Bringing a Modern Country Look to an Old Farmhouse Bathroom

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Florida, August 2016 – Before and afters are such a fun part of design, reminiscing the old and celebrating the new. A country farmhouse with a vintage guest bathroom had an abundance of character, but not a lot of space to work with! It started out very dark, and the tile and fixtures were beyond outdated. The bathroom even had a raised fiberglass shower, pull chain toilet, and clawfoot tub. Can someone say retro!

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I wanted to keep the farmhouse feel in the above photos, but modernize it for our family today. So, I decided to keep the clawfoot tub (so much character!), and it can serve as a shower and tub. However, I did refinish the tub and paint the outside the same color as the vanity. Side note: cast iron tubs are heavy! Thankfully, my sweet husband came to my aid!

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After I’d clawed my way through refinishing the tub (sorry for the pun, I couldn’t help myself!), I brought in modern country accents, like this vanity and Kohler toilet.

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I really wanted to keep the pull chain toilet, but it just wasn’t practical. The flush was so powerful that it would spray water on the wall above the tank–and I already live with 3 boys, so I don’t need additional bathroom messes! My 4 year-old son missed his old toilet “where the water came down from the top”, so I got him a Kohler LED light up toilet seat, which he is thrilled with! In addition, because the bathroom doesn’t have windows for added natural light, I selected light neutral colors to brighten it up.

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You’ll notice the paint is gorgeous, and yes, my clothes are all stained now. However, I have a gorgeous bathroom now, so the trade off is fine by me! The wall paint is Benjamin Moore China White, the tub is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, and the trim is Benjamin Moore Simply White- and it’s simply fantastic

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Seattle Bark Wood lookalike porcelain flooring

Architectural Ceramics was my top choice for tile because I really love the new trend of wood lookalike porcelain. We chose the 8×48 Seattle White Bark Field Tile for the floors, which also really helped brighten the room.

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The toilet is the Kohler Wellsworth Round Toilet 14″ Rough In, and the tub is Pegasus 3 Handle Clawfoot Tub Faucet. We used the Delta 8″ Widespread Sink Faucet, and Martha Stewart Seal Harbor Sharkey Gray Vanity with Top.

DIY Remodeling Tips I Learned Along the Way

Know your Toilet Rough In (the distance between the center of the toilet drain to the wall): Measure this distance to make sure you purchase the right toilet. The measure it again. And one more time. The standard rough in is 12”; however, I had to buy a 14” rough in because our drain was set out further from the wall. It was a rough day.

Variation in vanity heights affect your sink supply & drain lines: A lot of newer vanities seem to be taller than older vanities, so the supply and drain lines are too low if you select a vanity with an open shelf on the bottom like I did. Some special plumbing needs to be done to accommodate this change. Fun times.

Razor blade between paint and painters tape: I made the mistake of not using a razor blade between the paint and the painter’s tape, which meant some paint peeled off. There are some good tips here for using painters tape properly. I wish I’d read that article before I started!

Grout Sealer: When I was remodeling my kitchen a while back, I didn’t seal my kitchen grout in time-big mistake! I still wish I would have, so this time around I wasn’t missing it by a minute! I sealed the grout on the floors before the bathroom was used and it only took me 8 minutes to do the entire floor. Well worth the 8 minutes, trust me.

Clawfoot tubs: They are sort of a hassle to hook up. I’m not going to lie. The character is amazing, but the work is…work. The plumber I called to quote hooking it up said it would be $500 to $600…no thank you! I’ve been doing the majority of this remodel by myself to save money, so we definitely didn’t go that route. We ended up getting a friend in construction to hook it up instead.

The best part is that there are Youtube videos out there on how to do literally everything.  By watching an instructional video, I learned how to take down a wall, remove a toilet, and essentially demo the entire bathroom on my own. However, after the demo was done and we had saved a lot of money, I decided to rely on the experts to help me put the bath back together. A mom’s gotta sleep sometime, you know!

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By Christina Ginn, Vice President of Product and Marketing at Architectural Ceramics, Inc. Christina is a Florida resident with an awesome hubby and two beautiful boys. For any questions, please email christina@architecturalceramics.com. 

5 thoughts on “Bringing a Modern Country Look to an Old Farmhouse Bathroom”

  1. Working with tiles is always a task
    I would design this room with tiled floors in patterns , because the style is country and most floors are just left white or without patterns.
    I lived on the beach for many years, and patterns somehow help to develop associations with areas that do not own on them : mountains or valleys.
    I do not see any land areas in the home or near it , so I might have to take my ideas back. I just hope I am wrong there.
    I also love Ceiling designs as well.

  2. Installing a modern tile does seem like one of the easier and quicker ways to update a bathroom. I like that in the example photos you have the traditional tub paired with the modern tiles. That seems like a great thing to do.

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