Reversing a bland big box remuddle, Dana builds a vintage pink bathroom

restore-pink-bathroomReversing a blah big box bathroom remodel in her 1954 house, Dana sent the dreck to the dumpster and heck to the Mamie yeah, restored a pink bathroom in its place. It was a thrifty project, too: Dana found salvaged vintage fixtures and trim tiles, filled in the gaps with new B&W pink tiles, and then pulled everything together with DIY sweat equity. Now, her bathroom again suits her house — and, it is a good match for the other, original Ming green bathroom that, fortunately, escaped the dreaded previous-owner evil glee sledgehammer.  

midcentury bathroomDana writes:

In 2014, I bought a beautiful 1954 home with an original Ming green with cream accents bathroom suite, dove grey and pink kitchen, and a bathroom that was gutted and replaced with generic white replacements. I absolutely HATE house flippers and remodels that rip out perfect vintage personality because they think there is no resale value in the original product.

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It became a mission to retro fit the boring white bathroom with a pink suite.

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I found the perfect 1939 lowboy toilet and sink in pink on Craigslist, and had tile created to match.

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I bought burgundy tile accents, trims, toothbrush holder, soap shell, and toilet paper roll holder at B&W Tile in Riverside, California. The only thing that is untouched in this bathroom is the shower.

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We got the the mirror cabinet, mauve tile, and edge tiles from Habitat for Humanity.

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The cork flooring and lighting was installed by my boyfriend, and I collected the gold shelf cabinet and accessories.

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I put wallpaper and picture frame trim on the front of plain wood cabinets.

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The green bathroom’s cork flooring and lighting also was done by my boyfriend, the fresh coat of ceiling and cabinet paint, by my daughter and me. Otherwise, it is the same as the day I bought the house.

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My Ming green bathroom is one of the things that made me happiest about the house, and the reason I wanted to recreate a colorful pink bathroom!  I absolutely love my house!

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An appraiser came through today and said he had just walked into a time capsule. He said he never sees homes like this in our area anymore, and that is a shame. My whole neighborhood was built with the rainbow of colors.

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We even have the original light fixtures, cabinets, honey oak floors, coved ceilings. I am proud of my home.

Viva Pink!!!

Wow, Dana — both of your bathrooms are fantastic — and it is seems impossible to tell that your newly created pink and maroon bathroom isn’t original to your home. You’ve done a great job —  thanks so much for sharing your story with us! Viva la Pink — and the Ming green, too!!!

See more of reader’s vintage bathrooms

  1. Cindy rahn says:

    Hi Dana,
    Your tilework is exceptional. Terrific job. You mentioned that you had tile made to match. Would you please share your source? I saw the B&W tiles in bisque, but where did you find a company to match the color you needed?

    I am trying to find American Standard Corallin colored tiles.

    And loved your ming bath. Shower door is priceless!!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Cindy, it’s my understanding that all of Dana’s tiles came from B&W. See this story on our research about where to find 4X4 tiles; it also includes a link to where you can see B&W colors. Note “bisque” is just a type of ceramic, I think – not a color.

  2. mark says:

    you can by retrofit double fulsh water savers at big box store and we have a bottle of water to conserve more. with the retrofit you lift handle up for little and down for large.

  3. la573 says:

    One other thing I love in the ming green bathroom I never see anymore are those shower rooms (not just stalls) with a tiled ledge and just a door showing from the outside. Has anyone here installed a new shower that way, or seen a new or newly-remodeled house with one?

    1. Dana says:

      The only thing lacking is a vent fan would be nice in the shower room/stall! And no, new bathrooms always have airspace over the shower walls or glass walls.

  4. S.A.C. says:

    I live in Carmichael, CA, and things arent the same as they used to be. In 1988 when i was 3 years old, darn near everything that was built in the 60s/70s was still there. Starting around 1998-2000, Remuddels, demolitions, and renovations started to spread like wildfire. If someone, right now, visited Carmichael for the first time in 25 years, they wouldnt recognize it at all. It really irks me when someone demolishes/remuddels any house, motel hotel, duplex, apartment complex, or commercial or industrial… Basically anything that was built between 1959 and 1980. If someone wants something new and/or bigger, they should go to north natomas, west sacramento or roseville!!

    1. Dana says:

      Yes, the flippers and corporation buyers are rampant now, buying low to update and resell to make a buck

  5. Angela says:

    Your bathrooms are lovely. Great work! I love time capsule houses and hope that more people get on board with saving these beautiful homes.

    1. Dana says:

      Yes! One day there won’t be anymore and they will only be a memory and artifact in pictures.

      They need our help.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Outstanding work. Your taste for decor is terrific as evidenced by the framed wallpaper on your cabinets. You and others give me hope and pride. You should feel proud of your home! I’d love to see more pictures.
    Best wishes,

    1. Dana says:

      Thank you so much. When I was in high school, you know that thing you always wanted to do but then grew up and got a job? I wanted to go to school to be an interior decorator/designer.

      Patience is a virtue too, in collecting, I’ve been watching a vintage water color of a Siamese on Ebay…$149.99+45.00 shipping. I found it at a kitchy thrift store for $19.99! On original parchment, with the artists seal and signature.

      When I walk into my house, I walk into my happy place.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Kathy says:

    Wow, such a beautiful job done with the tile countertop and backsplash. A very innovative way to use not quite matching tile, and that bullnose was a lucky find, and even luckier to find soap dishes to match.

    Perhaps you can get back with us in a few years on how well the cork sheet flooring stands up in a bathroom. I love the look of cork, but everything I’ve read about it says it isn’t suitable for wet areas like bathrooms. At least the sheet version doesn’t have all the little cracks that tiles or planks would have.

    1. Dana says:

      Oddly, I heard and read the opposite about the cork, that is loves the humidity of the bathroom, but, it is definitely not good for furniture with peg legs and the such. I’ve seen in show rooms that bar stools left circular dents in it.

      The directions for care say damp mop, not a wet swabbing of the deck.

      It feels really good on bare feet.

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