Retro bathroom and kitchen: Luscious features from Cindy’s 60s Holyoke house

Hi Pam, Since discovering RetroRenovation.com it has become a “must go to site” each morning! Thanks for all the information and enthusiasm you provide.

I am about to update some aspects of my 1960s bathroom and two of your posts this week caught my eye – I never thought much about my shower base and was considering replacing it…not anymore! I have an original terrazzo base.

I was also thinking of removing my toilet-side magazine rack. After reading your post about the Hall Mack fixture I know why there’s a little shelf but fortunately I don’t smoke! Enclosed are some photos, also one of an ashtray conveniently located on the other side of the toilet!!! I sometimes put a little vase of flowers there! Note the privacy panel above the magazine rack and the recessed scale that opens up when needed!

The bathroom project will involve new tiles in shower stall and bathroom floor, laminate refacing on vanity/privacy panel and paint the walls a different color. I was happy with the bathroom the way it is but the moisture in the shower has seeped behind the grout and has been absorbed by the sheetrock……it can’t be regrouted again, so that’s what got me started. Everything else will stay as is. The wall tiles are oatmeal in color and say romany spartan on the back. I doubt I can find the exact ones so will look for something that will coordinate – I will let you know, and can send you some “after” pictures if you’d like. I’m going to try to retain the 1960s look through use of colors and style. If you know of any vendors I should consider please let me know!

I’m also attaching a few kitchen photos. I renovated 2 years ago and although it’s not 100% loyal to 1960s materials, one thing I did was use laminate for my *cabinets*. I highly recommend it for ranch houses of this era….It gives a wonderful European/1960s look and is incredibly easy to care for.

I also stenciled and painted the backsplash with a wallpaper design I saw in a magazine and tried desperately to locate at many wallpaper dealers including Second Hand Rose in NYC. (If you have a resource for someone who can paint or superimpose my design on the tiles it would provide more protection against spills and splashes than the painted sheetrock.)

The original kitchen also has an indoor barbecue grill with its own damper and chimney flue…..it works beautifully with wood chips and is a constant source of conversation!

It would be great to meet you….let me know when you come this way, I could show you some of the 1960s neighborhoods in Holyoke!

Thanks again for your wonderful site!
Holyoke, MA (30 minutes from Lenox!)

Thank you, Cindy, for all these great photos and your retro renovation story. Suffice to say I am quite jealous of all these great built-in features – especially that foldaway bathroom scale and the barbeque! Some responses to your questions:

  • You know, I’ve actually seen vintage ads for Romany Spartan tile, I’ll keep an eye out next time I’m going through my 60s ephemera. Regarding tile suppliers: Try S.J. Masters, it’s based in Connecticut, they have some 60s style designs. Here’s some tile of theirs that I have shown before, they have it different colorways. My other reco is always to go to the biggest tile store you can find – and talk to them. My experience has been that there are regional players in the tile business that may have unique stuff.)
  • Regarding replicating your ‘vintage wallpaper’ – which is FABULOUS – onto tile – that sounds like a great idea, but I’m not sure how to get it done. There must be sources. Readers?
  • Your kitchen looks awesome – and you know what, laminate cabinets ARE retro-authentic. I need to research the exact date I start seeing Formica cabinets appear in magazines – but I’m pretty sure it’s by the late 50s.
  • And finally…a tour of vintage Holyoke? I am in!! I am due a trip soon over to a secret retro junk location…to that big garden store in Hadley…and to the Trader Joe’s. I’ll email to set a date, I’m serious!

  1. pj dutton says:

    I am also looking for the oatmeal tiles -I only need 8 square and 6 base tiles. We are re-doing a house built in 62 – had wall mounted toilets that needed to be replaced. now I have some patch work to do. Any help?

  2. pam kueber says:

    pj, look at my tile resources on the Bathrooms page (in Product Guide on nav bar). B&W will likely be your best bet. They have a couple of oatmeal styles. But, the major manufacturers have a couple salt n pepper tiles too. good luck.

  3. Mike Gahimer says:

    I still have a Nutone scale like the one you said you were going to e-bay. Did you wind uo selling yours? If so, do you mind if I ask what it sold for?

  4. Jenn says:

    Hi there-

    What is the brand indoor grill you have there?? We are looking to replace ours but can’t find any manufacturers! A picture of this one came up as I was searching. I realize this is vintage, but worth a shot of looking into.

    Thanks for your help

  5. pam kueber says:

    Doug, I did a post on where to get laminate kitchen cabinates like Cindy’s – go to my category Kitchens/Cabinets.

  6. Heidi Swank says:

    I know this post is from several years ago, so fair enough if it can’t get answered.
    I have a question for Cindy: Our rental house has the same bbq in it. Since it is a rental, I have always told occupants that it doesn’t work. However, now we have renters who are amazing and I would trust them to use it. This is a very long way of asking: You use wood chips in it? It doesn’t smoke out the house? I’m not sure what you mean by wood chips. Is there a particular brand that works best?

  7. Erin says:

    Our 1966 split level rancher has an indoor charcoal grill, too. 🙂 So fun, although we’ve never used it!

  8. XXX (edited by Pam) says:


    My parents just bough house in Revere MA; The old owner past in 2009 at 100 years old the house is a time BOX.

    They have 2 of these grills in the house, 3 baths “2 full and smaller with only toilet and shower” with what I think is the same hide away things you are showing here from the smoke magazine to the hide aways in the bathroom.

    I am young and modern but this house has lighting that even I can appreciate.

    So; why am I looking for 50’s things?

    The baths have fancy designs on the tiled wall to wall up to celing BUT
    the smaller bath my bath of all things has only a stand shower with a toilet and that toilet needs a new cover.

    How do I find a replacement around Boston MA?

    Ok I forgot color seems to be important so the baths are burgandy with amazing mosaics upstairs, second is completely pink with lighter pink details.

    It has mosaic floors too and the toilet is a grayish/blueish color all hiding things are metal an dthen the wall tile flips over it.

    My father is all about new specially bc we have got allegies but according to him these bathrooms are in such a good shape not even any grout needs to be replaced so they will stay as they are.

    I am very young but I can see the craftmanship specially in the baths.

    Oh yes colors lol;

    The main kitchen is pink tile all around with some hight them it is all detailed tile for awhile, very hard to explain.The pink fridge and stoves and “is that a microwave?” are in the basement; we will not be using these bc they are very very old my dad says and he will ot take chances with my sister’s food allergies. Fresh appliaciances so they will be desposed of shorthly before we move in.

    Thank you XXX [edited by Pam].

  9. pam kueber says:

    XXX:, according to government laws, you need to be 14 or older to comment. If you would like to participate, can you have your parents send me an email via the Contact box on my blog. Note: Most of the questions you ask here are answered in my Kitchens and Bathrooms categories in blue, above. If you can get permission to participate, I can help point you to more direct answers.

  10. Jill says:

    We just bought a sixty’s ranch with that same grill. How do you cook with wood chips. Is charcoal save to use in it?

  11. Mark Hunter says:

    I have a 1960s retro home looking to be updated in West Springfield,Ma. I’ve used the indoor grill and it gets a bit Smokey in the House. The chimney has been cleaned and has a clear shot out the top. Is there some sort of way to create a better airflow? Any recommendations on what type of fuel to burn to Avoid this? I’ve used seasoned oak for cooking. I was thinking hardwood lump charcoal and I have a carbon monoxide detector about 20 feet away. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks Mark.

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