Mysteries Assumed


This is post #4 of trying to reconstruct the original layout of the first-floor bathroom in the 1894 Cross House. The above image was graciously provided by the amazing Bo Sullivan, and it offers a pretty good approximation of what I think, think, my bathroom looked like in 1894.


I THINK there was a marble vanity to the left.

I THINK there was a high-tank toilet to the right.

I THINK each rested upon marble slabs. The rest of the flooring was (and still is) porcelain geometric tiles by the American Encaustic Tiling Company.

I DON’T KNOW if the vanity had an marble apron (as shown in the image) or was just a marble slab top. I’m inclined to the latter.

I DON’T KNOW if the vanity had a high marble backsplash as shown in the image, or the extant white quartz wainscoting doubled as the backsplash. I am inclined to the latter.

I DON’T KNOW if the 1894 vanity was held up with legs as shown above, or brackets. I am inclined to both actually. Non-standard brackets in back; legs in front.

In short, I have a lot of I THINKS and I DON’T KNOWS. I would prefer THIS IS CERTAIN!

Hmm. This is all quite vexing.



In my previous post, Matt forwarded the above mouth-watering vintage vanity. This image causes a scary level of lust in me. Scary. The vanity is from a UK company, and is but $6200. Ouch. Nonetheless, my lust remains undiminished (but shall remain unsatisfied). Anyway, of note, and why Matt sent me the link, is the trio of hardware across the backsplash. These type fittings would offer resolution to the Mystery Holes #3 in my previous post.



Lust. Lust. Lust. This image is, basically, vintage vanity porn. Perhaps I should make it clear that this post is rated X!







  1. Julie Fuller on August 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm


    I saw this on craigslist in Seattle:

    Much cheaper!!!!!!!

    • Ross on August 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      I am freakin’ out! But soooooo far away!

      • Julie Fuller on August 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm

        Yeah, but lust unrequited is SUCH a drag! *grin*

        You probably know better than I, but isn’t it a good deal, even with shipping?

        • Ross on August 24, 2016 at 9:33 pm

          It seems a very good deal. And I am MAD for the matching floor slab! Soooooo rare to find one!

          However, there is no indication that the seller is willing to ship! The whole would have to be crated; a lot of extra work. No, the vanity will likely easily sell locally.

          Sigh. I wish my teleporter was working.

          • Julie Fuller on August 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm

            Jump in your car and DRIVE. I’ll put you up for the night (or two, or three) I’m about 2 hours south of that gloriuos sink!

  2. Bo on August 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I’ll just mention again that virtually all accessories I am aware of (and there were many, so that doesn’t mean they don’t exist) mounted with at least two screws per backplate or bracket. If you’ve ever mounted something with one screw, the reasons become quickly obvious – the accessory is in the way of the screwdriver, and the accessory will rotate if imbalanced in any way.

    So I am skeptical that single holes represent accessories. Sorry!

    The same principles apply to mounting wall brackets for sinks, shelves, etc. – they typically have multiple screws, accessed from the sides, and in a tall vertical row so there is support at top and bottom to carry the substantial loads. Again, the holes here don’t compute with brackets.

    But they don’t compute with anything else yet, so the jury is out. 😉

    The only thing that does seem like a possible smoking gun is the double-hole set for the potential pipe clamp or pipe clamp bracket that could have been part of the high-tank toilet.

    • Ross on August 24, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      1) There are five holes above what I believe was the original vanity. I called these #3 holes in my previous post.

      These holes are clearly two PAIRS (at a diagonal), and a single hole in the middle. If (if!) the pairs represented hardware bits like a soap dish and a glass holder, they would have been held in place with TWO screws each. The center single hole is still a bit of a mystery!

      And, as I wrote in the previous post, these five holes might instead reflect a sink later than the original vanity, but pre-dating the 1929 sink.

      2) The vertical pairs of holes UNDER a possible sink apron do not seem to correspond with any hardware that I know of. But I am guessing that they were for vanity brackets. And perhaps there was no apron; just a marble vanity slab.

  3. David on August 24, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I think you are almost there! I am wondering why you are thinking wall brackets rather than legs? I think corresponding mounting holes for brackets would be lower and more sizeable. But you’re making great progress in your detective work. The game is afoot!

    • Ross on August 24, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      The vertical pairs of holes UNDER what might have been a vanity apron were for…something.

      It seems reasonable that they were for brackets, holding up an apron-less vanity. What else could they be for?

      However, brackets alone could not have supported a marble vanity unless there was an obvious way that the vanity was attached to the quartz wainscoting. Because there is NO attachment indicated, then the vanity must have also had legs in front.


  4. [email protected] on August 24, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    It’s past my bedtime, but look up cast-iron sink brackets on the google. You’ll see the two diagonal mounting holes on the left and right sides, as well as a center mount hole. So, I do think there was a porcelain interloper as you surmised.

    • Ross on August 24, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Meg! I LOVE YOU!

  5. Miriam Righter on March 10, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Ross, I have a couple of brass soap holders/ glass holders that I found but they just did not work in my tiny bathrooms. I would be glad to send them to you if you would like them. I can photograph them.

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