Google+ House Revivals: Bathroom Renovation Part Two

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bathroom Renovation Part Two

Our bathroom cupboard did not always look like this. It used to suffer from the same mid-century aesthetic that the vanity suffered from. And it was huge. It was so deep, I couldn't reach the back. And to reach the top cabinets, I had to get a step ladder or stand on a chair. Seriously! And then I would have to use a long stick to pull stuff out from the top back. How many families do you know who can store all their camping gear in the bathroom cupboard? We did! And truthfully, I would lose things in that cupboard for years.

So, I had my trusted handyman deconstruct the cabinet. And then rebuild it. Using the same wood. We even reused the doors and hardware. Because, well, why waste it? The new cabinet is not nearly as deep. And it has some open display shelving. It still has some very high cabinets, but since they're only about a foot deep, you can't lose things in them for years at a time.

You can see from some of the before pictures where the old cupboard used to be. This bathroom was "remuddled" back in the fifties. Apparently, beautifully detailed crown moldings and door casings weren't really appreciated back then, because the carpenter who built the old cabinet hacked right into the woodwork on the bathroom door-- to build the BIGGEST cabinet possible. Well, that BIG cabinet made the bathroom feel cramped. The new cabinet is in proportion to the room, and built at human scale. And because it's a stepped back cupboard (a very appropriate style for the era of the home), more volume has been created at eye level, which makes the space feel more open.

Deconstruction is a little like an archaeological dig. Old houses, in particular, have stories to tell. We can see in one of the pictures how the ceiling was dropped at the time of the fifties "remuddle". It's kind of fun to discover little treasures like that flying duck wallpaper, still intact. We enjoyed trying to figure out which of the previous owners would have installed it. And wondering why anyone would want a "hunting" motif in the bathroom! Maybe they just thought the birds were pretty. That wallpaper is still there, hidden behind the newly patched ceiling. Maybe, someday, another renovator will find it, and wonder about the stories this house has. I hope so.