the farm: the bathroom, take two

The bathroom off of the kids playroom is now clearly the nicest bathroom in the house.

The decision to work on this bathroom came from me quite some time ago before demo of the other downstairs bathroom (which still remains that way). My husband and I were just so undecided on what to do with that bathroom we decided to hold off. We had a party coming up (which is always when we start large projects for some reason) and desperately needed a clean bathroom downstairs for it.

Here is the renovation photo essay, I hope you enjoy it. The entire process took about a week and a half with my husband and I burning the midnight oil every night and we were exhausted. He didn’t want to start this project being that he had already started the other bathroom, but we were at an impasse.

To me, this was a simpler fix being this one didn’t have a shower – no systems changes, etc. Everything cosmetic. Let me tell you, having no experience until this project with plaster and lathe it is NOT fun! A friend of mine had warned me about this and indeed she was telling the truth. At least now we know what to expect the next time we tear down walls having experienced it first hand.


Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Alternate view.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

You can see, the wallpaper was already starting to come down, I was considering at a time to actually remove and simply paint it.

The door was purchased to match the others in the house while on a trip to Recycling the Past, a cool architectural Salvage yard that my husband and I visited.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Looking at the above photo we now know that the right wall is a partition wall added…in 1965!

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Ah, the days when it only cost 2.10 to get to NYC and back.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Withdrawing Domingo Troops!

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Down comes the ceiling.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Up goes the mold resistant sheetrock.  We did insulate…check out, the awesome cuts that my husband made to expose the beams.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -


Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -


Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Ready for paint. See the great new woodwork around the window?

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

We maintained the original top molding above the window as they don’t make the profile any longer.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -


The floors could use a little refinishing but will wait. This is as good as I could scrub them.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

This brings me to another interesting piece of anti-toolbelt-diva advice about what NOT to scrub your floors with, and this should have been obvious. Jimmy was anxious to get the vanity installed – if you notice, the vanity rests above the floors whereas the old one did not. I wanted to clean the floor underneath where the vanity was going – especially since you never know when you may want to swap something out. I swiftly grabbed whatever was closes to me, which in this case was a paper towel. Yes. You read that right. A paper towel. Not thinking clearly (and it’s 11:30 PM at this time) I start scrubbing, as my husband says “like Cinderella-late for the ball” on lord-knows-how-old wood floors and within seconds, I felt a sharp shooting pain UNDER my thumb nail. Off to the hospital I go after several attempts by my husband to extract said splinter. I will post this cell phone shot as a thumbnail for the weary, and if those of you brave souls decide you want to actually SEE it? Be my guest.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

This is after they pumped it full of stuff so I wouldn’t feel the removal. What you want to see here is the dark line underneath my nail. Straight down into my nail bed! Ouch. It was really painful. I really do not have much luck with this thumb. It’s pretty gross and I am happy to report, completely back to normal. Lesson learned.

I was laughing the entire time I was in the hospital emergency room, seeing every hour pass. Could not believe I did it.   I think I finally left around 2:30 AM.

 Next day…back to the grind.  Time to find a mirror, fast. The next day without delay I head over to Red Bank Antiques District.

Cell phone shot

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

And picked up four items.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

My baby. 18th century France – so I’m told. Definitely not in pristine condition – I love the silver that shows through though, so I do not mind the weathered look here – it’s genuine.

I love this print. It is completely out of scale of the wall, I need to add more I think…suggestions? I love the print itself but can certainly part with the frame if necessary. I just loved the circus theme. This bathroom, while certainly not for children alone, is immediately adjacent to the playroom.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

The third purchase I can easily part with, but since the bathroom is off of the playroom I thought it appropriate to add vintage with children. I don’t know how I feel about this print and it wasn’t an overly expensive investment, thoughts? A “hot or not” may be in order here.

It struck me as warm and grandfatherly…Jimmy doesn’t like it.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

The faucet

Top window detail – we kept the original crown moulding.

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Everything together…

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

Photograph by Laura Bruen, Artist & Photographer -

All in all, a very satisfying project.

All Benjamin Moore Aura Paint.
Walls: Roasted Sesame Seed in Eggshell – Chosen via recommendation of Paulina, who I ran into with the kids at the paint store! Thanks so much, I love the color.
Trim: Kentucky Wheat, Semi-Gloss finish
Rafters: Vapor, High Gloss Finish

As always, suggestions are welcome. I’m stuck with a few things – rug style/size and certainly what else to add/remove/hang on the walls.

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  • Michelle

    Love it!!! When I moved into my first apt, I found a paper from the 30’s with the exact same date as the day I found the paper… wierd!!!


  • Susan


  • Michele

    Looks great…love the ceiling and the old newspaper- hope you’re keeping that.ReplyCancel

  • You guys did such an amazing job…really impressive. I love that mirror. The imperfections are what make it charming! Which Red Bank antique store did you find that? I usually spend too much time in that has a gravelly parking lot but I never find anything like this in there.

    Personally, I don’t think the prints work that well in here. But if you love the circus theme one, maybe move that one over the toilet and get rid of the old man one? The frames are beautiful and work perfectly.

    I bet you could find a great rug in the same shades in the room at Home Goods.ReplyCancel

  • Hope

    Laura…it’s looks AWESOME! And I love both of the paintings you picked. Gorge! That mirror is FAB! Great work on yours and Jimmy’s part!ReplyCancel

  • jen

    as always, you rock!
    it looks awesome! good team!ReplyCancel

  • Thank you, thank you!

    Mrslimestone –
    yes, indeed I need a rug! The mirror was from the exact store you mention. I love it in there – I end up there often, simply because it’s easy – but this time I was there with a purpose and for once I found something I actually loved, which is not common. I was actually thinking of hanging some old map of the area from their artwork section, have you sifted through those? I found the mirror in the back right booth. I’ll have to try the hanging suggestion also.

    Hope – thanks for your comments! I’m glad I am not the only one to see the charm in these works although I’m still on the fence about the grandpa one. I have my work throughout pretty much the rest of the house in some manner or another and I really wanted to just “hang something different” here.

    Michele – of course I’m going to keep it! Should I shadow box it? 😉 I wonder if there are any interesting ways to display old newspapers without using the standard shadow boxes.ReplyCancel

  • Wow, that is some renovation. I love the sink console and the exposed wooden beams. And I think the idea of a framed old map would be a great addition to that room – it has the right “feel” I think.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Becky!

    I love the Beams too! That main beam (the lower one) felt a bit odd but I’m getting used to it now.ReplyCancel

  • Joe & Maryann

    Beautiful job guys we are very impressed! Actually, we would not expect anything less. I love everything about it, the colors, the sconces, the art work, the sink cabinet, the faucet and especially the mirror. The mirror is definitely a great find and a great center piece. A map of the area would be very cool and the old news papers you found while renovating that particular room would be even cooler. Hope you find a cool way to display the news papers and we can’t wait to see what you come up with. Good Luck with all the upcoming renovations and hope your Boo Boo is better!ReplyCancel

  • so I abandon my faithful blog reading for a week or so and you post the motherload of entries! SHEESH! I need to catch up. I totally chuckled ever so slightly at your splinter, ONLY because Eric did a similar thing with macaroni……..
    Eric had to have an emergency “hand” procedure……….like done by a hand surgeon. He was scraping a piece of dried macaroni off of a plate that went through the dishwasher, Penne to be exact, and the shard of petrified pasta pierced through his finger, ya know that painful area under your nail, where the finger/skin meets the nail. All the way to the nail bed. OUCH! When he tried to pull it back out a piece broke off and got stuck in there. he was in pain and, well, he let it fester for a few days and then came the swelling, redness and lets just say it got infected and abscessed. It was highly NOT pretty looking……..he’s lucky they only had to remove the nail to drain the infection.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara


    As usual, a beautiful job. The color is great – I wouldn’t change a thing except add a rug. Paper towel? What WERE you thinking? LOLReplyCancel

  • Rosalie

    you are an inspiration!!!ReplyCancel

  • aunt poppy

    I love the “roundness” of the room (LOL) really you two did an amazing job! very cool sink fixture! Beams really add charm and flavor of the “farm-ness” keep on going! xo poppyReplyCancel

  • Paulina & Christian Gravier

    Hi Laura. So glad the color worked out for you. The bathroom looks fabulous. Looking forward to seeing you soon!!!! We’ll be in touch shortly.ReplyCancel