Renovating the Farmhouse Bathroom – Before Pictures

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My first glance at the bathroom in our new house made me happy. That seems like such a funny statement, but I thought the bathroom was huge! It was bigger than any bathroom that we’d ever had before! Even though the house only had one I was actually glad about that…less to clean.

Further inspection of the bathroom before we started the renovation was dismal. The tub was very old (cast iron), the sink was cracked, there was an odd protrusion coming out of the wall and for some reason the only outlet was under the sink inside the vanity.

*I apologize in advance for the lack of many before pictures. We just have what the inspector took so you actually get to see what we looked at before we bought it!

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

The bathroom looks decent from a distance. The flooring actually wasn’t too old. Ok, maybe that’s the only nice thing I have to say about this room! This tub is very old (made from cast iron and SO cold to the touch!) and had the thin shower surround on the walls around it (from experience we’ve had issues with mold behind these). Next to the tub there was a small linen closet which needed some tlc.

There was a big beautiful window in the bathroom but it was an original window so it was very poorly insulated. I did, however, love the funky green color inside of the window sill, it was my inspiration for the kitchen color!

The walls were a tanish pink and they were plaster with many cracks.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

One more reason why the tub had to go…it had this disgusting brown thing stuck to the bottom that wouldn’t come off and you could tell it wasn’t originally brown. Yuck.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

The sink vanity and mirror I’m guessing were from the 70’s, the fixtures appeared newer. It was semi-functional but there was a very large crack in the corner of the sink. Nothing was original, nothing had character.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

This was the weird electrical box under the sink. It was unsafe and not even a real outlet…it was a cheater plug that plugged into another plug behind the wall. There was no shut-off valves on the sink (or on any of the water in the entire house for that matter), hello major electrical hazard!

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

We started by ripping out the shower surround. I liked this linen closet that was in the bathroom but as it stood there was no way to reach the tub plumbing so we had to tear it out to get to that area (there is no crawlspace under this area, the basement is very small).

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

Above the toilet area was this weird bump out in the wall. After removing the plaster we discovered it was the old chimney from the fireplace that used to stand in the kitchen (which is now our dining room). I’m not sure when the fireplace was removed from the house and we aren’t sure why they left the chimney! At first we thought about leaving the bricks exposed but it was in such an awkward place and the mortar was very crumbly.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

There’s the kitchen on the other side of the wall we tore out! After ripping out the lath and plaster we found that this wall was improperly made, the studs were turned the wrong way.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

Here you can see the exposed chimney and the bathroom (this is looking through the wall from the kitchen). What a mess!

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

And now I have a bathroom/kitchen combo….just what I always wanted! This picture was taken just before the rest of the lath was torn out and the plaster from the outside wall removed. We did find insulation in the outside wall with the window which was a nice perk. It was pretty much the only thing salvageable in the bathroom.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

This was the floor after we took the latest layer of linoleum off. It was covered in glues and who knows what else from over the years. We originally did not think it was salvageable but decided to put the effort into scraping it and trying to get it cleaned up.

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

This feather was in the chimney. It fascinates me that it’s burned and charred and probably one of the last things that was ever burned or thrown in this fireplace. I’m not sure if it was from a pen or from a fancy hat….any guesses?

Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

This brick was one that we took out of the chimney. See the fingers prints in it? Those are from when it was made…we thought that was pretty neat. It’s hard to say who made these bricks but since there is nothing stamped on them and there is not (and never was) a brick factory nearby, I would guess that these are handmade by the builder.

Renovating the Farmhouse Bathroom – After Pictures

Farmhouse Renovation Part 1: Moving On
Farmhouse Renovation Part 2: Getting Started

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  1. So much work! We did all this with our previous house-I feel for ya! You mentioned that you have a crawlspace-that’s what we used to have too-is it enough to be a good shelter in a tornado? With Spring storms coming I always think of that, though where I live is a bit worse for tornados than SD. Looking forward to the rest of your story, I love it! 🙂

    1. Part of the basement is large enough to stand up in (where the water heater, well pump, ect are stored) so we will have a safe place there. Chance of toradoes is very high here so a basement was a must have for us. The crawlspace part of the basement is only under the bathroom and a little under the kitchen, it’s very odd…you can tell it was an addition because it looks like someone just dug a cave in the ground!

  2. Although a daunting task in the end you will know everything about your home and it will be personalized. I am really enjoying following this and all the neat pictures. That old brick and the chimney for instance told a story of years gone by. The bathtub, if you are planning any livestock will work perfectly as a water tank or feed bin. A standard sized tennis ball should fit wonderfully as a stopper if needed. Anyway that’s what we used.
    So excited for you guys!

  3. We did this w/5 children underfoot. Took us 7 yrs. but we were debt-free, warm, sheltered, & had plenty of food to eat. It gave us time to find good, but used items (interior doors) etc…Take one day @ a time, don’t give up, it will come together! Enjoy your column…

  4. I love your house! I grew up in one with the wood lathe, and know the character those houses hold! One room at a time, you guys are very lucky!! And, I hope you kept that brick!! Awesome.

  5. Made me stop and think. I could be debt free, but rent, utilities. I know that is not debt free really. Though I would not have car payment, credit card debt, or medical bills.

  6. So, aside from the weird electric box under the sink, no major surprises for a house that age 🙂 LOL …. You are going to learn SO much!

    The old chimney would not be taken out as it would 1) be a lot of work, and 2) not necessary at the time and 3) possibily damage the stability of the structure by removing it…. Things have settled in against it, etc. Sometimes just the top parts are removed, if the roof leaks around them, and the rest of the chimney remains in the attic. Some old houses have 2 or 3 of these discarded chimneys 🙂 Plus a working one – as additions are made to the house. Enjoy the process and take lots of photos! You’ll enjoy looking back at your progress later on!

  7. Wow you are very brave indeed to take on such a job! My hat is off to you! I hope all the renovations go smoothly for you. God Bless your little house!

  8. Nothing I love more than being curled up in bed with the wind raging outside reading about someone who’s not me lugging buckets of plaster to a dumpster. You’ll feel better about your bathroom if you read Daniel from Manhattan Nest’s bathroom demo this week.

    We were going to remove a defunct chimney in our house until we realised it’s a great heat sink for the furnace exhaust.

    One question, though – you had the lino tested for asbestos before you disturbed it?

    1. It wasn’t actually linoleum, there was a new vinyl over the floor and that was covering some kind of weird black glue. I don’t know what they had in there before!

  9. Can’t wait to hear more. Just yesterday we went to look at an older farm house 1843. I was unsure about it but these posts are encouraging, am I am warming up to the idea even with all the work.

  10. Merrisa,i did not get your post, i was so anxious to see the house,i finally did a search & found you- Please please put me back on your e-mail list

  11. I know exactly how you feel. I too renovated an old house into my present home. It was built in 1909. Tearing out walls with all the plaster and dirt is really an experience. It was worth it as it has so much character. We still have one old chimney left that will stay.

  12. Merrisa,
    All I can say to the bath renovation is awesome and great work…. You and hubby can be very proud of your work and all the sweat and tears that went into it but it is just the greatest look that’s all I can say!! Great job..

  13. Funny talk about chimneys! Our 1912 farmhouse had one chimney going up through the walls, from the basement to the roof. My husband and father in law lifted the top 8 feet of our chimney, brick by brick, through the attic. They didn’t collapse it into itself so they could use the empty space to retrofit an A/C duct. We bought our farmhouse from a man who did what you are doing, so most of the dirty work was already done for us. I enjoy your progress reports, Merissa.

  14. I wonder if the feather is from a bird that got stuck in the chimney. We have a fireplace and wood burning furnace in our house and we get birds that somehow get through the cap (which has a mesh covering all around it) and fall down the chimeny and get into the wood burner. We periodically have to open the clean-out so they can escape in the summer otherwise we’d have dead birds in our firebox or live birds flying around in our basement. Just a thought.