The first 20th century bathroom installed in The Vail House occupied half of what is now our kitchen. A wall once divided that room in two and the side containing the fireplace became the kitchen. We believe this occurred about 1940 or 50 and resulted in the sewer pipe hole that ruined the basement joist I discussed in an earlier post.
In the 1960’s a small bedroom or nursery directly above the foyer was remodeled as a bathroom in a canary yellow color scheme. It was virtually unchanged when we moved in: yellow floor, yellow walls, yellow sinks, yellow toilet, and yellow cabinets. This room still seems the best suited for the role of bathroom but as pipes can’t be buried in our exterior rubble fill walls, it does necessitate leaving in place the sewer pipe running down the corner of our foyer to the left of the front door sidelights.
In the spring of 2012 we committed ourselves to tackling the bathroom after having shelved ambitious projects since the arrival of our baby. This was the first room that entailed significant demolition and we embarked on it more at the mercy of a contractor than on any previous project. We left the locations of fixtures unaltered but everything in the room would be replaced.
Although we did not have the budget required to historically recreate an exact Edwardian bathroom with all period salvage, something suitable for use in a period film, we sought to evoke the feel of “The Sanitary Era”, circa 1910, with lots of white tile and nickel. Our goal was to imagine what the room could have looked like had a bathroom been added there in the early twentieth century. Just how close we would come to making it appear convincing, and finding a contractor capable of comprehending this, was the challenge.