Where to find vintage bathroom tile: Remember to check your local tile stores for deadstock

save the pink bathroomsHere’s a #1 fundamental tip we’re pretty sure we don’t repeat often enough: When looking for pastel-colored bathroom tile, try tile stores that have been around for a while. Ask if they have any deadstock in their warehouse — and you might just turn up a bargain. That’s what Phyllis did when she needed to remodel a worn pink bathroom in a rental property.

Phyllis and friend

Instead of making the bathroom neutral to appeal to future buyers and renters, Phyllis decided to take a chance and preserve the pink. She also made architectural changes to create a more functional space. And finally, she chose or created fixtures in line with the retro-eclectic-salvage vibe of her store Reclaimed Home.

Phyllis writes (edited for flow):

I bought my first house in 1994 and got involved with DIY restorations and renovations.  I purchased this house in Rockaway Beach, New York, two months prior to Hurricane Sandy. After the storm, the real estate market in that area basically died.  Rockaway was my fifth such renovation, but it was the first one I bought strictly as an investment. I put it up for sale or rent and got renters quite easily. Recently, I put the house on the market for sale.

The pink bathroom was what sold me on this house — I loved the pink! I initially wanted to keep the bathroom intact but once I realized there were so many problems, I decided to change the configuration while I was at it.

retro bathroomAt first I wanted to use reclaimed pink tiles to remodel the bathroom, so I started collecting vintage tiles that I picked up in various places including Habitat ReStores and Build it Green. After collecting tiles for a while, I realized that I didn’t have enough to go around the whole bathroom, so I ended up deciding to go with new tile, since I was already way behind schedule on the renovation. I found 4×4 pink and black tiles at Weisman Home Outlet, a discount building supply company that sometimes carries dead stock.

EVERYONE who came through to look at the property loved the pink bathroom…both men and women alike.

My intention was to sell and purchase another property to restore, but since the real estate market dried up after Hurricane Sandy, I decided to open up a shop in Brooklyn that sells architectural salvage, antique and vintage items for the home and repurposed pieces like the vanity.  I also keep saying I’m going to do classes and DIY coaching but I haven’t gotten that off the ground yet. I also write a blog about my DIY adventures called Reclaimed Home.

Thank you for your inspiration!

Well, there’s the verdict — renters love it, too! Thanks for sharing your project with us, Phyllis — nicely done! And thank you for reminding us to remind readers: Check those local stores first for New Old Stock tile that might still be in the warehouse!

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CategoriesBathroom Tile
  1. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful, beautiful combination of modern convenience and vintage style. You really should open up your design consulting business.

    And I will second Pam’s advice to visit long-standing plumbing and tile businesses. When we bought our NOS pink bathroom sink, the owner of the family-run plumbing supply house asked if we were interested in an entire three-piece bath they had kept in the warehouse since the 1950s. It had been a display item.

  2. GlenEllyn says:

    My sole bathroom needs help and I generally picture a remodel to green perhaps, but yours is so well done I may just change my dream to pink. Well done, Phyllis!

  3. Andi says:

    I love the drama in this bathroom!! Wow, how could anyone object to the pink when it looks SO cool with all that black!

    I am a fan of all pink bathrooms, but I can see why this one seems to appeal to all of your prospective buyers/tenants. Bold yet traditional, and retro yet modern, all in one very appealing package.

    Fabulous job!

  4. Karin says:

    I’m so in love with this bathroom! The sheer inventiveness and creativity here is mind-boggling. It’s one of the coolest pink bathrooms ever featured here. I would feel like a pampered movie star in this bathroom. Just a quick question-are the deco sconces flanking the mirror vintage or reproduction? I’m guessing vintage art deco, since you have a salvage store.

  5. Roundhouse Sarah says:

    Great job Phyllis! Although I liked the old tile too, this configuration is SO much better. The flow of the space really works now and it looks very chic.
    And it’s so true renters and buyers aren’t always looking for neutral. My parent’s rent house is a 60s time capsule and the brothers currently renting fought over the smallest of the bedrooms because it had the wildest wallpaper and colored trim. You just never know!

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