CATEGORY: PORT TOWNSEND HOUSE
PHOTOS: FRONT BATH, MASTER BATH AND MASTER BEDROOM
As soon as the basement walls were completed and the basement floor slab poured, with the bathroom still suspended in space off the kitchen, I added two new bathrooms: one in the walk-in closet adjoining the master bedroom, and the other in the basement for the future apartment. The basement bathroom was back to back with the utility room so it was easy to install a laundry. Then the old bathroom was demolished. The original bath tub and toilet had bands of embossing, so I wanted to re-use them. I put the tub in the apartment bath and the toilet in the master bath.
Although I had used the master bedroom closet for the master bath, the other walk-in closet was big enough for two, so I divided it so each bedroom would have a closet.
Later, when the octagon was extended through the main floor, and an extension of the front porch built around it, another bathroom got “secretly” tucked into the back of the porch framework. It opened into the parlor.
Building the first bathroom in the master closet was the most fun I ever had with a bathroom. The room was large for a closet but small for a bathroom. It was only 56” wide x 78” long. In a used plumbing shop, I found a 54” claw foot tub and a tiny lavatory basin that had come from a railroad car. I was able to fit the basin into a minimal fir counter top across the end of the bathroom by making the counter very narrow at the ends and curving it out in the middle to hold the basin. Mickey deLeo, who had a cabinet shop in town, made small base cabinets to fit under the narrow ends of the counter. I then needed curved doors below the basin. This problem was solved by making a curved frame and filling it with curtains.
When re-using the original toilet, in nineteenth century style, I set the bowl close to the wall and hung the tank on the wall above it.
I didn’t want to waste wall space in the room with a window, so I put in a skylight. Doing this required going through the attic above the eleven foot high ceiling, which made a very high light-well and a high wall over the counter. To balance it, Mickey built a high, narrow medicine cabinet using a full length, beveled-glass, framed hallway mirror for a door.
It was a unique bathroom.
I also made a loft, utilizing the space over the closets and the part of the bathroom over the tub. It had a wall-to-wall bed and was open to the small front bedroom. It was accessed by a ladder that folded against the wall. This loft had a skylight of its own that matched the bathroom skylight. The wall between the loft and the bathroom light shaft was sloped toward the bathroom skylight, so the loft bed, which had a foam pad that curved up that wall, was like a big chaise lounge. It was a great place to read and, of course, a great place to sleep.
I framed for the two skylights myself, sitting on a stool or lying on my back in the attic. I used a hand saw to cut through the existing rafters, framing the openings entirely from the inside, because I didn’t want to remove the roof until the skylights were ready to be installed. It was then done all in one day. Mickey made the skylights. They were patterned after the many old skylights in Port Townsend, and they both opened. They were puttied with marine mastic and never leaked—at least not as long as I lived there–which turned out to be twenty five years.
The master bedroom had a lovely shade of dark green carpet and the draperies were made of sheets that matched the sheets on the bed: a terracotta color. A woven trim piece across their lower edge spaced out their length so that it was just right. Eventually, all the windows had shutters on their lower halves.