For a Classic Bathroom, Go Vintage

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Remodeling your bathroom and seeking a timeless look?  It’s easy to achieve with authentic vintage elements or new reproductions.  You can re-purpose an old bureau into a vanity or visit your local architectural salvage yard for aged pieces such as clawfoot tubs and sinks.  By refinishing existing items, you’ll reduce the demand on our natural resources and prevent usable design elements from ending up in the landfill.  Plus, you’ll add a classic ambiance to your home, whether it’s an historic house in need of a remodel or new construction in need of charm.

  • Paneling, molding, beadboard:  Adding these elegant architectural details gives a room instant character.  Look for those products made from sustainably harvested wood, recycled materials, or formaldehyde-free MDF.  Be sure to paint them with zero-VOC or low-VOC paints.
  • Tile:  A great option is wall tile or floor tile that has an aged appearance or a classic shape like subway tiles or hexagonal-shaped tiles.  Keep it green by using those made from recycled materials.
  • Tin ceiling:  You may be able to find antique metal ceiling tiles at auctions, salvage shops and online.
  • Flooring:  Add some rustic charm with wide-plank, reclaimed wood flooring.
  • Sinks:  Whether you like vessel sinks or undermount sinks, consider reclaiming an old sink or look for a new one made from recycled materials.
  • Faucets:  Okay, so the separate hot and cold faucets won’t cut it today, but many manufacturers carry classic designs and adhere to water-conserving guidelines.  If you fall in love with a style that isn’t WaterSense labeled, simply add an inexpensive water-saving aerator to the faucet head.
  • Niches:  Build display niches into walls and back them with antique mirrored glass.  Also, hanging a vintage mirror in place of a modern medicine cabinet will give the room a period look.
  • Storage / Cabinetry:  Add wavy antique glass fronts to built-ins and cabinets.  Consider purchasing eco-friendly cabinets made with FSC certified woods.  There are many green options, like recycled metal or glass, for hardware too.
  • Lighting:  Energy Star rated light fixtures come in all shapes and sizes to fit any decor.  By installing these energy efficient light fixtures and compact fluorescent bulbs, you’ll keep your power bills down.
  • Doors:  Need a linen closet or bathroom door?  For quality solid-wood paneled doors, check out your local architectural salvage yard or companies who create new doors from reclaimed wood.

photo courtesy of This Old House

Tag(s): Greening the Home, Kitchens And Baths


2 Responses to “For a Classic Bathroom, Go Vintage”

  1. Greg on June 3rd, 2009 1:59 pm

    Know that there are many options for low flow faucet aerators like different levels of flow rates from 2.2 gallons per minute down to .5 gallons per minute along with different finishes like brass or chrome. With all the options at the hardware store you surely can match up something to your vintage fixtures.

  2. Liz Andrews on June 3rd, 2009 5:32 pm

    Bamboo Vanities are a great way to go green in the bathroom. Also think about installing a dual flush toilet. They can save thousands of gallons of water per year.
    Thanks. Keep up the great work!

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