Taking inspiration from his grandmother’s vintage pink bathroom along with the help and resources he found on Retro Renovation, Jim used his mad DIY stills to tackle a complete gut remodel of the main bathroom in his 1961 midcentury modest home. The results are fabulous — a black and pink bathroom that looks like it has always been there — but brand new!
I recently finished a remodel of the bathroom in my 1961 house. Any mid-century charm that it may have had originally had been lost many years ago. It was plain and worn-out.
I put off remodeling it for many years, because I just couldn’t get excited about any of the new materials I saw in stores. Then, I had the idea of restoring it to a style appropriate for a house of this age. My grandmother’s 1956 bathroom came to mind as the ideal look that I was going for. As I started trying to source the correct materials, I kept coming across your websites. The resources listed there were extremely helpful.
Kate’s pink bathroom project made me realize that there was no reason I couldn’t build my own cabinets from scratch. I built three of them, copying the ones that were in my grandparents’ house.
I even found new-old-stock hinges from the 1950s.
Other than the installation of the flooring, I did everything myself. I spent five months planning and gathering materials. Once I started demolition on January 1st, it took five weeks to complete the room (with very little sleep). I used 1,101 tiles on the walls.
I used B&W pink & black tile and chrome countertop edging from New York Metal. The laminate is Formica Charcoal Boomerang. That was all I was able to find six months ago when I bought it. (Unfortunately, the new Wilsonart boomerang patterns were unveiled a bit too late for my project).
It’s a small bathroom, only about 45 square feet. Since the vanity top was so small, I had a lot of extra laminate from the 4×8 sheet that I bought. I used some of the rest to laminate the drawer bottoms and shelves. Even then, I still had a large sheet left. I decided to use it on my kitchen table (my grandparents’ kitchen table from the 1950s). I cut it to fit, but it’s not glued down. It just sits there as a replacement for a tablecloth, to protect the wooden table top. I’ll attach a picture of that, too. It’s a good use for leftover laminate.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for the resources that your websites directed me to. I also thought that your audience would enjoy seeing my bathroom project.
Aww, Jim, I am especially pleased that reading about how I built my own bathroom vanity made you realize that you could also build your own vanity and bathroom cabinets! They turned out wonderful — now friends and family will be asking you to build cabinets and vanities for their bathrooms — just you wait and see!
- Tile – B&W Tile 70W Pink & 92W Black
- Sink – Kohler Tahoe with trim ring
- Laminate – Formica Charcoal Boomerang
- Chrome Edging – New York Metal
- Cabinets – Homemade from pine & fir with 1 coat each of clear & amber shellac**
- Cabinet Hinges – Vintage new old stock Stanley 1530 Semi-Concealed Hinges
- Cabinet Knobs – Liberty P65015H-CHR-C 1-1/2″ Concave Round Knobs
- Cabinet Catches – Stanley 71-0100
- Bathtub – American Standard Princeton 30″ White
- Toilet – American Standard Cadet 3 White
**Pam notes: In the comments of this story about amber shellac, readers posted that amber shellac may not hold up well if exposed to water and other chemicals. Pam = not an expert on this question. Readers: When researching what finishes to put on your woods, do your own research, including contacting the manufacturers, to determine what applications are appropriate for a given product.
- Flooring – Mannington Essentials Pewter VCT
- Black Soap Dish – Clay Squared
- Mirrored Medicine Cabinet – “Satin Glide” by Williams Products (Came with House)
- Wall Doorstop – Stanley 75-0161
- Towel Bar – 1 original to house, 1 vintage from Ebay
- Toilet Paper Dispenser – Original to house
- Window Valance – Vintage late 1950s from my grandparents’ house
- Shower Curtain – Cafepress through Amazon (turned backwards for more subdued colors)
- Towels – Bed Bath & Beyond Wamsutta Duet in Chrome and Dusty Rose
- Wall Stencils – Homemade from pattern found on Retro Renovation
- Ceiling Light Fixture – Habitat for Humanity ReStore
- Light Switch Plates – Vintage 1950s from Ebay
- Gray Wall Paint – Ace Hardware Clark + Kensington “Fog Rolls In”
- Pink Wall Paint – Ace Hardware Clark + Kensington “Rosy Cheeks”
- Sink Faucet – Moen – Came with house, replacement handle from Ace Hardware
- Shower Faucet – Price Pfister – existing from 2003 repair project
- Trash Can – Vintage Rubbermaid 2955 from my grandparents’ house
- Drinking Cup – Vintage Bolero Therm-O-Ware tumbler
- Medicine cabinet and toilet paper holder – both came with the house