Vote for The Hard Way Award Winner – Bathroom Remodel 2016


[Voting now closed. I’ll announce the winners of both contests on Jan. 20.  Meanwhile, continue to enjoy the stories!] Every year we look back at readers’  remodels and crowd-source a winner of two “The Hard Way Awards” — one for bathrooms, one for kitchens. For 2016, I went through the archive and selected five finalists. Now it’s time for YOU to vote! The voting poll is at the bottom of this story — click one to vote. 

Which of this five remodels do you think should win? Voting is open through Friday morning, Jan. 13. I’ll announce the winner the next week.

What criteria would I use to select a winner? Hmmmm…. how about:

  • Pursuit of detail — how challenging — how “doing things the hard way” — was this project?
    • How many old house obstacles needed to be overcome?
    • How difficult was it to obtain the products used?
  • Creativity — props for pushing envelopes and as described above, for going the extra mile to achieve a creative vision.
  • Suitability — to the house and its era.
  • Overall vibe and story — there’s more than one way to retro, so as they say, everyone’s a winner!

That said: There are no rule-rules (and except for everlasting Retro Renovation, there are no prizes), so take a look and pick your favorite!

Our contestants:

#1 — Jim builds a pink and black bathroom — inspired by his grandmother’s bathroom

vintage pink bathroomJimsTaking 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!


>#2 — Laura & Tim’s beautiful blue bathroom remodel

vintage bathroomLaura 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. 


#3 — Adventures in Remodeling & the cost of “unobtainium” — Donna and Steve’s 1957 bathroom

vintage aqua bathroomDonna and Steve waited 18 months after moving into their 1957 ranch home before tackling the renovation of their main bathroom. The original soft blue-green Rheem-Richmond tub and toilet were in great shape and could be reused, but they would need a matching vintage sink, new wall and floor tile, and a new vanity. So a gut remodel — which ended up including a memorable adventure to the famous World of Tile liquidation sale — was in order. Of course, Adventures in Remodeling don’t usually come cheap — and we get Donna’s hilarious calculation: The cost of “unobtainium” — we love it!


#4 — Lynne & Bob’s new blue bathroom for their 1955 house

Lynne and Bob loved the green bathroom original to their 1955 ranch house, but it was riddled with problems that necessitated a complete remodel. Wanting to keep as much midcentury charm as possible, the couple created a detailed plan to renovate the space. The new bathroom, shown above, is gorgeous — and suits the original architecture of the home beautifully. But… read on… and you will see that this lovely result came after more than a few *hiccups*. How about: Termites and squirrels and mold — Oh My!


#5 — Kathy and Ralph’s new/old glam bathroom revival — featuring an Kohler Fresh Green receptor tub and World of Tile tile

All that was left of the original 1976 bathroom in Kathy and Ralph’s house was a Kohler Fresh Green receptor tub. There had once been matching orange sinks! What would daredevil decorator Kathy do to bring this bathroom back to the ’70s? Hint: Her ingenious solutions were found at the Re-StoreWorld of Tile, and a local old time wallpaper store. This bathroom project may shock minimalists’ eyes — but it makes mine very happy indeed.

Read the full story and see more photos of Kathy and Ralph’s bathroom by clicking here. (opens in a new window or tab)


So now it’s time to vote! Voting closes Friday night, Jan. 13.

VOTE HERE — vote once — choose one:

  1. Kristin says:

    Donna & Steve’s look most authentic. The others- the re-tiled ones, I can tell even from the small images that it is not original tile: the “real stuff” tile have more rounded edges, and the tiles from that era I believe were a bit smaller than what is offered for sale today. LOVE LOVE LOVE the wood cabinet doors!

  2. Pamela Byrd Berard says:

    Laura and Tim: Love the blue; you worked it!!!
    I love the others as well. Each of you did great things with your space. Thank you for showcasing your re-nos! I agree – great job!!!

  3. Kelly Montano says:

    Lynn & Bob I love the cabinet, love the flooring, love the blue! I don’t like undermounts either, but you made it work. Great job!

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