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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. Janice says:

    Lovely, lovely home and that pink bathroom is to die for! I wasn’t lucky enough to inherit such a beautiful pink bathroom, but I’m so happy that it landed in the hands of a family who appreciates princess pink! Love the front door, too …and the lot and really everything.

  2. Lorraine Jolly says:

    We moved to our ranch house in 2008. The original owners had lived there 50 years and I’m pretty sure that they didn’t do much decorating, maybe painted a couple of times. Our pink and gray Jack and Jill bathroom is in immaculate condition. I painted the walls a fresh white (for now), gray block design shower curtain, gray towels for my son and Pottery Barn pink zebra striped towels for my daughter….perfection !!

  3. Cynthia says:

    Great home and bathroom. The bathroom reminds me a lot of the one in my grandparents’ 1955 ranch in Wauwatosa. They built the house themselves, and very little changed over the years, though my grandmother died in 1969 and my grandfather remarried. In 2007, my step-grandmother moved into a nursing home and sold the house…happily, to a family friend, who has retained the original pink bathroom (very similar to yours!) and most of the other features of the house. We live in Denver and visit Wisc about once a year, always staying with our friend in my “grandparents’ house.” It’s cool to still be able to spend time in that house, which has been in my family for my entire life (and then some…).

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