Recreating a 1950s mint green, black and pink bathroom — 5 design boards

vintage green black and pink bathroomThe color combination of mint green, black and pink isn’t common, but it is very appealing — there’s just something about the whimsy of the pink and green outlined by the steadfastness of the black trim. Reader Rachel sent in a few shots of her 1949 vintage bathroom — which we love — so we searched our list of bathroom fixture and tile resources to see how well we can recreate the look of Rachel’s vintage bathroom using materials available today. 

vintage green black and pink bathroomWhen Rachel sent in her photos, she wrote:

  • A 1949 master suite addition to a 1913 craftsman foursquare. We love the unexpected mid century influence.

vintage green black and pink bathroomvintage green black and pink bathroomIndeed. And with its mix of vintage pink fixtures and fresh minty green tile trimmed in black, it’s a beauty. Note, Rachel, if you want to get a new, matchy pink toilet, we have two sources today (continue on).

A word on: Sourcing pink sinks, toilets, and bathtubs

peerless pottery fixtures

UPDATE: As of 6/1/15, I contacted Matt Ford, National Sales Manager at Peerless Pottery, who tells me that all of their fixtures except those crossed out on the graphic above are available in all of their colors — including 19 toilet styles, 2 pedestal sinks, 1 undermount sink, 2 drop in sinks and 4 wall mount sinks. See Peerless Pottery’s online catalog for more information on available styles.

Before we jump into our design boards to recreate this look, let’s talk pink. Pink bathroom fixtures, that is. We have a good sources for mint green field tile and black trim pieces. We even have pretty good sources for minty green floor tiles. But, those pink fixtures? If a full suite o’ pink is your heart’s desire, buckle up for a good game of whac-a-mole.

  • Pink bathtubs — Unfortunately, there is no place that we know of that makes pink bathtubs — so if you want these, you will have to source them vintage. This quest could be difficult, so how about instead, create a…
  • …Pink tile shower — If you have trouble finding a tub: How about putting a tile-in shower instead? Again, this is what I did in my new pink bathroom.
  • Pink drop-in or wall-hung sink — We tend to believe that pink bathroom sinks can be sourced vintage relatively easily. But if you don’t want to wait, we have two sources for new: Peerless Pottery has several bathroom sinks that can be ordered in their Venetian Pink (that’s their catalog page, above). This includes four wall-hung sinks. These wall-hungs are not as… fancy… as Rebecca’s, but they could do the trick. Use the brackets that come with to hang them on the wall, and then order chrome legs for the front. For one more choice o’ pink sink: Look at Gerber’s Rotunda sink in their Bahama Pink.
  • Pink toiletsPeerless Pottery and Gerber both have pink toilets.

Our green, pink & black bathroom design boards

All of the bathroom mockups use the same B&W mint green 4″x4″ ceramic wall tiles paired with inexpensive black ceramic 2″x6″ bullnose, black ceramic bathroom accessories — like a soap dish and toilet paper holder — and Bahama Pink sink and toilet from Gerber.  But remember (see directly above) for both toilets and sinks, there are more choices.

Core source list, used on all the boards:

The principal differences among the design boards is (1) the flooring shown and (2) the size of the black trim tile at the bottom of the wall tile. We could have mixed and matched all these variables some more — but you get the point.

Option 1:

vintage green black and pink bathroomWe did find several different options for the mosaic floor — the first of which is a block random tile pattern similar to Rachel’s original vintage except with black and white tiles instead of black and green. We like this option for the floor because it makes the bathroom feel cohesive by bringing the black found in the bullnose, floor edge tile and ceramic accessories down onto the floor, yet the addition of white tile in the mosaic keeps the room from feeling too dark.

Sources specific to Option 1:

  • Floor tile: Black and white block random tile pattern available at Classic Tile Inc. (for $3.50-$4 per square foot) or Home Depot (for $9.97 per square foot)
  • Floor trim tile: 3″x6″ black ceramic tile available at Home Depot, $4.26 per square foot. Note: For black floor trim tiles, you can also consider using the floor trim tiles at B&W — they have a variety of sizes and also have designs which are curved so that the bottom of the wall trim tile meet ups with the floor tile with no 90″ dust-catching edge. And note: Pam says she believes that 3″ high for the floor trim tile is not likely historically accurate; 2″ x 6″ would be (that’s what she used in her bathroom remodels). But we used this example from Home Depot because of economy ease of purchase.

Option 2

vintage green black and pink bathroomOption 2 uses an all green 1″ tile mosaic floor from Merola Tile. We’ve seen samples of both the B&W 40W Green tile and this light green Merola floor mosaic and they are a very close match indeed, even though the Merola light green tile looks more yellow green on the Home Depot website. That said, we both agree that using an all green floor may be just too much green. If you do choose this solid floor, we think it would be essential to also use a black tile at the bottom of the wall tile — or else the bathroom would start to feel tippy.

Sources specific to Option 2:

Option 3

vintage green black and pink bathroomOption 3 uses the same light green 1″ square tile mosaic as option 2, but this time we inject a random 1″ black square tile every so often. Adding the black makes this floor infinitely more interesting than the solid green floor, plus it brings the black from the bullnose wall tile, floor trim tile and ceramic bathroom accessories out onto the floor, creating a cohesive look.

Hmmm… this Option 3 might just be our favorite — and it’s very close to Rachel’s original. And e think: It would work with or without the black floor trim tile.

Sources specific to Option 3:

Option 4

vintage green black and pink bathroomOption 4 uses a classic go-to flooring pattern, especially in homes built prior to 1950 — Merola black and white 1″ hex tile mosaic. The pattern is classic without being too busy and — like option 1 — brings the black from the bullnose wall tile and ceramic bathroom accessories down to the floor, creating a cohesive look. Note that on this board, we did not use a black tile at the bottom of the wall, to help everyone envision the difference between inserting the trim and not.

Sources specific to Option 4:

Option 5

vintage green black and pink bathroom

vintage-aqua-tile-bathroom

Kristen & Paul used 6″ black floor tile in their  aqua glow bathroom.

Option 5 would be the most labor intensive version of the floor for this black, mint green and pink vintage style bathroom because you can’t buy this color combination off the shelf — it must be pieced together using two different colors of Merola Tile hex tile, black and light green. It would be relatively easy to buy sheets of the green hex tile floor and just pop out and replace some of the green tiles with black tiles to create the pattern above (which seems to be, row 1: a black tile every fourth tile, row 2: an all green row, repeat). Even though making this floor tile pattern would create an extra step, it wouldn’t be quite as labor intensive as the block random pattern that reader Nicole put together by hand.

In this Option 5, we also tried 6″x6″ floor trim tile. We tend to think that if you are going to use a floor trim tile this big, you should be careful about its scale relative to that of your walls. That is, if you are running your wall tile quite high: 6″ floor trim tile could look really great. See Nicole’s bathroom at the right, that’s what she did. If, on the other hand, you are only running your wall tile about half way up the wall, that 6″ of black at the bottom might be overpowering.

Sources specific to Option 5:

Thanks, Rachel, for sharing photos of your 1949 bathroom!

Which option is your favorite, readers?
And, do you like these kinds of stories, in which we show different options for a particular color combo?

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Comments

  1. Jay says

    Option # 1, please (minus the pink). Mint green and black is my favorite mid-century color combo. When I have the opportunity to redo the hall bath, this is pretty much what i want to do but with white fixtures. (some day when the $$ materialize). I truly believe these posts are very helpful to everyone, after all, you folks are doing all the research and presenting great design boards. Thanks!

  2. Chris says

    I’m no help to you whatsoever. With these colors in combination, in my mind, you can’t go wrong. I love them ALL!!!!!!!! We need to redo our bathroom in our 1930s house and I love this inspiration. Unfortunately, it will be the primary bathroom for teen boys, so I’m thinking I’ll have to go with green, black, and white! No pink! Thanks for these articles! Pam and Kate — thank you for all you do!

    • Rick S says

      Chris,
      You may want to add thick, plush pink towels. who doesn’t like a great towel coming out of the shower. 🙂
      rick

    • pam kueber says

      Thank you for that reminder, Robin! The black and white hex — premade — looks like a great option for that mood board idea. I added your suggestion as a link in the story in Option #4.

  3. Robin, NV says

    Pam – are you guys still willing to do retro design dilemmas? I’d like to submit my Ming green bathroom. I’d like to tile the floor (currently covered in box store bleh) but I’m not sure if I should also retile the rest of the bathroom too. Ming green is a tough color to work with!

  4. Laura says

    I love all the combos! Such fun!

    We are just finishing our mint/jadeite bathroom remodel using B & W tiles- we are saving the pink for our master bath 😀

    • Laura says

      I forgot! We used large hexes on our floor. They are a great option and through B&W they are just a bit more than the 4×4. Better yet if you can go through a contractor!

        • Laura says

          You are so right, Pam! I did some checking around after the fact- according to B&W neither the hexes nor the 4x4s are rated for floor use- only shower pans, counters and walls. So I then contacted our tile setters and they said for our particular bath (very low traffic, nothing in there that could really damage the floor) it should be just fine. I got a second opinion and was told the same thing- unless we start dropping hammers and running and such we should be okay. Relief! But we have extras and both tile setters said that Ina high traffic area these tiles would be a complete no-go.

          Always check with pros!

  5. conorb says

    We would like to do something similar in our powder room but opposite in that we’re planning on using ming green fixtures and pink tile. I was able to find a NOS 50’s Standard sink in ming green but am having difficulty finding a toilet that will work for us.

    Any sources for new ming green toilets?

    • pam kueber says

      Hi conorb, check our stories on the Gerber and Peerless toilets. We show all the colors available. I don’t recall if there’s a green. I don’t think so…. If not, we don’t know of any other options at this point…

  6. ModCodAli says

    I love the mood boards. With all of the research you guys do into sourcing appropriate materials, the visual aid of putting it all together is very helpful.

    As far as my favorite goes, I am a sucker for the black and white floor tiles…such a classic! Honestly though, I think any of the floor tile with black in it would look really sharp because it repeats the black trim tile.

  7. Joyce says

    I’m planning to have my 1954 white sink and tub refinished in pink. Website of company in Sacramento that refinishes writes that they can refinish in any color! All my tiles are green. I’m going to have the pink and green bathroom of my dreams!

    • pam kueber says

      okay but be aware… we are not confident that these refinishing systems may deliver longterm durability. study up on the subject thoroughly to make sure you know what you are getting into…

      • Joyce says

        Thanks Pam, that is great advice. Inspired by this article, I called B&W and they are mailing me sample chips of the Mid Century pink, light green, and black! 1 x 1 in samples mailed for free same day. If you want full size tile you pay the going price plus shipping by UPS

  8. Pencils says

    How about yellow bathrooms? I have a vintage yellow bath with American Standard fixtures. However, the tiles on the faucet end of the bath/shower are loose–we probably should take them down to see if there’s water damage underneath. But if they break, we’re screwed, as I don’t think anyone makes those kind of 4″ yellow tiles anymore. Also, the yellow & beige floor tile is worn and/or faded and probably should be replaced.

  9. says

    I got all excited that you may have leads on mint green fixtures or a cheaper 4″ x 4″ option, but these are still great source to have in one location. They’re almost exactly the mood boards I’ve put together for our eventual bathroom redo, with white fixtures instead. I’ve been obsessed with mint green, black and white bathrooms ever since my grandparent’s house when I was little, and am determined to have my own. We’ve also been looking and black and white basket weave, which I like a lot. Or I may have to go nuts and pick one of the Merola University styles and do a labor intensive replacement of mint green and/or black 1″ tiles. I too thought about the green hex or 1″ with bits of black, but did think with out bathroom it would be green overkill. In the right space it could really look nice though!

    I really like the combo paired with the Googieland wallpaper from Bradbury in gray or ivory too. The sample I have looks fantastic with the 40W Green and the 70W Pink.

      • MsKittyMuses says

        It’s not too bad per sf, but it’s the shipping that will get me, from CA to IN. And of course I used to live in Long Beach, maybe 20 minutes away from their location! Ah well, I’m still going to save our pennies and do it if nothing cheaper or as perfect a mint green shade comes along before we’re ready to tackle the project. But wanting to do the full tub walls, and all the rest of the wall to the typical 4 or so foot height, it certainly adds up! But hopefully will be sooo worth it.

  10. valvashon says

    This reminds me of the makeover we did to our first home, built in 1948. Bathroom floor was awful linoleum sheet stuff and shower surround was the fake tile/pressboard stuff. I didn’t do a great job of it but I did it myself and was probably the first thing I ever did remodeling wise. This was back in 2000 (?) before the MCM thing really hit. You can’t see it in this picture very well but the floor trim is 4×6 (if I remember correctly) with the edge that comes out on the bottom. At that time it was a special order in black and the factory told us that they had never done that before (really?) so my old bathroom may be unique in that respect. I picked that style of floor trim to make covering up the edges of the hex on the floor easier! Also, readers should note that big hex may be OK for new construction but if you are remodeling a 60+ year old home, it may not have a square corner or flat surface anywhere! In that respect, the small hex tiles were much more forgiving of the subfloor I laid down, although I did try to get it as flat as I could.

    https://ssl.cdn-redfin.com/photo/1/bigphoto/651/677651_9_2.jpg

  11. Kathy says

    I have 1962 baths and kitchens, and they all have 4×4 floor trim tiles with a curve at the bottom that match the field tile.

    The only problem is that this is a really old house (1890s) and the bathroom/kitchen floors have a bit of bounce in them and the edges of some of the tiles have cracked, especially in the bathroom for the wall across the joists. After I finish reinforcing the basement framing this summer, I’m thinking of replacing the bathroom bottom tile with a painted wood baseboard to avoid any future cracking, perhaps in black.

    I don’t know how many homes have this, but all my toe kicks in the bath and the kitchen are tiled with the same floor edging, which wraps around the sides as well. The side tiles are all loose from 50 years of vibration, so I am thinking of eliminating those or adding a little stainless steel tile strip on top to make them stay in place better and to look more finished. In the kitchen, the 7 layers of linoleum and vinyl is finished with a strip of stainless liner by the tile. Too bad this little detail is hardly noticeable under the toekick!

  12. says

    Wow, great boards, thank you! All three are stunning. Now I have even more choices. I’ve done my black and white hex tile floor with RR’s advice, so I’m now deliberating on which wall 4 by 4 tile to pick. I had never considered mint green and pink together, but now that I see it, it’s my new favorite. A pink toilet and bathtub is a hard sell in this house too, so I may have to go with aqua and black, or mint and black. And that tiled niche over the toilet? Pure genius.

  13. Jenn says

    I’m currently in the process of creating a pink, black, white, and light grey bathroom from scratch. It’s all salvaged fixtures (minus the toilet). It’s coming along, all I have left to do is tile the tub surround and do some caulking. I can’t wait till it’s finished!

  14. tammyCA says

    I like option 5 the most. Those floors remind me of the quilt pieces I make..grandmothers flower garden, I think they’re called.

    Wish they made pink tubs to match those sinks & toilets. I’ll never get our vintage tub & sink reglazed again..it’s been done twice that I know of (previous owners did it first) and it just doesn’t last..big chips in both so now they will have to go.

  15. Carol says

    http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/hsh/4984523084.html This ad has been on craigslist for awhile. They recently dropped the price under $175 for the pink bathtub, matching toilet, and wall mounted sink. Don’t worry about the missing toilet seat, Pam did the research on toilet seats and I’m sure a match can be found. Smashing deal, and the pieces appear to be in great shape. I would have snagged it already and still may, however, my heart is set on white. I only have one bath in this house and I feel I really need to do black and white. Boring I know, but Pam ran a post about a house with 5 bathrooms. The pink is heaven and would be very hard to duplicate, not to mention that it’s huge. There was a B&W bath with turquoise walls. The pic is on my phone and I can’t help but obsess over it. I can duplicate that look inexpensively. Plus, it’s a neutral without going greige. My sis wants me to pull off the greige stone backsplash in her kitchen and retile because it’s “oppressive”. I told her I would be happy to.

  16. Mary Elizabeth says

    I do love Rachel’s original bathroom, but I encourage her to save for the Gerber Viper toilet in the 1.6 gal flush. I love mine! But next time I would pick the rounded front rather than the elongated one–I was simply trying to replace the white toilet that was there with something with an almost identical footprint. The round front toilet would take up less space and look more in keeping with the period. I do like the “ergo height” for comfort, however, and I don’t think it detracts from the period look. (See Mary Elizabeth’s pink bathroom on this site.)

    But if Rachel lives in a small town like I do (2400 folks) and the UPS shipping hub is in town and employs local people, she may get a reputation, as I did, for being “the crazy lady who orders sinks and toilets shipped from New York instead of just going to a local plumbing supply house.” 🙂

    Of the different options Pam and Kate came up with for reproductions, I definitely like the black and white hex tile on the floor with the green and black wall tile. Nice job!

    • Kate says

      I absolutely love my Bahama Pink Gerber Viper toilet too, and I didn’t think it was possible to love a toilet before… hehehehehe

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, a round front toilet is likely more appopriate for a 50s-era bathroom. I don’t think elongateds really came into vogue until… I’ll guess… the 70s.

  17. Tisha says

    Can we talk about that doorknob in Rachel’s bathroom? It’s exquisite, if not exactly mid-century. Any ideas on it’s origin? Or where I could find a reproduction?

  18. Jason Riddell says

    first RE the tub in Canada it is common to have companies come around and re surface your current tub and I assume they could source out pink to refinish
    or you could go with one of those “drop in” tubs and do the tile work on the tub skirt in pink

    in Winnipeg there was a boom in the 1950’s for building blocks
    to the point most flats are from the 50’s and they did a different twist on your pink/mint/black and had 1/2 hight tiles in pink and the fixtures are mint
    the tiles are plastic with a “marble” detail in them
    I know of 3 different bath rooms in different parts of town that are exactly the same to different flats and one house

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