Marsha saves her peach tile bathroom with help from B&W Tile

“… I think the Ex thought he would tear out the pink tile but we got rid of him before he could do any damage.”
retro-peach-and-mauve-ceramic-tile-bathroom-mid-centurymarshaMarsha fell in love with her 1957 peachy pink ceramic tile bathroom the first time she saw it. So, when she noticed water leaking from around the shower a few years ago, she sprung into action to try and save her precious bathroom. When a contractor confirmed that the shower had to be redone and the original shower tile could not be saved, Marsha was heartbroken — until she discovered that  B&W tile offered tile colors that were a near exact match to her original tiles. Instead of having to remodel the entire bathroom — or suffer from an obvious tile mismatch — Marsha was able to have her contractor carefully replace only the damaged shower and save her original pinky peach and maroon bathroom. Vintage bathroom lovers rejoice!

mid-century-modern-ceramic-tile-countertopmid-century-house-exterior-spanish-bungalowMarsha writes:

Hi Pam

save the pink bathroomsI have lived in my 1957 house since 1977 shortly after getting married.  My Ex said he didn’t want to buy the house because the bathroom was Pink. At the time the walls were also painted pink but not an attractive pink. The Realtor said he would help us paint the entire inside of the house white if we would buy it. So we masked off all the woodwork and went with it.  I think the Ex thought he would tear out the pink and maroon tile but we got rid of him before he could do any damage. Incidently, the outside of the house was painted pink as well.

Original-peach-and-mauve-ceramic-tile-shower-retroshower-water-damage-behind-ceramic-tilesAbout three years ago I noticed my shower wall (drywall) was wet on the outside of the shower wall. My shower floor was leaking into the sub floor as well. I crawled under the house and saw water marks on the wood sub-floor.  Luckily no dry rot had occurred. When I contacted my contractor to get it replaced he told me to go find the tile cause the old tile was not going to be saved.

vintage-ceramic-tile-tub-surround-half-way-up-wallmid-century-modern-ceramic-tile-countertopI was heart broken for a couple months searching for a match until I found B&W tile out of Carlsbad CA, and located a retailer in Sacramento who carried the tile so I could match samples. I matched my tile almost perfectly. It turns out my Peach/pink tile is “tan” according to B&W. The new Maroon bullnose was a bit darker than the original but not so noticeable and only touched the old tile in a couple small places on baseboard.

vintage-ceramic-tile-bathroom-vanity-top-peach-and-mauveI caught it early enough so only had to rebuild the shower and my contractor was very careful not to damage any of the floor tiles. He saved a couple of small maroon corner pieces to reuse. I also asked him to save the soap dish and I cleaned the mortar and glue off and he re-installed it. He also added a shampoo shelf that was not in the original.  The old shower ceiling was lower than the rest of the bathroom. My contractor said in his experience there is probably no reason for it and he would check up in the attic and make sure and remove it which allows more lite in the shower stall. It also allowed me to add a second row of maroon 4×4 tiles as accent at the top.

mid-century-shower-tiled-with-B&W-tile-peachI’ve attached before and after pics of the shower and also included addition pics of the rest of my beautiful 1957 bathroom.

mid-century-vintage-tile-bathroom-countertopThanks for helping to Save the Pink Bathrooms. Love mine to death!!

mid-century-mauve-bathroom-accent-wallMarsha, your hard work has certainly paid off. Your new tile shower is not only nicer — with the higher ceiling and additional storage in the tiled niche — but it also looks as though it could have been original to your bathroom. Another great touch is your  well-placed matching burgundy accent wall — which works so nicely to add extra color to your charming bathroom. You have the touch!  Thanks so much for sharing your story and photos with all of us retro bathroom loving folk — it is always wonderful to hear a vintage bathroom story with a happy ending.

Readers, if you’re looking for replacement tile, B&W is one of our two, key go-to places. Take a look at this story we wrote — pointing to where you can see 20 of B&W Tile’s 52 retro colors online. Other go-to source: World of Tile, for time capsule vintage tile.

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  1. Janet in CT says

    Looks great! Lucky you to locate close matching tile and also how fortunate to find a contractor willing to work with what is there and save whatever can be saved. I think the canted vanity is such a nice look and am I seeing right – aren’t there just two neat starburst pulls on the top drawer and door at the right? The house and yard are lovely too!

    • Marsha says

      Yes, Janet, I have the rest of the starbursts that I ordered a while back to add to the knobs, just had not put them all on yet.

  2. says

    What a happy story! Now that bathroom can go on for decades and decades more! I love the color combo in there. Way to go Marsha! And I agree, it sounds like you have a great contractor.

    Pam, I forgot to tell you that Chippy at World of Tile helped us to FINALLY finish the restoration of our pink bathroom – she found the tile to finish things off. No more gaping hole in the floor! No more worrying that a houseguest will take a peek under the rug! : )

  3. Janice says

    Marsha, great job in persevering in finding the right tile to repair what you had rather than starting over. My grandmother had a pink and burgandy bathroom so this brought back wonderful memories. I always thought she had the most elegant bathroom. While she kept her husband, he wasn’t allowed to use that bathroom. He had to use the one in the basement, which I thought was very funny as a little girl. Maybe the truth was that he CHOSE to not use a pink bathroom! The outside of your house is gorgeous, too! Love the landscaping!


  4. Trish says

    OMG! Thanks for sharing this Marsha and Pam! The bathroom is just gorgeous and what a wonderful result of what could have been a serious problem!

  5. Jay says

    What a great save! Lucky you found a sympathetic contractor. I view a bathroom as strictly utilitarian and as the owner of two small baths I don’t get the attraction for warehouse sized baths. I am glad you were able to save the original charm. Looks very nice! What really caught my eye was the attractive landscaping and the enclosed patio.

    • Robin, NV says

      Jay – I tend to agree that bathrooms don’t need to be the size of a two car garage. But I do wish mine was big enough for a sit down vanity. Or maybe a shower AND a tub like Marsha’s (oh the luxury!). At least mine is easy to clean and once I finally get the walls painted pink, it will be adorable (green fixtures, yellow tile, and pink walls – yowza!).

  6. aneva says

    Marsha has the uncanny ability of bringing her Visions and Dreams into Reality. It is just Gorgeous! …along with all the many other projects that Marsha has Created! I wish I had Marsha’s talent with color, design and her grasp of an ‘era’!~ The Pictures are Awesome. I am very Happy that Marsha’s Bathroom has gotten the Attention it so Deserves!! 😀

  7. Tami Stoddard says

    Marsha, This so amazing and inspiring!!! We also have tiles from I am sure the 50’s and eventually will remodel our bathroom!!! Great to know that you were able to keep your remodel close to the original!!!!

  8. Steve says

    Great job. Your bathroom is perfect and your yard is absolutely gorgeous! As a frustrated Minnesota gardener I’m totally envious.

    • Janice says

      I’m a frustrated Kansas gardener and I’m sure it’s worse here as the temps drop to well below freezing in the winter and soars into the 100’s for weeks on end in the summer…..all the while with very little rain. Makes one wonder why one would live in Kansas, doesn’t it? :)

      • Sandy says

        Is Kansas having a snow day today? Minnesota is. (My solution is to visit both, but live elsewhere.)

  9. Andi says

    Wow, that shower looks amazing! I love the added height and the two rows of burgundy contrast tiles. This is a post near to my heart as I have a very similar project scheduled to begin this coming week, after two years of indecision, foot-dragging and agonizing.

    In our case, the totally-shot 1952 tub is coming out and a shower being installed where it is. We also have lots of damaged tiles/grout with water leaking into the floor below, fortunately a basement.

    I also was lucky to find a 99% match for my original turquoise tiles (that are remaining untouched in the rest of the bathroom) and a contractor who “gets it”—that we want this shower to look like it’s always been here. I only hope mine turns out half as beautifully as Marsha’s did! Thank you so much for the inspiration!!

  10. chutti says

    Very nice save, Marsha! Love the way it looks original, but the shampoo shelf is awesome.

    I am scrutinizing the pix to see what is that bit of wonderfullness on your toilet seat. Is that a chenille toilet seat cover with swell graphics?
    Or an actual seat?

    Whatever it is, it is FAB.

    • Marsha says

      It is a chenille seat cover I found at a small antique fair for $5. Couldn’t pass it up as i thought it would match the bathroom nicely.

      • chutti says

        Oooh, and it DOES!

        I thought that’s what it might be. I’m a sucker for that kind of bold graphic, especially on textile.

        I love that it’s actually kind of masculine. Not what you expect in a pinkish toilet accessory these days!
        Very cool.

  11. lynda says

    Don’t you just love it when you are able to solve a problem in the house? Great job. Lucky it worked out for you. You really have a beautiful bathroom.

  12. JivenMama says

    Marsha, It’s beautiful!! Darn, but the links to the vintage colors are a week late for me, not exaggerating. I had the exact same problem, wood rot under the two-toned green shower. I demanded that they save as much as they could of the tile, and he did his best (although wondering why) to match the two greens and only replaced the floor and 2 ft up. Hopefully when the shower door is put back on, we won’t notice the slight difference in shades. Thank you for your perfect example of cherishing the original. It truly is yummy!!

  13. tammyCA says

    Great job! We also had a niche put in our redone really helps with a small shower and not having to have one of those wire shelf units in there. He gave us a large one with 3 canted tiled shelves. I also requested the ceiling in the shower be tiled because mildew was prevalent on the untiled original ceiling & a *#$( to clean.

  14. Lauryn says

    Thanks for sharing, Marsha … very inspiring! We are in a similar situation with our tub/shower tile. There is one area that the previous owners repaired (rather poorly and with slightly mis-matched color tile) and it desperately needs to be fixed, as there is clearly water damage behind the wall. The rest of the tile is pretty much in perfect condition AND matches the original tile pattern in our kitchen, so I really want to preserve it, if possible. Thanks for showing it can be done!

  15. says

    Marsha, are you in or near Sacramento? I have the exact same tile and am having the same problems. Can you tell me what retailer had the samples? I am so happy that there are replacements! Especially for the maroon bullnose—I thought that was a goner for sure.

  16. Carol Belding says

    We bought a 1957 house with gorgeous original bathrooms. During the home inspection we were told the master bath shower leaked. We tried a different approach to salvage the shower. The tile guys re-grouted everything. They sealed the shower floor using a membrane of some sort, using several coats that they “painted” on. They then put in NOS pink tiles from Chippy and hopefully that will work for a good long time.

  17. Joan Becich says

    Beautiful job! I have the same tile colors and used “camel 54W” from B and W tile to replace half the tiles and put in a completely new and gorgeous shower. The new and old tiles are so similar that no one would notice unless it is pointed out. The people at B and W are very nice and easy to work with. I had the tiles shipped to Ashland, Oregon, and they worked on finding the cheapest way to ship them to me.

    I have yet to post photos of my bathroom to Pam’s website, but she helped me enormously to keep the lovely pink bathroom intact that made me want to buy my house in the first place!

  18. Carol says

    I would buy your house from the curb without even looking inside! It’s no wonder you’ve lived there since ’77. Beautiful home and great bathroom.

  19. Sandy says

    I need pinky-peach tile replacements for the bath in the house my parents built in 1950. B&W is not a match. I live in Orange County, CA. Any ideas? Thank you.

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