An atomic 1950s design mood board for Kate’s master bathroom remodel

Atomic 1950s Retro Modern bath remodel


I’m back after some more scouring of the internet and thinking about what my dream retro modern master bath might look like. Ever since I discovered that it existed, I have loved the Atomic Age collection of wallpaper from Bradbury & Bradbury, so I thought–why not put together an idea board using one of their designs as inspiration? Of course this idea board is also full of pink, because who wouldn’t want a pink bathroom in their retro ranch?

Atomic 1950s Retro Modern bath remodel1. This wallpaper–called Googieland — from Bradbury & Bradbury is, in my opinion, super retro cool. Since pink and turquoise are a classic retro color combination, I thought it would be perfect for my retro modern master bath. I might just use it as a backdrop pattern on the vanity wall, or if I’m feeling bold, perhaps the entire room might be wallpapered. Otherwise, a light pink paint, picked from the wallpaper would complement my wallpapered accent wall perfectly.

2. These white Jonathan Adler wall sconces coordinate perfectly with the wallpaper. The bowtie shape is very retro and the cut out shapes on the lights echo the funky print of the wallpaper.

3. This Grundtal Mirror from Ikea is simple and sleek. The stainless steel frame compliments the gray and chrome throughout the room and the circular shape plays well with the penny round tile and the ceiling light fixture.

4. This faucet is very modern, but since it is a shiny chrome, it also echos the retro feel of the room.

5. I’m using this affordable custom sink/vanity top combination from St. Paul Home Products in all my idea boards because it is just what I want to top off my retro dresser/vanity.

6. The retro dresser that I found for $25! It has the perfect measurements and look for my retro modern master bath remodel.

7. For the floor, a 12 x 24 inch gray slate tile would help to blend the retro and modern styles. Slate was commonly used in retro decorating, though typically in entry ways instead of bathrooms, so it is a good material to chose. The gray and pink combination is also very retro appropriate. What makes it modern–the large size of the tiles.

8. This flush mount white light from West Elm is modern, yet its shape is reminiscent of a classic retro piece, the Saarinen tulip chair.

9. I can’t tell you how much I want to use this starburst towel bar from Rejuvenation. I’ve been in love with its retro design since the first time I saw it.

10. I still have to call and verify that such a color exists, but if B&W tile has a light retro pink tile, I’m going to use it for my shower. This time I’m going for the classic 4 x 4 inch square wall tile.

11. I’d have to get samples to make sure the pinks would play well together, but I would love to have this pinky peach penny round tile on my shower floor. It echos the circular shape of the mirror and lights and also has that playful feeling that is found in the wallpaper.

This master bathroom design is not quite as luxurious as my first attempt — which I modeled after a 1957 time capsule house that Pam featured — with its stone wall, but it is just as exciting to think that my master bathroom could have all of these elements in its decor. Still, I think another idea board is in order before I make my final decision.

Which of the Kate’s two bathroom design mood boards do you like best so far — Flintstones-meet-Jetsons or Atomic 1950s?

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  1. lynda says

    I think it is perfect. Love the penny rounds. Grey grout would look nice and be easier to clean. You could use the penny rounds in the niches too. Light fixtures are really nice. (And, the bulbs are easy to change!)
    I like the wallpaper backslash. You could go with a pink tile and a penny round accent stripe too. Might be easier to keep clean than the wallpaper or the stone you had chosen before. Love the slate from HD. Hope you can figure out how to get free shipping! When choosing plumbing fixtures for the shower, make sure you do a side hand held shower so you can rinse the shower down easily. A wall diverter makes that feature easy to use. Just a beautiful room for you and your husband!

    • IMissLiberty says

      How long have you had it in your bath? How is it handling moisture? I love these wallpapers (my brother works at Bradbury and prints and designs papers), but these are not vinyl papers that can be scrubbed as one would normally prefer in a kitchen or bath… I’m thinking of using one of them on one wall of my kitchen away from the food prep areas where it will stay cleaner.

      • Lynne says

        I am so glad someone brought this up, because as I was reading the same thing popped into my head. I have Bradbury paper in my kitchen, on the walls and on the back splash between the upper and base cabinets. No, it does NOT have any protective coating at all. If you splatter on it, you had better get it wiped off quickly and say a prayer while you do it. Grease? Forget it. There will be a stain.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love this paper, and actually redesigned my entire color scheme to accommodate it. But, it is touchy. Not a carefree paper, and it is difficult to hang.

        Kate I think it would be fine in your bathroom, but I wouldn’t put it right behind the sink, especially since it looks like the top you have chosen has no back splash. I wouldn’t hesitate to put it on the walls, tho.

  2. Janet says

    Gee, Kate, once again looks great! Hey, I have a square mirror that was mounted on point, not horizontal if that makes sense. It was over the vanity in the added-on bathroom in our fifties cape. I took it down because it stuck out four inches over the vanity size and looked way off. And this is a quality glass beveled mirror from thirty or more years ago, I am sure. I think it would look great with those pinched light fixtures! Boy, are we going to get you confused!

  3. Kate H says

    I love the pink. I love the wallpaper. I always wondered what people used penny tile for, and a shower sounds perfect. This is going to look great. Only thing I wonder is, if you are brushing your teeth, won’t you be facing the space between the light and the mirror? You will have to take a step to see enough to floss.

  4. pam kueber says

    Hi Kate. You know I love those Adler sconces. BUT: My concern about enamel-shaded lighting like this in a bathroom — and in general — is that the opaque nature of the shades means that light disperses like a spotlight, rather than all around the room evenly. This is even more of an issue in the bathroom, because I think that at the vanity, you want light to shine on your face… Pretty, but I vote for frosted shades/diffusers….

    • Kate H says

      You have to watch out that the lights are not so hot as to burn your wallpaper. Has anyone else had this happen? I learned this when repapering my parent’s pink 1968 bathroom. They have an off center sink (like yours) and a gigantic wall-mounted mirror that takes up the whole vanity and goes all the way to about 1 foot from the ceiling, at which point there is a long horizontal light. If you forget and put a higher wattage bulb in, it can burn the paper. I also lived in a place that had the entire bathroom wall above the tile line covered in mirror, and the light fixture was attached THROUGH or on top of the mirror. No idea how they did this, but it worked fine for me.

    • says

      That is very true Pam, maybe I’ll have to swap those out for some lights with opaque glass shades instead (like the ones from Rejuvenation) That might be more flattering for my complexion!

  5. pam kueber says

    Oh and you KNOW I love the wallpaper. In response to a reader’s question about how it holds up in a bathroom: I put wallpaper in my three bathrooms about eight years ago. In two of them — hmmm, the “new” wallpaper — it’s holding up pretty well; edges in one of them need to be resealed I noticed recently. In “my” bathroom, which has vintage paper, the stuff is coming down. Ugh. I think I need to take it down and replace it altogether. Note, I take REALLY hot showers and it’s like a sauna in there. I do have an exhaust fan.

    Answer: I think it depends. All that said: I have seen PLENTY of bathrooms in time capsule houses in which the wallpaper is NOT falling down! Maybe there is something about how we installed the paper in my bathroom….Or maybe they did not take sauna showers.

  6. Lee in Florida says

    Love the wallpaper! I think I like the saucer light from your first post better, though. Looking good!

  7. Stacy says

    I really like this design board! It’s the one that gets my vote. The first one had a few too many different textures for my taste-but that’s just how I imagine it without seeing the real thing. I’m sure either will be lovely.

    May I suggest a pink tile half-wall behind the vanity? May be more expensive, but then you would not have wallpaper right behind your vanity top. And you would still have wallpaper behind the mirror and sconces, which I think looks terrific.

    Have fun with all of your options! Can’t wait to see what you decide on.

  8. Wendy M. says

    LOVE the wallpaper and the combination of green and pink. It all looks great together (and I’m with you on the the towel bar- it could make the room all on it’s own!)

  9. Linda Lucas says

    I celebrate your idea of ORIGINALITY in retro design. I approach all “period” interiors from the point of view as if I were there back in the day as chief designer, not present day copier in chief. I like that you’ve addressed the function of storage and taken advantage of all your options for accessories. Unless one is doing a “restoration” of an existing space that is complete with the original fixtures, personal style and optimal spacial planning rule. Bravissima!

  10. Brian T says

    I prefer the Atomic to the Flintstones. The dresser comes alive with the Googieland wallpaper; it seemed intimidated by the texture and color of the stone wall. I’ve never been a fan of pennyround tiles, but a shower floor is a use of them that just might change my mind. That said, are you sure you don’t want hexagonal tiles instead? Same scale, truer to the period, angles still reflect your sconces, less grout to clean.

  11. says

    I think that both designs are great. However, if I put my practical hat on, but my big thing witht the split stone in the Flintstone one is…. how do you clean it? Wouldn’t dust etc. collect on all of the different surfaces? and since it’s rough I can’t think it’d be too easy to dust….

    Just putting it out there…

  12. says

    The house we just bought, 1960, had some really terrible wallpaper all over the kitchen, including right behind the sink and stove top. The previous owner had put a piece of clear plexi glass/plastic up as a backsplash behind each and secured it with those little plastic clear things you’d use for a mirror. I didn’t even notice they were there until we’d actually moved in. But it was obvious it was meant to protect the wall paper in those sensitive areas. Is there some kind of clear coat you could put over a wall paper?

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