World of Tile: The single most important discovery on Retro Renovation yet — 100+ photos

vintage new old stock mosaic tile image copyright retro renovation 2011Update: World of Tile has now closed. See our story on the liquidation sale going on through about Nov. 15 here.

world of tile vintage NOS tile 1950s and 1960s bathroom tile in a wide variety of pastel colorsAnnouncing the single most exciting discovery on the blog yet:  World of Tile — a tile store that opened in Springfield, New Jersey, in 1957 and which is still open today. A lovely story of same-family-ownership small business longevity. But, the big news is that this tile store is chock full of new old stock NOS mint in box MIB vintage tile from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. GORGEOUS tile, and at what I consider very fair prices. You read it first here… !!!GeT Y@Ur T!Le FaSt!!!! — because once the fancy shmancy hotsy totsy New York interior design crowd finds out about this place (that is: starting NOW), they are going to rush on over to New Jersey and, I fear, wipe the place out.

My great big fat World of Tile story is so fantabulous, that I am dedicating the next several days to rolling the story out.

How we discovered World of Tile

First, I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Jason and Nicky — who discovered World of Tile. Nicky, in particular. As you may recall, Jason and Nicky are intrepid renovators and they made a trek a few months back to Emily’s big stash of NOS tile in West Virginia, which I had discovered via the Forum.

jason at world of tileAs Jason explained to me by phone: After their trek to West Virginia, where they did buy some fab tile, they still needed some specific, mint-colored tile that they had in mind for a bathroom renovation. Nicky would NOT give up, and kept searching and searching online, following up on any little tidbit of information about a possible source that she could get. World of Tile was just one such tidbit. She saw it mentioned in a discussion forum somewhere, and with little expectation of success, she called World of Tile. Yes, World of Tile said, they had mint green tile. Old stuff. Vintage stuff. New old stock stuff. From the 1960s or so.

Pronto, Jason and Nicky drove three hours north to World of Tile, and it was then they discovered they had hit a motherlode. Now, “motherlode” is a quite a cliched term, but in this case, it really fits. When Jason and Nicky arrived home, Jason wrote me a long email and send lots of cameraphone photos. Here is an excerpt from Jason that pretty much sums up my feelings, too:

I expected to find a few varieties of vintage tile, but I never expected an entire store of vintage tile. I was speechless; I was actually incoherent.  My wife found this greatly amusing, as I pretty much could only say ‘Wow’

Looking at all of Jason’s photos, I knew this place was going to be good, so as quickly as I could, I arranged my schedule to get down to World of Tile to see for myself. The place is about three hours south from my house. It did not disappoint. The owner Chippy — as in “little chip off the old block” — was very very gracious and kind. She gave me a tour of the 5 showrooms upstairs… I also toured the downstairs, where they store all the tile… I took hundreds of photos… and even made a video walking through the entire store so that you can see for yourself what a retro wonderland it is.

new old stock NOS vintage tile from world of tile

How to do business with World of Tile

Chippy, the co-owner of World of Tile advises that if you need replacement tiles, you are going to need to send her an actual sample — not photos, they do not provide enough info to do the matching. If you are interested in any of the tiles I’ve shown here, I’d advise the same: Save a copy of my photo, send it to her, and see what can be arranged. Honestly: I think the Best Bet, if you want a whole room full of NOS vintage tile based on any of the photos I’ve shown here, would be to go to World of Tile and see everything in person, yourself. The place is six miles from the Newark airport. Please be advised: This is a small business — give Chippy and her team TIME to handle your request and all the requests likely to come. Like I said: Are you crazed to get your hands on some of this stuff? FLY TO NEWARK. Before the NYC crowds — just 40 minutes away!!!! — descend.

More of the story to come as this week unfolds. Meanwhile, here are 100+ photos from my trip to BLOW YOUR MIND. Note, I am showing all these photos, so you — Retro Renovation readers — can get a jump start going after any tile you need. You can get both replacement tile, and full orders.

This story and all images are copyrighted 2011.
If you are a blogger and want to reuse an image —
please see requirements outlined in Terms of Use.

And again, the link to contact Chippy at World of Tile is –> click here.

See all our stories on World of Tile by clicking here.

To play slide show: Click on an image… it will enlarge… use arrows below image to move forward or back… you can start at any image.

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  1. Monique says

    O-M-G!! Just found your site and am floored!! Will probably spend the weekend reading everything. The tiles are what caught my attention. Ten years ago we bought a 1963 vintage home in Mount Dora, Florida. Thankfully NOTHING had been done to ‘update’ it (except for adding a hideous, cheap sink in the GARAGE bathroom). We just started a mild reno to the main bathroom, which has a VERY odd blue/green tile in it, along with all the original fixtures. I am totally encouraged by this site and all the other enthusiasts who want to preserve the beauty of their interiors…yeah for us!! Yeah for this site…

  2. Carol Belding says

    We are in the process of buying a 1957 pretty intact house in Sarasota, FL. The bathrooms are spectacular, the tile vanities yummy. The original kitchen cabinets are there and we’ll strip and repaint them. We are installing a new “vintage” look back splash tile and simple counters.

    The base of the gray and pink master shower is leaking. I sent a photo to Chippy and she matched the tile and is shipping it to us for the repair. What a character and great fun. (I’m from New Jersey)

    Thanks for the referral,
    Carol Belding

  3. Debby Gordon says

    i’m interested in the pale blue retro style ceramic glazed tile 4×4.
    in your photo, it’s the middle bunch, then the middle row, then the far left light blue tile, also interested in the pink. what is the cost per each or however you are pricing the tiles.

    • pam kueber says

      Debby, we do not sell anything here. You need to contact World of Tile. Also, if you want enough tile for a complete bathroom, your go-to starting place should be B&W. See our category Bathrooms / Tile — for all our resources. Good luck.

  4. Donald G Swanson says

    Where can I get a few pieces of white bathroom tile 4-1/2″ X 4-1/2″ with tiny gold speckles for a 1970’s condo)? I am in the Chicago area. Thanks

    • pam kueber says

      Donald, you can try World of Tile to see if they have replacements. You need to send them samples… Read the instructions in this story.

  5. Mary Romano says

    Wow-what a find for someone doing repairs or needing replacement of vintage tiles, def. keeping this info. handy

  6. Megan says

    Wow flashback.. I remember going to world of tile with my mom in the eighties to buy the tile for our bathroom!! I always loved that sign!

  7. Miss Wynonna says

    Was World of Tile a chain store or a franchise? I remember as a child in the late 60’s early 70’s seeing the EXACT same World of Tile signs and similar buildings around Detroit and the suburbs

  8. Lori says

    We have an old Victorian house that had a shower installed with 3×6 subway tiles. We found replacements for them but we can not find outside corner 6×1 inch tiles in white (not bright white). They match the edges of the shower wall to the rest of the bathroom subway tiles. We afre coming to NJ and will be there during the week of August 25. we can bring the tiles we are looking for and were wondering if we can stopin to see your inventory.

  9. Mike Padu says

    Beware of world of tile !!!!!

    I send two samples during the spring and they could not find a replacement. They wanted to keep the samples but I told them I needed for my repair, They charged me $ 26.00 to send back the samples back to even if it cost them $ 5.95 to send the box by 1 class mail USPS.

    Caveat emptor

    • pam kueber says

      sounds like they charged you a $20 handling fee… not necessarily unreasonable… but they should let you know this ahead of time…thanks for letting us know

    • pam kueber says

      Beth, we do not sell anything here. You need to contact the companies that are profiled in our stories. Most stories have links to their websites, which is where you will find the contact information.

    • pam kueber says

      Richard, read the story and the links — the place is shutting down. There are no e-orders, no phone orders — ya gotta go there and find it and buy it, cash….

  10. Rudy says

    Yes they are closing, it is so sad. Place is being liquidated, you basically just carry out what you can at cut throat prices. The place is huge and so there is so much stuff left over and whatever they dont get rid of will go in the dumpster. Like I said the place is huge so that is a lot of stuff going in the garbage !!

    It breaks my heart…

    I was able to get some great tile for dirt cheap and right now I am contemplating where to put what. Need to redo my 1960’s bathroom as well as a basement bathroom. I dont really go for the retro look to be honest but some of the tile could be mixed in with a more contemporary look.

    Really sorry to see the place go…

  11. mariuccio says

    Hey chippy this is Mario Acosta please send your phone number to me .Posible we have a job in Livingston coming and we can get together . Said hi to everyone . .

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