Pattern on pattern on pattern: Laura’s fabulous 1957 bathroom

Glitter laminate cabinets … patterned laminate countertops … tiny metallic random mosaic tile on the walls… and terrazzo-like vinyl on the floor! Laura’s 1957 bathroom has crazy wonderful pattern galore — this is one of my favorite vintage bathrooms ever — come inside and see for yourself! 

Laura writes:

Here is our main bathroom in our 1957 home. We are the second owners and have lived here for almost three years.

We bought it from the daughter of the family who literally built it. Her father was an instrument maker and his father was a carpenter, and from my understanding, the two of them built the house.

I asked Laura, What did you and your family *think* of that crazy wonderful bathroom when you first saw it??

She replied: 

The realtor called us and said she had found the perfect house for us but that it needed updating in the bathroom and kitchen. When we walked into the bathroom I told my husband the only thing I would change is the light fixtures (which if we can find vintage lights we like better we may still change) but everything else we love. The lights are a bit of a hazard as they are head height for me and I have knocked my head on them all at one time or another. Besides that we liked it. I’m not a huge fan of brown so I would have liked another color but we both love the tile pattern so much that we have talked about how if we do have to have any plumbing repair I will try to clean off the grout so we can replace them. 

We took some advice I read on your site about living in your house for a year before changing anything and that has been great. The paneling wall in our living room that I didn’t love at first has really grown on me. 
I also asked Laura what folks said when they saw the bathroom — and what she and her family thought about it when they first saw it and bought it.

She said:

We get a lot of “Oh wow!” Or “It takes me back to my childhood” from my mom and her siblings.

The funny thing is before we saw the house for the first time the realtor said we would probably want to update the kitchen and bathroom…haha. Nope! We had been hunting for a house with some character and age and everything we saw with age had been renovated in the 80s (possibly my least favorite home decor period!) so we were thrilled to find this.

Laura continued with details about the bathroom:

Most of the flooring in the rest of the house has been updated before our time here but we think that maybe this linoleum is original.

There is tons of storage in this bathroom over and under the vanity and under the sink. My favorite is the cabinet across from the toilet for storing toilet paper.

There is also a big laundry bin at the vanity but we mostly use it for storage as we have hampers in our rooms. My mother in law gave us the vanity stool as a house warming gift.

I also included two photos of the Formica on the cabinets …

and counters …

… and the last one is the flooring. We have tons of different Formica all over our house and it’s all fantastic!

Let me know if you have any questions! I have been a fan of the site since you featured my friend Betty Crafter (our moms were best friends when I was growing up).


Fantastic, Laura, in every way! Thank you so much for sharing your bathroom with us — and thanks for setting up and taking your lovely retro portrait at my request! You got it goin’ on!

  1. Marie Gamalski says:

    LOVE this bath, and Laura PLEASE send pics of your kitchen. I am a bit confused about you saying you bump your head on the lights…. am I missing something, they all seem to be close enough to the walls to be out of the way….

    1. Laura of the 1957 bathroom says:

      I mostly bump my head when I’m cleaning the mirrors and such but also the one near the door/light switch as it is closer to the edge of the counter.

      I will send some photos in of my kitchen when I have a chance to tidy it up!

      1. Joe Felice says:

        Don’t feel bad. I (and others) am constantly hitting my head on the diner light fixture above the table. But hanging it higher was not an option.

  2. Kim says:

    So glamorous! And here’s my random thought about the light fixtures: could they be rotated, so the sconces point upwards instead, and bounced light off the ceiling? It might be just enough to move them out of head-bonking range!

  3. Karen S says:

    Love this bathroom! The formica on the cabinets is the formica we had on our kitchen counters in the house I grew up in. I wish I had it on my kitchen counters now…

  4. suzi says:

    Wow – that countertop laminate is exactly the same pattern and color of my kitchen countertop! Our house was built in 1966. Such a pretty bathroom, and yes to all the curves! I also like the pebble like texture to the mosaic tile.

  5. Allison says:

    The curves contributes such an elegance to the room (besides solving a problem or two, I suspect); I really want to know how they built the curved laminated doors on the vanity!

    Some touches of Hollywood glam in the lighting fixtures, a luxurious bit of rug here and there, and you could channel your inner Elizabeth Taylor!

    1. Neil says:

      That’s a very good design point. Before replacing the misplaced “Green Acres” light fixtures, imagine what Elizabeth would have installed in her Bev. Hills manse.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Did the man & dad get input from Mom for the heater vent placement? Nice warm toes!
    Someone from the armed forces could better explain this – did the military steal their new camo pattern from the tile? Pixilation(?)
    The mostly subtle patterns throughout is what makes this work and keeping the tile in the browns to coordinate adds a little POP.
    I feel the baths of today are at two extremes – either so clinical/sanitary with whitewhitewhite or of hard-to-maintain cleanliness of odd materials like rough woods or bricks/stone. This “glamour” urges you to put your best foot forward (wear real clothes not pj bottoms).
    So…the realtor meets you and sees that you dress quirky from a fairly definite era…Me? I don’t picture you in a sleek white and stainless/chrome condo but would start scouring the MIL’s to suggest starting with a ’40’s Cape up to, possibly, ’70’s Contemporary for homes to show you.
    Now let’s see the “needs to be updated” kitchen!

    1. Julie says:

      I was thinking about that vent too! Positioned to go straight up the long vintage nightgown, haha. Seriously, what a pretty bathroom! And while I agree with everyone on the sweet mix of patterns, I’m also freaking out over all the angles–on the mirrors, especially. It looks like you could check your hair from every direction without a hand mirror even, and I’m loving the curved cabinets.

  7. Paige says:

    Design had such pizzazz in the 50’s! Couple things-Love the Disney tiki room dress Laura is wearing ❤️
    And to Laura, I have cases of mosaic tile, send me a close up and I may have a match for you.

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