Best Retro Renovation bathroom remodel of 2014: Kristen & Paul win The Hard Way Award

retro bathroomHard-way-award-All hail to the Aqua Glo! Yes, readers seem to have been mesmerized by all the gorgeous, glimmering aqua Daltile in Kristen and Paul’s gut-remodeled bathroom, rewarding this couple’s creativity, perserverance — and parsimony– with our The Hard Way Award – Bathroom Remodel for 2014. Yes, this was a gut remodel — Kristen and Paul did a fabulous job creating a bathroom that looks like it’s always been there and in fact, grounded the entire plan by essentially recreating the original, worn aqua wallboard — but with more durable tile.  Congratulations, Kristen and Paul!

Why else does this bathroom become an instant Retro Renovation classic? Kristen trimmed the aqua tile in black bullnose, liner tile and 6″ cove base — nice! She then used a black-and-white hex tile for the floor that’s widely — and affordably — available from big box stores. To further keep it affordable — and to preserve the original, where possible — she kept the vintage sink and tub. Every little touch was very carefully thought out — and it shows.

Just like Kristen one the last touches were in place, we want to go live in this bathroom for a few days. (Who else does this? That is: Right after a project is one, you keep wandering into the room, over and over, to bask in its new beauty? I do!)  Kristen, you got it goin’ on! So do all our other finalists in our 2014 Best Bathroom remodels competition: Many thanks to Rebecca, Nanette & Jim, Shelly & Jim, and Robert & Caroline (and daughter Roundhouse Sarah). Seriously, this was a REALLY DIFFICULT vote, because all these bathrooms — and their The Hard Way stories — were amazing. Thank you, all, for sharing your stories and cataloguing your resources, too.

Readers, thank you for voting and for all your super supportive comments, too. Now: Kate and I are getting started in earnest prowling for kitchen and bathroom The Hard Way stories to feature in 2015. If you have one, dear readers, let us know — be sure to take lots of before, during and after photos — and when you’re ready for Prime Time, use the Contact form at the bottom of the page to connect! xoxo, pam

  1. Andi says:

    Love this bathroom! I really liked all of the entries but I have a special place in my heart for Aqua Glow, which is very nearly the color of my original 1952 turquoise bathroom.

    We recently did a tub-to-shower conversion using Aqua Glow and it turned out beautifully. However, we did NOT “do it the Hard Way”—we hired a tile guy! That was plenty stress enough!

    I am jealous of the black bullnose, black liner tile and black “baseboard” tiles as my bathroom is all turquoise without any accent color. Had a black floor, and we added a few black accent tiles in the new shower, but I would LOVE to have had it all trimmed like yours!

    Also love the wall color and the window valance…so perfectly unites all of the elements in the room. Lovely!

    Beautiful job, Congratulations!!

  2. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations Kristen and Paul! It is a lovely bathroom indeed, and it will stand up to years of toddler bathing and teenager showering. (I re-wallpapered a bathroom twice during our three’s teen years. If you ever want to steam wallpaper off a bathroom wall, I recommend hiring a teenager to shower in that room daily for a few months.) I especially love the aqua and black tile.

    Be sure to show us your projects in the Florida house and let us know when it is for rent. It would be fun to visit Florida and rent a lovingly retro-restored home, wouldn’t it?

  3. Karin says:

    Congratulations Kristen and Paul! I voted for your gorgeous bathroom because this is the one I could see myself in. That swoonworthy Aqua Glow tile sealed the deal for me. So so pretty.

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