Bathroom Makeover with Vintage Furniture

GIMGP4417We recently finished a long-overdue makeover of the Stonehaven power room. It’s actually half of a larger room that includes the laundry which will be completed in a later phase.

We wanted to make this room feel as age-appropriate to our old farmhouse as possible punctuated with modern fixtures.

We happened to have a few vintage furniture pieces in the house and garage loft that provided the  perfect inspiration for the project.

All the pieces were finished with chalk paint, mildly distressed and sealed with the  clear or dark wax .


It started with the vanity – an old pine dresser that I’ve been cribbing details from for years. It was the perfect height but it did require a bit of additional work to adapt it for its new purpose. I removed the original wood top and used it to make some parts that would match the piece. This was really important because we wanted a distressed finish exposing  the original warm patina and scars would have been impossible to match with new wood.

As in most old houses, the floor has sagged a bit, so there is about a half-inch difference between the left and right ends.  To help conceal the variation, I cut a shallow curve in the bottom apron to create a toe kick and made faux baseboards from the old top to wrap the pilasters flanking the drawers. I also used the old top  to make a scribe about 4” wide for the exposed end, since I needed additional depth for the sink and countertop.

Fortunately, the plumbing was tucked back close to the corner and the tight to the wall, so I was able to cut the drawers so that all three of them can be used.


I designed the mirror frame to match the vanity – pulling key details like the applied corner blocks and cove profiles. Interestingly, I milled those corner blocks over 15 years ago for a project that I never finished. Most of the frame was cut from the dresser top as well. It’s mounted on the wall using bevelled cleats.

Towel Racks

Unfinished Chair used for towel rackMy partner is hooked on Pinterest and she showed me some really creative ways people are using use old chairs for shelves, towel racks and other decorative pieces. That reminded me I had a few old chairs that had been in the loft over the garage for the past twenty five years.

One of those chairs  – minus its original caned centre, nearly fell apart and shed paint flakes when I picked it up.  It was a perfect candidate for the towel rack by the vanity. I scraped off the loose paint, cut off the front of the seat,  glued the legs and stretchers, and added couple of new pieces to mount it on the wall.

The back half of the chair was too nice to toss out so I replaced the remaining seat parts with a shelf. The two chair sections are mounted with the ‘seat’ at the same height.

Potty Plant Stand

Potted plant in old chairBelieve it or not, the little chair with the plant belonged to my grandmother. It’s designed to hold a chamber pot – a necessity in the days before indoor plumbing to avoid a middle-of-the-night excursion to the outhouse.

Since it already had a hole in the seat, we simply cleaned it up, painted it and dropped a potted plant from the upstairs hall in it.  It’s an appropriately fun conversation piece that also helps to separate the laundry area from the powder room.

Framed Cross Stitch

have a nice Poop cross stitchMy hands-down favourite piece in the room is the framed ‘Have a Nice Poop’ cross stitch. My partner found just the right pattern on Etsy and spent a couple of weeks bringing it to life.

I love the contrast between the message and the medium. The off-white aida cloth and distressed frame give the impression it was lovingly stitched by my grandmother back in the 1950’s.

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