Kris Smith
About Author
April 20, 2018

A Fresh New Space with a Nod to the Past

Harvest Gold has no place in our Modern Farmhouse design, period.

Unfortunately, a gold, cast iron tub was only one of the many challenges we faced when tackling this bathroom/laundry room. Other challenges included, but were not limited to, low popcorn ceilings, 1970's tile shower surround, toilet too close to the tub, thick textured walls, small vanity with contemporary vessel sink, small hallway with four competing doors, and extensive pet damage and odor.

This bathroom is located just off the kitchen, but through what was the only main floor bedroom of the original 1911 farmhouse. There was also a doorway from the dining room to a very short hallway connecting the bedroom with the bathroom. In this small hallway there were three doors and a closet door all opening into a very tight space.

Because the bedroom and bath would be one continuous space connected by a short hallway, we would need to tackle it as a whole. We brainstormed for hours over this space and how to maximize it for what we wanted and needed. The bedroom would become my office and since I spend a large portion of my life doing laundry and at the computer, this was MY space and Curtis wanted me to make sure we got it right. This was my list of desires for this space:

  • No trace of pet damage or odor
  • Laundry facilities
  • Homage to the 1911 farmhouse
  • Large vanity for grand baby diaper changing
  • Claw foot tub for grand baby tubbies
  • High Ceilings
  • Larger bathroom space
  • Linen closet
  • No door from dining room
  • More Herringbone floors
  • Penny tiles

Pet Odor

Before we made our offer to buy Pheasant Run, we were concerned about the pet odor. We detected it the first time we walked in the front door. As we researched ways to locate and eliminate pet odor, we found that pet urine can be seen in the dark using a black light. We made arrangements to see the house at night and took a couple long extension chords and a blacklight we had purchased at Walmart for $10.97. Our kids thought it was pretty exciting and let's be honest, CREEPY, playing detective and lurking around an empty house in the dark. We were actually relieved to find that the source of most of the pet damage was in this bedroom and bathroom. In addition to the odor, the original fir floors in the bedroom/office had deep scratches in the doorway, most likely from an anxious canine. With this knowledge, we had the courage and motivation to demo the laundry/office space down to the floor joists and replace all the subfloor, sheetrock, and molding.

Because there was other evidence of pet urine, we removed all the carpet and pads from five bedrooms and the family room and sealed the floors with KILZ Original Oil Base Primer before the new carpet, just to make sure. This was probably overkill. We also scrubbed all the forced air vents, door jams and thresholds with OdoBan that we purchased at Sam's Club. Little by little the odor went away. The real proof of our success was when some friends stopped by a few months later and said, "This house smells great, just like your last house."

Demo Day

I have found over and over, that for me, I can envision new design much better AFTER demolition. This was so true with this bathroom/laundry space. We had a rough idea how it would look, but it was much clearer after walls were gone.

First, we took out the three doors and jams, as well as the small hall closet. It is hard to take an AFTER picture from this angle because I was actually sanding in the dining room, and that doorway no longer exists.

The picture below shows the floor to ceiling linen closet that we put in place of the old closet pictured above. Directly across from the linen closet is where the original door to the dining room was.

When it came to removing the tub, we were glad we still had the doorway into the dining room because we had a straight shot out the old farmhouse front door.

How many men does it take to remove a Harvest Gold cast iron tub? Seven, of course!

Then we gutted everything in the bathroom; tub, tile, walls, and drop-down ceiling. This gave us much better vision of how we could make more space for the toilet, a claw foot tub and a larger vanity.

New Location for the Loo

The extra space for the bathroom would need to come from the extra deep closet in the bedroom. We framed it just deep enough for a standard closet rod. This provided enough space in the bathroom to move the toilet to the east wall and provide a bit more privacy, as it would be behind the new vanity. The picture below shows where the toilet used to be, directly under the ladder. Now it is three feet to the right, and would face the new tub.

Choosing the Paint Color

I wanted to continue the same color palette throughout this space. We painted the kitchen and dining room Sherwin Williams Reflection and I wanted something in the same tone with a touch more blue. We settled on Sherwin Williams Mountain Air. It's bright and cheery without being too blue.  


The before picture below speaks for itself; the room was begging for help. My main criteria for this bathroom vanity was to have a countertop large enough to fit a changing pad for my sweet grand babies. I found that short of having one custom built, my best option was to order a double bowl design vanity only and have the countertop built separately with the sink placed on one end. Home Depot had the perfect option at $675.50 with free delivery to the Idaho Falls store.

We went back to Rock Solid Granite and Tile for the countertop and sink. We chose a piece called Coffee Brown Leathered, which is a mostly solid color with a matte, bumpy finish. I felt it was a great contrast to the white vanity, went well with the slate gray/blue floor tile, and could play second fiddle to the busy penny tile back splash.

Penny Tiles - Worth Every Cent

I have loved Penny Tiles since my good friend Meg Mendenhall put it in her kitchen as backsplash. It has a modern flare and it gives my sweet grandsons something fun to look at while being changed. Marshall's Tile hooked us up again.

Curtis painstakingly buttered each individual tile with Thinset and lovingly set them in place. Another labor of love! Just kidding. Penny tiles come in 12" square mats. Still a royal pain to install....especially along the edges, where you really do need to do one penny at a time.

"A penny for your thoughts, Curtis?"

Yup, Leah Stallings sat in the tub to get this awesome shot!

Clawfoot Tub - Homage to the Past

Our first home in Idaho Falls, a cute little bungalow on Corner Avenue, had a clawfoot tub that Curtis had resurfaced. All three of our boys enjoyed splashing around in that deep, spectacular tub and I wanted my grandkids to have the same experience.

We were excited when we found the original tub out back behind the barn and were making plans to resurface it. Unfortunately, in the confusion of the move, the previous owners took it to recycling. My heart was set on a clawfoot tub so I began researching replicas and found a great product at Signature Hardware online. The tub was $999.00 and all the fixtures were $414.70 with free shipping. I think I'm actually happier with the new tub than I would have been with the original tub.

By the way, it's super comfortable and my grandsons already love it!


Having the washer and dryer so close to the kitchen and my office is super handy. It seems like I do a batch of wash almost everyday. We chose to put a partial wall between the tub and the laundry just to define the space but not to impede the open feeling.

Collections are my Jam

I love bicycles! I have two sweet hybrids that I ride nearly everyday. . . well when the temperature is over 50 degrees and the winds are under 50 MPH. I have collected bike art for years and since this is MY space, there are bicycles everywhere. This bathroom/laundry room also gave me a place to display my collection of old irons.

Surrounding myself with things I love, including my collections, makes me happy.

Flowers by The Rose Shop

Collect things you love, that are authentic to you, and your house becomes the story. - Erica Flest

The Fun Stuff

I'm not sure when or where I acquired the old window above the tub, I've just had it for years. I love how it looks in this space. I found a stack of old windows in our barn and look forward to using them as well. They are one of my favorite new collections.

The galvanized bucket mirror and the waste can were purchased at Real Deals on Home Decor.

The rustic shelves over the washer/dryer and those in the pantry were made by the hubby with wood from Trestlewood in Blackfoot. This is the coolest place, with an incredible showroom. Worth the drive to Bingham County to find a wide variety of rustic, reclaimed wood for all kinds of projects.

The wooden ladder on the back of the toilet with the metal envelop basket and flowers, as well as the knobs on the vanity all came from Hobby Lobby.

All other random tchotchkes most likely came from T.J. Maxx or Ross.

All the lighting in the bathroom is the Home Depot EnviroLite Standard Retrofit 4 in. White Recessed Trim Day LED Ceiling Light that we've used throughout the house.

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