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Before and After Bathroom: Vintage-Modern Mix

An old-time soaking tub is the centerpiece in a small master bath renovation that’s a refreshing blend of styles

Before Boxed In

Even in a traditional home, nontraditional solutions can be the key to a successful remodel. Mary Young and Martha Nodarse had some unique requests for the master bath reno in their 1904 American Foursquare—specifically, a claw-foot tub that could take center stage, function as a shower, and not be boxed in by a clingy shower curtain hung from a ring overhead.

Shown: The small master bathroom needed repairs to the plumbing and tile, and the boxed-in 1980s tub wasn’t ideal for taking long soaks.

Modern Comforts, Vintage Tub

Photo by Karen Melvin

They wanted to make it meld with some modern finishes, too. Enter Minneapolis-based Ryan Sturtz and Zoe Kardasis Sturtz of Edit Design Build Studio, who rose to the challenge. They installed a shower pan beneath a salvaged tub and rainhead so overspray would drain away, and a track from a medical-supply store with an oversize curtain to section off the splash zone. Colorful mosaic tile and sleek chrome fixtures complement the tub and subway tile, packing a big design punch. Mary says, “It turned out to be the nicest space in the house!”

Shown: The airy renovated space is full of modern comforts, but the focal point, a vintage claw-foot tub, pays tribute to the era of the home.

Showerhead: Riobel

Shower curtain track: Hospital Curtain Solutions

Towel Storage

Photo by Karen Melvin

A closet provides toiletry and towel storage. Radiant heat beneath the tiled floor is a welcome upgrade for cold Midwestern winters.

Electric floor mats: SunTouch

Robe hooks: Pegasus

Pedestal Sink

Photo by Karen Melvin

A new pedestal sink replaced a boxy vanity, making the cramped corner feel more spacious. Lost storage was compensated for with a recessed medicine cabinet.

Sink: Toto

Sconces: Eurofase

Subway tile: Daltile

Sink faucet: Riobel

Mirrored recessed medicine cabinet: Kohler

Towel ring, toilet paper holder: Pegasus

Homeowner Tip: “If at all possible, move out of the house during a bath renovation—that way, the builders can work uninterrupted.”

Mary Young, Minneapolis

Water Catcher

Photo by Karen Melvin

A shower pan and drain under the tub catches overspray from the shower, which is curtained off, floor to ceiling, outside the soaker.

Shower pan and drain: Tile Redi

Tub Filler

Photo by Karen Melvin

The wall-mount tub filler was a more modern alternative to a floor-mount one—in keeping with the 21st-century look the homeowners requested.

Wall-mount tub filler: Riobel

Shower Niche

Photo by Karen Melvin

The lower half of the shower wall is curved to mimic the outline of the tub. A niche with glass shelves was made possible when the wall was furred out to accommodate new plumbing.

Handshower: Riobel


Photo by Karen Melvin

The original wood windows were in bad shape, so they were replaced with water-resistant vinyl models. New trim matches other window trim throughout the house.

Floor Plan After

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Keeping the old layout saved the budget, while thoughtful upgrades maximize the 68-square-foot space

1. Replaced both water-damaged wood windows with new vinyl models.

2. Upgraded an existing linen closet with wood shelving, a no-threshold tile floor, and a new door.

3. Removed the built-in tub and its low partition wall; installed a claw-foot, furring out the wall alongside it for new plumbing and sloping the tile floor toward a drain. Hung an oversize shower curtain around the outside of the tub from a ceiling track.

4. Swapped the old vanity for a space-saving pedestal sink, and added a recessed medicine cabinet.