Where No Man Has Gone Before: Adding A New Bathroom!

We’re adding a new bathroom where there was not only previously not one, but there is also no plumbing in that area of the building. There are a few interesting challenges to solve to make this possible. Doing it in an over 100 year old building only adds to to the challenge.

We have the traditional small bedroom that is over the entry vestibule and foyer of pretty much all Brooklyn brownstones. The dimensions of the room are 10’x 6’. So it‘s only big enough to be an office or nursery. It can’t really function as a legitimate bedroom. The inside wall is a structural wall so it’s difficult to expand it to the room next door without a lot of work. For us the obvious choice is to make it into a bathroom!

The first and biggest challenge is just getting the plumbing to the area. The only way to do it is to run a water and sewage stack up 3 floors from the basement. Fortunately our main sewer line runs along this side of the building so we just needed to go straight up. The only unfortunate part is that we’ll need to build a small box in the corner of the foyer and it needs to go straight through our beloved original plaster mouldings! BUT…we do have Jason with Urban Plaster our amazing plaster restorer that will wrap the box with the same mouldings to make it look like it belongs there. At least as much as possible.

The next challenge was building in the plumbing in the floor of the room. It needs to cross over several joists. In the kitchen we are building a soffit that will accommodate the plumbing for our master bath. We’re giving our cabinets a built in look so we were already building a soffit. We definitely don’t want a soffit in our foyer right over the entry further destroying the moldings so we need another solution. Our architect suggested notching the tops of the joists just enough to run the plumbing. He gave us strict instructions on how much they could be notched so that we don’t compromise their integrity. We think its a great solution to streamline the plumbing design and not add any unattractive features to the place.

Just running water and sewage to the room isn’t enough! Every drain needs to be vented as well. The other vent to the roof is too far away to get to and would require more big ugly soffits to run across the stairwell ceiling. So we are cutting a hole in the roof and venting straight up. A further challenge is that our roof, as in many old houses, still has an asbestos layer under the new layers that have been put over it. So now we need to have an asbestos remediator come to cut the hole, although we also need them to cut a another hole for a skylight, and remove the roof from the mudroom we are going to demo. So we’ll use the same company and they will just include it in the larger paperwork later.

Finally, we have the challenge of designing a brand new bathroom to fit into a 130 year old house. We don‘t want it to look modern and out of place. The design will have a vintage feel. We’re going to have traditional hex florets on the floor, a cast iron claw foot tub, a vintage cast iron utility sink, and the classic subway tile. We are even toying around with getting a vintage door with opaque chicken wire glass…but still trying to decide if that is too much. What do you think?!

We‘re excited to see our new bathroom starting to come together! Thanks for reading! Please subscribe below for new post updates! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!