top of page

One Room Challenge - Family Bathroom

Friends, here we are. The conclusion of our One Room Challenge family bathroom in our 1888 Victorian. Like all old homes, the underpinnings were a bit of a disaster. They've been shored up and nicely, with all the pretty stuff on top, and now we have a fantastic new space that really functions for our crew. You can see all the details at the end of this post, with links to previous weeks' summaries and photos of the entire process.

Any house built in 1888 did not originally have a space for a modern bath, so it's always cobbled together unless the home has been gutted for modern living. This room is particularly strange, with a vaulted ceiling. Other than that it's a good size for an older home. It was very poorly laid out, however, with a large "Roman tub" taking up most of the space and no storage. We shifted the layout slightly so everything made more sense, got rid of the dysfunctional tub, and created a space with storage and style that makes me smile every time I come up the stairs.

We had made some interim changes to the original room above, adding a glass door so the room wasn't flooded, switching the pedestal sink for a small vanity, and painting over the mint green to tone down the 80's color scheme. I know peach is the color of the year now, but it wasn't working here.

Same view, today. Look at all that space. The whole room feels so easy to be in and navigate without constantly bumping our shins on that giant tub while brushing our teeth.

We had three structural concerns to work around in this space - a chimney on one end, a small bump out for venting that ran behind the toilet, and the 16' (why??) vaulted ceiling.

The toilet area was the easiest fix. We knew we weren't going to move the toilet, so we worked the second one into a small wall to end the tub and give a bit of privacy. It also allowed us to place a niche that was convenient for tub and shower access.

The chimney was a little more challenging to problem-solve. As you can see below it goes up through the tallest part of that 16' vaulted ceiling. After a lot of math and drawings, we landed on running the plumbing in that space and then building open shelves for storage in front of that.

It's not huge, but in an old house with no closets, this storage addition adds a ton of function.

Our final challenge was balancing that 16' tall vaulted ceiling and making the space feel like it made sense. We did that by running that gorgeous dark green tile (Chloe from Bedrosians) all around the space for wainscoting, but at a taller than usual height. Because the ceilings are so tall, that wainscoting is at the 5' mark, rather than where it would usually be - around 36-48".

Speaking of function, having a 48" vanity has been a game-changer. We paired the vanity with a vintage noodle cart and together it's been so nice to have a place to put everything while keeping the countertop clear. The vanity is a stock piece from Wayfair that we upgraded with a custom counter and backsplash. The noodle cart holds daily necessities that can be annoying to keep put away in drawers, as well as TP and feminine necessities. I picked this up from local treasure House 15, but you can find similar items on Etsy and eBay.

So there you have it. Sources and details are below, as well as links to the whole process if you want to see how everything came together.


Custom marble counter and backsplash designed by KMI, fabricated by Becker Works

Plumbing Fixtures - all Brizo


Construction - MB Remodeling


To catch up on our plans check out previous posts on instagram. Week 1, and Week 3 and story highlights. Weeks 4 and 5 of the One Room Challenge have been I what refer to as the Money Pit weeks, particularly when working in an older home like this 1888 Victorian. The week after demo when all the issues and weird choices of previous owners have been revealed and you learn just how much of that contingency will be needed to get things up to code. And goodness, did we have some issues.

Up first, the expected. We knew there was plumbing in the exterior wall that we wanted out, but we didn't expect hidden shut-off valves in that wall. We were glad to see that it was all copper. We knew the basement had been upgraded but weren't sure if there were copper risers up to the second floor. Degraded/missing insulation is also pretty typical. And expected some floor joist damage, but having just 2" left on a couple of them was not a great find.

What we didn't expect was an entire tiled, concrete shower pan under the existing weird tub situation. So that was fun.

We also didn't expect to find FIVE layers of wall. Drywall, drywall, plywood, plaster, lathe. Why? Who knows.

In between looking at all the chaos we needed to fix, I went to my fabricator to look at marble remnants for the vanity top. Totally scored with this Carrera marble slab that the owner was only using a portion of for another project. This will be a gorgeous update to our budget vanity.

I also started gathering some of the accessories for this space - bath mat, counter organization, etc. Adding in some vintage unexpected items - like a chinese noodle cart that will serve as storage. Now that we're through the worst of this I'm ready for it to all come together!

Back in demo world - all the old plumbing was pulled so there isn't anything in the wall that will unexpectedly leak. Removed the extra concrete shower pan. Sistered all the joists so that everything is sound.

Then things began going back together. New plumbing and electric were run to their new locations. Subfloor went in and the tub was framed. All 16 feet of the new wall went up on the ridiculously vaulted ceiling.

The tub was framed and installed, dura rock is up and everything is ready for tilling in week 6. Things are really rocking now! Next week should see some pretty updates as we head into the home stretch.


bottom of page