Vintage Home Renovation #1: From Broom Closet to Half Bath

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Blog entry by John Smith posted 12-22-2017 05:17 PM 1467 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
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My parents built our Family Homestead in 1963. Both were natural wood enthusiasts.
the 3 bedroom, one bath house was purchased from Jim Walter Homes as just the shell.
My parents, friends and family members installed the wiring, 3/8” drywall, wood paneling, and so forth.
the family consisted of Mother, Father and 3 boys in their early teen years. The land was
5 acres waaaayyyyyyy out in the woods on a dirt road not far from where Disney World is now.
my father was a mechanic in the citrus industry fixing anything mechanical that needed fixing.
he made a table saw in his mechanic’s garage that had a flat top, miter gauge and a 1/4 hp
washing machine motor. between him and my mother, the whole house was covered in knotty pine
T&G boards and real wood paneling. it was beautiful for 30 years. then it became very dated
compared to the newer homes being built around us. but we kept it up with yearly cleanings.
after my parents passed, I inherited the Homestead and the only way that my two younger brothers
could get their “share” of the property was to sell it. I moved into the home and started what was to
become a 5 year project with landscaping, total electrical replacement, new power in from a 50 amp service
to a 200 amp service. a complete gut job – room by room. whole new bath. just like the shows on TV
that flip houses for a business in 30 days. I did the same thing in 5 years. (I was not in a hurry).
the first project was how to put in a half bath toilet. yeah, only one bath with two adults and 3 boys.
there was no way we could get a decent price for it still “stuck in the sixties”. so it had to be brought
up to 21st Century codes and cosmetically appreciated by today’s “Yuppies”.

so – first project: where to put a toilet in a house that was not designed to have one??
the whole house got new drywall, windows, doors, trim and paint. that is why it looks so fresh now.

I got a copy of the code book that covered the dimensions of a toilet and sink.
then the deconstruction and rebuilding was pretty straight forward carpenter work.
the only snag was the sink. with the tight dimensions, the sink was the most problematic to meet code.
I scoured the internet and local sources for a nice looking 12” sink. considering the bowl type and everything.
since I am a sign maker, I had a lot of High Density Urethane Foam on hand and had the ability and tools
to carve just about anything, this is what I came up with…........
I took the lid off my turkey roaster pan, removed the handle, wrapped it with Saran Wrap and fiberglassed
a copy of the lid, which as you know is a nice oval shape.
then with an assortment of grinders and sanders, it looked nice. then I fabricated the table to fit the
space to where it was to go and fiberglassed it together to make one complete sink.
I sort of left the sculpture marks in it so people would KNOW that it was a handcrafted work of art.
some automotive primer and Rust-Oleum gloss enamel paint – it was done. found the nickle finish faucet
at the Habitat Restore for $8.00 and the shorty toilet was free as a “curb find”.
I would estimate the cost of materials for the whole project was less than $200.00 total.

THANK YOU for reading !!!



-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

1 comment so far

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3969 days

#1 posted 12-23-2017 02:26 PM

Looks very good John. It always feels great to take something worn and make it new again, especially one’s own home. I have to admit though that as much as I love the results, I hate home remodeling/renovation work. I’ve either been on a ladder or crawling around on the floor for hours at a time or worse yet, pouring and smoothing concrete or building with cement blocks. In my shop I normally don’t get higher or lower than my work surfaces. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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