Kate finalizes design ideas for her master bathroom remodel — a vintage pink bathroom, from scratch!

Retro-Pink-master-bathroom-mood-boardIt’s been a while since there’s been an update on my retro modern master bath remodel — for good reason — much vintage hunting, thinking and planning has been going on. The more I thought — the more the realization that I was leaning towards a retro pink bathroom with a touch of modern instead of a 50/50 split sunk in. While the clean lines of a modern styled bathroom are pleasing, nothing has been making me happier than all the finds sent my way via the Retro Decorating Gods. It was becoming apparent that my house was sending messages via Ebay and the ReStore — and wanted me to be true to 1962. I’ve finalized the list of products I’m planning to use, what do you think of my design? –>

Retro-Pink-master-bathroom-mood-board1. Vintage mirror/medicine cabinet combo. This is the real deal — heavy and well constructed. I actually have two identical mirrors like this now. The first was bought on Ebay — cost was $100 delivered. A few weeks later — another in slightly worse shape showed up at my local Restore — and was mine for $25 (just call me a vintage mirror hoarder). I’ll probably have to get new mirrored doors cut at my local glass shop, but still — two old mirrors are much less than the cost of the same size new Commodore style mirror from Nutone — which will run you $275. Of course I’ll only use one of them for this bathroom, but it is nice to have a backup or another to use when I finish the basement bath.

2. Bath bar light. I’ve decided that a bar style light will work best in my master bath — especially with the mirror. Currently the 24 inch Nuvo Lighting U channel light with diamond pattern is the fixture of choice.

pink-american-standard-sink-1960s3. Vintage Pink American Standard Sink — recently found on Craigslist for $25. Incredibly it is an exact match with the wall tile.

4. Boomerang Laminate countertops. Our recent story — 24 colors of boomerang laminate available today — made me consider this as a countertop option. A sample of  “Retro Pop” and “Glacier” are on their way from Heffrons.com.

5. Oak wood vanity. Since all of the wood in my 1962 ranch is oak with a pecan stain — including the current original vanity — why shouldn’t it retain this original style feature? At first I considered using a dresser as a vanity — a candidate was found — but ultimately, the dresser in question was a few inches too long for the space. Since then — after much research — I’ve decided to built my own vanity. Wish me luck!

vintage-amerock-starburst-knob-and-backplate vintage-amerock-chrome-knob-and-backplate-starburst

6. Vintage Amerock chrome starburst backplate and knobs. Let the drooling begin — I won five of these on Ebay (they weren’t cheap, but are so cool) and with the help of my new favorite cleaning product (story to come, we’re trying to get the MSDS), I got them shiny like new — on left is what they originally looked like after being salvaged from a gutted house — on right is what they look like now.

7. Kohler Taboret low arch bath faucet. Since my vintage mirror has a protruding medicine cabinet, and the vintage sink is a four inch spread — this low arch bath faucet from Kohler will work wonderfully. The design is modern with a vintage feel — I dig it. It is a little more costly that I was hoping for — but I am not 100% committed to this faucet — something similar would also be great for my bathroom remodel.

8. Pink 70W tile from B&W tile.

9. Rejuvenation Starburst towel racks. From day one, these have been the towel bars for me.

10. University Pink floor tile from Merola/Somer Tile.


Are you wondering how all of this will come together? Above is a little mock up of the type of bath cabinet that I’m planning to construct. It will be situated between the outer wall and wall separating it from the shower instead of free standing as shown in the picture. This retro modern bathroom vanity has the look of a dresser, but will be constructed in place — as a custom built in.  The legs will be coming from TableLegs.com. To save myself — a novice carpenter — too much stress, interior drawer boxes will be purchased pre-made.

I plan to tile all the walls — instead of just the inside of the shower as originally planned — and am on the fence about using all pink wall tiles (as shown above) or “trimming” the pink tiles on the top with white (as show below). What do you like best?
retro-pink-master-bath-mock-upNOS-vintage-Cannon-bath-towels-pinkIf all of the above awesome vintage finds weren’t enough — looky what else I have — a perfectly matched set of NOS Cannon bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths.

vintage-pink-bath-towels-cannonThey couldn’t be a closer match to the tiles. The idea to track down vintage towels came to me after reading Pam’s story about vintage towels — and yes, they are a little smaller than I am used to — but they are perfect for the bathroom. Larger supplementary towels can also be found later.

So there you have it — with the key decisions made — my retro modern master bathroom remodel has become retro with a dash of modern. All of the current selections are making me very happy — which signals to me that it is time to start getting quotes, looking into permits, psyching myself up for another big project and ordering massive amounts of tile. Pam has also reminded me to take care when planning any demolition to ensure I consult with a properly licensed professional about what’s in the vintage layers of my “old” bathroom, so I’ll be doing that, too.

See all of Kate’s stories about her master bathroom remodel

  1. Chad D says:

    Tammy, another option is to do pink and aqua. I looked at a house recently (I think extensively renovated around 1958) that had a bathroom with pink field tile on the walls, but the bullnose bottom row of tiles, and the fixtures were aqua. The floor was a lighter shade of aqua similar to Kate’s floor tile, and the sink was a paler shade of pink cracked ice laminate. If you wanted to you could always reverse this and make an aqua bathroom with pink bullnose. I’d agree that if you have pink all over the place it might be better to do something else; my mom painted the woodwork in the living room gold instead of blue because she was worried about blue overload, and it might show off her blue stuff better.

  2. Maude says:

    Wow, that pink sink really takes me right back to my childhood:) It’s amazing how everything old becomes new again. And may I say, kudos to you for working so hard to make the bathroom historically accurate:)

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Kate.. please can you let me know what you cleaned those starburst knobs with? ive got some pulls here in my 50s basement kitchen that are similarly tarnished and pitted, as well as a chrome Hendryx 50s Hat Box style bird cage. id really appricaite it!

  4. Lisa says:

    i saw those strips last week and jumped on them for my mid 50s ohio ranch kitchen. i plan on white subway tile the wall behind the sink and range, and using the sizzle strip in it as an accent. cant believe i found something so nice on e bay! Next i have to find a decent recessed medicine cabinet for the bathroom.

  5. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Hi, Kate,

    Just realized as I read your article again that the floor tile you purchased is the same as that in my 1950s pink bathroom. (I thought it was original, but we found out different while doing repairs.) For your readers, they should know it is available on line from Home Depot under “Merola mosaic tile University Pink.”

    As for the grout, we repaired using a light gray that seemed to match what had been used originally. And between the tile and the tub we used a gray silicone caulking that was originally intended for use on cement. It just disappears into that tile!

    Great ideas. Good luck building your vanity.

  6. pam kueber says:

    Yes, Mary Elizabeth — Kate talks about her floor tile in item #10 and links to our earlier story about all the colors available.

  7. Joe Felice says:

    I think this will be beautiful. What ideas do you have for the tub/shower and toilet? I especially like the way the colors match or coordinate. The Retro Pop counter will be great, and I love the floor. I would trim the tile with black or burgundy, and not do all of the walls. Can’t wait to see the photos when it is done.

  8. Shara says:

    You know what would be cool in the plain pink section above the tiles? Doing the same starburst pattern that is on the pulls in Silver or white paint. I have seen this done before in vintage bathrooms, I think even on the Retro Renovations website. It adds a little character to the room and brings the pulls into the entire room design.

  9. Joe Felice says:

    I like your choice of combos (the last one). Why not trim the tile with turquoise that matches that in the laminate (which I REALLY love!). This would bring it all together. On the computer, the tile still l0oks mauve or rosey to me.

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