Tile for your 50s style kitchen or bath

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It was very difficult to find tile in the correct 50s shades. My best source: A Canadian-based company, Olympia Tile, had a selection of 4.25 x 4.25 “Maple Leaf” tiles in appropriate shades. Good news, their distribution network in the U.S. is growing. Go to olympiatile.com to see where you can buy this tile. No photos online – watch this site and I’ll post my bathroom pics at some point.

Colors I used in my bathrooms: Heron Blue and Fawn Beige. I used the 4x4s for field tile and for edging, trimmed them with a basic United Ceramic white 2×6 from Home Depot. I used Olympia’s matching 2×6 cove base to meet the walls with the floor. Note, we installed the cove pieces flush with the floor tile (rather than ‘sitting on top of it’ — but struggled because the room was not perfectly square (by a long shot.) This is a trade-off decision.

Other colors I like in the Olympia line: Primrose (yellow), Teal Blue and Lake Blue, Salmon (would be great with black or grey trim) Terra Cotta, Bone and four shades of Grey – Thunder, Platinum, Silver and Tender (my favorite.)

This tile was all very inexpensive. Note, I bet you can go much higher-end — to a Waterworks or Ann Sachs — and probably get a better selection of colors. However, this will be at a much much higher price.

Finally: For my floors, I used American Olean Chloe, a “pinwheel” pattern evocative of the 50s, with the gloss black dots in one room, and with plain satin white in the other two. To be honest, I prefer the all-white. Use warm grey sanded grout — it’s a nice look. You must seal the grout, though – an arduous (but worthwhile) task.

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