• August 18, 2006

Before: Upstairs Bathroom

Our bungalow bathroom needs lots of work

Bathrooms, Before and After

Taken from the second bedroom/office looking into the bathroom. The door on the opposite side of the room leads to the back hallway. The smaller door is for a built-in linen closet.

The floor was covered in vinyl tiles and old linoleum. The linoleum appeared to date around 1920-1930s and must have been glued down with some old fashioned version of superglue because it was horrible to get up. The floor was black around the toilet and tub due to some serious water damage, so I stained the floor a dark walnut color for now.

Closer view of the linen closet door. It might be difficult to tell but the plaster wall to the right of the linen closet is scored to resemble subway tile. Notice the big crack in the ceiling above the linen closet. There are huge cracks all along the ceiling.

The walls were painted none too carefully before we purchased the house. The paint has peeled off in the past few years. It appears that the plaster color was originally left natural, the woodwork was painted a muted gold color (I often see it referred to as ‘wheat’ in modern paint samples), and the ceiling was a vibrant green color. The second bedroom/office walls were painted the same green color as the bathroom ceiling.

The bathtub and wall tiles appear to date from the late 1940s – early 1950s. We assume there was originally a clawfoot tub. The daughter of our home’s second owner told us that the house did not originally have a shower. Her family added a shower downstairs off the back porch. That area had been gutted when we bought the house. We now use it for our washer and dryer.

Our idea was to add a clawfoot tub with a shower attachement, but It has been pointed out that it might be difficult to get a clawfoot tub shower enclosure/curtain rod to fit into the available space because of the slanted ceiling. I’m not sure what we will end up doing?

Our duplex apartment from the 1930′s had a bath tub and a seperate shower stall which I loved, but no room for something like that in our 6ft x 12ft space.

We are fairly certain the bathroom originally had a high-tank toilet based on the holes in the floor. I found the outline of a wall hung sink. The pedestal sink in the photo is from our old duplex apartment and dates from the 1930s. The property manager was throwing the sink out so we grabbed it.

The strange thing is how high the medicine cabinet is placed. When I look in the mirror I can only see my eyes and I’m average height. I wonder how tall the original owners were?

Photo taken looking into the second bedroom/office.

One of my favorite things about the bathroom is the woodwork. The mint green register grate matches the others in the house, and was salvaged from Liz’s Antique Hardware located on Le Brea Ave. It needs to be stripped.

Comments { 12 }
  1. Beth

    Loving these shots.
    I know you guys probably already thought of this, but would it be possible to put a shower in that area where the linen closet and small hallway to the other bedroom are? Would that mess with the other bedroom and just take away what I imagine is a much-needed closet?
    I’m also guessing you could get a clawfoot/shower in if you moved the tub, but then, of course, you’d have to move the tub…and the toilet…and the sink, which would start to get ridiculous.

  2. Kevin

    Perhaps your slanted ceiling won’t let you fit in a clawfoot shower enclosure that’s the entire length of the tub, but why not a less-than-tub-length shower ‘ring’? (clawfootsupply.com has some examples.) They look like they might be a little claustrophobic, but it’d beat a modern-style Home Depot tub+shower enclosure …

  3. Dave

    Your base boards and doors are the same design as my 1916 craftsman bungalow… im also in LA area. We just moved in and I need to find two similar style doors… would you have any idea where I can look? Also, since our base boards look identical… im curious how they did it? On some places of mine, they seem to be sinking into the wall (slightly). Did they start the bottom of the wall from the base board up? Thanks!

    Looks like a great bathroom BTW. I think it will be fun to fix up!

  4. heather

    Hi Dave! Congratulations on your house.

    If you are looking for doors the place to go is Santa Fe Wrecking Co. They are a salvage yard located downtown and they have rows of doors.

    Santa Fe Wrecking Co.
    1600 S. Santa Fe Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90021
    ph: 213.623.3119
    url: http://www.santafewrecking.com

    My guess is that someone added a coat of plaster on your walls with out removing the baseboard, perhaps to hide cracks in the plaster, etc.

    We are missing a few baseboards upstairs. I noticed the plaster behind where the baseboards would go is thinner, but it goes all the way to the floor. I’m pretty certain the walls were plastered first and the wood trim was added later.

    Good luck with your house!

  5. Christy

    Hi! I’ve lived in my 1925 one-story bungalow for one year this weekend.My house was “rehabbed” a few years before I bought it-vinyl siding, replacement windows, & carpet over the hardwood. I found the remains of a burn pile in the backyard where the original doors were burned, complete with original hardware.They were replaced with unpainted hollow-core doors. Thankfully three of the closet doors were left . I was looking for ideas for my kitchen when I found your site.My tub is exactly the same as yours- the bathroom was added on after the house was built, but I don’t know how much later. I already owned an American Standard sink like the one in the picture with a 1925 date code (if I can get it from my ex-husband) that I’d like to install.Seeing your photos gives me hope, as all of my woodwork and the two remaining fireplaces are painted white. I want to restore my house as close to its original appearance as possible.Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Ana

    Funny you should mention how tall the previous owners may have been . . . we finally had our bathroom finished by our handyman who is over 6 feet tall and for some reason everything in the room is set to accomodate taller people. I’m 5′ 2″. Oh well. BTW, the sink that came out was a shorter Kohler (they come standard 36″ nowadays) original to the house and dated 1925. It has made it’s way to our garden and hold our hose. I’m hoping it will make it’s way back into the house in one of the other bathrooms. I’m so happy you are back to posting more regularly, I love looking at your house.

  7. Amy Leubuscher

    I am looking for ways to hang a shoawer curtain on a slanted wall for a shower that is on the second floor of our bungalow in the eaves of the home. Looks alot like yours. Any suggestions?

  8. heather

    Hi Amy.

    I saved an article written by Bill at Enon Hall for the same reason. He used a system of “trailer molding” and boat canvas in his shower with extremely slanted walls. It’s the July 5, 2004 entry, read about it here:



  9. rachel

    Hi – I am also looking to install a glass sliding or hinged door on a very similar tub/shower with a very similar slant. In one house I did see the owners suspend a bar from the ceiling with wire – the bar was cut to fit the angle and the curtain was hung on that – I was looking for something that looked a little nicer! Thanks for any input.

  10. Henry

    Hi Heather,

    I’m not sure if you’re still reading comments on posts this old, but I thought I’d mention that the “vibrant green” paint that you mentioned might not originally have been green. I grew up in a 200+ year old house where all of the paint that dated from 1915 or so through the 40′s had turned that exact shade of green–due to the oxidation of the lead in it. Take caution if/when stripping it just in case!


  11. erene baltimore

    We are remodeling our bungalow also. I’m in the process of tearing up old linoleum floor. What product did you use to remove the adhesive?

    • Heather

      We soaked old rags and paper towels in HOT water (a good amount, they need to be sopping) and covered the floor with them. We left it sitting overnight. The adhesive came up super easy the next day with a putty knife and scraper. It just rolled up off the floor like butter. We had different linoleum on our porch and this process didn’t work for that. That ended up being pure elbow grease, sand paper and days of hell. I think the adhesive in the bathroom was older and water was the perfect solvent. Several people we know have tried this with success…but it doesn’t work for every situation.

If you would like to select an image to appear next to your comment, go to Gravatar.