Jean designs a super groovy new bathroom — step #1 in her ‘basement bunker’ transformation

Perhaps the next best thing to a well-maintained time capsule bathroom is a … blank canvas? Setting that annoying issue of money aside, don’t we all dream about creating new retro bathrooms — from scratch? Jean had pretty much this opportunity — the old shower was made of cinder blocks — so she took the whole thing down and designed and installed a new “super groovy” bathroom into the “basement bunker” in her 1951 house. Let’s take a look inside the new, wee loo — and like all wonderful Retro Renovators, Jean shares her complete list of resources, too >> 

Jean writes:

Hi Pam! I’m the owner a a sweet little Weyerhauser #4144 house from 1951, and we have been renovating it for a couple years now. Your site has been such an inspiration and resource I can’t begin to thank you. I am ready to share some photos of recently finished projects and before and afters. 

Finally finished the “bunker’ basement bathroom. It started as a bad 70’s makeshift bathroom with questionable brown floor vinyl and cinderblock shower. There was no sink! It had to be gutted to replumb for new drains.

vintage bathroom vanity
Pam says: Note our stories on Satin Glide vanities — very similar to what Jean created.

The vanity was designed by me, built by my better half. 

The door is a salvaged five-panel that we sanded, cut out the panels and inserted some free scraps of a resin plexiglass from 3form that a local glass cutter had leftover from a big job. We had enough to do five doors in the basement, and what a difference it made in that dark space!

Many more pictures to come from [the other projects in] our little 1951 Weyerhauser #4144 atomic prize of a home.

Jean’s resource list for her basement bathroom remodel:

  • Vanity: Custom-design and DIY-built vanity covered with: Wilsonart “Field Daisy” laminate, trimmed with aluminum trim from M-D Building Products through Home Depot. Tapered feet from a flea market find finished with Heywood-Wakefield champagne stain
  • Bathroom sink: New hudee-rimmed Kohler Tahoe sink from Home Depot. Pam notes: You also can get this sink from Amazon (affiliate link). “We tried to use a vintage blue drop in sink with hudee ring found on eBay, but the rust and possible leaks scared us off,” Jean said.
  • Faucet: Union Brass faucet from Locke Plumbing
  • New Rangaire mirrored cosmetic box from Faucet Warehouse. Also available on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Flea market find etched mirror.
  • Pendant light from Kichler “Sabine”- Lowes
  • Field tile off the shelf from Lowes and Home Depot. The color tiles came from Daltile, and the black matte hexagon floor tiles from AmericanFastFloors.
  • Toilet — “The toilet is the original 1950’s American Standard that I fought to keep,” Jean said.
  • Toilet seat — The silver flecked acrylic toilet seat is made by Ginsey – standard Deluxe Silver Foil with chrome hardware through Amazon (affiliate link).
  • Shelf above the toilet — “The shelf is a piece of a salvaged cracked ice cabinet top, and we have been using these cracked ice tops in many custom pieces throughout the project.”
  • Shower enclosure — “The shower is a custom enclosure, just the perfect size for this small bathroom. I wanted to bring in as much light, glass, and reflecting surfaces to make it feel less tight.”

What a delightful little space, Jean. Thank you for so generously sharing it with us — and greedily, I look forward to seeing more of your basement (and other room) transformation soon!

Want more inspiration from real-life retro bathroom remodels:

    1. Jean says:

      Megan, I know what you mean! Weird how just the right combo works together to evoke a feeling. Maybe its the daisies, maybe the colors…Exactly whatI was going for! Thanks!

  1. Amy Allsopp says:

    This is simply the cutest! Such a delightful transformation, and inspiration for possibly adding a bathroom to our 1946 basement.

    1. Jean says:

      Thanks Amy, I feel like I doubled my living space by transforming the basement. Its the perfect guest suite now and I’m not embarrassed to have people down there.

  2. Jean says:

    Es, thank you! Steve and I make an awesome design team, we solve each little problem together because we both bring different skills to the project. I think I have a sketch of the floor plan somewhere. It is pretty small, though, and in the shape of an “L”. I mean really small. I was standing on the toilet to take the pic of the sink, and in the shower stall for the one of the toilet.

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