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Midcoast Maine – April 2014


a tale of three bathrooms


When I was a kid, we – three boys, two girls, my parents, and a baby girl – lived in a three-bedroom house in Southern California. One standard-issue bathroom served the whole family, and no one ever thought this was a hardship. These days, “standard issue” means a well-appointed chamber (en suite, of course), and the idea of sharing a bathroom with someone else is a nonstarter. Not only do homes have more bathrooms these days, but when you’re building or renovating a bath, choosing from thousands of fixtures, materials, and design features can make your head spin.

My current project, Sea Cove Cottage, is a small Shingle-style Victorian cottage in a seaside village in Maine. The house is 1,300 square feet on two floors, built from kit parts in 1905. Originally, it had just one bathroom, a 5’ x 7.5’ chamber on the second floor with a sink, toilet, and claw-foot tub.

A later owner removed the dangerously steep cellar stairs from the first floor to the basement and inserted a tiny powder room. Both bathrooms (along with the rest of the house) were in desperate need of renovation. Our plans called for converting the wet, spider-infested basement into dry, wholesome living space. That required a third bathroom.


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