Is this tile close enough to 'vintage' for an 1870's house?

sarahandbrayJanuary 26, 2009

We are redoing the lone upstairs bathroom in our 1870's farmhouse--some aspects of our house are Victorian--very thick, fancy molding, a somewhat "grand" entrance, etc. The bathrooms, which were put in whenever indoor plumbing came around, were redone in the 1950's...and not in a classy, retro way! So we gutted the upstairs bath and will do the same to the downstairs at a later date.

Is this tile close enough to "period?" Bathroom is small--about 7' wide, 10' long (that's including the tub!), and 7' ceilings (the back 1/3 the house has lower ceilings...the front has 9' upstairs)

here's the vanity we've already purchased--wood is actually quite a bit darker but counter is more creamy/tan-ish crema marfil.

Thanks for your opinions--any other suggestions (other than a different vanity--that's already purchased!!) are appreciated!

Sarah from Albany

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The basket weave tile is great. The only other period tile I can think of is hex tile...

Good luck. We're in the middle of a 1912 era bathroom install upstairs.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 1:40PM
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Is that marble? We were looking at something very similar for our eventual master bathroom.

Personally, I think the pattern looks great and would be in keeping with the spirit of a house of that age. The bathroom would likely have had either wood floors or a mosaic tile. While it probably wouldn't have been that exact pattern and would likely have been ceramic, I would say your choice "goes" well enough for a bathroom. It won't be mistaken for original, but it is definitely in the tradition of mosaic tile floors. It isn't like you are tossing an original hex floor in favor of 2 foot travertine.

For the vanity, again, nobody is going to mistake it for an original, but that probably isn't what you were after. 140 years ago, people would have wondered what the heck you were going to put in all those drawers in a bathroom. Today, most people would wonder where the heck they were going to put all their stuff with so little storage space by the sink.

Of course, that is just my opinion. Generally though, I think you should try to preserve what is there but should give yourself some leeway in places that have been (need to be) updated over the years. Kitchens and baths usually fall in that category. You have to be a pretty diehard preservationist to skip the modern conveniences like extra storage, showers, dish washers, refrigerators etc. People might differ on how to make those changes with the least impact to the original structure, but almost everyone figures a way to include them.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 1:59PM
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Yes, that's marble--two different kinds, the guy at the tile shop said. Since the vanity is dark, dark brown and the counter is a dark cream, I think it would look weird if I opted for white or carrera marble-esque floors, don't you think??

And I guess you're right--we just redid our kitchen last year and I opted for some things relatively "period" (soapstone counters, big white fireclay farmhouse sink, hardwood floors, pewter hardware) and some things not exactly--lots of white cabinets, big bay window, subway tile backsplash.

I think it all "goes" enough--and since we're only ripping out the 1950's hideous beast remodels, not the original kitchen/bath, I don't feel so badly.

The floors, trim, plaster walls, windows & panes, doors, light fixtures, and radiators are all original in the house, so we'll keep those.

I know the vanity isn't really "vintage" but we're a busy family of five in a two bathroom house, so I can imagine having storage rather than a pretty pedestal sink will be helpful. (plus it was only $400 with the marble top...couldn't get close to that with the ones we liked at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware!) Everyone knows these old houses are sorely lacking on closet space--and ours is no exception!!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 2:12PM
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The tile's fine.

You have to be a pretty diehard preservationist to skip the modern conveniences like extra storage,

OTOH, I had a neighbour who was renoing his 1900 house to an every earlier style by eliminating all the closets, replacing them with freestanding wardrobes. I don't know what kept him from removing the indoor plumbing too.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 4:42PM
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Hey sara...I have wondered how you are doing !!??? Can I see pics of the kitchen ? I have missed your posts. Caroline

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 5:56PM
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Gawd Worthy doesn't he know that according to real estate rules, you can't list a room as a bedroom if it doesn't have a closet??? Even without that little detail - no closets is gonna make resale tough!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 6:31PM
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Wow...still here, too, trailrunner!!! I haven't posted "finished kitchen" pictures because it's still only 90% finished--the to-do list includes, subway tile backsplash (has been sitting for over a year, looking pretty in the boxes in the garage!), toe-kick and trim. UGGH! Hope yours is 100% finished!!

My husband and father-in-law, while well-meaning and thorough, worked full days both Saturday and Sunday and were able to sheetrock the ceiling, change one pipe to PVC, and frame in the tub. So, needless to say, it's slow-going!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Yes sarah we finished in Dec 2006. I have loved my kitchen so much and am always on the KItchen forum posting food pics ! I can't seem to stay away. I am so glad that you are hanging in there. I was in NYC 4 times this summer . My DB lives there and I started visiting him . I sure would have loved to see you. More later DH is calling me to dinner. Check my link to photobucket on my page and see the kitchen and food pics...I would love to hear what you think c

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:56PM
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no closets is gonna make resale tough!

I was a real estate/mortgage broker for many years. Some of the things, let alone the people, you see are quite bizarre. (I wish I had a photo of the bathroom I saw covered in unfinished cedar shakes in a biker clubhouse. My tattooed host was quite proud of his handiwork. "It looks good!" I agreed.)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 8:19PM
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I love the marble and the vanity- I don't think that either are particularly period, but the fact of the matter is, I don't think that indoor plumbing was period for your house, and that would really make life tough. I think the combo will have a vintage look that will look great with your house. If you are in Albany, NY (as opposed to GA or other Albanys), there are actually a couple of really great architectural salvage places that have all kinds of neat stuff. They may not help with this bathroom, but might be great for something else.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 2:17PM
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We used a really similar tile in our master bath -- same basketweave pattern, but different material/colors -- it was from American Restoration Tile. Basketweave is very traditional, and I definitely think yours looks close enough to vintage. I think it looks beautiful with your vanity too.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 2:23PM
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Arlosmom, WOW I love that sink! do you recall where you got it from?


    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 6:57AM
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The tile looks great, arlosmom!! Very soft and subtle--I love it!

And trailrunner, I'll go find your pics later today--just been swamped lately!! Can't wait to see it!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 8:29AM
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robbieknobbie, the sink is an antique that we got on ebay. That puppy weighs a ton.

Sarah, I'm looking forward to seeing your kitchen too. You were really active on the kitchen forum when I first discovered gardenweb, and I'm definitely a farmhouse kitchen fan!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 9:25AM
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I am sure you are VERY busy ! You have so much on your plate . I should have just linked but DH was calling...LOL> Here it is.

arlosmom: as always I LOVE everything about your wonderful home !

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen pics

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:11PM
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arlosmom--Wow!! I can't believe anyone remembers me! Shocking! I hope to post in the next few months--our family's problem is that once we get something to the functional stage, the last little details take FOREVER to get accomplished. But we've done quite a bit to this old house already, I have to keep reminding myself!! Sometimes I make myself list all of the progress we've made over the last five years so that it doesn't seem so discouraging!! When you have teacher's salaries and a five, three, and one-year-old, some of the pretty details get shoved aside temporarily!!

And trailrunner, I went through the pics!! Everything looks great--the soapstone sinks, of course, are fabulous, and I love the inset cabinets!! Didn't you have them made locally by someone? And the teak/marble are great as well! Great job!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 6:56PM
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Thank you Sarah. I can't even imagine doing the project that you are doing and with babies !! You are truly amazing.

Yes the cabs were made locally. All the doors are salvaged old windows. All the transoms and the sinks are salvage too. All from NH at Nor'east Architectural Salvage. They had a huge fire months ago and are trying to rebuild.

I love all my different surfaces...the marble is salvage also. 50.00 for the piece. There is so much out there to save. I recently got a wonderful work table that is heart pine. I love it and have all my tools in it. My DH says I need a store front LOL> please keep posting. I love your home !! c

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 8:07PM
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