Archive for July, 2014

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You know, our yellow bathroom really could have been fine. Except for the fact that somewhere along the line–probably only 10 or 15 years after it was built, someone decided to spruce it up a bit. The resulting mismash of disparate yellows, precarious mirrors, contact paper and plastic wall panels have not aged well. Through the excavations, we’ve discovered some traces of what the original 1967 version would have looked like. I think it would have been a lot like this, which I really find quite charming.

As I’ve mentioned, the floor tiles that we inherited are actually wall tiles in a hideous striation of yellows that don’t go with the other yellows. They’re glossy, treacherous, and just weird.

converging yellows

converging yellows

Underneath the fried egg vanities—which have been banished—we found a corner of the original mosaic floor.

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There’s also a spot where a medicine cabinet used to be (in the middle of the wall) and signs that the original sink was a smaller single fixture—I suspect it was a wall mounted sink (and probably yellow). I probably would have liked it. I certainly would have liked it more than the decaying plywood vanities they chose as a replacement.

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I’m going to see if we can scrape up some of these little tiles. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but I like the traces of what used to be.

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Here’s a slice of the original metallic wallpaper–the brown streaks are glue from the layers of stuff that were applied on top during that last unfortunate renovation.

We’re not going to be reapplying any metallic wallpaper, but finding the traces of the original sink and floor tile makes me think that I’m on the right track with the replacements that I’ve chosen–a pedestal sink and small-scale floor tile. We won’t be able to recreate the yellow floor mosaic (though people certainly have worked to source rooms full of vintage replacement tile), but it’s reassuring to see that the new pieces are in line with the originals in terms of scale and placement.

I will not miss the yellow toilet.


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If it’s true that the kitchens and baths sell a house… then I’m not quite sure how we ended up with this house.

All glammed up in the listing photos.

All glammed up in the listing photo

Ok, I know exactly why we bought this house–it’s right around the corner from my job, the lot is lovely, the layout is spacious, and, furthermore, there just weren’t that many options.

I like this house. Despite its shocking lack of turrets (my ideal mid-century is really a century earlier), I might even be getting to love it, though the ice dams and roof leaks tempered my affections this winter. And really, I’m glad that nobody cherry-cabinet-ed and granite counter-ed the kitchen before we got to it.

But this living museum has started to break down a bit; after decades of limited use (the original owner was in her nineties when she sold it to us), things are creaking and cracking under the pressure of their new workload.

We can talk about the kitchen more another day–or another year, if I keep up with my current blogging pace. Things are in full swing around here; spurred on by some drywall damage during the aforementioned ice dam attack, walls are coming down in just about every room.

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10552428_894286201142_826812822440986557_n the mirrors came (all the way) down today after barely clinging for the last few months/decades

Our house has two bathrooms–the yellow is a full bathroom off the hallway in the bedroom wing of the house, and there’s a small and largely unremarkable 3/4 bath occupying a closet-like nook in the master bedroom (which you will recognize by virtue of its alarming wallpaper).

the mini-master bath: a tale for another day.

the mini-master bath: a tale for another day. (eek)

I do have some affection for the yellow bathtub. But I have none for the yellow egg-yolk sinks, none for the slippery yellow wall tile that’s been masquerading as floor tile, none the alarming yellow toilet, and none for the (wait for it) yellow wallpaper. Which is actually contact paper (ugh).*

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As for the tub and the tile surround–should I start a new chapter of this?–I don’t hate it. Ricky has fond memories of being bathed in a similar tub when he was a child, the tile is in good shape, and it certainly suits the era of the house. In Madison, I kept the old cast iron tub (it was white…) and replaced only the tile; I learned that these old tubs are mostly nicer than the replacement options. They are deep; they hold the heat well. And they are very, very heavy to move.

So our plan for the yellow bathroom is to gut everything except for the tub and tile surround. The double vanity is going to be replaced by a single pedestal sink; there’s a huge linen closet next to the tub, so we don’t need the storage. The extra sink only gathers dust because we never use them at the same time. I chose something vintage-y for the floor, but I’m a bit anxious about how it will all come together.

My hope is that by swapping out some of the scary yellow fixtures, we can work with the tub and make the room look like a better version of its own vintage. This is my dream, which will, of course, be tempered by a touch of bumblebee in our reality.

The idea of getting rid of the tub actually made me feel a twinge of anticipatory regret/guilt; we’ll see how I feel in a few weeks.

Please forgive me for any typos contained herein; whilst the baby naps, I type furiously. These days, it’s either bad writing or none.


*One wonders what Charlotte Perkins Gilman would have had to say about yellow contact paper; it’s so much more sinister. I think there’s a conference paper in there somewhere.

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