Retro Renovation’s “The Hard Way Award” winner 2011: Janice and her from-scratch pink bathroom

janice designs and installs a mamie pink bathroomIn 2010 I instituted “The Hard Way Award”, honoring one reader each year who chose the path less traveled: Pursuing a Retro Renovation that, on the main, bypasses off-the-shelf big box supplies in favor of a more arduous period-inspired renovation using hard-to-find and/or salvaged material. A renovation that truly shows the passion for… doing things the hard way. This year’s winners: Janice and her husband Greg, who on their own gut-renovated a remuddled bathroom in their 1954 house — and install, in its place, a Mamie pink bathroom trimmed in black and white.

pink bathroom before and after

Janice also chronicled the story in blow-by-blow detail — providing other readers valuable resources and insight. Janice explained how it all got started:

My love affair with pink bathrooms is a new one.  I never once thought about wanting or needing a pink bathroom when my husband and I first started searching for a mid-century ranch three years ago.  Had I known then what I know now, I might have held out until I found the perfect time capsule bathroom.  But, I didn’t know better and we bought a house with two bathrooms – neither of which are pink. After reading all about the Save the Pink Bathrooms crusade and drooling over the RR Blog’s readers’ own pink beauties, I decided I might not have inherited a pink bathroom, but by golly, I could build my own.

In reality, this award also recognizes Janice’s renovation of her kitchen in 2010. Janice, you are an inspiration. xoxo. Hey, there is no prize per se for this award — just the accolades and admiration of the entire Retro Renovation Nation. Nation: Hows about let’s send Janice and Greg lotsa Comment applause! 🙂

Runner-up: Carrie and her family for their spirited kitchen renovation. And there were other great stories, too. You all make it so hard to *choose*. Yes: You are all winners!

Previous winners:

2010: Susan and her Youngstown kitchen saga


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  1. Andi says

    I LOVE that bathroom! It is literally inspirational as I labor over decisions on my own bathroom remodel, and serves as a proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” image, showing what is possible with perseverance. I even like your decorating choices, especially those cool cats! Congratulations, you certainly deserve Pam’s award!!

  2. Kay says

    Congratulations to Janice and Greg – beautiful job! My brother finally found his missing pink toilet (pristine!) in the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It was marked at $20, but they were having a half price sale. SCORE!!!

  3. Debra says

    Janice I love what you did! As a Realtor I get to see many preserved mid-century bathrooms etc. that the Buyer intends to extinguish & this always makes me sad! Kudos to you for all you hard work ~ it truly paid off!

  4. says

    I really like your bathroom, it has just enough kitch to add to the vintage charm. You have done a fab job. Like your kitchen too! Nice to have an old “new” kitchen I bet! Like you I love Atomic Ranch and Love Mid Cen Modern, but Modest has its own little place doesnt it? 🙂


  5. Janice says

    Wow! What a wonderful surprise to see that I won the 2011 Hard Way Award! I’ve never won anything … ever… before and I feel honored to be chosen among so many very well qualified contenders. None of what I’ve done could have been accomplished without the help of Retro Renovation and all of its faithful followers. Thank you everyone for your nice remarks and helpful advice and to Pam for selecting my Mamie Pink Bathroom as the 2011 winner! Happy New Year everyone!

  6. RetroSandie says

    Janice, Congrats on a job well done! Your pink bathroom is just gorgeous!!! And your avocado kitchen is gorgeous as well!! How exciting to have such a lovely home, done with respect to its age!!! 🙂

  7. Jill says

    Speaking of bathrooms…does anyone know where I can find a 30″ high bath vanity? They are all 34″ to 36″ high now, and I am 4’10” tall…and my 1950’s bathroom has seafoam green soap and toothbrush dispenser at the 36″ mark.

    • pam kueber says

      Jill, I do not know. You could get something set on legs — meaning “a box” and then shorten the legs. See the slide show on bathroom vanities — there are numerous examples — vintage legs can be found easily, including New Old Stock from Chippy at World of Tile — … Alternatively, look for a vintage vanity, or for a sink that sits on metal legs. is good for those.

      • Lisa says

        How about a wall-hung sink? I loved the one at our old house because it was installed nice and high — they are very versatile. Most have holes in the front where you could slip in (non-structural, probably) painted wooden legs to give a more vintage look. You could even do a sink skirt!

  8. Lisa says

    Thanks for re-featuring Susan, last year’s winner — that predates my reading of this blog and I had never seen her charming kitchen before. Susan, are you still reading, or does anyone else know: what is the paint color on your walls? That looks like the green I have been seeking for my kitchen. I am not as hardcore as some, but I think I have a decent shot at making over my 90’s faux French kitchen into something reminiscent of the 1940s. The house is from the teens, and it is probable that this room was converted from back porch to kitchen somewhere between 1920-1950. There’s a cabinet in the basement that may hail from that era (though no real way to know if it was ever installed upstairs — could have come from anywhere) Anyway, I like that style and I’m going for it as best I can with surface-only changes.

    • pam kueber says

      I re-read the entire original story about Susan’s kitchen — she gives the green color in the Comments in response to another’s question: “Per a request: Paint color on walls is Nurture by Behr (Home Depot’s main brand).”

  9. Lisa says

    Janice, your bath and kitchen are lovely! From the pictures it looks like a nice benefit of the retro design is that the kitchen appears larger in the “after” photos. The clean lines and cheerful colors visually expand the space.

    I’d like to draw attention to the shower door. The etching is a nice touch!

  10. gsciencechick says

    Congrats, Janice and DH! For when we have to replace our floor, I’m definitely using the Lowe’s pinwheel tile!

  11. Jason says

    Just referenced this post and the save the pink site on another blog, who had a commenter lamenting their mamie pink bath. Ugh…I hope it helps.

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