Craftsman Bungalow Restoration #3: Good Bye 1970's

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Blog entry by gizmodyne posted 06-16-2007 06:10 PM 3740 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Gasp! Part 3 of Craftsman Bungalow Restoration series Part 4: Brick by Brick »

Summer 03

It was time to take care of the bathroom…

We called contractors for bids with a budget of 15 – 20 thousand. Most came, looked at the project, and never called back.

Finally one of the contractors, a high-end company, said, “Look, for the style you want there is no way to get it at this budget.” He wrote out the order of the construction and offered to give us a list of his subs.

It was time to roll up our sleeves.

We ordered a dumpster.

Out came the vanity.

Roughin’ It

We sent the medicine cabinet out for repair. Check out the wall paper and knob and tube wires.

The ceiling waiting for insulation. All framing was rough fir. Check out the roof… redwood planks!

Now before you freak out that we tore out the plaster and all the wood trim.
A: we had the entire room replastered by an old timer with actual plaster.. Though they use a blue board now.
B: We took the trim and door outside to strip it.

Fit and finish
All of the hardware went off to be replated in chrome (wish we had nickel now).
The tub was removed from the room and we hired Miracle Method to refinish it. They scrub it with acid and then epoxy finish it. The outside was painted white.

We ordered a new sink, toilet, lights and hardware from George's

All of the time came from Mission Tile west , a high end tile show room.

I designed the tile pattern to be used in the room.

We worked all summer. Luckily my parents were out of town, so we slept there at night, returned to the house early each day to meet the contractors, and used the facilities in the park (boooo).


View from the door: New sink, tile, sconces, repainted trim, everything is shiny.

Olde time hex. The wall tiles have a 6” base with cove and a running black liner tile. We found the cabinet at the flea market and repainted it to match our yellowish trim.

Clawfoot after refinishing with new chrome hardware. Sweet! Great for soaking! Kristin designed the flower pattern in the floor.

Close up on the sink and tile wainscot. The little squares are called chicklets.

We paid a local woodworker to rebuild the medicine cabinet for us, as I had not done any real woodworking at that point. He hade a new door to replace the previously replaced one.

You can see the wall of tile in the reflection


Historic restoration:

-We kept the original layout of the bathroom and the original tub.
-We removed all of the trim and stripped it and then returned it to its spot. Any replacement wood was vertical grain fir, in case someone strips it in the future. (We don’t want to be cursed).
-We saved the original medicine cabinet and window. I replaced the window sash cord on the window weights.
-Used actual plaster instead of drywall.
-Push button switches

Compromise(Most of it)
- Replaced the lathe and plaster with tile. The original plaster was scored to look like subway tile, but rotting.
- The design is more 20’s or 30’s than 1910. We debated this for a long time. Sometimes we wish we had gone for a more woody style.
- We encased the floor in leveling cement instead of repairing the fir floors.
-Added an electric ceiling vent
-Chrome was not used then, we would use nickel
-Everything is painted
-Tub was resurfaced
-Added dimmer
-New sink and toilet instead of vintage

Tools and skills:
I bought a 10” mitre saw and a finish nail gun with compressor after Kristin watched me put hammer marks in the trim.
I learned not to power plane the top of a door against the end grain (don’t ask).

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

5 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4130 days

#1 posted 06-16-2007 07:37 PM

it seems to still have “that feel” to it.
Nicely done.

re: contractors – very nice of the guy to actually talk to you about the cost/process/needs.

Beautiful bathroom

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View gizmodyne's profile


1777 posts in 4059 days

#2 posted 06-16-2007 08:29 PM

Thanks Debbie,

It does have that feel though we are thinking of stripping the wood now.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4056 days

#3 posted 06-16-2007 09:05 PM

Great job Giz. Your compromises are reasonable IMHO. Restoration shouldn’t mean that we need can’t make improvements. I think you kept the flavor well.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4370 days

#4 posted 06-16-2007 10:07 PM

great Do-over. Instead or Remodling. keeping it into the period.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View gizmodyne's profile


1777 posts in 4059 days

#5 posted 06-16-2007 11:06 PM

Thanks Bob and Karson: We are tortured preservationists now.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

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