D

Drew & Amy’s Daltile Aqua Glow bathroom — a retro remodel that looks like it’s always been there

Just two years after finishing a complete remodel of their 1960 midcentury kitchen, Drew and Amy finished a gut remodel of their bathroom — and as is the way of projects featured on this blog, it’s a retro remodel that looks like it’s always been there. Read on for their story and for the resources they used >> 

Drew wrote:

Hello! We redid our kitchen in 2016 and were featured on the website. We just finished up our bathroom remodel — including an awesome vintage Crane sink and a lot of tile work — and would love to share our photos and resources again!

My favorite part(s) of the bathroom are the Crane Elayne sink and matching toilet! I found them on Ebay in Pasadena, Calif., and the seller suggested that instead of having the freight shipped (at great expense) to Seattle, I should find somebody on the rideshare portion of craigslist driving to Seattle and arrange for them to pick them up and drive them up to me.

As it turns out, that was a fantastic idea, as it saved me a few hundred dollars on shipping and also didn’t have to figure out a way to get them from the freight terminal to my house!

It was definitely an adventure to work with the tile setters to explain/figure out how the sink should be set, but worth it! As a side note, you will need to convince everyone in the industry that you really do* want a tile countertop.

I think we were one of the last people to take advantage of the Daltile custom mosaic builder for our floor. (R.I.P.)

Cabinetry (which is flatsawn khaya — we used quartersawn for the kitchen) is again from James Wanamaker. I’m happy with the way the sink vent turned out.

Rejuvenation offers their boomerang pull with either a three-inch or four-inch center-to-center!

Cabinet hardware is 4″ bright chrome boomerangs from Rejuvenation. I was under the impression that they only made them in 3″ (which would have been too small) but was happy to see they come in 4″ as well.

Field tile is Aqua Glow from Daltile, and the liner tile is Navy.

Shower valves are Sayco from Locke plumbing. Sayco 308-2 Three Handle Tub And Shower Faucet With Metal Handles.

You can’t see them, but I kept the original light fixtures as they are in decent shape and I can keep my eye out for something that “wows” us. In the meantime, I’m pleasantly surprised how well the retention of the original fixtures makes the bathroom feel “lived in” and less awkwardly new when compared with the rest of the house.


My wife, Amy, made the little starburst curtain that matches the gray trim color throughout our house. I made the simple little shelves you see, I’m not a great carpenter so they “add character”, also making the bathroom feel authentic and lived in rather than too shiny and new! That is an important lesson that I’m learning about midcentury renovation/restoration. So many of the houses that I’ve seen in person have one-off or handmade elements! We shouldn’t let the fact that our creations wont have mass manufactured perfection stop us from adding our personal touches!

Sincerely,
Drew & Amy

Lovely bathroom! Thanks you for sharing! I also asked if Drew wanted to send a photo of him and Amy, and he did, adding:

Haha, I’d like to be on the record as saying that despite our RR profile, our life is not all retro renovations and vacations!

Want to see another Daltile Aqua Glow bathroom? See Kristen & Paul’s 1940-style bathroom renovation. This tile is great and so versatile!

  1. Phil says:

    From what I see, it’s not possible for me to tell it’s not a well preserved bathroom from 60 years ago! I got an Elayne sink like yours recently and I haven’t decided how to install it yet! (it won’t fit in my current vanity which is too new anyway!). I intended to use the hudee ring but maybe I should tile it in like you did! I was thrilled to see that my sink had been manufactured the day my mother was born on the July 12th of 1954!

    That’s inspiring!

    Congratulations!

  2. Kristen says:

    Absolutely beautiful job guys! Just curious, are the Aqua Glow tiles easy to acquire now? When I did my bathroom a few years back with Aqua Glow tile, we had to wait about six months for them to be delivered and I could only find them from one obscure site online. Our local Daltile distributor told us we’d never be able to get them because they were discontinued. Again, beautiful job and I love the tile countertop!

    1. Drew says:

      I went to the local Daltile showroom and they sent me to a nearby supply house (retailer). It was easy enough to order what we needed from the retailer – though it takes a little bit to learn how to read the manufacturing sheets to see what sizes, finishes, trim, etc they do make. I believe it was a “made to order” color, so it took several weeks to get some of the pieces, and for some of the trim pieces it took quite a while. So, in short, easy to find, takes a while to get, and they do seem to be discontinuing various trim pieces – for example, we had originally ordered outside corner trim pieces of the cove base, but they stopped making them, so we had to settle for mitering the regular cove base pieces to make the corners work.

  3. Karin says:

    Wowza! They nailed it again. I was wondering if those incredible “rocketeer” sink faucets are from Sayco as well. I didn’t see them on their website.

    1. Drew says:

      The winged faucet handles are true to the Crane sink – usually you see this sink with what is know as “temple trim” or “temple” knobs, which are round but with three vertical ridges – as seen commonly on Crane Drexel sinks etc.

  4. Tarquin says:

    I’m torn. Do I love the bathroom better than the photo of them sharing a drink together? Not sure. The bathroom jolted my memory to think way back. I had this bathroom and so did my friends, family, school, library, grocery store, gas station and everywhere. Lol. I love that they found such a cool sink with matching toilet and their shipping method was brillant! The boomerang drawer pulls pull it all together. Great job! .

  5. Lynne says:

    This bathroom is very similar to my blue bathroom you featured once. (Lynne and Bob’s Blue Bathroom). We used Daltile Spa tile. Not quite as bright as the Aqua Glow. We too had trouble convincing the tile folks that we were going “old school”.

    Oh, I’ll give another vote for “pro wallpaper”. If done properly, it does just fine in the bathroom, and makes quite a statement. I picked a wild pattern for the blue bath, and another just as wild for the pink and grey one we just completed.

    1. Tarquin says:

      Haha. I thought I was the only one that had to convince contractors that I want old school and not tear down my kitchen walls for an open concept. I have a Spanish 70’s house and have been trying to find a handyman that can create a pointy textured room. Nobody knows what I’m talking about. I remember these rooms in homes and restaurants. It looked like pointy stucco. Every wall and ceiling was covered. When it went out of style the sheetrock had too be replaced. Maybe there is a name for it that can help my search. I really confuse them more when I tell them that I want a wall of wood roof shingles. I wish I was handy, I would do it all myself 🙂

      1. Linda says:

        I’m in a 1925 very modest bungalow with arched doorways that had been finished with the “pointy stucco” I think you’re referring to. My kids were young when we moved in and the larger doorways in the kitchen and dining room weren’t a problem, but the narrower one that led to the bathroom left them with cuts on their arms! The previous owner had painted over it, but it was still very sharp, and even with a chisel I couldn’t move it off! Finally I had a handyman spackle over the doorways, and I’ve kept them that way since. Good luck to you with the pointy stuff, but wear long sleeves, haha!

        1. Tarquin says:

          YAY! I FUNALLY met a person who knows what I am talking about. I know you are talking a out the same stuff, because you describe the pain you feel if you bump into it. Lol. I wish it had a name. Thanks for wishing me good luck 🙂

      2. Allison says:

        Tarquin, you can replicate this pointy stucco with drywall mud.

        Take a grapefruit sized wad of newspaper, and wrap it plastic, like a trash or grocery bag. Grabbing one side of the wad-wrapped-in-plastic like a handle, dip the flat side into the drywall mud- get it nice and covered- and dab on the wall. When you pull your wad straight back off the wall, you will get those points you crave. Just keep dipping and dabbing until the wall is covered.

        We did an entire A-frame house in the early 1970s with this technique; we thought it looked great but yes… it can be painful.

        1. Retro Retro says:

          Textured.

          I think that is what it was called in the 50s and 60s.

          My family used that wadded newspaper technique to do the ceilings of the living room, dining room and two bedrooms of a 1920s bungalow farmhouse they bought in 1959.

  6. Janet in ME says:

    The bathroom is just lovely! I don’t know if it is the monitor or me, but is the color truly aqua? Some of the photos show a pale green color. Oddly, I was going through craigslist recently and saw someone selling an entire bathroom including tile in this same shade, with two of the same sinks. Those sinks really are perfect! You did a wonderful job!

  7. Jay says:

    Wow, you folks really get it – the midcentury aesthetic and the way it should look. My eye went to those shelves because I thought they added some warmth to what is typically a cold place; baths have an aura of coldness and sterility with all the hard tile and porcelain surfaces. so many hard surfaces. Well done, thanks for sharing.

  8. Debbie K says:

    My home was built in 1957 and I have , what looks to be, the exact same green color tile in my master bathroom.
    I was interested to see they painted the walls a light pink. I have found the green to be a bit of a challenge to decorate with.

    Any suggestions for other wall colors?
    Thanks

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      The first thing that jumped to mind was that light green tile also looks good with yellow walls, but you would need to make sure you get the yellow right. Yellow is the most difficult paint color to get ‘right’ because it bounces off itself…

      Here’s a good story to examine for color ideas: https://retrorenovation.com/2015/11/16/green-kitchens-bathrooms-1928-62/

      And… wallpaper solves for this problem easily! https://retrorenovation.com/category/period-accents/wallpaper/

      1. Debbie K says:

        To further complicate
        My bath is tiny, 5 ft by 8 feet. (Typical for 1957… I’m lucky to even have an ensuite bath.
        I also have terrazzo floors that are black, terra cotta, and gray.
        My vanity is beige with a white sink.
        I have the original aluminum door knob and in Wall medicine cabinet.

        In a space that small, I would be afraid of wallpaper
        And, because I have slanted ceiling, I can’t do a border.
        Right now I have beige brown towels with green palm trees. I live in South Florida.
        Help! Thanks

        1. Pam Kueber says:

          Don’t be afraid of wallpaper. I don’t think that using it has anything to do with whether a space is small or large.

          In fact, chosen correctly, it could tie everything together and make your space feel … “just right”. And: Like the inside of a wonderful little jewel box!

        2. Midge Brock says:

          I once lived in a 1920’s apartment with green tile. The walls were the palest peach/ apricot color and it was lovely. Not only did it look nice from a decorator standpoint, but peach tones make anyone’s complexion look nice when looking at themselves in a mirror! It would also look great with the colors in your flooring. (As a fun side-note, on the Queen Mary ship tour I learned that the reason all the mirrors had a peach tone to them, was so that passengers would always look good, even if they were ” feeling green” with seasickness! )

    2. Drew says:

      Actually, the walls are kind of a Lilac color. More purple for Amy! It’s difficult to get the lighting right to show the colors.

Comments are closed.