wood floors!

That night another rain storm caused water to pour through the old stone walls. Well, since we have come this far, lets go ahead and remove all of the plaster from the stone foundation wall. OMG, there is no mortar left in the wall - only sand and dirt! This wall needs to be filled with new mortar and the rocks pointed.


THe Scope Creeps some more

So I removed all of the plaster and mortar from the stone wall and section by section I cleaned the stone and tucked the joints with new mortar. Then I realized, well, I don't like the tile on this wall either. So we pulled up the toilet and took down the wall tile on the other wall. Upon pulling the toilet up we discovered the plumbing was shot and needed replaced. So the flooring was also cut up to expose the main pipe.

THe scope Creeps MOre and MOre

Well, I got to looking at the old shower with the weird shaped cast iron tub and thought - we have come this far might as well get rid of this old shower and replace it with a new glass shower. I soon realized that the nice solid glass shower surrounds were a bit out of the budget. But then I found this amazing prefab shower with shower pan that I can easily install myself (more savings). Plus it was unique! It looks like an old phone booth and it was less than $750. Out goes the old shower!

The old dark shower - complete with a very heavy tiny cast iron yellow tub.

The old dark shower - complete with a very heavy tiny cast iron yellow tub.


What another scope creep? What is possibly left!?!?!

Well, after tearing out the shower surround and tub I looked up at the ceiling and decided to go ahead and take down the old plaster and lathe ceiling while I was at it to expose the beautiful old beams. So that's what I did. Now, if you have never torn down a ceiling its very messy. Now add to the mess 230+ years of dust, debris, old insulation and you get a really really nasty mess.

But the end result was soooo worth the extra time and mess. Though I am sure at this point my husband is pretty sure that I have lost my mind and we are going to have to hire a pro to put the bathroom back together after my demolition shenanigans. Oh, he of so little faith.

Putting The Pieces Back together

At this point the entire room has been demolished. Nothing is left in the room except the old hardwood floors and 3 plaster walls. Its finally time to begin putting the bathroom back together. I started with the wall that houses the sink by installing maple sheeting with rough cut oak boards. I stained the maple sheeting a dark brown with a secondary red-brown tone. The oak trim boards were stained a darker brown. The horizontal wall boards were composed of lightly sanded rough cut oak and some barn boards from our wagon shed. These were whitewashed then lightly sanded for a distressed appearance. The wiring for the mirror lights were also installed. The floors were sanded to remove the old grout left over from the tile, the radiator painted a copper color, ceiling boards installed, the antique desk painted blue and a butcher block counter installed on the top of the vanity.

The Shower (aka the Tardis)

All new plumbing was installed for the toilet and the shower along with a new shower pan. Once that was done the new shower could be framed in and prepared for tiling. After watching a couple of You Tube videos on how to tile I was ready to try my hand at it. I figured worst case scenario I could just call in a professional to tile the shower if my tiling job was sub-par. But as it turns out, I am actually good at tiling!


The End Result!!!

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this renovation story. After 3 months of long nights and weekends the bathroom was finally finished. This was the 1st time I have ever done a complete demolition then rebuild renovation and to be honest I surprised myself with how great it turned out! Everyone that visits that Manor ‘oohs’ and ‘aaah’s over the final product so I know I must have done a good job. I had my friend Kristin from Kristin Rutkowski Photography come and take professional shots of the bathroom. What do you think?

Not too bad for a beginner/ intermediate renovator, eh? I also painted and stenciled the floors, painted the walls and trim, found an amazing antique mirror on Facebook marketplace, installed wall sconces and a big glass chandelier, and a new GFCI wall outlet.