Inspiration in the Lowliest of Places
When we paid a visit to our friend/neighbor/sort-of-aunt Judy the other day at her 1904 home - Greek Revival on the outside, Victorian on the inside - I'm sure she didn't expect me to run home for the camera and then spend long minutes hanging out in her upstairs bathroom snapping photos of everything from the toilet to the light fixture.
Good thing Judy is one of the kindest, most understanding people I know. Also good thing she is a tidy person! I can't imagine what horrors would be captured on film if someone burst into my bathroom with a camera.
Judy's whole house is a Victorian showcase, and I'll be posting more about it later. Of all the beautiful rooms, my favorite is the bathroom. It's similar in size and basic layout to ours - probably 8 x 14 compared with our 7 x 12 and with a window in one end and a door at the other, with the main entrance door in one side wall. It has wood floors like ours, though hers are not painted, and beadboard, though hers is the more desirable vertical, shoulder-height kind with a shallow window-ledge type thing capping it.
The sink is a tiny wall-hung with separate faucets (the kind that was in my dorm room in college), totally unobtrusive and purely functional. The clawfoot tub has no shower. The toilet is an old-fashioned model - I'd guess 1930s but haven't researched it yet. The rest of the room is furnished with wood furniture, tables, a chair and a dresser, laden with Victorian decorative items. The lighting is a startling black and white Art Deco pendant that adds a touch of whimsy.
The bathroom has a rustic, sparse, old-fashioned quality that I love. When you walk through the door, you could be stepping back in time. There are no jarring modern items to remind you when you really are.
That's what I want for our bathroom, though it will be more difficult to do with an everyday main bathroom vs. an infrequently used upstairs bathroom like this one. How can you capture that old-time feeling when you're staring at a row of plastic containers and a blow dryer?
Judy's bathroom has awakened my old perspective on our renovation. Couldn't we just do a simple sink and separate furniture as I originally planned?
The more I look at my current-getting ready station in the half bath - the countertop littered with mounds of hair stuff, lotions, makeup, jewelry - I realize even a bit of counterspace around a sink will never work. Sink vanities never have much storage because the sink takes up so much room in them. Within a week, the new countertop will turn into a giant junk heap.
I think I need a separate vanity after all - and I mean the kind you sit at - with lots of little drawers to put away all my beautifying devices. And wouldn't I feel such the Victorian lady sitting at a vanity with all my potions and tonics spread out around me?
I know I keep vascillating, and that must be terribly irritating. Heck, I'm annoying myself. But last night I had a dream I was walking through someone else's bathroom renovation, and asking where they got their marble countertop. Maybe that's a sign. Maybe what I want is a marble wall-hung sink, as discussed previously, with maybe a shelf underneath for towels.
Or maybe porcelain is good enough. Judy is planning to replace the toilet and sink in her bathroom with reproductions and has promised them to me if I want them. What do you think? A 70-year-old toilet sounds good to me!