Pursuit of the High Tank Toilet
My husband was insistent on a high tank toilet in the powder room. He first showed me an inspiration photo, (see below) which if you look closely is really dollhouse furniture.
We had recently been to a friend’s 1850’s Victorian home who had their original high-tank toilet and that sealed the deal or should I say our fate. These toilets are not easy to find. We tried to find one at architectural salvage places but in the end we bought a new one from The Renovators Supply.
Eventually the day came to install it.
Impediment #1: According to the website this the toilet can be installed with a standard 12″ rough-in (distance from wall to center of drain pipe). Of course once the floor and drywall was installed and we attempted to install the toilet we discovered this was incorrect. The toilet we had was a rear feed toilet and there was not enough room for the pipe. It probably should have been a 15″ rough-in. Once again it’s best to have all your fixtures in the house before you start construction and double check everything. We contacted the seller who was very helpful and exchanged the bowl for a top feeding version which did fit.
Impediment #2: Once the bowl was in the plumber (or rather the B team he sent) had never installed one of these wall mounted tanks and had no idea how to do it. With a smirk my husband says, “I’ll do it this weekend.” I think he likes showing up the “professionals.”
Impediment #3: After starting the installation it turned out that the chrome pipes that were provided were somewhat shorter than expected. Instead of the tank sitting above your head it would have sat at eye level. That did not have the period effect that we were looking for. No problem, we bought some extra chrome pipe and extend it. It turns out chrome pipes longer than 1 foot are impossible to find. The good news was that along with the new top feed bowl we got a new chrome feed pipe. My husband got creative and jointed the two pipes together to a long 6 foot chrome flush pipe. Unfortunately, he didn’t have extra chrome pipe for the supply line and had to use copper. It is not perfect and I am sure some Victorian spirit in our house is saying, “why would you expose the plumbing like in our day when you can hide it, you morons.”
Once the old-timey toilet was in we set out to get the sink and lighting hardware. Again, we tried to find something old but could not find anything that was the correct size so we went with a 24″ Kasey pedestal sink that ended up matching the toilet bowl perfectly.
The lighting we picked out from Restoration Hardware. They have great lighting as well as furniture and accessories that mimic the styles from the 30’s and 40’s that we like. We also had a 20% off coupon, which helped with our choices. These two lights are both in gun metal grey. The light over the mirror is a vintage English oval double sconce and the ceiling light is a glass barn filament pendant.
We hope to get an antique oval mirror but for now bought this plain inexpensive round one from Ikea as a placeholder. The walls are painted Benjamin Moore Oatmeal.
The door and its hardware were original to the house. The etched glass has the New York State seal on it so someone must have worked for the city and somehow “acquired” this door. We loved it and were excited to re-use but discovered once the glass was cleaned that parts of it are clear, which is not so desirable in a powder room. Our solution was to put a rolling shade over it so when it is in use there is privacy but otherwise you can see the glass’s design.
If anyone knows how to clean antique etched glass please let us know. As you can see it is still brown in some areas that won’t come clean. Or maybe that is part of its charm.