Mike and Lindsey’s pink master bathroom remodel — artfully combining vintage and modern — and saving $14,000

At one point we convinced ourselves
a complete gut of the master bath was in order
and had it fully planned and priced out.
But … a plan started to form in my head …
Pink tile is saved again! — Mike


Mike-&-LindseyRemember Mike and Lindsey and their French-Provincial-to-retro-modern pink guest bathroom remodel?  Well, these two have been at it again — and have completed the restoration of another vintage pink bathroom. Yes, Mike and Lindsey were blessed two pink tiled bathrooms in their 1949 ranch — an adorable guest bathroom with dressing table… Pink-bathrooms-saved-counter.2and a full master bath.  Their retro modern master bathroom remodel is stunning — combining the best of old with new — and they saved many thousands of dollars — along with decades of history! — versus gutting the bathroom and starting from scratch. But have no doubt whatsoever: This was a lot of work.


Mike writes:

As much as we enjoyed the retro-renovation on our pink guest bathroom, I was not sure I wanted to take on a similar project in our master bath. Although our guest bath was technically just a make-over, it was a long process and seemed to take forever to finish. The master bath was the last room in the house for us to do since purchasing our 1949 ranch three yrs ago, and I wanted to finish with a bang!

At one point we convinced ourselves a complete gut of the master bath was in order and had it fully planned and priced out. But as I recovered from the countless hours of scraping the guest bathroom floor, a plan started to form in my head of how I could do our master bath in a special retro-modern twist… an example of how to meld new and original vintage together in a way that almost anyone could love. Pink tile as saved again!

The redo consisted of three main projects. Resurrecting the tile, replacing the vanity, and reconfiguring the built-in.

Uncovering and restoring the original floor tile

removing laminate floor from ceramic tilesMike explains:

Once I began the arduous task of pulling up the vinyl flooring, I thought maybe I had made a mistake, as the floor in the master bath was even more difficult than the guest bath.

Removing laminate flooring from ceramic tilesBut section-by-section it came up and although the floor was not in quite as good condition as the guest bath, it cleaned up pretty well and only ran into a few problem areas. Well over 60 hours into tile alone. One issue was that most of the grout along the edges came up with the vinyl and I was left with sections of missing grout, so I had to chisel out the rest of the grout around the entire perimeter and re-grout.

Shower-ShelfThe entire tub/shower surround area was a mixture of old cracked grout and layers of bad caulk jobs. A couple weekends were spent removing the old grout/caulk from the tile surround and re-caulking, then not liking how I did it…. removing and redoing it lol. The rest of the wall tile needed the grout cleaned and many areas of grout touched up and the corners re-grouted or caulked. A lot of this detail work on the tile does not show up in the pictures, but it really gives the bathroom a fresh clean feeling that I could not have gotten without either putting in all the work or replacing it all together.

Reconfiguring the built-in bathroom linen closet

before-and-after-built-in-closetThe guest and mater baths each have identical floor to ceiling built-ins. In the guest bath, I simply freshened things up with paint and hardware as it was in really good shape. But in the master the built-in was pretty haggard from years of use and layers of paint, so we decided to reconfigure the openings and put on all new doors and drawers.

Built-in-Laundry-HampersThe bottom section we reconfigured to hold two large laundry hampers on full extension glides, which is great because it gets two laundry hampers off the floor of the bedroom. We are lucky to have a great trim carpenter (Joe from L&D Construction in Oklahoma City) who had done several custom jobs for us

New bathroom vanity


custom built retro vanityBy far the biggest project was the new vanity. I designed it, and Joe of L&D Construction built it for us. The general design idea came from a vanity pictured in one of Pam’s time capsule houses — the Sputnik house.

vanity-removalThe vanity we removed was certainly not original, probably from the 80’s. It did have the pink marble top going for it, though…

vanity-removalOnce the vanity was removed,we could see how the bathroom was originally configured. A wall-mounted sink to the left (mounting points on the wall were visible, as well as the marks on the tile from the legs) and a built-in vanity of some type to the right. Some floor tiles were replaced when the original vanity was removed, although it seems no attempt was made to get the color right. What was behind the vanity dictated what we could replace it with, as we basically had to cover up what was there with a custom vanity built to just the right dimensions.

new-retro-vanityCeaserstone counter tops, Kohler cast iron sinks, and Grohe faucets highlight the modern elements of the room.

Rounding things out

retro-remodeled-pink-and-grey-bathroomThe bare tile floor is freezing in the winter, so we tried something different and put down carpet squares to serve as both the rug in front of the shower and our version of budget heated floors :).

retro-remodeled-pink-and-grey-bathroomWe are not 100% sold on how we have them laid out, or if we will keep them in the long run, but they sure make middle of the night bathroom runs warmer on the feet. They also cover up some of the worn areas on the tile floor.

finished-pink-and-black-bathroomBuilt the mirror frame from basic wood trim from Lowes and had a glass company cut and install the mirror.

finished-pink-and-black-bathroomRe-painted, new toilet, towel bars, recessed soap dish, shelf in shower, shower rod, shower curtain, wall art, and privacy film for window

How much did the bathroom remodel cost?

We asked Mike, and he told us:

We did have a full gut and redo priced out. It was going to be between $15K-$20K, depending on how expensive we went with finishes and how much work we did ourselves. That would have been taking the bathroom down to the studs, all new tile on the walls and floors, converting the built-in into a walk in shower and the tub into a soaker. Besides that, it everything else would have been about the same as far as vanity and such.
The final total for what we did came to $6K, and most of that was in the vanity (Splurged on the sinks and counter top)

Pam and I agree, if you think it’s gonna be $15,000-$20,000, it’s probably going to be $20,000 — and hold your breath even at that estimate. So the calculation is: Mike & Lindsay not only did they please the Save the Pink Bathrooms Retro Decorating Gods once again, they also saved $14,000 by sidestepping a gut remodel. And hey: This makes for a much better story!

  Full resource list:


retro Towel-Bar



  • Wall art from Etsy shops Gamma2Hey and Inspiring4U
  • Carpet Squares (cut in 1/4’s) from Flor.
  • Carpentry work, L&D Construction in Oklahoma City

Mike and Lindsey — wow — your determination is impressive. I know how tedious peeling up* flooring with a heat gun is. (*Precautionary Pam warns to consult with a properly licensed professional when you are planning on stripping layers of anything old — vintage nastiness such as lead and asbestos can be in so many places….) *My last house had 1980s press and stick tiles over all the original hardwood floors — in multiple layers. I went through so much adhesive remover and several heat guns before the floors were ready to be sanded. That kind of project is test of your patience and sanity.

You’ve done another bang up job restoring and modernizing and saving another pink bathroom — thanks for sharing your story — once more — with the Retro Renovation tribe.

Pam adds (to this story by Kate): AWESOME remodel, Mike and Lindsey! This really combines the vintage and the modern beautifully. And thank you for the wonderful, detailed Resource List! I also love how you were burnt out after restoring the first bathroom… but then got your juice back… Yup, that’s the way it goes for me, too, I can only tackle so many major projects in a given time period, but when it really gets down to it — it’s do it the hard way. Well, done, Mike and Lindsey, you two have it going on!

Is your pink bathroom registered as “saved”
on our Pink-ometer?

Pink-bathrooms-saved-counter.2Leave a comment on our Save the Pink Bathrooms Pledge Page, and we’ll add you to our count!

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  1. John says

    Hi Mke,

    Great job on your bathroom. I am curious as to what products besides muscle power you used to clean your bathroom floor tiles??

    John aka AtomicHipster

    • MikeD says


      EDITED BY PAM, who shall now issue forth in the 3rd person – Pam does not want to feature DIY advice like this on the blog because PRECAUTIONARY PAM warns: Consult with properly licensed professionals whenever you contemplate disturbing layers in your house — vintage nastiness like asbestos and lead and ???? can be in all sorts of places. Consult with a pro to determine what you have and to make informed decisions about how to handle.

  2. Nancy says

    Mike and Lindsey – huge congrats on your save!

    Stunning refurbishment! Kudos on saving what you have vs taking the “easy” way out with a gut job! Your choices are respectful of your home, plus you have all the mod cons for today. Your skirted toilet is so sleek and the vanity design is wonderful. How is your shelf in the shower attached? Did it replace an original, or is it a new addition? So many great ideas here!

    Pam and kate – I’m sure there are many of us out here that would dearly love another complete post that contains more detailed info on their grout work and restoration. We have a 1964 pink bath that I’m struggling with myself to save. In the 28 years (!) we’ve lived here, I’ve made two attempts to deal with our shower grout. The shower is a mud job and is so completely solid there is NO way to scrape out the old grout to any depth (I’ve tried!). I’ve resorted to “painting” the grout with a product (following all instructions exactly for prep and finishing). The first job lasted 10 years and my last attempt is starting to fail after 3. I’m ready to convert to solid sheets of swanstone rather than go through the torture of prepping and repainting a third time!

    Pam and Kate – any chance for an in-depth look at saving/refurbishing almost 50 year old grout??

      • Nancy says

        The issue is only in the shower as the rest of the room has perfect, original white grout. The original shower grout – while solid – was very discolored in many shades of ageing that didn’t do justice to the perfect pink tile. I was a lot younger then and ignorantly unappreciative of this patina. Pros took a look at our dilemma and suggested a white sealer that could be painted on the grout. Lifespan estimate was 7 years and we got 10 until it began to peel and I was fighting mildew. So I prepped and used a like product that hasn’t held up nearly as well. Now I need to do it again (sigh) or figure out something else.

        Perhaps I’ve needlessly created this cycle by originally getting poor advice. This is why I am asking for a future post with more complete details on how renovators deal w/ resurrecting their tub/shower areas.

        I found your site back in October of ’08 when I was researching cleaning grout. On 10/10, Sleeping Bee Alice wrote about whitening her floor tiles w/ the acid Zep. While I also have the same issue w/ the floor, I am very leery of using this product, and have learned to live w/ the yellowing. This was never going to be a solution to the shower – but I was (and am!) so happy to have been following your blog ever since.

        Hijacking over!

    • MikeD says

      The shelf in the shower is one of my best victories of the project :) Took me forever to find a solution there.

      It is covering up two large holes in the tile where a towel bar used to be. Previously we had one of those metal hangers that go over the shower head holding our shampoo and such ( I personally hate those things). So when I found the shelf at DEA Bath and it was exactly the right dimensions and color, I did a little victory dance.

      I have it secured just using a special epoxy. There are two holes for it to be mounted with bolts/screws, but not necessary to use them. The right epoxy works fine and I could hang on it if I wanted to

  3. MikeD says

    Pam and Kate, thank you very much for featuring our bathroom. Seeing it presented on your site gives it that final cherry on top.

    It is kind of sad in a way, as that was basically the last room in the house. We have really enjoyed the process and your blog and been a great resource

    -Mike and Lindsey

    • pam kueber says

      haha, you need a new/old house now — to do it again! you have the bug, it sounds like. or: maybe you’ll *enjoy real life* for a while? LUV to you two, you rock rock ROCK!

      • Sarah g (roundhouse) says

        Oh yes, it is quite easy to get bitten by the bug! Still working on my house but I’ve already retro renovated another mid mod house to rent out and have my eyes set on another once the price drops to something more comfortable. One can easily turn this hobby/ curse into a reasonable side income!
        Lovely job on this bathroom! So glad you took the time and sweat to turn it into such a lovely modern retro bathroom. Another pink one saved!

    • Amy in Sacramento, CA says

      Mike, maybe you and Lindsay can put those restorative talents to use on a vintage travel trailer? My husband and I are finishing up restoring a 1960 Oasis travel trailer. It’s been lots of fun! It has pink appliances, and we just finished “rattle can” painting the exterior pink and white ourselves. (Couldn’t afford the $3K-$4K the professional guy quoted us. At vintage trailer rallies, proud owners display vintage travel/camping accessories and patio furniture. More vintage fun!

  4. says

    I think this is my favorite pink bathroom! It’s a fantastic blend of modern and vintage and that vanity you had built is just perfect. Great job! Like Pam say, you rock rock rock!

  5. says

    That is GORGEOUS! I echo the sentiment that it’s a perfect blend of modern and retro–respecting the pink tile and retro feel without feeling twee.

  6. Wendy M. says

    It all looks wonderful, but I’m especially in love with your vanity!! It’s just perfect. Great job on your project!

  7. Robin, NV says

    I love the new vanity, it blends so nicely with the vintage features. Everything is so lovely, what a sweet shade of pink! I also installed a curved shower curtain rod in my bathroom. Not only does it make the tub roomier but it adds an “architectural” element to my bathroom – almost like having an archway across the tub enclosure. I’m surprised by how great it looks.

    I recently removed the glass doors from my green tub. I struggled trying to get every last bit of silicon off my tile and tub until I had a brainstorm. I very carefully tried using my Pumie (pumice stone cleaner) on an inconspicuous spot – and wonder of wonders, it took the silicon off like magic and didn’t scratch the tile. BUT I’m cautious to advocate this technique to everyone – definitely try it carefully to make sure it doesn’t scratch anything – but it worked great for me. I definitely woudn’t use it on unglazed tile. I’m just wondering if it would work to clean up tiles like MikeD’s floor tiles.

  8. Janice says

    I’m getting ready to do our master bath and I can sympathize with your comment of the memories of a recent guest bath re-do which makes one dread diving in again. I love so many of your touches. I especially love that vanity! What a perfect piece! I also love the hardware that you used on your linen closet and the vanity. Can you say where you got those? Great Job Mike and LIndsey! You not only saved another Pink Bathroom, you made it better! Now I would like to see the rest of the rooms you’ve done in your home!

      • Janice says

        Sorry, after re-reading this article for the THIRD time, I see that you’ve answered all my questions. I was just so excited to see the pictures and read your story, I totally blew past the resources. Again, beautiful job!

    • MikeD says

      I would be happy to post a link to pictures of the rest of the house if it is OK with Pam.

      I have a pretty good catalog of before and after pictures

  9. says

    But I’m really impressed at the clean up Mike and Lindsey were able to do to the tile, it looks great. And that custom vanity really makes the entire look, I think!

  10. brty says

    Mike and Lindsey, you have done a beautiful job and were able to have creative and successful solutions to all of the dilemmas your remodel presented. Just looking at the “during” photos of your floor made me tired, so I salute your perserverance and talent!

    I really think you could market the design for that vanity–it is so beautiful and just the right blend of retro and contemporary. I would buy one if I ever needed to redo the vanities in my bathrooms.

    • MikeD says

      Thank you Brty. The vanity is kind of the center piece of the whole thing.

      One of the great things about the angled front design is that I get all the counter space I need, but also get a bit more room between the vanity and the shower/Linen closet. It is a narrow bathroom and that extra room, or illusion of extra room, really makes a difference.

      Also having the vanity floating gives the illusion of more room as well and lets me carry the rug under the vanity without having to worry about legs


  11. Nancy says

    Are the vanity drawers faux or flip downs w/ a latch or full extension real? Love that you can have the hand towel handy right there! The more I study your pics, the more I find little things that complete the whole.

    • MikeD says


      It is all functional except the faux drawers under each sink, the ones with the towels on them. So three drawers down the middle and two sets of doors on either side under the sinks

      I am glad you notice some of the details. If I pointed them all out you would probably think I was a bit nutty. At least Lindsey thinks I am :)


  12. Jason says

    It’s fantastic. I love the vanity – so great to see people keeping things and making it their own at the same time.

  13. Chaucea says

    Thank you for using your imagination and determination to make something AWESOMER out of something already awesome! 😀

    I adore the vanity, its so fantastic that you went back to original styles for inspiration, its a very handsome and striking piece.

    Thank you for being such wonderful advocates of the “Just Say No To Remuddling” movement and saving another wonderful pink bathroom!

  14. MikeD says

    Ok, so here are some general pictures of the rest of the house

    This first link are some before. These were the previous owners pictures, the ones from the real estate listing before we bought it.

    Hold on to your hats…

    This second link are pictures after being in the house about 3yrs. and pretty much completing our retro-renovation. These are taken at different stages and the house has evolved a bit since some of these were taken, but they should give you the basic idea of what we have done


    I like to consider our overall retro-renovation an example of a mid century ranch that had its heart renovated out of it, and we tried to put some back.

  15. says

    Not bad at all — I am working on our hall bath now, which will be done in a Salmon & gray pallette w/ about a 1960 theme (the whole house will get this theme). I’ve restored the original pullman cabinet & obtained an original toilet as well. I will be adding a new master bath eventually in an aqua/yellow palette and building the vanity as well. So refreshing to see a “generic” upgrade get re-done in a truly retro style. Way to go, 😀

  16. JKaye says

    Hi. Thanks for sharing the before and after photos of the rest of the house, which really helps put the bathroom renovations into perspective. Your decorating approach is so clean without being austere. The feeling of the entire house is very soothing and pleasing. You two have done some amazing work.

    • Miked says

      Thank you!

      Our approach might be different than others who like more of the original and period correct. While we love “all original” or “correct” in terms of appreciating it, when it comes to living with it every day, we prefer a mixture of old and new. My personal main obsession when it comes to mid century is authentic Danish Modern furniture. That is where my mid century love begins and ends

  17. Katy says

    Fantastic remodel! I love the blend of retro and modern. We have a similar floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinet in our hall bath (down to the door with a hamper flap!) and I love how you reconfigured it. The vanity is amazing as well. Congrats!

    • Miked says

      Thank you Katy

      We love the way the built in turned out. Previously we never used the lower section and Lindsey does not care for drawers that are not on glides, but just wood on wood like these old ones are. But now we utilize the whole thing!

    • Miked says

      The wall paint is what I would consider a “gray toupe”. It is a bit of a Frankenstein color, as the original color is Sherwin Williams Tony Taupe that we used in a different room in the house. I needed more of it to do some touch up so I went to Lowes and had them color match it in the Valspar brand, but they did not really get it right. What I got was kind of a cool gray color that I ended up really liking so I used it in the hall and the bathroom

  18. says

    Love the art in both this bathroom and your previous remodel. I’ve been wanting to place something on my bathroom walls… but I’m afraid that paper or canvas will become moldy from humidity. Any thoughts, Pam?

  19. Karen says

    So glad you rescued both bathrooms. What a crime to cover those tile floors! In the photos of the rest of the house, the built-in shelves by the fireplace really caught my eye. Could you send a photo? I have a space that’s been waiting for them. :)
    If it’s okay with Pam, my email is trainerlady@hotmail.com.
    Many thanks

  20. Eva says

    I cannot believe the shower pan didn’t need to be replaced! How lucky! That is the reason for the death of most original tile showers–and it’s going to happen to ours, sadly.

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