See Jane design: A vintage style green and pink tile bathroom for her 1939 brick Colonial house

“My architect groaned when I told him I was using pink,
but I think he secretly loves it now.
It always gets ‘wows’…”

vintage green and pink bathroomWe’ve been on a bathroom bonanza for the last few weeks — featuring reader bathrooms and amassing 99 ideas to decorate a pink bathroom. Then we heard from reader Jane, who sent us photos and the story of her vintage style, gorgeous green and pink tile bathroom — which she lovingly designed for her mother Jenifer. Thanks to a mix of carefully selected old and new pieces — including new green and pink tiles from B&W Tile and vintage ceramic bathroom accessories from World of Tile — this brand-new pink and green bathroom looks like it has always been inside Jane’s 1939 brick Colonial house. We are absolutely in love with this color combination — it’s radiating happiness!pink and green vintage bathroom


July 2014, Jenifer, still wearing her defibrillator vest, Eric, and Jane.

Jane writes:

The Retro Bathroom that Almost Wasn’t

In 2013 my mom, my husband Eric, and I decided that we would build an addition to our 1939 Kentucky house that would include a garage with an apartment over it for my mom. My only goals at the time were to recreate the look and feel of the existing house while also matching the original bathrooms as closely as possible.

green vintage bathroom

One of Jane’s original bathrooms with mint green mottled tiles.

One of the original bathrooms is black/white tile, and the other is mint green mottled tiles with solid green trim. I wanted to do something like the existing bathrooms, but a little different, and I’ve always loved the green-pink combo. But after we had hired an architect and before ground had been broken, my mom was diagnosed with a massive cancerous tumor in her colon. So my main goal shifted to helping my mom.

In December 2013, we moved her from her house in Indiana into our living room and prepared for emergency surgery. Not knowing what her prognosis would be, we put the whole building project on hold. Amazingly, after the colectomy, she was cancer free!

vintage green and pink bathroom

The building commenced, and I hunted retro materials around the country. I had wonderful architect — David Wittmer of Prajna Design and Construction — and tile guy — Kelly Doyle — who were very patient and helped me get the look I wanted. I also want to give a shout out to my plumber, Buzz Fetick, the world’s nicest guy.

vintage bathroom tile

They laid out the daisy pattern on the floor and added fun little details like the alternating green-pink line by the shower door. We also put in radiant floor heating. All the great look of the past without the discomfort!

vintage green and pink bathroom vintage green and pink bathroom

Then a couple of months later, mom’s chronic heart failure flared up. On June 15, 2014, I found her collapsed in full cardiac arrest. We called 911 and Eric did CPR. The EMTs and the ER staff worked on her for nearly a half hour but got no pulse. They told me if she awoke, she would have no quality of life, and I needed to make the decision whether to continue efforts. But then she astounded all the doctors when she awoke and began answering questions! After a week in the ICU, she came home and made a full recovery. She is now happily in her new apartment and enjoying her fabulous green and pink bathroom!

vintage green and pink bathroom vintage green and pink bathroom

I’ve been so pleased and gratified by the reactions to this bathroom. My architect groaned when I told him I was using pink, but I think he secretly loves it now. It always gets “wows” from the subcontractors and guests.

And 1939, the year our house was built, is also the year my mom was born!

vintage green and pink bathroom


Source list:

Jane, the bathroom is amazing and really looks like it could have been original to your 1939 home — bravo! Both Pam and I are wishing we had pink and green bathrooms in our homes — it is such a fantastic color combination. Thanks so much for sharing your Retro Renovation story — we hope your mom will be able to enjoy this bathroom for many years to come.


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  1. mag says

    Another teary-eyed reader.

    The bathroom is a perfect addition to your home. Everyone else has pointed out all the pluses of the of your choices. I noted your paint colour immediately; pale, but not white. It softens without dulling. Also, I’m grateful you found professionals who helped you stay true to your vision.

    May you, Jenifer, and Eric create many beauteous memories together there under the same roof. <3

  2. John and Karl says

    This should be made into a Hallmark movie if you ask us! What a great story and terrific job on your bathroom. Every family should be as loving as yours. Thanks for sharing

  3. Joe Felice says

    There’s just-one problem with all these folks doing all these fabulous renovations: Those of us who don’t have the money to do these things feel left out. It’s great to live vicariously through others, to admire, and to dream, but every now and then, we are left feeling a bit melancholy because we can’t turn our homes into the mid-century and art-deco homes that we really long to have! Projects such as this are very expensive. I realize there’s a lot of money in this country. I just don’t happen to have any of it.

    • Jane says

      This reply is for Joe Felice:

      Dear Joe,

      You are right. These projects are expensive, and those of use who can undertake big ones like this are very fortunate. And by that I mean that it is often a matter of luck or happenstance. In our situation, this is my mother’s retirement home instead of assisted living. In our own house, we just decorate around the edges with fun little items I find very cheap at thrift stores, salvage shops, eBay, or even curb-side on garbage day! So I hope you won’t be overwhelmed by the melancholy. There is still a lot you can do if you keep your eye out for deals and use your creativity.

      Wishing you good luck for the big and the small!


    • LuAnn says

      For Joe Felice and Jane:
      I sometimes feel like that, Joe. But I try to look at all of these wonderful projects as inspiration rather than an undertaking that I must do to the same degree of perfection or I won’t be happy. I *wish* that my home’s previous owners hadn’t done some of the remuddling they did. The truth is that I can daydream about it all day long, but I doubt that I will ever sledgehammer perfectly good bathroom tile simply because it’s not my dream 1950’s bathroom. That toothpaste will probably never go back in the tube. But I did have a surprising notion while drooling over all the pink bathroom photos: Why can’t I simply use pink towels, rugs, etc. and paint the walls pink in my bathroom? The tile is white, so there you go. I’ve been working on this idea for about two weeks now, and I’m already so much happier. One good thing about a house that has had work done, there’s likely less deferred maintenance. I hope you can find simple things to do around your home that make you happy too.

      And Jane, what a lovely, thoughtful response you wrote to Joe. I’m sure that the apartment and beautiful bathroom is a silver lining to heartaches you have faced with your mom. I hope that she is around to enjoy her new lifestyle and your company for a long time.

      • Dana says

        Oh yes! the paint, the accessories and think about some vintage feeling wallpaper for a pop! That medicine cabinet, trash can, I bought a bathroom scale in pink…it doesn’t work well, adds weight, but it looks great!

        Joe, I did my bath with finds from Habitat for Humanity, Craigslist, Ebay, Lumber Liquidators for under $500. It doesn’t have to be tearing out whole walls of tile, just do a countertop and backsplash.

  4. Dan Dexter says

    Jane, Your bath is spectacular! It’s looks so authentically vintage. Your attention to detail has really paid off. Bravo, and Enjoy!

  5. Paula says

    I came here for the tile and stayed for the heartwarming story. The bathroom is wonderful, of course, but how great is it that your mom can enjoy it!

      • jean says

        I agree, there are lots of simple and inexpensive fixes that can be done. I like to hang out in thrift shops, Goodwill and our local Habitat for Humanity Restore. I have made a list of pieces I’d like for our bathroom which we have to redo since we bought a house that needs to be rehabbed from top to bottom and back to front. Still, I don’t have a large budget and we’ll be living in at as we rehab it. So I keep my list handy and when I’m out at garage sales, thrifts and anywhere else, including ebay, I shop for the best choices on my list and I have learned to make do.

        Remember, the 1940s were on the outer edge of the depression and many folks didn’t have hardly any money to their name. They had to learn to make do just like we do.

    • Kelly Doyle says

      The short answer is black. Like paint colors, grout colors have catchy names, Charcoal being one of the more common. I frequently use dark and medium grays with the hexagonal mosaics, particularly with black accents. Jane’s grout is the “blackest”. I suggest you make a sample.
      I just saw Jane, Eric and Mom and she told me about this publication. What a wonderful website! I must say, after a year and a half, this bathroom is still moving ….and Mom is doing well.
      Kelly Doyle- the Tile guy

  6. Dee Freis says

    Absolutely love it! It just kills me when I watch DIY remodels where they take a sledge hammer to bathrooms like this. Makes me want to cry. Kudos for preserving the past.

  7. Kathy says

    Lovely job and lovely way to take care of your mother. So wonderful that she pulled through so much. I bet her bedroom is just as pretty.

    The family photo is so cute too, and your styling is spot on. Would love to see the rest of the house. If you ever have the budget, a new period front door would be the cherry on top.

  8. says

    What a wonderful ending to a traumatic story! My realtor was like your architect. I just bought a 1950s home in a historic neighborhood… the first with central air! Now he wishes he had enough money to buy all of the houses and enforce the historical aspect.

  9. Dana says

    I’m totally jelly over that light fixture! I hadn’t thought of the color combo, but it looks great. Your mom is a special lady and will completely see the love built in.

  10. Amarissa Parker says

    What a beautiful thing- both the project AND the love you have for your mother. It shines through the loveliness you created for her enjoyment.

  11. Marcia says

    Finally, someone who has the foresight to preserve a time period without delving into early American! This is why decorators are influenced by the French and Italians,they imbraced their history in design and decor. Pink is a beautiful color choice. The design is clean, functional, and doesn’t scream girly. Gray,steel,brown need a pop of color. I bet if fuscia or hot pink were available earlier in history, the Puritans might have had a whole different sense of decorating style and fashion!

  12. amy says

    Love the room; Love that you are taking such great care of your mother. WANT that sink- couldn’t find it on Signature Hardware site, any recollection to name/ model?

  13. says

    Jane-love the medicine cabinet! I found it on ketcham website but it is listed as a surface mount. Is yours recessed or just a mirror?

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