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. This bathroom is super-special! Understated glam, almost like a little beauty parlor. (How fortunate that Laura was the one to find and appreciate this house, and not some idiot who considered the bathroom — probably the kitchen, too — a “total gut.”) Love the wide curve of the formica, just the right spot to display a bonnet hair dryer.
    I join others who love the dress and would like to find the exact one. Parrots are my thing — I have a “flock” of 13 rescues in my 1955 house. Is it really from Disney’s Tiki Room?

    1. Laura of the 1957 bathroom says:

      It is a currently made dress from Disney. It can be ordered on eBay or at either of the parks. Tiki room is my favorite attraction. In face my husband just suggested I decorate out other (less cool in lots of way) bathroom to look like tiki style.

  2. Vicki Simon says:

    I adore this. Especially that Laura set her realtor straight. So many people don’t appreciate the character of these preserved spaces but I’m not one of them. My favorite aspect is the vanity and storage across from it. What clever geometry they used in a rectangular room. And the stool that parent found—how perfect! Congratulatiobs on your home purchase Laura and may you enjoy it for generations to come!

    1. Joe Felice says:

      I know. The Realtor should have said “I’m going to show you a house, and you are not going to believe how beautiful the bathroom is.”

    1. Laura of the 1957 bathroom says:

      Oh that’s great to hear. We at some point need to do some repair to the sub floor and figured that we would have to replace it with something else. Thanks for the info!

      1. DJ says:

        Yes, that’s it. You have to go to Armstrong’s commercial line to find it. It is an inlay product rather than a printed pattern. That’s what gives you the stone look and depth to the pattern. We have the exact same vinyl in our kitchen, laundry room and basement. It’s original to our house, built in 1961. Due to some worn areas and chips at the seams, we are planning to replace it with the exact same, updated version in the near future. Be careful, though, because we were informed that it probably contains asbestos given that it was laid in 1961. We were told that [edited because this gave advice — readers get with your own professionals to assess what you are working with! Renovate Safe! https://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

  3. Chris says:

    Another fan of your beautiful vintage bathroom! We had that sparkle formica on our bathroom vanity, growing up. Love the vinyl floor. Very unique room.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful bathroom and looks well-maintained. Love the pocket door, the curved cabinets and the general flow of movement in the room. You didn’t ask about decorating tips, but you said you weren’t crazy about brown. My only suggestion is that with all that brown and beige you add a bright accent color, maybe in the towels and one painted wall.

    1. Laura of the 1957 bathroom says:

      My husband and I are currently trying to figure out what color suits the room. I’m an artist who loves color so I’m in favor of a nice green but he wants to pick a color from the tile to use. It’s a negotiation that’s been happening since we moved in three years ago and I’m hoping will end some day. Haha.

      1. Rick G says:

        I wouldn’t pick a color from the tile, that’s too predictable & would be adding more of the same – I would be more tempted to lean towards gold to compliment the overall look; something close to the gold fleck in the laminate; I think using that; would really work well & tie the whole thing together

      2. Neil says:

        I would be leary of painting just one wall….there are already a plethora of visual textures and shapes and lines all talking at once. Better to paint all the walls, to unify the space.
        I would be temped to wallpaper instead, going with something that is yet another, but colhesive and very subtle, pattern that seems to have sprung from the original designer’s atomic brain-wave; maybe something in beige and white and glammy metallic gold…..

  5. Marie Gamalski says:

    That appears to be a pocket door….really LOVE pocket doors, so much nicer than “regular” doors….

      1. DJ says:

        We have two in our 1968 home and I love them so very much! Although I do have to remember that when I remodel the kitchen (ours is not worth saving), I can’t install cupboards on the wall between the kitchen and dining room because the pocket door is there. The former owners hung a heavy picture there and said everything seemed fine until they tried to close the pocket door and couldn’t figure out why it was sticking. The nail scratch on the door is my reminder!

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