Feb 6, 2018


As most of you know, Almost three years ago, I closed a chapter in my life in WA state where I survived (vs. thrived) for fifteen rain drenched years. Ready for a new life adventure I purchased a 560' farmhouse in the Appalachian mountains, online having never seen it in person. I asked my realtor to send lots of pictures of this little old farm house so that I would have a good idea of what to expect once I walked inside for the first time. I've heard that pictures don't lie and while a home inspection said she had good bones, It was obvious she needed TLC, especially the TINY bathroom.

 No one seems to know how old this little house is but several Appalachian mountain old timers have at one time lived in or knew of this farmhouse as young children. With this verbal information and no helpful county permits or records, it is most likely that this home is a minimum of a hundred years old, and some have reason to believe it is much older. If walls could talk....hmm.
Many decades ago, way before this little house and I met, she had no plumbing, or electricity. That meant no bathroom, no running water, no sink, stove, washer, or dryer- well you get the idea.. In the late sixties or early seventies the homes occupants added indoor plumbing which was a much welcomed addition especially while raising two young children. Many years later an indoor toilet was added just off of the kitchen as in most original farm houses. Years later, electricity invited more changes for this old farmhouse. Not sure what century the bathroom was stuck in, but I hated it.

                                                       BATHROOM / BEFORE
This is what it looked like when I first moved in.
OM(gosh) what a nasty UGLY, gross, crusty TINY bathroom it WAS. I could see great potential with the rest of the little farmhouse but the bathroom...oh, um.(head shaking back and forth) YUCK. I used to close my eyes every time I went potty or took a shower in there. It was more pleasant to go freestyle in the woods, if you know what I mean. And on more than one occasion I embraced my inner 'farm & country' girl and grabbed my bar of soap and a towel and went outside and showered naturally (no close by neighbors) in the NC summer rainstorms.. The only problem with that method, was getting stuck with shampoo still in my hair before the rain stopped. That would of never happened in WA state, due to almost never ending rain. But hey,, WA was way to cold for a hippie shower

                                                            BATHROOM / BEFORE          
Linoleum was used for the counter top and floor tile had nasty chunked out dirty grout. The ceiling seemed to be lined in cardboard tiles.

 Within days of moving in, I took a crow bar and began ripping out the nasty sink (above) and cabinet because I could not stand looking at it any longer. That presented a whole new set of problems but I am still trying to forget all the details of that situation. You can see the picture below. Enough said.

                                                        BATHROOM / BEFORE
Oh my... maybe I should of left that sink and cabinet alone? Ikes!!!!!

The bathroom remained a storage unit for about a year and a half after the sink area was destroyed. I just stacked totes to the ceiling to hide the even bigger mess that I had created. I then began to tackle about seventy eight other projects and I remained in denial that I just might have made the bathroom even uglier than it was at first glance. Just seeing these pictures sends me into a hot flash .Just when I thought they had forever ended.

                                                             BATHROOM / BEFORE
Another view of the green monster, I did have a functional toilet during that time

Normally I am not short on ideas on how to fluff up a nest but I was simply not inspired with this mess and at a loss with how to make this TINY, eight foot long and four foot wide bathroom work for me. I wanted a cozy, sweet retreat with a vintage vibe that would woo me in, to enjoy long bubble baths and soothing soaks at the days end.  My creative juices were short circuiting just like the wires in the above picture did.

                                                                     UNTIL  .........

 One sunny day...I was inspired, just like that. I was out walking one of my dogs when I spotted a dumpster outside of a home that was being renovated. Of course, I peeked inside to see what treasures might be crying out for salvation. My eyes lit up as I spotted two old farmhouse windows with glass panes intact. The metal tracks were perfect and they opened and closed easily and they came with window screens too boot. I actually only needed one but snatched both as one is a back up for parts. There was one small window in my bathroom that came out of a mobile home and was a horrible match for my vintage vibe. The window from the dumpster was almost a perfect fit, and with the help of my carpenter it was a perfect window with wood grids that matched the rest of my farmhouse windows. What a blessing. If I had passed that dumpster and not looked inside I would of had to order a custom made window for the bathroom which would of been very expensive. I was finally inspired to move forward with my bathroom renovation. Let the demo begin !!!

                                                               BATHROOM / BEFORE
I was delighted to find original plank walls behind the tile
                                                                  BATHROOM / BEFORE
Here is one of two windows I found in the dumpster. A perfect match to replace the other window.

Further inspiration came days later when I spotted an amazing four and a half foot (hard to find) claw foot tub in an old barn. My bathroom is so tiny only a 4 1/2' tub would fit. Previously, this tub had been used as a gold fish pond for a dozen or so years and then retired yet again. It sat in the  dark corner of a barn for many more years, waiting to be used and loved once again. It called out to me and once I sat in it, I was in love. I knew we were inseparable. The tubs owner was willing to barter with me. After all, I really didn't need my king size iron headboard anymore and I have wanted a claw foot tub forever, so it was a match made in heaven. Wahoo. It definitely needed some love and attention, okay a LOT of love and attention, both inside and out. It was refinished and then moved into my kitchen until the bathroom was ready for this big ole iron hunk of love. Who cares if I may have to tear a wall out to get in in the bathroom? I think I measured the doorway correctly??????

                                                                 BATHTUB / BEFORE
It was love at first sight... A 4 ft beauty waiting to be loved once again

I jumped in to see if a 4 1/2' tub would work for my 5'8 height, it did and I fell in love on the spot 

Once used as a goldfish pond

Wait till you see the transformation

The bottom of the claw foot tub states who it is made by, the size 4 1/2 ' and the year it was made - 1924
The flooring and tub sat in my kitchen for weeks while work was being done in the bathroom. Oh, what fun it was. NOT!
I am a bath girl. I have never liked showers but was unsure about having just the tub option especially when washing my hair. I consulted with a friend that removed her shower from the master bathroom and installed a claw-foot tub instead. She washes her hair in the tub, with no problem and doesn't regret her remodeling choice. Since this tub is beyond comfortable I decided I too had no desire to have a shower option. I did choose plumbing that can later accommodate an extension pipe to allow it to be used as a shower as well as a tub should I change my mind.

I decided to use real wood for the bathroom flooring. The farmhouse has it's original yellow pine plank flooring that is very hard to match with its aged patina. I decided to order plank flooring from Lowe's and because it was a tongue and groove plank it was a special order. They left it out in the rain and it was wrecked.  I had to reorder a new batch. For my trouble they took a hundred bucks off of my new Koller toilet which was in my shopping cart and it was a total unexpected blessing. I wanted the flooring to look aged, so I did a stain, paint and top coat treatment on the boards to achieve a rustic farmhouse look and one I would not worry about when it gets dirty or scuffed up.


Once the wall planks were painted, the hand stained pine flooring was installed

Once installed I dry brushed the stained planks with  white exterior flat pain , and let it dry a few hours before sanding it

I used steel wool to sand off much of the dry brushed paint. Then I applied 3 layers of satin Polyurethane
Depending on interest or requests, I may do a separate post on my technique and product brands that were used to achieve this look for my bathroom floors. I forgot to mention how happy I was to find original farmhouse wood planks on my ceding under what seemed like some type of cardboard tiles.

                                                           BATHROOM   BEFORE          
These are the wonderful wood planks that were hidden under cardboard type tiles
The creative way they ran wire back in the day. Just chisel out a trench where needed.
 I painted the ceiling and plank walls with several layers of paint. New updated plumbing, a new wall heater and an exhaust fan were installed before the floor planks were put down. That was the invitation for the claw foot tub to FINALLY leave my kitchen. That was a perfect reason for me to pause and do a happy dance. I must say, even though the tub was measured 101 times by myself and my installer, it didn't look like it would go thru the 25" doorway. I held my breath..To be continued.


                           More to follow....Part 2 coming soon, really-I am working on it now.

                    Remember..It is never to late to have a happy childhood. Even when there is a
      bathtub in your kitchen and you barely have room to move about.. you must find a way to play.




Carol said...

Good for you! We are in the middle of a bathroom remodel also. 6 months ago downsized (from 3bed/2bath/2car garage)to a little 2 bed/1 bath "cottage" with no garage. Bathroom stuck in the 70's. Only thing we kept was the 1950s sink, which we have installed into a really cool black wood baby changing table/dresser. Took out tub and went with only shower. Floor to ceiling white subway tile and hexagon shaped flooring. It is taking forever to get finish-lots of delays-but I am loving how it is coming together. Anxious to see the outcome of your remodel story also!

Tonita said...

Carol, Welcome to the home downsizing trend. I bet with your touches and updates that your 50's cottage is sweet. Wish you had a blog to share your updates. I bet that subway tile will look amazing..and that flooring also. I considered that same type of flooring but with large dogs, the grout would of ended up being a problem for me down the road. I totally understand the look you are going for and trust that it will be amazing once you finish. Be patient, it's worth it.
Thanks for visiting.

A Joyful Cottage said...

Oh, my! How exciting! I love to see renovations like this, as you know. I'm going to go back through and read every detail, but I just had to stop and tell you how cool I think this is. Can't wait to see the total "after". I'll be back! Hugs! Nancy

Tonita said...

Hi Nancy,
I am happy to almost be done with this tiny but huge remodel project. I now need to get my vintage bathroom door hung. One day? Since it is so old and in true shabby form it needs more work than I imagined before it gets installed. So, I am on hold till my contractor buddy gets in the mood to deal with it. Maybe in the spring? sigh. For now I just live with a curtain instead of a door, but hey... its almost finished. Thanks for stopping over my way. Blessings.

Tracy said...

Love seeing what you are doing with your place. It all sounds like so much fun (even with the maneuvering between bathtub and boards in the kitchen.) Cant wait to see the finished project. I love your style!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE reading your blog! You have done so much to make your cabin your lil home. It is so comfy feeling and I like the way you have infused small touches of your own designs, too. WOWOWOWO on your bathroom remodel. IT has definatly become a brand new room and yours and yours alone. I can't wait to see your final photos. I know it will be your kind of shabby, chippy, old, refurbished one of a kind lovely room. Happy Soaking in your new/old clawfoot tub. Elizabeth

Tonita said...

Thanks for popping in Tracy. Fun was not exactly what I was experiencing every day I had all those wood planks curing and drying in my home, because the weather would not cooperate. I have a few other words that better describe that situation. LOL.

Tonita said...

Hey Elizabeth..So happy you got to see my almost finished bathroom in person. Ahhh - yes, the tub and I are inseparable. Is it wrong to take 3 bubble baths a day? LOL.

DownTheLaneWithDaisy said...

Love, love, love that sweet tub. I think it was waiting for you to rescue it.

Tonita said...

You are a woman of vision, to see the beauty beyond the gunk. It does make me happy to give that tub a new life. It is a perfect size for me and my bathroom. It is the most comfortable tub I have ever used. Thanks for commenting. Many blessings to you and yours.

Cate said...

I squealed with delight when I saw the purple and green bath. I just told my husband today that my favorite colors are purple and green. We just moved into our home over Christmas. The previous owner painted one accent wall in both the Master and laundry an eggplant color. It is one of the reasons I wanted the house so badly. Keep up the good work, girl. Your little home is coming along nicely. I can't wait to finish unpacking in our little home and then let the decorating begin!

Tonita said...

Hi Cate. I hope you don't think the pictures on this post are the updated photos. They are the demo and before pictures. I have to do a part 2, and a part 3 with the new updates. The wall were green and that old nasty cabinet was dark brown. The colors may show up differently on each computer. But bottom line it was UGLY. As far as purple and greens- I did use those colors throughout my last home but more of a sage green and eggplant or lavender. Anyway - stay tuned for updates where my new bathroom is done in white and gray. Thanks for stopping over this way and have fun decorating your new place.

Linda S. said...

Love your bathroom overhaul story. Can't wait to see the finished result! :-)

Tonita said...

Linda, Glad you stopped by and hope your life is blessed. I will post Part 2 soon.

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Been there done that. It's a lot of work, but so worth it! xoxo Su

Michelle K. said...

Hi Tonita, Elizabeth has been keeping me up to date on all your blogs. I really love the whole shabby chippy vintage eclectic style. The claw foot tub is beautiful and you found a hidden jemthat couldn't have been more perfect if you had ordered it. The little touched you add at the end to decorate just ties it all together beautifully. Love your creativity and the the charm you're putting back into the old farm house.

Tonita said...

Hi Ladies - Thanks for stopping by. For some reason I am not able to respond directly under your comment unless I just happen to catch it before the next comment comes in. Sorry- not trying to ignore you.

Glad you popped in on this mini adventure of mine. Yes, when you find a discarded treasure that fits just within an inch, you know it is meant to be. I am fortunate that way, - as life unfolds there are always gems, if we know what to look for. Elizabeth has been one of those 'gems' that I have come to know through this poorly attended blog. I wish she lived closer. Thanks for the compliments. Blessings.

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

You are one brave woman to tackle that project!! I would have been going out of my mind with all that construction stuff in my kitchen for so long - how did you stand it? It was worth it in the end though, what an amazing transformation!

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