Shelly’s gorgeous gray midcentury bathroom


St. Louis Shelly has a gorgeous gray bathroom in her 1956 house. The drain of her sink has rusted out, and she needs an all-new sink. Good news: The sink appears to be a Kohler Tahoe with hudee ring, and this model is still available today in a light gray. Bad news: It will take 42 days to get the sink via special order. I referred Shelly to this post — and asked to see more photos so that we could all ogle the gray bathroom – a color I haven’t featured yet. Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful – the vanity…THE FLOOR…the shower door…THE GRAY! The only thing you could need: Some wallpaper (of course!) or some print for your walls to bring in color.  Once either of those are in place, you can spec your towels.

Shelly writes:


This bathroom is probably my favorite part of my house right now. It originally had stick on vinyl tile which I removed to reveal the beautiful gray mosaic in near perfect condition. Problem is I bought a new faucet for the sink and when the old one was removed we found that the drain had corroded to the point of no return. I quickly ordered the Kohler Tahoe in grey to fit the current cutout and sink. Now they say it will take 42 days to get the order. My pink bathroom has no vanity, toilet or usable shower. So… we are reduced to brushing teeth and washing hands in the kitchen sink. I could try and hurry up the pink bath but it’s at least 2 weeks away from use. Do you think we should wait for the grey sink? [Pam: yes, but call deabath and see if they might have a vintage one in stock, you never know.] Do you know of another grey sink that would fit. [Pam: Crane makes a square sink with hudee ring, you can also check there, but I think they have even fewer colors than Kohler.] New vanity not an option, I love this one….The befores: Vinyl stick-on tile. Jackpot! But a nasty job getting that adhesive off. And oh my, the odors… there are open seams in this stuff and liquids seep onto the adhesive, quite disgusting. After with paint splatters and such still to be removed…

St. Louis Shelly

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.



  1. Glamorlux Nancy says

    So pretty!!! What a nice surprise to find that flooring! Our master bathroom is gray (same floor and Hall-Mack hardware), so it is great to see this… The vanity and medicine cabinet are amazing! Is that new Rejuvenation hardware on the vanity?

  2. sumacsue says

    Beautiful bathroom! The gray is so serene. Over the holidays, I was talking with my mom about the 40s-era house we lived in during my teen years. I was remembering the cool tile floor in the first-floor bath. My mom said, Yes, I covered it with stick-on carpet squares.

    I choked out an “oh really, I don’t remember — must have been after I left for college.” I don’t doubt it, since she also put in carpeting in the kitchen, of all places.

    I just hope the later owners of that house were as thrilled to find their bathroom tile flooring as Shelly is with hers!

  3. Elizabeth Mary says

    Lucky Shelly — The bathroom in my 1946 house was also gray but when the linoleum floor was taken up all that was there was mildew covered sub-flooring from an improperly intalled toilet’s years of leaking. The walls also were tiled with grey, but they were plastic tiles. It was pretty bad, so I re-did it entirely and love what I now have. But, I do have one serene gray room, my kitchen. The gray was not original, but was here when I moved in and I have come to really appreciate the calmness it brings.

  4. Jeanne says

    Finally featuring grey! I love it! I just moved into a 1952 bungalow and the only bathroom is done in grey tile (walls and floor). My sink is also rusting at the drain/hole. I’ll have to take pictures! I have wallpaper to remove (walls AND ceiling) and was thinking of just painting it white.

    Love this blog! I’m so glad I found it.

  5. says

    Your bathroom is exquisite. My 1948 Minimal Traditional house has been completely redone, including the roof profile and vinyl windows, so I can only envy your floor. Gorgeous.

  6. says

    We had our rusty (original 1949) laundry sink refinished. The drain-hole was enlarged, a new drain installed and it was refinished the colour I wanted (which was white but I could have chosen any colour). You can see the state of the original laundry sink by checking the “reno” link on posts referring to my ongoing basement reno.

    This may also be an option to check out!

  7. bsmet94 says

    Very nice! We need to re-do two bathrooms in our 1950 house, and my wife is dead set against pink. Gray may be the winner for one of the bathrooms, the other may end up some kind of beigey affair. I love the tile pattern on the floor! Too bad no liner tile on the walls.

  8. Sputnik Sandi says

    I love the fish on the shower door; my mom has the same pattern in one of her bathrooms!

    bsmet94 – I have a gray tiled bathroom with pink tile accents (well, at least I used to before HGTV’s Designed to Sell came into my future home and painted over the pink tiles!). Perhaps that’s an idea you could both live with?!?

  9. kellyraine says

    Love the floor! I am so jealous! I have a 1951 purpley-grey bathroom with maroon trim tile but at some point the original floor tile was taken out and replaced with a baby blue hex tile. I am currently renovating it and am thinking about putting in a random mosaic tile floor to keep the feel of the room. I wish I had the original though – the pattern is great.

  10. NorthsideCJ says

    I love the bathroom. Talk about classy and timeless! That medicine cabinet is too perfect! I remember that floor (in blue) from my childhood and how it used to drive me insane trying to find a repeating pattern in it. There are multiple “Hoods” locations you may wish to check for a NOS sink. I’ve only stopped in the one way out in Foristell, but I remember they had several New old metal sinks. Not in gray, and no hudee rings though, but I am going off memory and their inventory changes so who’s to say.

  11. NewEnglandJilly says

    Maddy, you clearly have not seen my blue-and-gray bathroom. It’s a pretty bad combo – sort of a bright powder blue tile on all the walls, with a dark gray tub and sink and toilet and counters, similar to those pictured (though I think my counter may have been updated). The tile is also gray, but put in recently and sort of a slate-tone. I have NO CLUE what I’m going to do with this bathroom. We already replaced the toilet with a generic white one because the old one was cracked, and many of the blue wall tiles are cracked too. However, I’m kind of liking the yellow-and-gray idea. Maybe even yellow-and-gray-and-white? Hmmm… Anyway! SO nice to see a gray bathroom done right.

    • says

      NewEnglandJilly, oh my goodness. This one does sound challenging. I’m contacting you via email – will you send pictures? You get the courageous renovator award, dear!

  12. retropink57 says

    Your grey bathroom is absolutely gorgeous. I CANNOT believe you had that beautiful tile floor under the stick-ons! What a treasure!!!! Pink is my all-time fave so I can’t wait to see your pink bathroom pictures!

  13. sumacsue says

    Rikki mentioned vinyl windows — I am assuming replacement windows. Pam, maybe you could do a feature some day on good choices for replacement windows for mid-century homes. While this isn’t something I have high on the list, maybe others do. I like my windows, but, I get aggravated at the aluminum storm windows, because they are old and cruddy and don’t want to move up and down anymore. Do they still make these things?

  14. Neil says

    I am currently renovating my kitchen but will be moving on to my pink bathroom. I am search of shower doors like those. My Mom’s house in Miami had them! Anyone know where to get them?

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Neil, we all love these shower doors – there are other examples of other designs in various posts. I don’t know where to get them new – and have not had time to research whether they are even available. I’d say: talk to your local glass/shower door specialty shop and see what they say.

      Other than that: Re-Store/Habitat for Humanity, Craigslist, and special offerings to the retro decorating gods…

  15. IrvK says

    I have the same sink and problem in my bathroom. I was replacing the drain and discovered it was completely rusted out (previous owner had gooped it up with silicone). I am aware that Kohler still makes the Tahoe metal frame sink, but it’s stated dimensions are 18″x20″. The opening left in the vanity from my original sink measures 21 1/2″ x 17 1/2″. It seems the newer sinks dimensions are different from the original models. I’d like to know if the original poster ran into the same problem, or verified the dimensions?

  16. Jeanne says

    One word of warning on shower doors…today’s standards are different than previously (i.e. safety glass). The reason I mention this, is my husband knew of a friend’s dad who died falling through the shower door glass. I hate to mention a sad story, but want people to think safety first.

  17. pam kueber says

    Hi Genjenn, thanks for calling this to my attention. Some of my galleries went wacky with an upgrade recently. You don’t want to know what a hassle this is sometimes. I have no idea when I will be able to get around to sorting this tech problem out….

  18. Amy says

    I have the same sink in my Master to match my original 1956 American (color now silver) toilet.

    But, I need some HELP! I need to install new shower pan and have lost about a foot of the gray tile around the shower base. I want to replace this with the same tile or one really great match…any help appreciated and unfortunately, time is of the essence….

  19. Alice says

    We have a grey 1951 bathroom with the built in tissue box and cup holder similar to Shelly’s. Sadly, the glass is gone on the cup holder. Where can I get a replacement?

    I am inspired to pull up a corner of the “new in 2002” linoleum to see if the 1950s tile remains on the floor.

  20. says

    Last August when I was house hunting, most of the houses in Edina, MN I looked at were mid century. Because I love mid century and I’m a kitchen and bathroom designer, I took pictures of all of them. I have blue, pink and gray, pink and maroon, beige and brown with STARBURST tiles – my very favorite. I wanted to buy that house just for the tile. All of the bathrooms were in their original condition – vanities, toilets, etc. It was soooo much fun.

  21. Martha says

    I’m not usually a fan of gray, but what I like about the all gray going on here is that you can accessorize it with just about any color.

  22. Jennifer Williams says

    Wow! Do the shower doors have turtles on the bottom? That’s what my husband remembers from his childhood bathroom.

  23. Heidi says

    I have this same bathroom with only two differences. I have a small pink tile border on the shower and the sink is not grey but it will be replaced. I have those membrane show doors with the fish design. I was so excited when I saw this photo. I thought to myself, who else could love this but me. I never feel alone on this site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *