Graham and Monika’s mid-century modern bathroom remodel

mid century modern green tile bathroomIt is so gratifying to see readers finishing their projects and to hear that the blog helped. I have to say, Graham and Monika still are cuter than their bathroom, and that’s sayin’ a lot because this bathroom rocks! Graham writes:

Hi Pam,

I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work in creating and running this website. We recently remodelled our bathroom and your ideas and suggestions for everything from fixtures to tile to accent pieces really came in handy. In fact, a majority of the items that make up our bathroom were items found in links on Retro Renovation. For example, we used Dal Tile Terrazo floor tile, our wall tile is custom 1″ X 6″s made by B/W Tile, we went with a Villager tub, a Cimarron Toilet, and we went with the Mississippi fixtures for our sink and tub. So as you can see the we really utilized a lot of the information on your website.

Fabulous bathroom! So I ask Graham for more information. He writes:

The details of the bathroom are this, yes that is Caesarstone countertop, the lighting above the tub is from Rejuvenation, the wall heater is a Cadet (which, if I had to do it all over I wouldn’t have done the wall heater, it’s a cheap knock off of how they used to be), the paint is from Dunn-Edwards, the sink is a Kohler Tahoe Undermount, the stainless steel cabinet is from Ikea, and we have a friend who is a carpenter that specializes in cabinetry who did our vanity and the wood spacer between the wall and vub. The spacer is all teak and the vanity is teak veneer.

He is an amazing carpenter, he veers towards Mid Century design in his work and also does custom furniture (he did the teak top for the credenza on my flickr page). He does incredible work and I can’t say enough about him, so if any of your readers in the Southern California area (he lives in Long Beach as do I) need any wood work done I can give you his contact info….he’s super easy to work with, has great sense of design, and he can always use the work : ) His name is Armbay Zacharia and his email address is Apsua1@hotmail.com.

Tile inspiration from Hof’s Hut

I have some before pics that I will send you them tonight. The reason we went with the 1″ X 6″s in the pattern we did is that we saw this pattern done in 2″ X 8″s in a bathroom at a Hof’s Hut (it’s a local cafe restaurant) here in Long Beach (pic is attached). We got samples of the 2″ X 8″ but thought it was way too big for our bathroom to work so we sized down and thought the 1″ X 6″ were much more proportional. We recently went back to the Hof’s Hut and we surprised at how much better we liked our tile than the tile we got the inspiration from and we think the size is the major reason. We were gonna do subway tile in that same color for the walls, but then we saw that pattern and loved how different and interesting it was. After we decided on that we thought the 4X4 for the floor would be too much of the same color so we went with the (the Daltile) terrazzo (tile). We had 6 months to figure out all the design so it was a work in progress that was constantly changing. As you can tell by the length of my responses I love talking about this stuff : )

“before”… but before you get all agitated about loss of pink bathroom, graham said all was in sad shape and not high quality to begin with

I have attached the before pics, they’re not very good as they actually show the parts of the bathroom we liked.  They remodeled the rest with really cheap tile, vanity and toilet so we decided to just do the whole thing….sorry pink bathroom.

Also, for the floor we used the Dal Tile micro tile, we got samples of the regular terrazzo but the stone pieces in the tile were too large for our taste and the micro terrazzo was perfect.  We used the colorway Full Moon.
We don’t really have a very interesting story of the our Condo, but here it is.  We were living in a one bedroom bungalow that we really liked and the when the housing market hit the dumps and we decided it was time to buy, all the while I was buying Danish Modern furniture for the day we found a spot.  We have a friend who is a realtor and he knows what style we like and he was able to find us our place relatively quickly.  We’re both very picky, but the second we stepped foot into our place we knew we loved it.  The floor to ceiling windows, the hardwood, the location, it’s perfect and we knew this was the place for us.
Once we got it we worked on it like crazy.  We painted every room including the ceilings, replaced the glass blocks windows in both room with larger aluminum casement windows, blinds, pleated curtains for the F/C windows, switched out the lighting, added fans for the bedrooms, the works.
A few months down the road our bathroom flooded due to the upstairs unit, but it was blessing in disguise as we were able to use the insurance money towards our remodel, that along with the first time home buyers tax credit is the how the remodel came about.  It’s been a crazy year, but so rewarding.  I’ve always been a homebody, but owning a place I absolutely love makes it that much worse.
Also, my girlfriend Monika helped a ton in working on the bathroom.  Every detail of the bathroom was either proposed by her or ran by her for approval.  She has an incredible eye for design.
Hope I gave you all you need. And once again thanks for all you do, your website was a great asset to me, and I’m sure to tons of other people as well, I bet most just don’t realize the time and effort involved and forget to take the time to say thanks : )Graham

Many thanks, Graham, for sharing, and for your kind words. The bathroom is fantastic. 🙂

Readers, do you want to get this look. Here are the Retro Renovation posts about the products and sources that Graham and Monika used to pull together their bathroom:

Note: Links to Amazon are affiliate links – I earn a wee commission if ya click and buy.

  1. Graham says:

    Hi Laura,

    Regarding refnishing the doors, the ones in our place are Birch veneer and were painted white. First I stripped the paint using a chemical called Jasco (very toxic, use gloves and be careful). Next I sanded the door down using a hand held oribital sander with 220 grit (getting a good clean even sanding is the most important part, but you have to be careful as your working with thin veneer).

    Once finished sanding, clean with a damp clean cloth (old t-shirt works well). Next, I used a pre-stain conditioner (applied with an old t-shirt). Now, you’re ready to stain. For all the pre-stain, stain, and poly I used Minwax and for the stain I used the natural color. Natural is recommended for Birch as if you try to change the shade, Birch it tends to come out uneven and spotty. I applied using a t-shirt and did three coats to be safe. Next, I used a water based Poly sealer to seal it. For this I used a brush and applied three coats. This takes the longest as it needs to dry for several hours each time.

    It’s really pretty easy it just requires that you have all the necessary tools. Hope this helps…good luck.


    1. Laura says:

      Really appreciate the doortorial (ha ha), Graham. It really finished off your room well. We’ve updated many of our rooms in our 1955 house with paint and they still seem a tad on the tired side. I think refinishing the doors and hardware is the secret. Would love to see any of your future renovations – you have great design sensibility.


  2. Alice says:

    what an excellent retro-renovation! The wall tile pattern and installation is wonderful. Congrats to you for using teak in your bathroom..such a nice warm, chic touch! Way to go!

  3. Jen Terman says:

    Fabulous work, Grahm & Monika! I admire all of your choices: the tile color and design, custom teak woodwork, countertops, terazzo flooring,lighting, tub and toilet selection, faucets, wall heater…EVERYTHING!
    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m inspiried!

  4. Laura says:

    Gorgeous reno! I love the new use of teak in the bathroom and the tiles are so beautiful. I was wondering if you could let me know how you refinished the door and what product you used for staining. We have similar doors throughout our house which need a little spruce up. Many thanks!

  5. gsciencechick says:

    Gorgeous! We redid our baths Summer 2007, but when we do another remodel, I will file this as inspiration! Wow!

  6. Janice says:

    Wow! When I first logged on and saw the picture of your bathroom, I thought it was a really cool patterned wallpaper. After finding out it was tile, well…..superb is the word that comes to mind. Beautful job Graham and Monika!

  7. Cini Robb says:

    Aunt Cini here,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    I love what you two have done. You look as terrific as your newly remodeled bathroom. I am so proud of you both. See you this summer!

  8. Dave M says:

    Wow, what a fantastic job. I love the plumbing fixtures and the chrome in wall heater is fantastic.

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