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Recreating a 1950s mint green, black and pink bathroom — 5 design boards

vintage green black and pink bathroomThe color combination of mint green, black and pink isn’t common, but it is very appealing — there’s just something about the whimsy of the pink and green outlined by the steadfastness of the black trim. Reader Rachel sent in a few shots of her 1949 vintage bathroom — which we love — so we searched our list of bathroom fixture and tile resources to see how well we can recreate the look of Rachel’s vintage bathroom using materials available today. 

vintage green black and pink bathroomWhen Rachel sent in her photos, she wrote:

  • A 1949 master suite addition to a 1913 craftsman foursquare. We love the unexpected mid century influence.

vintage green black and pink bathroomvintage green black and pink bathroomIndeed. And with its mix of vintage pink fixtures and fresh minty green tile trimmed in black, it’s a beauty. Note, Rachel, if you want to get a new, matchy pink toilet, we have two sources today (continue on).

A word on: Sourcing pink sinks, toilets, and bathtubs

peerless pottery fixtures
UPDATE: As of 6/1/15, I contacted Matt Ford, National Sales Manager at Peerless Pottery, who tells me that all of their fixtures except those crossed out on the graphic above are available in all of their colors — including 19 toilet styles, 2 pedestal sinks, 1 undermount sink, 2 drop in sinks and 4 wall mount sinks. See Peerless Pottery’s online catalog for more information on available styles.

Before we jump into our design boards to recreate this look, let’s talk pink. Pink bathroom fixtures, that is. We have a good sources for mint green field tile and black trim pieces. We even have pretty good sources for minty green floor tiles. But, those pink fixtures? If a full suite o’ pink is your heart’s desire, buckle up for a good game of whac-a-mole.

  • Pink bathtubs — Unfortunately, there is no place that we know of that makes pink bathtubs — so if you want these, you will have to source them vintage. This quest could be difficult, so how about instead, create a…
  • …Pink tile shower — If you have trouble finding a tub: How about putting a tile-in shower instead? Again, this is what I did in my new pink bathroom.
  • Pink drop-in or wall-hung sink — We tend to believe that pink bathroom sinks can be sourced vintage relatively easily. But if you don’t want to wait, we have two sources for new: Peerless Pottery has several bathroom sinks that can be ordered in their Venetian Pink (that’s their catalog page, above). This includes four wall-hung sinks. These wall-hungs are not as… fancy… as Rebecca’s, but they could do the trick. Use the brackets that come with to hang them on the wall, and then order chrome legs for the front. For one more choice o’ pink sink: Look at Gerber’s Rotunda sink in their Bahama Pink.
  • Pink toiletsPeerless Pottery and Gerber both have pink toilets.

Our green, pink & black bathroom design boards

All of the bathroom mockups use the same B&W mint green 4″x4″ ceramic wall tiles paired with inexpensive black ceramic 2″x6″ bullnose, black ceramic bathroom accessories — like a soap dish and toilet paper holder — and Bahama Pink sink and toilet from Gerber.  But remember (see directly above) for both toilets and sinks, there are more choices.

Core source list, used on all the boards:

The principal differences among the design boards is (1) the flooring shown and (2) the size of the black trim tile at the bottom of the wall tile. We could have mixed and matched all these variables some more — but you get the point.

Option 1:

vintage green black and pink bathroomWe did find several different options for the mosaic floor — the first of which is a block random tile pattern similar to Rachel’s original vintage except with black and white tiles instead of black and green. We like this option for the floor because it makes the bathroom feel cohesive by bringing the black found in the bullnose, floor edge tile and ceramic accessories down onto the floor, yet the addition of white tile in the mosaic keeps the room from feeling too dark.

Sources specific to Option 1:

  • Floor tile: Black and white block random tile pattern available at Classic Tile Inc. (for $3.50-$4 per square foot) or Home Depot (for $9.97 per square foot)
  • Floor trim tile: 3″x6″ black ceramic tile available at Home Depot, $4.26 per square foot. Note: For black floor trim tiles, you can also consider using the floor trim tiles at B&W — they have a variety of sizes and also have designs which are curved so that the bottom of the wall trim tile meet ups with the floor tile with no 90″ dust-catching edge. And note: Pam says she believes that 3″ high for the floor trim tile is not likely historically accurate; 2″ x 6″ would be (that’s what she used in her bathroom remodels). But we used this example from Home Depot because of economy ease of purchase.

Option 2

vintage green black and pink bathroomOption 2 uses an all green 1″ tile mosaic floor from Merola Tile. We’ve seen samples of both the B&W 40W Green tile and this light green Merola floor mosaic and they are a very close match indeed, even though the Merola light green tile looks more yellow green on the Home Depot website. That said, we both agree that using an all green floor may be just too much green. If you do choose this solid floor, we think it would be essential to also use a black tile at the bottom of the wall tile — or else the bathroom would start to feel tippy.

Sources specific to Option 2:

  • Floor tile: Merola Tile Metro square matte in light green at Home Depot, $5.95 per square foot.
  • Floor trim tile: 4″x4″ black ceramic tile available at Home Depot, $3.22 per square foot.

Option 3

vintage green black and pink bathroomOption 3 uses the same light green 1″ square tile mosaic as option 2, but this time we inject a random 1″ black square tile every so often. Adding the black makes this floor infinitely more interesting than the solid green floor, plus it brings the black from the bullnose wall tile, floor trim tile and ceramic bathroom accessories out onto the floor, creating a cohesive look.

Hmmm… this Option 3 might just be our favorite — and it’s very close to Rachel’s original. And e think: It would work with or without the black floor trim tile.

Sources specific to Option 3:

  • Floor tile: Merola Tile Metro square matte in light green at Home Depot, $5.95 per square foot and Merola Tile Square matte black at Home Depot, $5.95 per square foot.
  • Floor trim tile: 4″x4″ black ceramic tile available at Home Depot, $3.22 per square foot.

Option 4

vintage green black and pink bathroomOption 4 uses a classic go-to flooring pattern, especially in homes built prior to 1950 — Merola black and white 1″ hex tile mosaic. The pattern is classic without being too busy and — like option 1 — brings the black from the bullnose wall tile and ceramic bathroom accessories down to the floor, creating a cohesive look. Note that on this board, we did not use a black tile at the bottom of the wall, to help everyone envision the difference between inserting the trim and not.

Sources specific to Option 4:

Option 5

vintage green black and pink bathroom

vintage-aqua-tile-bathroom
Kristen & Paul used 6″ black floor tile in their  aqua glow bathroom.

Option 5 would be the most labor intensive version of the floor for this black, mint green and pink vintage style bathroom because you can’t buy this color combination off the shelf — it must be pieced together using two different colors of Merola Tile hex tile, black and light green. It would be relatively easy to buy sheets of the green hex tile floor and just pop out and replace some of the green tiles with black tiles to create the pattern above (which seems to be, row 1: a black tile every fourth tile, row 2: an all green row, repeat). Even though making this floor tile pattern would create an extra step, it wouldn’t be quite as labor intensive as the block random pattern that reader Nicole put together by hand.

In this Option 5, we also tried 6″x6″ floor trim tile. We tend to think that if you are going to use a floor trim tile this big, you should be careful about its scale relative to that of your walls. That is, if you are running your wall tile quite high: 6″ floor trim tile could look really great. See Nicole’s bathroom at the right, that’s what she did. If, on the other hand, you are only running your wall tile about half way up the wall, that 6″ of black at the bottom might be overpowering.

Sources specific to Option 5:

  • Floor tile: Merola Tile Metro hex light green at Home Depot, $7.82 per square foot and Merola Tile Metro hex matte black at Home Depot, $9.95 per square foot.
  • Floor trim tile: 6″x6″ black ceramic tile available at Home Depot, $3.22 per square foot.

Thanks, Rachel, for sharing photos of your 1949 bathroom!

Which option is your favorite, readers?
And, do you like these kinds of stories, in which we show different options for a particular color combo?

  1. valvashon says:

    This reminds me of the makeover we did to our first home, built in 1948. Bathroom floor was awful linoleum sheet stuff and shower surround was the fake tile/pressboard stuff. I didn’t do a great job of it but I did it myself and was probably the first thing I ever did remodeling wise. This was back in 2000 (?) before the MCM thing really hit. You can’t see it in this picture very well but the floor trim is 4×6 (if I remember correctly) with the edge that comes out on the bottom. At that time it was a special order in black and the factory told us that they had never done that before (really?) so my old bathroom may be unique in that respect. I picked that style of floor trim to make covering up the edges of the hex on the floor easier! Also, readers should note that big hex may be OK for new construction but if you are remodeling a 60+ year old home, it may not have a square corner or flat surface anywhere! In that respect, the small hex tiles were much more forgiving of the subfloor I laid down, although I did try to get it as flat as I could.

    https://ssl.cdn-redfin.com/photo/1/bigphoto/651/677651_9_2.jpg

    1. Carol says:

      Very classic. That is the bathtub of my dreams and I’ve been searching for one for 2 years. I will eventually get lucky!

  2. Kathy says:

    I have 1962 baths and kitchens, and they all have 4×4 floor trim tiles with a curve at the bottom that match the field tile.

    The only problem is that this is a really old house (1890s) and the bathroom/kitchen floors have a bit of bounce in them and the edges of some of the tiles have cracked, especially in the bathroom for the wall across the joists. After I finish reinforcing the basement framing this summer, I’m thinking of replacing the bathroom bottom tile with a painted wood baseboard to avoid any future cracking, perhaps in black.

    I don’t know how many homes have this, but all my toe kicks in the bath and the kitchen are tiled with the same floor edging, which wraps around the sides as well. The side tiles are all loose from 50 years of vibration, so I am thinking of eliminating those or adding a little stainless steel tile strip on top to make them stay in place better and to look more finished. In the kitchen, the 7 layers of linoleum and vinyl is finished with a strip of stainless liner by the tile. Too bad this little detail is hardly noticeable under the toekick!

  3. Karin says:

    Wow, great boards, thank you! All three are stunning. Now I have even more choices. I’ve done my black and white hex tile floor with RR’s advice, so I’m now deliberating on which wall 4 by 4 tile to pick. I had never considered mint green and pink together, but now that I see it, it’s my new favorite. A pink toilet and bathtub is a hard sell in this house too, so I may have to go with aqua and black, or mint and black. And that tiled niche over the toilet? Pure genius.

  4. Jenn says:

    I’m currently in the process of creating a pink, black, white, and light grey bathroom from scratch. It’s all salvaged fixtures (minus the toilet). It’s coming along, all I have left to do is tile the tub surround and do some caulking. I can’t wait till it’s finished!

  5. tammyCA says:

    I like option 5 the most. Those floors remind me of the quilt pieces I make..grandmothers flower garden, I think they’re called.

    Wish they made pink tubs to match those sinks & toilets. I’ll never get our vintage tub & sink reglazed again..it’s been done twice that I know of (previous owners did it first) and it just doesn’t last..big chips in both so now they will have to go.

  6. Carol says:

    http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/hsh/4984523084.html This ad has been on craigslist for awhile. They recently dropped the price under $175 for the pink bathtub, matching toilet, and wall mounted sink. Don’t worry about the missing toilet seat, Pam did the research on toilet seats and I’m sure a match can be found. Smashing deal, and the pieces appear to be in great shape. I would have snagged it already and still may, however, my heart is set on white. I only have one bath in this house and I feel I really need to do black and white. Boring I know, but Pam ran a post about a house with 5 bathrooms. The pink is heaven and would be very hard to duplicate, not to mention that it’s huge. There was a B&W bath with turquoise walls. The pic is on my phone and I can’t help but obsess over it. I can duplicate that look inexpensively. Plus, it’s a neutral without going greige. My sis wants me to pull off the greige stone backsplash in her kitchen and retile because it’s “oppressive”. I told her I would be happy to.

  7. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I do love Rachel’s original bathroom, but I encourage her to save for the Gerber Viper toilet in the 1.6 gal flush. I love mine! But next time I would pick the rounded front rather than the elongated one–I was simply trying to replace the white toilet that was there with something with an almost identical footprint. The round front toilet would take up less space and look more in keeping with the period. I do like the “ergo height” for comfort, however, and I don’t think it detracts from the period look. (See Mary Elizabeth’s pink bathroom on this site.)

    But if Rachel lives in a small town like I do (2400 folks) and the UPS shipping hub is in town and employs local people, she may get a reputation, as I did, for being “the crazy lady who orders sinks and toilets shipped from New York instead of just going to a local plumbing supply house.” 🙂

    Of the different options Pam and Kate came up with for reproductions, I definitely like the black and white hex tile on the floor with the green and black wall tile. Nice job!

    1. Kate says:

      I absolutely love my Bahama Pink Gerber Viper toilet too, and I didn’t think it was possible to love a toilet before… hehehehehe

    2. pam kueber says:

      Yes, a round front toilet is likely more appopriate for a 50s-era bathroom. I don’t think elongateds really came into vogue until… I’ll guess… the 70s.

  8. Tisha says:

    Can we talk about that doorknob in Rachel’s bathroom? It’s exquisite, if not exactly mid-century. Any ideas on it’s origin? Or where I could find a reproduction?

      1. Tisha says:

        Thanks for the link, Pam! I thought for a minute it was to Rejuvenation…which I’ve looked at many times. Crown City Hardware seems like it’s a bit more reasonably priced.

  9. Jason Riddell says:

    first RE the tub in Canada it is common to have companies come around and re surface your current tub and I assume they could source out pink to refinish
    or you could go with one of those “drop in” tubs and do the tile work on the tub skirt in pink

    in Winnipeg there was a boom in the 1950’s for building blocks
    to the point most flats are from the 50’s and they did a different twist on your pink/mint/black and had 1/2 hight tiles in pink and the fixtures are mint
    the tiles are plastic with a “marble” detail in them
    I know of 3 different bath rooms in different parts of town that are exactly the same to different flats and one house

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