When we bought our old foursquare farmhouse, we knew we wanted to go over-the-top with the decor in this tiny bathroom. The half bath on the main floor is the bathroom that most of our guests use, and we were excited to go a bit crazy with one of our room makeovers.
The most exciting day for us, as we get to peel back the layers and uncover centuries old craftsmanship (that have been covered by decades of farmer-rigged work). Half of our problems were already exposed, since the room wasn’t finished. We stripped the room down to the studs, and removed the old sink and toilet. We replaced the knob and tube wiring, and added a GFCI outlet (code when near a sink or water source).
We ran the new water supply pex pipes and drain pipes through the floor and up into the wall. We also adjusted the toilet plumbing for the new floors. (The pink floors are subflooring, while the stained floors were 1/4″ thick and can’t be sanded.) We also added wiring for 2 barn lights on either side of the mirror. Then we were able to hang the drywall and start sanding and mudding. (This step took us a while because we also did the stairs, hallway, and dining room.) We usually do 3-4 layers of drywall joint compound. The first layer is to stick the drywall mesh tape to the joint. The second layer is wider, and fills in most of the gaps. The third layer is even wider to blend the hill created from layering the tape and first layer of mud, and to touch up any areas. The fourth layer is to touch up any areas that may need further attention.
Building the Vanity
Once the drywall was done, we were able to start building our rustic vanity. We purchased a rough-sawn live edge slab of wood, and cut it to the correct length and width. We cleaned it thoroughly, and lightly dusted it with the air compressor to clear all the cracks and crevises. We reinforced the slab with some metal flat stock on the bottom side towards the front, just in case anyone would lean or put weight on the vanity. We then dry-fitted the vanity and laid out the hole for the sink drain. The copper pail vessel sink has a concave bottom (so water doesn’t pool in the bottom), so we routered out the top of the vanity for it to fit properly. Once everything fit well and was ready to be mounted, we applied a two-part epoxy to coat the entire top and live edge. The temperature needs to be 70 degrees or warmer when applying the epoxy resin, so we cranked the furnace for a day or two to let it fully cure. Once cured, we mounted the vanity, sink, faucet, vanity lights, and a pivoting round mirror. (Because the faucet sat so high above the copper pail vessel sink, the mirror was too high to be flat. We found this round mirror with mounts that allowed the mirror to be angled towards the floor slightly, for proper positioning.) We then laid the floors, and installed the toilet.
Last but not least comes the finish work. The kitchen, dining, den, and living room have tall decorative baseboards, while the hallway and second floor have you simplistic baseboards. We decided to install simplistic baseboards in the powder room, complementing the modern farmhouse style. We painted the walls “Alpaca” color by Sherwin Williams, which is carried throughout the house. This color seems to tie together the dark wood tones of the antique trim, but also complements the lighter knotty alder kitchen cabinets. Since we do not have a closet or cabinet to store toilet paper, I found chicken wire baskets for storage (and it actually holds at least 12 of the mega rolls).
Check out our kitchen renovation, where we stripped our kitchen to the studs, added a massive pantry, and moved the laundry off the kitchen to the second floor. We’ve also built a mudroom breezeway addition, with our step-by-step DIY mudroom benches for coat and shoe storage!