My dad lives in an apartment building in Brooklyn that opened on April 1, 1951. I assume the bathroom is original. The bathroom floor tile is a (true) gray and white in a simple checkerboard pattern. The wall tile is a funky purplish-gray field with a black bullnose border. It doesn’t really go with the floor.
We’re going to renovate the bathroom, and I’d like to be able to keep at least the wall tile, but the color is impossible to coordinate. It’s not gray and it’s not purple. Have you seen this color before? What should I do with the walls and floor if I keep it?
Thanks so much,
Alexa in Brooklyn
Thanks for the photos, Alexa – what a gorgeous gorgeous color that tile is! In the palettes of the late 40s and early 50s you do see some dusty lavenders, but I have to admit you are the first reader to send in a bathroom this color. Here are some thoughts:
- This bathroom definitely has a deco feel to me. For additional tiles, if you need replacements, the only place I know to send you is B&W Tile in California.
- And I must say: Unless that floor is destroyed, please keep it! The photo does not show it in great detail – but from what I can see, it’s gorgeous as well! And I think you can work with the grey. It is neutral.
- Put a black toilet seat and lid on that toilet to play up the black trim. The best you can buy, like, really substantial. I need to do some research on this…It’s bizarre to even think about “good” toilet seats, but I think there are truly deluxe ones out there worth the investment – like, with marbling and stuff. This will be fun. I think: Kohler…Barbara Baker or some high-style designer. Wicked expensive.
- Finally, how about vintage wallpaper to perk that bathroom right up: I had to work hard to find the possibility below for you, it’s from Hannah’s. Can your dad handle a floral? If you’re doing wallpaper, you want to be careful regarding the scale – you’ve got 4″ tiles creating one kind of pattern, and then those smaller floor tiles creating their own thing, too. A wallpaper must complement but not compete. I really kind of like this floral, although if you can hunt some more and find something more deco, maybe with some metallic shine, that might be the very best. As I recall, Secondhand Rose is right there in Manhattan – maybe you could go hunt through their stocks? Yowza, what fun. I’d also recommend Bradbury & Bradbury – but nothing in purple family there.
- Oh and accessories: Put in a brushed steel-style hamper, the wicker is clashing, it’s jumping out too much. Can you find one built-in side towel bar to fit the sink-from a salvage place perhaps? That way, the hand towels could move there. (Do you understand this suggestion?) For shower curtain, towels and rug: I would tend to think darkish grey, you want these to recede. But no need to make a final decision on this, until the other elements are completed.
Alexa, let us know how it all turns out! This is a really beautiful bathroom – the quality is amazing. What a wonderful daughter you are!