Historic photos of Valerie’s 1954 Milwaukee home — and her pink bathroom

There are archeologists among us — and of course they love the treasures in their 1954 home, including photos from their 1954 home’s original construction… and their original pink bathroom. Valerie writes: .

“I started reading your blog in April while shopping for my first house in Milwaukee. My husband and I actually bought a home built in 1954 on a lovely wooded lot.  We are the second owners, however, the only room that appears to be essentially unaltered is a bathroom. You will be happy to see there is a lot of pink!  Pink tile, sink and tub to be exact – in addition to a towel bar, soap dishes and paper dispenser.  The toilet is gray as is the floor tile. I believe the tub surround required recent repairs as a box of the long gray tiles is in the basement.  Other than that, the vanity doors are the only obvious update. My young daughters call this the “princess bathroom”, and the seller was very happy to learn we liked it as is.  She was kind enough to give us pictures of the house taken by her father during construction.  We learned it was originally built as a two bedroom, one bath; another bedroom, bath, sunroom and garage were added in 1958. It is great fun to read about the many wonderful homes people share on Retro Renovation so it is a privilege to contribute in my own small way! My DH & I dreamed of buying a home for years, not specifically mid-century, but we definitely favored older houses.  Not surprising since we both have degrees in archeology and a deep appreciation for most artifacts more than 40 years old.  Mid-century homes appealed to us in that respect (so much character!) and on a rather practical level. We found so many houses of that era in our price range that offered spacious floor plans, lovely yards, and minimal sweat equity.  The fantastic fireplaces and built-in china cabinets are icing on the cake! I hope you like the bathroom; the paint color is fine for now if a little dark for my taste.  I suspect wallpaper was removed because the texture if so flat – how I wish the walls could talk! We love our “new” home. Once a few pressing projects are finished I’m excited to start decorating with the help of your blog.”

Matt writes: Wow Valerie! You’re daughters are right, you do have princess bathroom. It makes me so happy to know you and your husband are archeologists who are also retro renovators – what I wish to be one day.  It’s great you’re so passionate about our past and its homes. You definitely made the right choice when it came to your house. I completely agree with you that it is the character mid century home can have that makes them so desirable when it comes to choosing a new home. You won’t get that same vibe from a new home, and if you do you’ll be paying twice the price. I love all your recessed soap dishes. You may not think it at first, but the gray tile goes well with the pink. With all the good you got goin’ on, we won’t count the new vanity doors against you.

Pam adds: Yes, it appears the entire tub surround – white field tile with grey bullnose — is newer? That said, the coordination with the pink is nicely done.

To view slide show, click on the first thumbnail, and move forward or back via the arrows below each image.

  1. Joanna+ says:

    I love that rug – do you remember where it was from? I’ve been searching for something like it!

  2. Heather Staas says:

    Wow this bathroom is absolutely gorgeous! I’m in the process of buying a 1954 home and the bathroom is the only room that was “updated” at some point and is in really really tough shape. I LOVE your floors… that might be an inspiration for mine as well!

  3. Tammy Boyle says:

    My husband I purchased a 1956 home from the original owners. The master bathroom is pink. Our toilet , sink and tub are all American Standard pink. It looks like your gray toilet is newer though, is that correct? We also have a heater in the wall, like yours, even though we live in Florida! Hope your daughters continue to enjoy their princess bathroom for many happy years!

  4. gsciencechick says:

    The bathroom looks spectacular, wow. We have a very similar front door also in black, and I would love to have a similar little plate under your doorknob.

  5. Really enjoyed seeing these photos. My own home was built in 1954 so I’ve been trying to track down as many photos as I can of other homes and interiors from that year for inspiration. That pink bathroom is spectacular!

  6. jkaye says:

    Not only do you have a great house, you know some of its story too. That’s makes it even more special. Now you and your lovely family can add to that story. Show us more photos of hardware — that bathroom door knob looks interesting.

  7. Chris says:

    I love Milwaukee! My brother and his family lived in a gorgeous 1950s neighborhood near a big park (with lots of geese.) I wish I could remember the street name. But everyone took such pride in their houses and yards. It was like the grass was trimmed with nail scissors and a ruler!

    My favorite things about their little house were the milk man delivery door and the built in telephone niche. Adorable!

    Your house reminds me of theirs. I wonder if it is in the same neighborhood, or perhaps near there.

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