Laura & Tim’s beautiful blue bathroom remodel

“It took five years of collecting vintage parts,
saving money and working on a design plan,
but in the end it was SO worth the wait.
We couldn’t be happier!” — Laura

bathroom beforeLaura-and-TimLaura and Tim purchased their 1924 California bungalow five years ago, because it retained a lot of the original charm that many homes in the area had lost after being flipped. While the home’s only bathroom still had its original vintage tub, the rest of the room was in sad shape. The couple had always dreamed of having a colorful vintage bathroom, so after spending five years collecting vintage goodies, saving for the remodel, and then — showering in their back yard for a month during the construction, Laura and Tim are thrilled to finally have created the retro blue bathroom of their dreams. vintage bathroom

Laura writes:

Hi Pam,

My husband and I purchased our 1924 bungalow in downtown Sacramento, California, five years ago. Along with all of the wonderful and intact charm such as original floors, built ins and original windows (with wavy glass!), our house also came with a lot of not so great 1970’s remodeling, complete with wood paneling, particle board kitchen and bathroom cabinets which were falling apart, brown floral vinyl flooring, fake plastic marble wainscoting on the bathroom walls (the stuff was so old it had turned yellow).

The bathroom was by far the most unattractive room in the house. Literally everything in it was worn out and falling apart, and the style did not fit with the era in which the house was built. It has always been my dream to have a colorful, charming vintage bathroom. When we were house hunting we tried so hard to find an old house that had not been updated but that proved really difficult, as most places had been “updated” (or ruined in my opinion) by flippers. When we found our house I could visualize how the amazing the bathroom would look with some love and a design vision. I have been a faithful reader of your blog for years. Your site has been a HUGE help for not just design ideas, but where to buy things too.

vintage bathroom

The design started with the sink. When we first bought the house we found the 1933 American Standard pedestal sink at a salvage yard in Berkeley, CA. called Urban Ore. I LOVED the color and essentially put it in storage until I could come up with a design plan for the bathroom. (I found a matching Ming green toilet at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but we have yet to install it as it needs a little work.) Even though the green sink does not match with the white tub, I like the contrast between the blue and green and white and figure that if we get tired of it, we can always replace it with a white sink (vintage of course).

vintage bathroom

The cast iron bathtub is original to the house and in great shape! It’s the only original feature left in the bathroom, so we wanted to preserve that. I absolutely love bright colors and knew that I wanted a bright, crisp blue for the wall tiles.

vintage bathroom

We went with color 20W from B&W Tile. It’s the most perfect shade of blue! The black pencil line (sizzle strips) detail also came from B&W. The black tile base board and black tile trim bullnose pieces came from Home Depot & Lowes. The white hex floor was purchased new at Home Depot. The black ceramic soap dish inserts above the sink are reproduction. I tried to find vintage ones but it proved too difficult.

vintage bathroom

The wall lights are reproduction — Echo from Rejuvenation.

The medicine cabinet is from the 1930s and was pulled out of a house locally that was being remodeled, Craigslist score.

The black ceramic tissue dispenser above the sink is 1920s new old stock purchased from ebay. It even has its original manufactures paper label inside! The ceramic toilet paper holder and bathtub soap holder are new old stock from the 1950s, found on Ebay. Ceramic towel bars are reproduction and were also found on Ebay.

vintage bathroom

We did not do the work ourselves, the project was just too big to handle on our own so we worked with a local contractor and tile setters. (Shout out to Crowell Quality Construction). Our tile guys (Armando’s Tile) even said that it was a nice change to be installing colored tiles rather than the sea of beige they normally deal with. They did an AMAZING job. They really understood my vision and worked closely with me to achieve what I wanted.

It took about a month to complete, this is also our only bathroom it was definitely a challenge to live through the construction. (We had to use a rigged up shower in our back yard!) The difference between our old and new bathroom is nothing short of a miracle. The space we gained by removing the old vanity nearly doubled the size of the room. As far as storage goes I am still looking for a freestanding vintage cabinet of some sort to use by the sink. It took five years of collecting vintage parts, saving money and working on a design plan, but in the end it was SO worth the wait. We couldn’t be happier!

vintage bathroomvintage bathroom

A little about us…my husband and I are big vintage collectors as well as antique dealers, we own and operate a combination record store and vintage boutique here in Sacramento called Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage. We love our home and are excited to share our remodeling story on your blog. I am a huge fan and have learned SO MUCH from your site and your readers too.

Wow, Laura and Tim — you did a fantastic job with your bathroom! Kudos to you for taking the time to track down just the right stuff even if it took five years — that’s doing things “The Hard Way” — and as you said, the results are so worth it. Mega thanks for sharing your story here with us — and for all the blog love, too! We really appreciate it — it means so much to both Pam and me.

Link Love:

  1. James Douglas says:

    I really like the work you did. Our residence here in San Francisco has the same basic pattern as this just in light green and black.

    I am working on getting all the items I will need to rebuild a bathroom in a home out of town. My big issue is the tile.

    Although these tiles look good, at least as as as San Francisco is concerned, the pre-WWII tile was a little bit different than the “mid century” tile.

    The early tile had edges that were at 90 degrees. Not rounded in any way. It also had glazes that were high gloss and perfectly flat. When the wall is done one can run their hand down it and not feel anything but a flat surface. It is quite reflective as well. A colored mirror finish.

    Also, the hex floor tiles were all laid with a mortar bed and done as a SINGLE step process. No grout. They are a bitch to get up if one ever has tried it. The tiles were set directly into the bed and “edge glued” as well as bottom glued. The material between the tiles almost never comes out.

    Our bathroom is going to be 100 years old this year and the floor still looks good, although it could use a buffing out.

    I keep looking for this pre-wwii tile without luck.

    Great Look.


  2. Dale says:

    When I was a 15 in 1965, we bought a red brick ranch that was built in 1959. It had that same beautiful blue tile as yours in the bathroom. I loved it then and I still love it to this day. The other half bath was done in black tile. About 6 month ago the house( in Birmingham, Al) was on Zillow for sale for $ 37,000. Someone went in and modernized the bathrooms. No more pretty tile. My parents paid $24,000 for it in 1965 and it was in perfect condition, even though it was a V A re-po at the time. It was so nice. So you see I really love your blue bath.

  3. Joe Felice says:

    It ended up looking vary art-deco authentic. Art deco gave way to the style of the post-war era, and there is a lot to like in it. I especially love the architecture. The Chrysler Building is one of my all-time faves. Here in Denver, there was a dormitory built to house nurses for St. Joseph Hospital back in the ’30s. They tore down the old hospital, but the city insisted they preserve the dorm, and, without the hospital to overshadow it, turned out to be a magnificent example of deco architecture. The two-toned brick work is so intricate and beautiful. It’s a work of art, for sure. They’re still not sure what use the building will have, but thank God it’s still there for all of us to enjoy. I think Kaiser-Permanente might now actually own the building.

    Now those damned cat plaques–Where can I get them? It’s one thing I’m missing in my ’50s-inspired home. They would make a purr-fect accompaniment to the real felines that share their home with me.

    I’m glad it was worth it for Laura and Tim! I still am not comfortable saying that about Joe’s Diner. Still battling my former credit union and the seller of the benches in court–both in Denver and Chicago. ‘Way-too-much negativity for this old guy! And some day, I’ll find someone with a real camera to photograph the diner for everyone.

  4. DJ says:

    I am so in love with this bathroom! The tub is awesome, the blue and black tile makes everything pop, and the simple yet sophisticated design is stunning. And I want those black cats! =^..^=

  5. Amy says:

    This is very pretty! What an improvement! And you both did such a great job. That tub is calling to me – I’d love one like that to soak in! Enjoy!

  6. Joel Shapiro says:

    Looks great. Where’d you get the black liner tiles? HD? Also, did they do a mud-set installation? Thank you.

  7. Mary Elizabeth says:

    That is my very favorite color of blue! And it makes the crisp white of the tub stand out. Good job!

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