A few months ago we Instagrammed, Facebooked, and Tweeted as we ventured out to the annual Old Town Boutique District sidewalk sale. (If you missed it, be sure you're following us to get the inside scoop.) It's really a fun event that supports all of the great local establishments in Old Town Alexandria. The various small businesses and boutique shops all along King Street and the surrounding streets bring some of their items out and place them on sidewalk tables and under pedestrian tents with great markdowns and the hopes you'll find a new favorite store in Old Town.  

This year's sale was in early August, and though the temperatures can be hot and sticky at that time of year, the weather was perfect and the only thing really hot that day were all of the deals. I picked up several items along the way, including new shoes, a few gifts for friends and family, and one small item in particular that I've been very excited about since we saw it staring back at us from Red Barn Mercantile's central table.

With one second floor bathroom in our home that serves the dual purpose of guest bathroom for upstairs and powder room for downstairs, we're often directing guests from the first floor "up the stairs and immediately to the left" when they're in need of a loo. Unfortunately, when many walk up the stairs some intimidation about being alone on the second floor of someone else's house often sets in. Sure it's not a problem for people familiar with our home, but a first time visitor undoubtedly ends up walking past the first door on the left and wandering down the hall, past the office and eventually into the guest room. With several nondescript white doors in a short hallway, I guess it's just easy to miss.

To remedy this situation and to add a little bit of cuteness to the hallway at the same time, when I spied the little cast iron "WC" plate I knew it had to come home with us. The little sign's timeless styling called out to my love of all things European, and I knew it was the answer to our dilemma and how we should absolutely make our guests aware of exactly which door represented the water closet.

At first, Alex was a bit apprehensive about the idea. You see, he's the one that has worked so hard at stripping and hanging our salvaged doors throughout the second floor, and asking him to put two small screw holes in a door that he had slaved over for days, well, that's like asking him to screw those two small screws right into his chest. 

He hemmed and hawed at the idea, but ultimately, he saw both the practicality of the solution, as well as the happiness it would undoubtedly bring me. This, folks, is what a healthy marriage is about -- letting your significant other screw what they want into your hard work.

Since the door is situated so close to the top of the stairs, we opted to hang the "WC" at roughly waist height. Our thought is simple. A person coming up the stairs will be more likely to see the sign at normal waist height, since that's actually about eye level to them when they'd first see it near the top of the stairs.

We marked the location of the two screws with a pencil, making sure the top of the sign was perfectly level and the sign was centered on the panel both horizontally, and vertically centered in line with the door's hardware.

We then drilled pilot holes for the two screws so we could affix the sign using two painted white outlet cover screws. I'm not positive, but I may have heard a little bit of Alex's soul die when we drilled those two tiny holes.

Alex grabbed two small slot head screws from his drawer full of leftover screws (we can't have our house looking "new" with philips head screws) and put them in place to secure our new friend.

Using two extra outlet screws meant we had to pre drill the holes deep enough to accommodate the whole screw, since they aren't true wood screws, but it ensured a much better look with a finished white top.

Now, when a guest says, "Pardon me, but could you please point me to the nearest toilet?" (all of our house guests definitely talk just like that), we can respond, "Absolutely, just climb the stairs and look to the left for the sign that reads 'WC'." How wonderfully European and refined of us, no?

So what do you think? Does "WC" make enough sense to you? Or do you think we should have gone with a good old sign with a guy in a cowboy hat and girl in a hoop skirt to show all of our guests just where they could find the bathroom?

Comments 19


Kelly C.
10/9/2013 at 2:28 PM
LOL! I'll be honest and say that I only guessed what it meant a few seconds before you told us - but so cute!! And thank you Alex for taking one for the team, lol!
Hah. Thank you for recognizing what a major sacrifice I made in this endeavor. :-)
10/9/2013 at 2:39 PM
As usual you guys hit the nail on the head, how perfectly quaint, a little quirky, and "WC" seems oddly fitting for a historic home. LOVE!
Thanks, Whitney. We really like the way it looks on the door, and it does seem to fit quite nicely.
10/9/2013 at 3:19 PM
Most people who are familiar with the late Victorian era conveniences will recognize what that means. Nice touch!
Thanks! It's nice that it works with the age of our home, and the materials are pretty much right too.
Emily Mathiak
10/9/2013 at 6:34 PM
Absolutely love it. I grew up in England and I've definitely seen these!
Rashmi Pappu
10/9/2013 at 8:44 PM
haha.. love it. Growing up in India, people used to say 'WC'..instead of restroom/bathroom.
10/10/2013 at 8:51 AM
Wow this is crazy...I just purchased two vintage brass stencils (W and C) and hung them on our hall bathroom like less than a week ago.

Needless to say, I'm a fan.
It's "WC" serendipity!
10/10/2013 at 9:43 AM
Love it! We have a somewhat similar situation--the powder room door and basement door are right next to each other and look exactly alike. I tacked a little embroidery oval with "Bath" on the powder room door. Not as cute (or accurate) as your solution, sadly. But it keeps guests from opening the Portal to the Wormhole that is our basement, lol.

By the way, thanks for the restaurant list ... had a yummy dinner at Columbia Firehouse earlier this week. I'll be sure to refer to your list for future trips to Alexandria!
I'm so glad the restaurant list came in handy. Columbia Firehouse is such a great place. It's always hard to choose since we have so many great options in such close proximity.
10/10/2013 at 10:57 AM
The sign is really cute and the perfect match for this beautifully salvaged door. As for its purpose - I'm European so I'd have no problem locating the "restroom" (always thought that's a funny expression) in your house. ;-)
Every time we're in Europe I have to keep catching myself when I begin to ask if there's a "restroom" I can use. I think, after all of these years, I'm finally used to asking for the "toilet" or the "WC."
10/11/2013 at 10:02 AM
I'm not usually a fan of signs in home decor, but this one is perfect. You guys always get it right. Totally unrelated but Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff has a post about needing to clean her basement, reminded me of you guys.
Thanks for thinking of us and our messy basement. :-) I just checked out the post, then looked at our basement in its current state, and, well, they're both pretty bad. I can't wait until our bathroom is done, it will surely open up about 1/2 of the space in the basement, which is currently a huge staging area.
10/11/2013 at 10:20 AM
Aughhh! You have a good man there, we don't have solid old doors, and me and my husband both would have lost our minds at drilling into the door for a sign.

Even though I knew how this would end, I was still hoping you would have used double sided tape or something to apply it right up until I saw the drill.

Do love the sign though! From Canada we get the UK references in language, when we went to the southern States in the spring we warned the kids to ask for the Restroom instead of the Washroom as we have both gotten odd looks, and 'corrected' in the past. They thought that was a funny name since you don't really want to rest in there.
Kelly C.
10/12/2013 at 2:13 PM
LOL! I'm a Native Texas and when you call it a washroom I think of a laundromat or washateria - not that I ever hear them called washrooms down here :)

I love how words have different meanings depending on where we live.
I went through many different options for affixing the sign using non permanent fasteners, I just kept ending in the idea that it would eventually fall off and dent the floor pretty badly, so I sucked it up and went ahead with the holes, no matter how much it pained me.
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