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Historic Bathroom Renovation: Kickin’ It Old School for the ORC

Bungalow Bathroom Renovation

I’m either an addict or a real glutton for punishment. You be the judge. Despite not completing the bedroom I attempted to renovate (build from scratch???) for last season’s One Room Challenge™, I’m back at it again this season! That’s right! My bedroom still isn’t done but I’m ready to finish at least one space in this house and I’ve decided the downstairs bathroom is it! Here’s where we’re at so far …

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gutted bathroom rebuild

Whoa. Wait. That’s a lot, right? (Is that even a bathroom??)

Yeah… So let’s take it back a little so I can explain how we got here.

Back in July of 2019, we were all a lot more innocent. Remember how we actively pursued fun outside our homes without paralyzing fear of other people breathing on us? I kind of do too.

our 1924 bungalow porch

Back then, I packed up my entire house and moved my family across town into a historic bungalow in East Nashville. We were so happy to be back in our old ‘hood and filled with such joy in the knowledge that this was our “forever” home so we wouldn’t need to tackle any major renovations until we were well-rested from the last decade of back-to-back renovations.

moving into our historic home

The house wasn’t perfect. We knew we’d eventually want to renovate in some way. We just assumed that would be a slow renovation process and on our own terms. (You can see the full home tour here: Our 1924 California Bungalow)

AND THEN A TORNADO HIT OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND WE WERE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE MINIMAL DAMAGE (COMPARED TO OUR NEIGHBORS) BUT DARN IT WE STILL HAD TO MOVE OUT OF OUR HOME AND TACKLE A REBUILD. (more on the tornado here:How We Are Rebuilding After The Tornado)

tornado damage

That was a week before our city shut down to save lives from the Covid-19 Pandemic. 2020 is a biotch.

Needless to say, we didn’t plan this renovation. As such, I have only one of this space while it was still 100% intact. Here’s the picture I took of our bathroom during our first tour of the house, the day we filed an offer to purchase:

bungalow renovation before photos

Based on the knowledge we now have of the permits pulled on this house, I can assume this bathroom was last renovated in 1998 – very ironically, the last year a major tornado event hit our neighborhood. After that, a few updates had been made through the years. Most notably, the installation of a new pedestal sink and faucet were made at some point between 2010 and 2019 (dated by the age of the sink line).

Of the original bathroom – what would have been in place in 1923 when our home was built – the only remaining items in the space were the cast iron alcove tub and the door. Every other detail in the bathroom was a replica or new addition.

tornado damage

There’s the tornado damage. That’s the full extent of the visible damage in this room on the day we toured the home with our insurance adjuster.

And then the house started shifting. Plaster in every room began to crack. Our front door would no longer close. An engineer was called to the scene and pointed out major foundational issues that required foundation stabilization. That changed the scope of our rebuild from ONE ROOM to an entire floor of renovations. Everything was gutted.

floor removal bathroom

Further complicating this rebuild, the tile was removed from the bathroom for replacement and our contractors discovered our floor structure was no longer stabilizing the walls. So out with it all!

And that’s how we realized we would need to fully gut the entire bathroom in order to rebuild a sound structure.

So what was originally just a new flooring design (above is my original hexagonal tile design) became a complete bathroom design.

Historic Bungalow Bathroom Design

Since we had to do it, I figured we may as well give my wife the bathroom she’s always wanted – a historically appropriate black and white bathroom. But with a modern twist because I love a good wallpaper and a pop of fun color.

GET THE LOOK: Historic Bungalow Bathroom

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It’s good to know that I’m completing this project with friends, even if from afar!

I’m featuring this project as a guest participant in the Fall 2020 One Room Challenge™, a biannual event in which interior designers take some time off their workload to focus on their own homes for a change. Participants are encouraged to spend six weeks finishing a room in their own houses and cheering on their peers as they do it.

To see the other participants’ projects, click here.

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While the foundation of this bathroom is currently in place (more on that next week), there is still a TON of work to do in this room. I promise you’re going to want to watch along.

Until next week, stay safe and sane, loves. xoxo

bathroom design - historic home

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