Kate finalizes design ideas for her master bathroom remodel — a vintage pink bathroom, from scratch!

Retro-Pink-master-bathroom-mood-boardIt’s been a while since there’s been an update on my retro modern master bath remodel – for good reason — much vintage hunting, thinking and planning has been going on. The more I thought — the more the realization that I was leaning towards a retro pink bathroom with a touch of modern instead of a 50/50 split sunk in. While the clean lines of a modern styled bathroom are pleasing, nothing has been making me happier than all the finds sent my way via the Retro Decorating Gods. It was becoming apparent that my house was sending messages via Ebay and the ReStore — and wanted me to be true to 1962. I’ve finalized the list of products I’m planning to use, what do you think of my design? –>

Retro-Pink-master-bathroom-mood-board1. Vintage mirror/medicine cabinet combo. This is the real deal — heavy and well constructed. I actually have two identical mirrors like this now. The first was bought on Ebay — cost was $100 delivered. A few weeks later — another in slightly worse shape showed up at my local Restore — and was mine for $25 (just call me a vintage mirror hoarder). I’ll probably have to get new mirrored doors cut at my local glass shop, but still — two old mirrors are much less than the cost of the same size new Commodore style mirror from Nutone — which will run you $275. Of course I’ll only use one of them for this bathroom, but it is nice to have a backup or another to use when I finish the basement bath.

2. Bath bar light. I’ve decided that a bar style light will work best in my master bath — especially with the mirror. Currently the 24 inch Nuvo Lighting U channel light with diamond pattern is the fixture of choice.

pink-american-standard-sink-1960s3. Vintage Pink American Standard Sink — recently found on Craigslist for $25. Incredibly it is an exact match with the wall tile.

4. Boomerang Laminate countertops. Our recent story — 24 colors of boomerang laminate available today — made me consider this as a countertop option. A sample of  “Retro Pop” and “Glacier” are on their way from Heffrons.com.

5. Oak wood vanity. Since all of the wood in my 1962 ranch is oak with a pecan stain — including the current original vanity — why shouldn’t it retain this original style feature? At first I considered using a dresser as a vanity — a candidate was found — but ultimately, the dresser in question was a few inches too long for the space. Since then — after much research — I’ve decided to built my own vanity. Wish me luck!

vintage-amerock-starburst-knob-and-backplate vintage-amerock-chrome-knob-and-backplate-starburst

6. Vintage Amerock chrome starburst backplate and knobs. Let the drooling begin — I won five of these on Ebay (they weren’t cheap, but are so cool) and with the help of my new favorite cleaning product (story to come, we’re trying to get the MSDS), I got them shiny like new — on left is what they originally looked like after being salvaged from a gutted house — on right is what they look like now.

7. Kohler Taboret low arch bath faucet. Since my vintage mirror has a protruding medicine cabinet, and the vintage sink is a four inch spread — this low arch bath faucet from Kohler will work wonderfully. The design is modern with a vintage feel — I dig it. It is a little more costly that I was hoping for — but I am not 100% committed to this faucet — something similar would also be great for my bathroom remodel.

8. Pink 70W tile from B&W tile.

9. Rejuvenation Starburst towel racks. From day one, these have been the towel bars for me.

10. University Pink floor tile from Merola/Somer Tile.


Are you wondering how all of this will come together? Above is a little mock up of the type of bath cabinet that I’m planning to construct. It will be situated between the outer wall and wall separating it from the shower instead of free standing as shown in the picture. This retro modern bathroom vanity has the look of a dresser, but will be constructed in place — as a custom built in.  The legs will be coming from TableLegs.com. To save myself — a novice carpenter — too much stress, interior drawer boxes will be purchased pre-made.

I plan to tile all the walls — instead of just the inside of the shower as originally planned — and am on the fence about using all pink wall tiles (as shown above) or “trimming” the pink tiles on the top with white (as show below). What do you like best?
retro-pink-master-bath-mock-upNOS-vintage-Cannon-bath-towels-pinkIf all of the above awesome vintage finds weren’t enough — looky what else I have — a perfectly matched set of NOS Cannon bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths.

vintage-pink-bath-towels-cannonThey couldn’t be a closer match to the tiles. The idea to track down vintage towels came to me after reading Pam’s story about vintage towels — and yes, they are a little smaller than I am used to — but they are perfect for the bathroom. Larger supplementary towels can also be found later.

So there you have it — with the key decisions made — my retro modern master bathroom remodel has become retro with a dash of modern. All of the current selections are making me very happy — which signals to me that it is time to start getting quotes, looking into permits, psyching myself up for another big project and ordering massive amounts of tile. Pam has also reminded me to take care when planning any demolition to ensure I consult with a properly licensed professional about what’s in the vintage layers of my “old” bathroom, so I’ll be doing that, too.

See all of Kate’s stories about her master bathroom remodel

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  1. Kelly Wittenauer says

    Never been a pink fan – but I like this. I’d skip the legs and make the vanity floating. More period looking & easier to clean under. It would have plenty of support with walls on three sides to not need the legs.

    Waiting impatiently for the story on that cleaning product! I have a collection of old boat cleats to clean up for making a coat rack.

  2. Janice says

    Kate, I love all your selections and wish I had a countertop to use in my pink bathroom just so I could install that Retro Pop. The sink in my pink bathroom is a wall hung sink so that wasn’t an option for me. I only skimmed throught the comments so forgive me if this was already mentioned, but have you considered cutting your floor tile in 2 or 3 inch strips and adding that as a decorative border in your tile work. We did that in our pink, black and white bathroom and it really ties the floor in nicely. Regardless, my personal preference is top off the wall tile with a pink bullnose. I have boxes of 70W pink tile leftover from my pink bahtroom project. Wish I could get these to you as I would love to see them used in your fabulous bathroom.

      • Vic says

        I left a comment about the entire project below, as I’m trying to work on my 1960 peach pink bathroom. The fixtures happen to be the exact shade as Kate’s, as well as the original tile is a match to the one she’s picked. Anyway, one scheme we’ve thought about that relates to your idea was to tile the walls with standard white tile (cheap!) and add a 6″ or so stripe of the Merola floor tile to bring the pink of the tub/toilet sink into the tile scheme. We’re still deciding (these things take years for us) but I think it’s an interesting idea as well.

  3. says

    My in-laws had that exact light and mirror/medicine cabinet until a few years ago when they tore it out for something more modern. I would like to think that they gave it to a Restore or thrift, but highly doubt it.

    Love how the bath is all coming together. That tile is great, and that sink, incredible condition!

  4. says

    I love this! I’m usually not a fan of mixing patterns, but I adore your combination of the boomerang laminate and the University floor tile: just enough to make it zing, but not too chaotic. Although I personally like the white bullnose tile detail, I endorse you doing what the house tells you to do and it sounds like that’s using pink bullnose.

    We are seriously considering the University Light Grey tile for our main bath makeover (retaining bright yellow original laminate counters.) So happy to see this!

  5. lisa says

    I love the idea someone mentioned of using the floor tile as trim on the walls.

    Also, can’t you just install the cabinet a little higher to accommodate whatever sort of faucet you like?

    • Kate says

      I suppose I could, but I don’t want it to be too high. I’m only 5ft, 5 inches tall! — plus the ceiling in there is lower than the rest of the house (which has 8ft ceilings) We are looking into the implications of raising it up to the same height as other ceilings, but we won’t be sure if that is possible until we rip it down and see what’s going on up there. I’m not sure if it was a design choice to make the ceiling lower or if there is a reason…we’ll see!

      • Lisa says

        Hi Kate.. please can you let me know what you cleaned those starburst knobs with? ive got some pulls here in my 50s basement kitchen that are similarly tarnished and pitted, as well as a chrome Hendryx 50s Hat Box style bird cage. id really appricaite it!

  6. says

    It’s going to be absolutely perfect. I love the floor tile a lot. We have two of those Nuvo bar lights and really like them. They’re good quality and look completely period. We switched out the flower shaped screw covers for some plain round white ones that we got at Home Depot.

    • Jamie D says

      Good to hear. I hadn’t seen the Nuvo lights but I think I might be swiping Kate’s lighting idea for my bathroom reno. We just ripped out an awful bulkhead that covered harsh fluorescent lights and I’m looking for a period-appropriate bar light. This one might just do the trick, I’m glad to hear it’s good quality for such a low price.

  7. oh Holland says

    Love your mood board choices except for the boomerang countertop lam. To my eye, the organic shapes fight with the rest of the room’s motifs, which are crisper and geometric. To work the floor tile — which presents a lot of texture — I’d be inclined to do countertops in a solid or low-key textured laminate. That leaves more “room” for pattern on guest towels, curtains or wall art.

    • oh Holland says

      Would adore glitter-flake laminate on your counter. But that means more Retro Gods intervention — I’ve never seen new stock and think there is pent up demand for it (hello, Formica? WilsonArt? anybody listening?)

  8. Paula says

    It is going to be stunning! This question might be a little premature, but how are you planning on cleaning the shower day to day? We did a new tile bath a year ago and I am stressing over this. Currently we squeegy and use a neutral cleaner that American Olean sells. Iam curious if ROG is ok for day to day?

    • Diane in CO says

      You may be stressing because you feel you have to clean your shower tile every day – LOL Who does that?

      Our showers are cleaned once a week. I guess you could spray Clean Shower on the tile to ward off any mold developing — and I do sometimes use that product after showering.

  9. Scott says

    My prediction: It’s going to come every bit as fantastic as your kitchen!

    The pink vintage American Standard sink with (insert harp music please) Hudee Ring is going to be a real show stopper.

    I’m looking forward to seeing all these magic elements come together.

  10. karen miller says

    Kate – this is so so close to my bathroom. I could send you some pic of the real deal if you want to see. I changed out the light fixture, but it was very similar to what you selected. Our vanity has the boomerang on top, sides and front. Our sink is the same, only square. We still have our original pink bathtub, but we replaced the pink toilet recently. Our tile is similar but more gray. the floor tile is gray with small pink, the wall tile is gray.

  11. Vic says

    I have to confess that I’ve been letting Kate do all the work, and then following her lead. I have EXACTLY the same shade of pink fixtures, and am replacing tile, counter and floor in my bath. I’ve sent for several of the same samples due to following Kate’s project , and it’s looking likely that I’ll be using the same wall tile as Kate. Ours will be different — brown accents and trim — we’re going to reproduce the tile layout and colors that were on the walls in the plastic original tiles that have worn out. We may use linoleum or vinyl for the floor, and the details are different, but the detailed information was priceless. If there is proof that this site is invaluable, this is it.

  12. Susie says

    I am also very much anticipating your post about your new found cleaning product. I have so many little vintage odds and ends whether it be nobs on furniture or the base of a lamp, that I’ve been waiting to clean/shine up, but don’t know exactly what to use. Can’t wait to read what it is!

    Just love your flooring choice!

  13. tammyCA says

    Well, I’m pink with envy! The sink is yummy and I am indeed drooling over the starburst backplate knobs. So happy for you and your bathroom will be so awesome.
    I haven’t even begun to hunt & gather for our bathroom…I’m still on the fence about doing pink tile…I have many pink vintage items already and will that be too much? I also like the pretty soft green tile sample I have. If I ever find that vintage aqua tile that I have in my mind then that is what I want. I don’t even know what I really want to do…it is already the original ’54 tiled sink vanity and I feel sad thinking it will have to go…even ‘tho it isn’t in the greatest shape it is still original to the house. :(

    • Chad D says

      Tammy, another option is to do pink and aqua. I looked at a house recently (I think extensively renovated around 1958) that had a bathroom with pink field tile on the walls, but the bullnose bottom row of tiles, and the fixtures were aqua. The floor was a lighter shade of aqua similar to Kate’s floor tile, and the sink was a paler shade of pink cracked ice laminate. If you wanted to you could always reverse this and make an aqua bathroom with pink bullnose. I’d agree that if you have pink all over the place it might be better to do something else; my mom painted the woodwork in the living room gold instead of blue because she was worried about blue overload, and it might show off her blue stuff better.

  14. Monica says

    You are my hero! I am so glad I am not the only one out here who thinks pink bathrooms and knotty pine are the coolest stuff ever. Thanks for a great site.

  15. says

    Wow, that pink sink really takes me right back to my childhood:) It’s amazing how everything old becomes new again. And may I say, kudos to you for working so hard to make the bathroom historically accurate:)

  16. Mary Elizabeth says

    Hi, Kate,

    Just realized as I read your article again that the floor tile you purchased is the same as that in my 1950s pink bathroom. (I thought it was original, but we found out different while doing repairs.) For your readers, they should know it is available on line from Home Depot under “Merola mosaic tile University Pink.”

    As for the grout, we repaired using a light gray that seemed to match what had been used originally. And between the tile and the tub we used a gray silicone caulking that was originally intended for use on cement. It just disappears into that tile!

    Great ideas. Good luck building your vanity.

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, Mary Elizabeth — Kate talks about her floor tile in item #10 and links to our earlier story about all the colors available.

  17. Joe Felice says

    I think this will be beautiful. What ideas do you have for the tub/shower and toilet? I especially like the way the colors match or coordinate. The Retro Pop counter will be great, and I love the floor. I would trim the tile with black or burgundy, and not do all of the walls. Can’t wait to see the photos when it is done.

  18. Joe Felice says

    I like your choice of combos (the last one). Why not trim the tile with turquoise that matches that in the laminate (which I REALLY love!). This would bring it all together. On the computer, the tile still l0oks mauve or rosey to me.

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