Kate’s 1960s green bathroom remodel ‘lite’ — before and after

retro green bathroomWe gave a sneak-peek of my 1960s bathroom remodel — really, just a “refresh” — when we showed the countertop — our new Retro Renovation® Delightful Jade from our new collection with Wilsonart. Today: A look at all the changes I made: New tile floor, new vanity, new sink, new countertop, all topped off with a new coat of paint on the wall.

Unlike my master bathroom, which was suffering both in condition and layout, necessitating a gut remodel that ended in a pink potty paradise, my mint green (or is it ming green?) hall bathroom was still going strong — it had just a few “problems.” Instead of tackling all of the issues in one swoop, I’ve been working on transforming the hall bathroom over the last few years bit by bit. This slow transformation is good for my budget — allowing for me to pay for things as I go — and also good for giving me the proper amount of time to weigh my options and pick just the right materials. 

What changed

retro green bathroomI started by fixing the bathroom vent fan, incorrectly installed by my home’s second owners, which I discovered had not been venting properly for the past 18-20 years. With this problem solved, it was time to correct all of the problems that likely occurred from moisture damage over the years: regrouting the moldy and missing the shower tile, replacing the crumbling vanity and top and replacing the floor tile which had started to come loose and was cracked and scratched from years of use. I also chose to remove the shallow cabinets over the toilet and towel bar, because I never really put anything in them and visitors occasionally would bump their heads or shoulders on the cabinets [bad feng shui to have protrusions hanging over your head when you are doing ‘normal’ things like sleeping or…. sitting, Pam points out]. I also think the room feels bigger without them there. Eventually, when I find it, I’d like to put some vintage wall art or a painting on that wall.

I had already decided that I wanted to build another retro style vanity out of oak plywood with tapered, midcentury style legs like I did for my retro pink bathroom remodel. I originally wanted to put in a vintage green sink, but after years of searching, the retro decorating gods still had not sent one my way, so I decided to use a much more easily found white sink. That left two crucial decisions to make: What floor tile and countertop should I use?

Retro Renovation® by Wilsonart ‘Delightful Jade’ boomerang countertops

retro boomerang laminateIn the midst of my flooring and countertop search, Pam and I were deep into our collaboration with Wilsonart to recolor their retro boomerang patterns.

retro boomerang laminateretro boomerang laminateretro boomerang laminateWhen the color ways started getting closer to their final forms, I realized the ‘Delightful Jade’ color way we were developing would go really well with my original American Standard green bathtub and green wall tile. I love all the colors in our boomerang laminate collection, but ‘Delightful Jade’ is my favorite by far, so I’m super excited that I found a place to use it in my home.

retro green bathroomretro green bathroomLuckily, we finalized the color just about the time that I needed to fabricate and install the countertop for my green bathroom, so Wilsonart kindly sent me a complementary sheet of ‘Delightful Jade’ boomerangs to use in the bathroom. We used the photo of me with the countertop in our media launch — it was great to be able to show one of the new laminates installed!

retro green bathroomretro green bathroomThe verdict — I absolutely love it. Every guest I have had over to the house since I finished renovating the hall bathroom has remarked about how much they like the countertop — whether they are into retro decor or not. Plus, how many people can say they not only fabricated their bathroom countertop, but also helped to create the color way?

The floor tile

hex-mosiac-vintage-green-bathroomOnce I had decided to use the green boomerang laminate countertops, I had to figure out what floor tile to use. In the past I had been toying with the idea of using Merola Tile’s light green hex, light green squares, or some self-assembled pattern created from their green and white tiles. Even though both the hex and 1″ light green square tiles from Merola tile were nearly a perfect match to my original green tiles and tub, there were a few reasons that I hesitated to use them in my bathroom. First, I feared that since the bathroom is quite small and has no window or natural light, that too much green — green tub, green floor tile, green countertop — would make it feel overly dark (see our story on Light Reflective Values — LRVs). Second, though I liked the 1″ hex tiles, I didn’t feel like they were quite right for my 1962 ranch and would instead feel more at home in a house with a slightly older vintage.

retro mint green floor tileAt this point I had just about decided to go with a plain, 1″ square mosaic tile flooring when we broke the story about new midcentury style floor tile options from Classic Tile. Though they didn’t have any green in the collection, the tiles reminded me of the pink Merola University tile that I used — and LOVE — in my pink bathroom, so I headed over to the Home Depot website to see if Merola Tile had any new releases. Sure enough, I found Merola’s Crystalline Square in ‘Pistachio’ which looked like a cousin to the pink University Tile in my pink bathroom.

retro green bathroomretro green bathroomI ordered a sample and found that the pale green glossy floor tiles meshed nicely with the original green found in my tub and wall tile — they appear to be a lighter tone of a similar minty green. I also liked that the pattern had white tiles in it that went with the white sink and toilet and with the white salt and pepper original wall tiles. I had my reservations about the textured greenish tiles at first, but I soon realized that they read as more of a beige color than a green, especially when placed next to a more saturated mint green, so I decided to go for it and install this floor tile.

retro green bathroomI grouted the tiles with the same Natural Grey SpectraLOCK Epoxy Grout that I used in my pink bathroom (which is now no longer available through Lowe’s and must be ordered online) with fabulous results. Just like the medium grey made the light pink, beige and white tiles in my pink bathroom pop, it also acted as a strong backdrop for the green and white tiles on the Crystalline Square floor pattern. Plus, as Pam says: Use a gray grout of this intensity and it will likely never look any dirtier than it looks when you put it in.

Bathroom vanity

retro green bathroomI built the vanity using the same materials and methods that I used to build my master bathroom vanity — including 6″ tapered oak McCobb style legs from Tablelegs.com (disclosure: a new advertiser). For those who are wondering, I found the quality and customer service from Tablelegs.com to be exceptional.

I used the same easily available, inexpensive, retro style cabinet knobs that I used in my kitchen — sans backplate this time — on the vanity.

Sink and faucet

retro green bathroom

hudee-rim-sink-retroInitially, I was planning to use a white vintage cast iron sink with hudee ring that I found for a mere $4 at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but when it came time to clean up the sink and ready it for installation, I noticed there were several chips and pits in the finish that would likely start to rust in short order.

Remembering our stories about where you can buy sinks with hudee rings today, I decided to order a new, steel Bootz Daffodil oval lavatory sink with 4-inch centers from HD Supply with the coordinating Vance Industries-made Hudee Ring. The sink and hudee ring were affordable, and Pam wondered about the quality and feel of the sink.

Here’s my two cents: The sink is an inexpensive, mass-produced product and that is evident, especially when you look at the underside of the sink, which had clear caulking rather sloppily applied where the plastic overflow drain was attached to the steel sink body. This was not a deal breaker for me, though, because this portion of the sink is hidden inside the vanity cabinet, and I have had no issues with any leaking. The sink is much, much lighter than a similarly-sized cast iron sink, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The lighter sink was much easier to install into the countertop, because it was simply less weight to hold up while simultaneously trying to tighten the hudee ring clips. When the water in the sink is running, or if you tap on the sink with your fingers, it makes a different sound than you would expect from a heavier duty cast iron sink. This also was not a deal breaker for me. All in all, if I wanted a new retro-style hudee ring sink and was on a budget, I would buy a Bootz steel lavatory sink again. I have faith that this sink will hold up for many years to come.

retro-bathroom-faucetFor the faucet, I knew I wanted a 4″-center, chrome, low arc, midcentury styled bathroom faucet and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it either — I spent all my money on building the pink master bathroom! Remembering our story about 14 four-inch center bathroom sink faucets suitable for a postwar bathroomI went through the list and decided on the Pfister Pfirst Series Centerset Bath Faucet, which I purchased through Home Depot for an affordable $30Again, I was concerned about the quality of this faucet due to the low price; however, I found the faucet to be easy to install, and it seemed quite good quality for the money. It looks great, cleans easily and the handles are easy to turn. I would say that the piece of clear plastic along the bottom of the base of the faucet, which is barely visible, does detract from the look a bit and the faucet feels ‘lightweight’ but I have had no issues with leaking or otherwise after six months of daily use.

retro green bathroom

List of resources:

Kate’s pink bathroom:

kate-pink-bathroom-photo

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Comments

  1. JaniceW says

    Love the bathroom, and you might have inspired me to do a similar color scheme in mine.

    Kate, did you order the floor tile sample from Home Depot? I don’t see that as an option on the website, but maybe I should head over there this weekend.

    Thanks so much.

    • Kate says

      Thanks Janice!

      I ordered the floor tile sample through the Merola Tile website. Then I ordered the floor for my bathroom through HomeDepot.com (this style is not available in stores to my knowledge) and had it shipped to my local Home Depot where I picked it up. (Free ship to store) Hope that helps!

  2. Jennie says

    There is a refreshing, just-plain-nice vibe to your site. I enjoy reading your posts and storing up information for future use. One suggestion : explore original art for your bathroom from a local gallery or craft shop.

  3. says

    I’ll tell you. I was scared when I read that you changed that original bathroom because I thought it was beautiful the way it was. I also have a 1960s green bathroom. I thought, oh no, someone wrecking another old bathroom…. But when I looked at the “after” picture, I was impressed! How you could improve on that, I didn’t know, but you did! It’s gorgeous!

    • pam kueber says

      The laminate is going to be available in Canada, as far as I know. I think that one reader already has ordered samples.

  4. Lynne says

    Kate, I have a technical question for you about the epoxy grout. We are in the process of a major bath remodel and I have asked my tile setter about using the epoxy grout you used.

    We are putting 4″ square tiles on the walls, and he tells me he can’t use it because that grout is sanded. Did you use the sanded epoxy on your walls pink and/or green? Or did you find an UN sanded epoxy?

    • Valerie says

      Check out the forums at johnbridge.com for advice from pros on all things tile. There’s a huge discussion thread on Spectralock, and you can search the thread (or read portions of it) to find specific references. Spectralock is actually fine for use in small grout joints down to 1/16″, per the forum, though it will be a slightly rougher texture than unsanded grout. While it is a sanded grout, it is apparently a finer sand than regular sanded grout. I know this because I’ve been researching heavily for use in my own kitchen backsplash. :- ) These forums are a goldmine of info and advice for tile DIYers.

  5. JulieC says

    I’ve been debating on a few different style of doors for my new bathroom built-ins. Even though you removed yours (for good reason), it helped me confirm the simple inset style I have in will look nice and authentic. I’m painting mine, but love the oak in your setting! Beautiful job.

  6. Laurie says

    I used the same sink when I backdated our master bath almost two years ago. We used Wilsonart “Sock Hop” for the counter and the same Merola flooring that Kate had used in her pink bathroom remodel. That sink is holding up quite nicely, absolutely no problems and I think it’s a great choice.

  7. Dawn says

    I have a 1957 home with original bath and kitchen. I am doing bathroom it has the pink sink and tub with grey shower tile. My counters have a jetson looking print and are grey. the edge of the counter top has metal which is screwed onto the edge it at one time had plastic tubing tucked in the middle of the edging which is gone. Do you know where I can purchase the tubing ? Also where is a good place to purchase the ceramic towel rack and toilet paper holder?
    I can send pics if that helps.
    Thank you,
    Dawn

    • pam kueber says

      I don’t know where to get the tubing.

      For ceramic fixtures, see the first feature box in Bathroom Help / Accessories & Hardware.

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