Best Bath Redo: Before

Their Story: It's funny the habits you develop when you take on an old house. The downstairs powder room in our Greek Revival farmhouse had a cracked and leaky wall-hung sink as old as the original plumbing. I shut off the supply lines to stop the drip when we moved in, and, before long, it became perfectly normal for us to wash our hands in the kitchen sink.

One day, Laura and I stumbled upon an ideal replacement at IKEA—a narrow oval designed to hang so that it wouldn't eat up valuable floor space in the 30-square-foot room. I had a few days off from my job as a firefighter, so, after three years of living with a broken sink, I promised Laura I would finally swap it out.

To change the sink, I had to remove the cast-iron waste pipe it shared with the tiny vintage toilet, but when I ratcheted off the old pipe, the force shattered the toilet's base. In an instant, our second bath had no functioning fixtures, and I felt like we might as well gut it.

Shown: The broken sink that sparked the whole project was ancient.
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