Notes from the Field: Vintage Bathrooms

This is part of our new regular series, Notes from the Field, as Jessica and Emily give you a firsthand glimpse into life on the front lines of Madison WI real estate.

by Emily Hickey

The temperatures might be frigid, but I’ve been experiencing a hot streak of working with buyers looking for homes for sale with character. And I’m oh-so-happy to oblige! I’m talking about the sort of buyers who appreciate the beautiful details of an older home, like curved archways, built-in storage, and original woodwork. As well as buyers who are willing to work with the trade-offs that sometimes come along with vintage and historic homes, like smaller kitchens, less closet space, and fewer (and sometimes tiny) bathrooms.

The last few homes I’ve helped buyers purchase have included wonderful details like original fixtures and vintage tile work. These vintage accents have really gotten me thinking about how best to make needed bathroom updates without losing original charm, and while keeping a consistent feeling with the rest of the home. After all, if you’re attracted to the character of an older home, chances are you want to maintain it once you’re its caretaker.

When you’re out there seeing vintage homes like this, you can understand why my wheels are turning. I recently helped buyers see a wonderful home with the following vintage bathroom -- featuring original tile work, retro light fixtures, and a gorgeous archway framing the shower and tub:

vintage bathroom in a Madison WI home for sale

Another home, a beautiful Regent Dutch Colonial, featured the charming little bathroom pictured below. This vintage bathroom will need a shower to function for it’s soon-to-be family of three, so we arranged for a plumber to come out and see how it can be done without too much damage to the original tile. Even if the family decides to update the surround, there are lots of ways they can do so and still tie it in with the existing (and darling!) hex floor tile and make it all work together for a modern/vintage effect:

vintage bathroom in a madison wi home for sale

Here are some sites to check out for inspiration and helpful advice when you're thinking about tackling a vintage bathroom in need of updates -- whether you find it on a house hunt or in your own home!

Have more questions? Just ask. I’d love to help you brainstorm.