The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Regardless of its architectural pedigree (the good), a one-hundred-year-old house has its kinks (the bad), and the Elizabeth Murphy House is no different. We knew coming in that there would be issues with systems: electrical, heating and plumbing. Yes, the plumbing  (the ugly).

It is said that the bathroom was a Frank Lloyd Wright afterthought. Our 6×6’ water closet (the only one in the house) supports that. The plans (above) show a door opening into a sitter’s knees.

And here it is in its present glory, resplendent with fixtures from the 70s, 80s and 90s, squishy linoleum, and a mix of ceramic and plastic tile painted with latex by brush.


We knew we’d be facing a complete tear out. And with that, come many decisions. Here are a few we’ve made so far.

  • We’re using this opportunity to improve whole-house systems. For example, we’re replacing 50-year old galvanized supply pipes with copper throughout the house.
  • We’re repairing damage from years of leaks with new framing and flooring.
  • The renewed bathroom will honor the original plan in layout and trim.
  • We toyed with the idea of a walk-in shower, but have decided on a period clawfoot tub.
  • We may add a laundry chute.

So we’re all-in: down-shifting our lives into smaller spaces with room for fewer things, and Frank is guiding us. We promise to post images a something resembling a 1917 water closet with a nod to 2017 usefulness,  6-8 weeks from now.

Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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