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Musings on a Mini-Renovation

This morning at the Hampshire Regional Y, whilst ellipting next to a friend, our conversation turned to the ever-popular topic of  renovations - in this case, our mutual bathroom renovations.  We own a 1926 Colonial Revival in the Smith College neighborhood in downtown Northampton, MA.  Great bones, as they say, beautiful moldings, solid and stately - with original 12 over 12 windows, a lovely screened-in porch, many bedrooms and three full baths (all oddly located on the second floor).  This is not something that has been an issue for our family - but we realize that the general public prefers not to walk up a flight of stairs in order to use the bathroom.  To that end, we have decided to convert a large closet on the first floor into a half bathroom.

I love renovations!  It's so much fun to pick out the fixtures, the paint color, the tile (when appropriate) and to see your vision come to life as the project progresses.  This is, assuming your plumber, electrician and carpenter show up to do the work, but that's another story.  In my case, I don't have much pre-planning to do with regard to architecture, flooring, backsplashes, etc.  We have a finite space, in which we need to fit a toilet, a sink and one new light fixture.  The floors are oak, the walls are plaster, the moldings are in good shape.  Happily, the space this 1/2 bath will inhabit seems as if it was made for the purpose.  I went to Home Depot, found a perfectly suitable toilet and sink, and I have a nice Ikea light fixture left over from one of my many trips to that dreamy blue and yellow toy store for grown ups (bonus that this item, which has been hiding in my basement, now has a purpose!  See, I did have to buy it).


This image from Apartment Therapy closely mimics our new 1/2 bath (minus the window).

My friend has a different type of renovation to consider.  She lives in a smokin' mid-century split level ranch.  It's a great house, with fantastic outdoor space.  They have lived with the house "as is" for awhile now, and have decided that it's time to update one of the 3 well-placed full baths in her house.  The idea is to strip away some of the less attractive 1970's style design choices that were made before she owned the home.  Dropped ceiling, dated wallpaper, taupe tub and surround, shiny (not in a good way) tile, and bad lighting.  They are raising the ceiling, putting in a window to add more light, purchasing a supremely attractive and efficient toilet, and investing in a deeper tub.  She also gets to update her tile and paint color choices, allowing her to do something fun, like this....


Ahhh, white subway tile, how do I love thee...

So, while trends can change more quickly than the seasons.  Let's hope that both of us are making value added updates to our beloved homes.  It's hard to imagine that anyone, in 20 years, would look at either of these two bathrooms as gaudy, dated or otherwise unappealing.  But, hey, you never know.

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