I am so excited to share with you the first major renovation in our house!! I am a little overwhelmed over how positive an impact a bathroom can have on your well being, but there it is! After 13 months, we have a shower and a spot where I feel I can dedicate to self-care. Yay!
We bought our house in late 2015 – an 1870’s farmhouse in the country outside of Charlottetown, P.E.I (Canada’s smallest province in the East of Canada! Home of our girl Anne). We loved the house when we first went to see it and were so eager to own our home that we jumped at the chance – affordable, close to town, private. It checked so many boxes while at the same time we knew the immense challenge that was ahead of us. At 26/27 years old and going from living in Apartments and town houses with roommates, the house was perfect – no changes needed – but for one very obvious eye sore – the upstairs bathroom (although now, it’s almost every room that we want to update).
Homes from the 19th century, especially country homes were not built with plumbing and washrooms in mind. I’m not sure where the old outhouse must have been (although, I did dig up a spot where the red earth is black – so perhaps this was it) but there is no doubt that one would have been used for likely 40/50 years. This room on the 2nd floor is odd- it’s a small corridor room which links the upstairs bedroom area to another room (which now has our laundry). So there is a very old style of door with a latch as the far wall. It definitely was not meant to be a bathroom but when bathrooms became in vogue (thank you) it was the top choice for the previous inhabitants.
The room is tiny and based around the doors on opposing sides. We had to think of a way to compactly fit a shower, sink and storage without obstructing the door to the hallway or the laundry room. I didn’t take a lot of before pictures because I thought of it a little too late, but I have a few to share with you…
So, as you can see the space was challenging. We looked up “Windowless bathrooms” to try to get an idea of what we could do. This…. was often not even helpful because image search results would reveal picture after picture of beautifully sunlit bathrooms, full of plants (sigh). We knew we wanted a couple of things: a small, compact sink, more lights, tiled floor and walk in tile shower with a glass door.
What would life be if you didn’t have some help? We are so grateful to have had Jamie’s Dad help us (okay he probably did about 95 per cent of the work). Jamie and I are not handy at all – maybe if we didn’t have the option of asking for help, but it’s just not innate to either of us. Both of our Dads however, are very “handy” (is there a real word – I’ve only ever known Handy haha). He and Jamie put up the walls, constructed the shower, laid the tile floor, did the electricity for the new lights. He transformed this tiny space into exactly what we envisioned.
The space for the shower was pretty awkward to figure out. The previous shower was a corner shower insert which actually covered quite a bit of the door. We decided to work with the space we had and build a wall which has a shelf insert on the other side and subway tiling so that all would be required for the shower is a glass door. We bought the cheapest shower door at Home Depot we could, I think it was around $250.00 CAD and is pretty awesome. Jamie and I spent a lot of time looking at tile and doors and trying to figure out how we would do this. When we told Jamie’s Dad our plan (which seemed inconceivable to us), he figured it out and made it a reality!
We ended up going with subway tile because it is affordable and pretty timeless as a style. We also chose a dark large tile for the floor. I originally wanted black but the stores didn’t have a matte finished black. The finished floor tile is a kind of charcoal, chalk board black which I really love!
The 19th century (or early 20th, note sure) door was a feature I absolutely wanted to keep. I really love these style of doors so we just put a coat of paint over it. Jamie’s Dad also put up the sconce lighting and probably one of my favourite features of the room, a dimmer.
And there you have it! I do hope you like our small bathroom. It is so small that it is a little awkward to take photos of at certain angles, so the photos I am sharing are pretty limited.
It’s funny – I watch a lot of house shows – house hunters/ house hunters international. I love looking at old homes (1960s and earlier) and am always SO confused by the people in the show. They always want everything you could possibly imagine – walk in closet, double vanity, high ceilings, 2 car garage (blablabla, the list always seems endless) but they also often want an old home with character. They seem utterly horrified by small washrooms and closets, by small anything really. I always think now, how much I love this small washroom – that it’s perfect and fits us so perfectly!
Next for this old farmhouse, a new roof, our bedroom and the sunroom. Maybe in the next 3 years we can share the finished results with you <3
Be well and Take care <3