1964 Romany Spartan tile – classic stuff for retro 60s bathrooms and kitchens

There definitely seemed to be this whole Roman thing going on in the early 60s. When did Spartacus come out? Vegas had Caesar’s Palace. Was everyone traveling to Italy?

Today I am traveling over to Cindy’s in Holyoke to see her house, then we are going to the Restore. To heck with Bergdorf’s and Nieman Marcus — we want to wade through used hardware and tile!

Cindy’s 1963 bathroom has Romany Spartan tile very similar to the 1964 stuff. It’s wrecked in places, and she has been doing a lot of research and footwork. I think that has found us all some new options. Full report to come! Oh gosh, and I have her report from S.J. Masters to post, argh, I forgot!

Other Cindy posts so far:

Cindy, soon you’ll need a category just like Palm Springs Stephan

From reader emails – seems like lots of you 60s retro renovators have this speckled roman-style tile. In terms of replacing or replicating it – Cindy and I are on the case!

  1. Katie says:

    I have a lot of white tile with black and grey specks. I need more. Where can u buy or or order more from?

  2. Dave says:

    I need a few tiles from this Romany Spartan company, how do I find them? it is a 4.25 x 4.25 white tile with black flecks in it. Any help would be great, thanks.

  3. janet tirpak says:

    hello all –
    I have boxes of mint green Romany bath tiles – 4 3/8″ square. Any ideas on what to do with them? They’re from a small 1956 bathroom – all in good condition. Black trim pieces also available. Enough for a tub surround for sure….

    1. Henry Friedman says:

      Janet –

      I ran across a 1+ year old post saying you were looking to get rid of some green 41/3 inch tile. I am in search of same: Romany 44-61 from USQTC.

      On the remote chance that you are still receiving notifications on your post, please get back to me.


  4. Pingback:Retro Renovation » When in Rome… Palm Springs Stephan details some of the era’s fixation with all things Roman, Greek & Mediterranean

  5. Since you asked, Pam…..

    “Spartacus” came out in 1960.

    And yes, the 1950s and early 1960s witnessed a real fascination with Roman, Greek, and Mediterranean cultural influences. I am not sure whether that was fueled by Hollywood or vice versa. But since Hollywood history is one of my passions….

    Some of the hit films of the era with Roman, Greek, or Mediterranean subjects, both ancient and modern:

    “Quo Vadis,” 1951, nominated for 8 Oscars
    “David and Bathsheba,” 1951, 1 Oscar nomination
    “The Robe,” 1953, won 2 Oscars
    “Julius Caesar,” 1953, 5 Oscar nominations (1 win)
    “Roman Holiday,” 1953, 10 Oscar nominations (3 wins)
    “The Egyptian,” 1954, 1 Oscar nomination
    “Three Coins in the Fountain,” 1954, 1 Oscar nomination, set in Rome
    “The Ten Commandments,” 1956, 7 Oscar nominations
    “An Affair to Remember,” 1957, 4 Oscar nominations, portions take place on the Italian Riviera
    “Ben Hur,” 1959, won 11 Oscars
    “La Dolce Vita,” 1960, 1 Oscar nomination
    “Roman Spring of Mrs Stone,” 1961 Oscar nomination
    “Divorce-Italian Style,” 1961, 3 Oscar nominations
    “Cleopatra,” 1963, 9 Oscar nominations
    “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” 1964, 1 Oscar nomination
    “The Agony and the Ecstacy,” 1965, 5 Oscar nominations, set in Rome

    Many of these films, such as “Cleopatra” and “Ben Hur,” were done in the epic style and utilized the newer Panavision and Todd AO filming techniques, and they received huge publicity even as they were being filmed, increasing their cultural influence. And these are only the films that received Oscar nominations. Recall too that the 1950s were the era of cheaply and rapidly made lesser films, such low-brow “classics” as the films of Steve Reeves, including the Hercules series (Hercules, Hercules Unchained), Last Days of Pompeii, Duel of the Titans (about the founding of Rome), and The Trojan Horse.

    The late 1950s and early 1960s were also the heyday for Federico Fellini, Italy’s greatest film director, as well as for Sophia Loren. And it was the period in which Ingrid Bergman outraged Americans by having an openly adulterous affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, bearing him two children.

    I’m not sure that “everyone was traveling to Italy,” but there was certainly an upswing in the popularity of Mediterranean holidays in the two decades after World War II. This may have been in part the result (as with the tiki phenomenon discussed earlier) of soldiers who had served in the Mediterranean theater during the war who, once established and affluent, wanted to return to an area that they remembered with some degree of fondness.

  6. mjbraun says:

    In the photos of the kitchen…I have that exact same indoor grill. It’s set into a brick wall and has a chimney flue instead of a range hood. I’ve wondered why there was also an electric outlet in the opening. I see the rotisserie to the right and now I know why the outlet was installed. How cool.

  7. benevola says:

    The bathroom in our 1953 rambler was full of that tile in shades of blue. They had it on the vanity, around the toilet paper holder, and around the soapdishes–very cute. Unfortunately, we had to redo the bathroom because of some leaks and structural problems.

    Thank you for keeping this blog. I have learned so much about my house! Little 50s remnants here and there that might have been overlooked otherwise.

    I should send you a picture of my kitchen cabinets. They’re kind of a weird rustic Colonial Revival. I’ve never seen anything like them before.

  8. thomwatson says:

    Wow, that’s the tile in the bathroom in the ranch house I grew up in in Covington, Virginia. The house was built in 1964.

    [On a separate issue, I wasn’t able to login with my OpenID; when I tried, I got an error message “Unable to authenticate your OpenID account”. So I created a separate WordPress login and then tried to associate my OpenID with it from the login page, and got this different error message: “Error: OpenID assertion failed: Server denied check_authentication”. I’ve been able to use OpenID at a number of other sites successfully. Has anyone else reported this issue here?]

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