Challenge Accepted!

I have neighbors across the street who are absolutely intent on not only preserving the integrity of their adorable bungalow but also keeping the vintage fixtures and the quirkiness of said bungalow. I applaud their enthusiasm but this kind of total dedication can be a designer’s worst nightmare.

For example, when faced with a plumbing issue they chose to have many a plumber try to fix it rather than replace it with a new sink and faucet. They were so insistent this problem could be solved without taking out their vintage sink or faucet that they were willing to go to any length to make it work. Because their enthusiasm can be contagious, I fell right into their trap!

I love a good challenge, but often these challenges involve my beleaguered husband who often helps me work these things out. Now, before I go further I will say these neighbors are pretty handy themselves and are often right about what can be accomplished around the house. My husband is not as optimistic as me or the neighbors but he obliges anyway and that is how we got into this little project.

After much discussion about trading out the old faucet with another old, albeit better-looking faucet, it was decided we should just trade the entire sink out. The neighbors had found another vintage sink and faucet they intended to use for parts, so we went about the business of switching the sinks. Of course there was a wrinkle immediately. Attached towel bars as well as the bracket on the wall did not line up and it was hours before we could get it installed.

I say “we,” but it was truly my husband who accomplished this. Then at the moment of truth, after getting both hot and cold water to run, the sink would not drain. A tinge of panic came over me and then he got that taken care of also. I really should appreciate him more.

Now that they have a new, smaller sink, there may be room for some storage! In a stroke of genius I remembered I had an old vanity in my garage.  Yep, that’s how I roll, and yes, I just patted myself on my back. I never took a before picture but this is something similar to what I started with…..this one is in much better shape but you get the idea.

I grabbed the Skilsaw my husband left in the kitchen and started dismantling this vanity to create 2 small side tables, just wide enough to fit on either side of the new smaller sink. I also had a couple pieces of old marble laying around  (yes. I do), and I asked my husband to cut one to fit on top of the 2 tables. Did I say I need to appreciate him more?

After measuring to make sure they would fit, I presented them to the neighbors and told them I got it this far, they would have to paint them and put them in. In a flash, my neighbor got right on that and got them in place, except for one little wrinkle (again with the wrinkles) the piece of marble closest to the wall would not quite fit because the wall is a little out of square. After a little grinding it dropped in and this is what the new and improved (yet still retaining all its character and quirkiness) bathroom looks like…..

I am probably as proud of this as I am of the last kitchen I put in because this truly reflects the homeowner and it took every ounce of ingenuity from all 3 of us to bring this together. It may seem like a little project, but when considering they had been waiting years to get this bathroom the way they want it, this little project is just as important as any big renovation. Because in the end it’s not just about functionality, but how it makes you feel. I know it’s cliche but does it bring you joy? I think this one does.

Nancy Bradley photo

Nancy bradley

I consult, design, and remodel spaces that reflect the homeowner’s lifestyle and budget by getting the cost question out of the way and really listening to what my client wants and how much they have set aside for their project.