Vintage Revival for a Victorian Bath
Original details inspire a retro refresher
Not every bath is due for a total overhaul—sometimes, all that's needed is a few simple changes. That's what Chuck Jepsen found in the guest bathroom of his 1887 Queen Anne, in Stamford, Connecticut, where several "updates" added over the years—like the 1950s wall-mount sink and the bright-blue paint on the cast-iron tub—dragged down an otherwise well-preserved space. So rather than start from scratch, he opted to add a much-needed shower and embark on a short list of cosmetic fixes to brighten the room without dulling the period feel.
Since the existing 125-year-old subway and hex tile required little more than a deep scrub, Chuck kept it all intact. He moved the toilet to make room for a spacious shower lined with new subway tiles that match the originals, and swapped the wall-mount sink for an authentic vintage pedestal model salvaged from another bath in the house. And, of course, the room got new paint throughout: on the walls, the trim, and even the tub. "I love that I was able to preserve so many of the original features," says Chuck. "And the new pieces look right at home with all the old ones."
The frameless glass shower practically disappears into the room. Marble hex tile on the shower floor echoes the ceramic hex in the rest of the bath without trying to be an exact match.
Shower Enclosure: Custom installation by Mr. Shower Door, Luxus 30 Neo Angle Glass Surround with Polished Nickel handle and hinges.
Dresser: Found object, hand painted using Rustoleum Transformations paint kit in Linen as base paint. Then stenciled using Cutting Edge Stencil pattern Herringbone Stitch and painted with Behr's Liquid Mercury.
The room's tile wainscot cap encircles the shower, too, providing continuity and helping the new tile—installed above it—blend in.
Shower Head & Fittings: Delta MultiChoice® 17T Series Shower Trim Cassidy Collection Polished Nickel Finish, Shower Head and Valve, PN T17T297
Tile: Floor and wall tile, existing hexagonal ceramic on floor, 3-by-6-inch existing subway on walls. Additional white subways above wall in shower and small hexagonals on shower floor, Tile America
Covering the antique tub's old cobalt-painted exterior with a coat of metallic gray restores the vintage look of the room. Most of the original subway tiles were intact, so rather than replace them, Chuck sought out matching pieces for patch jobs.
Homeowner tip: "Using gray paint on the door and casings helps the white tile look brighter." —Chuck Jepsen
Subtly metallic graphite-gray paint on the tub marries modern styling and vintage design. A woven hamper picks up the yellow in the ikat fabric shades and gives the room an updated feel.
An antique fluted-pedestal sink offers enough deck space for a couple of essentials; the glass shelf above adds a resting spot for other oft-used necessities. Frosted-glass sconces and a pivoting mirror complete the period look
Mirror: Restoration Hardware's Sutton Oval Pivot Mirror
Shelf: Restoration Hardware's Vintage Glass Shelf
Sconces: Restoration Hardware's Chatham Single Sconce
Soap dish: Restoration Hardware's Vintage Soap Dish
Its polished-nickel finish, curved spout, and lever handles help the transitional faucet set jibe with the salvaged sink.
A generously sized robe hook on the back of the door resembles the curvature and ribbed escutcheons of the faucet and shower fittings.
Without a shower, the bath lacked function—and dated fixtures dragged it down.
Moving the toilet made space for a glass-doored shower, which sits across from a newly installed vintage pedestal sink.
1. Added period-style sconces and a pivoting mirror, plus a small glass shelf for toiletries.
2. Replaced the old wall-mount sink with a pedestal model.
3. Carved out a shower in a niche where the toilet had been.
4. Kept the original tub where it was and gave it a new coat of paint.
5. Rerouted plumbing through an interior wall in order to relocate the toilet next to the tub.
6. Moved in a repurposed dresser to provide more storage space.