Remodeling A 1920s Bungalow In The Seattle Tacoma Area

Remodeling A 1920s Bungalow In The Seattle Tacoma Area

As a realtor, I have been seduced by the charm of the older 1920’s Craftsman and Queen Ann style Bungalows found in so many communities in the NW, ie. Seattle, Tacoma, Sumner, Ballard and on and on. These lovely homes are scattered throughout the NW in all of the areas where the cities started to grow. These properties have ended up becoming endless design projects for me, which I thoroughly enjoy! (Mid-century homes, such as those found in Normandy Park, Redondo and of course the East side, are another favorite of mine but that is another story).

Presently, I am planning out a bathroom addition in a rental property that has 3 bedrooms and only 1 bath, not unusual for the 1920's era. I have a small area to work with, so the bathroom will need to be cozy but efficient.  Only a half bath will fit the parameters so I need to think about whether I will get enough market value out of it. In short, yes.  I believe any additional bathrooms that are added, if you have less than 2, is a huge plus! The value in having three or more bathrooms would depend on the bedroom count, house size, and a myriad of other factors.

On to my project. With the space being so small, we will need less prominent bathroom fixtures. So the hunt begins. As I said, the home was built in the 1920’s, so my first stop was to Earthwise in Seattle, a used vintage building material salvage, to see if they had any cute corner sinks. I found a few with some chips and rust stains, but I would have to be a constant scavenger to find a gem that is in good condition! So the next stop will be checking the inventories of Lowes and Home Depot, as well as searching for anything unique and affordable online. I found a perfect, small wall mounted corner bathroom sink from Vintage Tub & Bath. It’s approximately 16”X16” – perfect!

The toilet is another issue. I found a great wall mounted water closet online, where the tank is inside the wall. It is very sleek and ideal for tight spaces, but very costly. However, on Vintage Tub & Bath, I found a Corner toilet that could work.

I have decided to install a pocket door to keep the required space to a minimum. However, I am undecided on whether I want to take the trouble to add a window. If I do, it could greatly increase the expense, as I would need to add a dormer. And if I do that, I might as well install a shower while I am at it. With all that extra expense, it might not add to the home’s value enough to warrant the costs incurred…

I have decided to keep the hardwood floors. However, another era-conscious option would be tile, especially the small octagon tiles if you can find them. It is very important, when remodeling an older home, to find era-specific styles to use in your updates. When new styles are used to overlay antique, vintage styles, they can really clash and decrease the value and appeal of your home. That doesn’t mean you can’t add some efficiency to your remodeling, just do it carefully, keeping the integrity of the architectural design of the home in mind at all times.

This bath will also have coved ceilings on one side so lighting will be another question over the corner sink. What type of light fixture will mount in a corner? None, so what is the best option here? A ceiling mount will work best but it won’t light the mirror. . .oh my gosh,  the mirror! How do you mount a corner mirror?!


This is why it is important to begin planning before you contact your contractor. You really need to think all of these questions through before getting the professionals involved. They will love you for this and their cost should remain at their original bid costs if you don’t make any changes during the process. Yes this is challenging in an older home, as there is always something that comes up. But with good planning you can avoid most of the pitfalls of a remodel. I will let you know how everything turns out when the project is completed. Above is a photo of an updated bath that one of my sellers completed in a 1930s clinker brick tudor that I loved! 

As a vintage home enthusiast, working within the integrity of the original character of the home is the joy of designing! My second passion, after helping you market and sell your Real Estate!

More to come in about a month!

Take care,
Gini Anderson CRS
Anderson Homes & Land with Keller Williams RE PS


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Phone: 253-988-0180
Dated: November 8th 2013
Views: 4,799
About Gini: Making Clients For Life! Gini strives to go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. Because ...

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