Basement Bathrooms

Basement Bathroom: The Main Pieces

The basement remodel is nearing completion! I think. First on the list to be finished is the half-bath. It’s the smallest room (4’x5.5′) so theoretically it should be the easiest. Theoretically. I’ve mentioned my indecision regarding the bathroom lighting and accessories, but thankfully I do already have the basics chosen.

I wanted something that looked like it belonged in our hundred-year-old bungalow, so I looked to our existing original bathroom for style inspiration. I knew all along that I wanted small white hexagons or octagons, and after shopping for tile I chose octagon and dot (with charcoal gray grout to highlight the pattern). Then I found a pedestal sink from the same period as the original one on the main floor. As charming as our vintage sink is though, I didn’t want separate taps for hot and cold water. I did however stick with cross-handled faucets, and they even say “hot” and “cold” on them just like our original ones do. Awww.

I mentioned on facebook that choosing a toilet is not the whirlwind adventure one might expect. One piece or two? Round or elongated? Even with the myriad of choices it’s just not the most exciting thing, right? Someone commented that I should check the MaP (Maximum Performance) toilet ratings when choosing, so that’s what I did. I went with an American Standard Oakmont Champion. It’s kind of cute. You know, for a toilet.

I think the rest of the bathroom will come together as soon as I choose a paint color. I’m going with a white porcelain light, and I found a toilet paper roll holder that matches the shape of the faucet handle base. There’s a matching towel ring available too, but I’m thinking of going with a cute hook instead (Anthropologie always has a good selection). And for the mirror? Yeah, I still have no clue. I’m liking this vintage style medicine cabinet, but I don’t know if I want to spring for a medicine cabinet when we only really need a mirror.

Thank you, Vintage Tub & Bath, for providing the toilet, sink, and faucet.

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  • tina
    January 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

    It’s going to be so nice! If you’re looking for justification to pop for the cabinet, it wouldn’t hurt to have a first aid kit and aspirin downstairs since you’ll be down there working a lot.

    Can’t wait to see your finished product.

  • MS
    January 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

    So the handles on the faucet are not designated for hot and cold? I don’t get it. How do you change the temp selection on the water?

    Also, tiny thought about that medicine cabinet. If you like the look of it, I say go for it, even if you don’t need the storage. Might be a great place to keep an extra bottle of lotion, chapstick, tylenol, etc that you may want during the work day without a hike up the stairs to retrieve.

    Love where you’re going with all this!

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2011 at 10:30 am

      “So the handles on the faucet are not designated for hot and cold? I don’t get it. How do you change the temp selection on the water?”

      I’m not sure what you mean. Do you mean the new faucet? It works like any other faucet you’re used to. Our vintage sink (original to the house) has separate taps, which means hot water comes out of one side and cold water comes out of the other. So with that sink, you can’t change the temperature (which is why I didn’t want separate taps for the basement sink).

      • Jules
        January 24, 2011 at 10:46 am

        I think I know what she means. At first I thought the same thing–I was envisioning taps to be the actual water lines, versus the spigots in the sink.

        It’s going to look so good! I like that you went with American Standard for the toilet. A Toto might have produced an eye roll from me. ;)

  • Anna
    January 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I feel you with choosing a paint color. We have to repaint one of our bathrooms after we removed a drop ceiling (woohoo!) but the bathroom, from the 50s, has butter yellow tile with black accent tile. I cannot, for the life of me, come up with a color.

  • Heather
    January 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I love that toilet! I worked at Home Depot for 4 years in the Plumbing department… toilets hold a special place in my design heart. there are some good ones, and some awful ones.

  • Holly
    January 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I love it, especially the Schoolhouse Electric fixture. I am going to be another vote for the medicine cabinet…it’s super cute, and a little bit of extra storage never hurt anyone :)

  • Making it Lovely
    January 24, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I emailed the medicine cabinet to my contractor to ask if it would be a total pain to install. I know there are a lot of pipes and electrical wires running through the wall there.

  • jbhat
    January 24, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Love these choices. You have such good taste. And good call on the hook. Hooks are cuter than towel rings or bars, and actually way more functional, especially for kiddos.


  • Jenny
    January 24, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I think you should definitely use wallpaper in your bathroom. There are so many vintage styles to choose from-as you most def. already know. And, it will make it that much more charming! Best of luck.

  • carolyn
    January 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    we’re probably going to be undertaking a bathroom remodel this summer and i wondered how you went about finding a contractor… we’re local chicagoland folk as well.

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      We went with recommendations from other people. Here’s my contractor’s info:

      Sean Cameron
      Crossroads Construction Group
      (708) 860-7297

  • Felicity
    January 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    We’re putting a bathroom in our basement this winter and I’m stuck at whether I want it to be a cute little bathroom or a bathroom with our laundry in there too. Do you have a separate utility sink somewhere? I’m leaning towards separate laundry just so I can have a separate utility sink. Now if we only had the space….

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      We’ll have a separate laundry room with a utility sink. I’ll probably be sharing the laundry room plans next week.

  • Dana
    January 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I vote for the anthropologie hooks. they’re much cuter and unique (especially the initial hooks); and a towel tossed on a hook still looks better than one sloppily hung on a rod.

  • Tanya
    January 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Great choices! So timeless.

  • Danielle
    January 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I definitely vote for the medicine cabinet. With the playroom right there you’re going to want a stash of band-aids, wet wipes, safety pins and so on.

    It’s looking cute!

  • Ann Wilson
    January 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    A real medicine cabinet is a must. It will also provide a safe place for items you don’t want little kids to get. You will need hand lotion, extra soap, band aids, kids medicines, pony tail holders and all the stuff you would need if you are upstairs. You might be spending eight hours a day on that floor. Why don’t you buy a cheap medicine cabinet at Restore or something and frame it out with nice molding?
    To Anna with the yellow and black tile, try painting the black trim. A lot of people have done this successfully. Paint the walls an almost white shade of the yellow. Or wallpaper it with cream paper with a black doodad on it. It could have been worse, it could have been pink and maroon. Ann

  • Veronica
    January 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Looove this! I am in the market for a toilet. Sooo exciting…but I have a question, have you done business with Vintage Tubs before? I have no idea where to begin with where to buy except for Lowes, etc.

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      No, not before. I had seen them linked to from various blogs before though, so I sought them out to partner with. They’ve been great to work with!

  • Robin
    January 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Love it! My bathroom sink has separate faucets for hot and cold and it is such a pain. The hot water is on one side of the sink and the cold on the other and you basically choose to freeze or burn yourself. Gotta love 100-year-old rentals that you can’t renovate! :-)

  • WES
    January 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    For the toilet recommendation (not necessarily for you Nicole but others) when I had to replace a toilet in my condo after having plumber one out to snake it and say it was fine and then having the same problem 2 weeks later, I called out plumber #2. He explained why I had the same problem 2 weeks later, went on to discuss why my generic toilet was bad, and discussed other options with me including the name brands that you find in plumbing supply houses as well as big box stores. In the end I asked him what toilet he installed for his own personal use and if he liked it. He loved it and so that is the one I got, I moved and I miss that toilet, when I redo my bath I am getting another one of them. I did have to go to a plumbing supply place to get it but it was so worth it, more expensive than some but less expensive than some of the big names. I love my Mansfield.

    Long story short if you have a good relationship with a plumber ask what they use.

  • Eliza
    January 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    If you go with the Anthropologie hooks, be sure to have the contractors buy wall anchors – they aren’t made for holding towels (I found out the hard way!)

  • Erika
    January 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Your bathroom is going to be lovely!
    I have the original inset medicine cabinets in my duplex (from the 60’s I think), and I LOVE them. They provide great storage and take up so little space. I think you’ll be glad for the extra storage one day…I say splurge and get it!

  • adrianne
    January 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    So excited to see the finished product! I love the octagon & dot tile.

  • Sarah Wilisch Horn
    January 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I think we have the exact same pedestal sink-but ours has indents for the soap which make it irritatingly impossible to set down my coffee mug in the morning. I wish I had picked out a pedestal with a bit more flat counter space! But of course, it is really cute. Also, I’m a huge fan of finding any excuse to go to Anthropologie for hardware. I have towels on big hooks and I love it-I’m planning on sewing fabric loops to all my hand towels and washcloths so I can keep the cute hooks in action!

  • Erin
    January 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Oh, I so disagree about choosing a toilet! We recently remodeled our bathroom and I had very specific things I was looking for in a toilet. Hidden trap and flush-mounted with the wall for ease of cleaning, dual flush for saving water. When I started to narrow down our choices, I kept coming back to the Kohler Reve for its design. I literally dreamt about that toilet – weird, I know, but I was pregnant at the time too! So I had to have it, and it ended up being the biggest splurge in our project! I’m embarrassed to admit how much we paid for a toilet – oh well, at least I found a good deal online! You can see our project and the infamous square toilet here:

  • Chelsea
    January 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    THANK YOU for putting grey grout between your tiles! I rent a 1934 Mediterranean, and our landlords put in white octdot tile right before we moved in, and between two cats, a dog, the baby, and my husband, it’s easily a 2-hr cleaning job every 2 weeks to make sure the WHITE grout looks clean. Ugh. Grey grout would be so much easier!

    However, when it’s clean, its a vision. If its clean.

  • Brigitte
    January 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm


    I’m sorry but I saw that toilet and thought of the horror of cleaning all those nooks and crannies. Skirted. You need a skirted toilet! Because you live with a man.

  • Making it Lovely
    January 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    …and the contractor says no on the medicine cabinet. Too many pipes and wires in the walls back there. It would be expensive to move all of them.

  • Lor
    January 26, 2011 at 8:08 am

    About 2 weeks ago I saw a cool mirror that reminded me of what you described in an old post – curvy and ripe for a fun color. It was in the Divine Consign Annex in downtown Oak Park. Most likely gone now, but do you ever check in there?

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