Please help with this 50s bathroom!!

aimilyOctober 27, 2012

Hello, my husband and I recently purchased a home that was built in 1958, and the bathrooms are horrendously in need of updating. One bathroom is a pink/peach-ish tile with light brown accents, the other is bright yellow tile with grey accents. The floors are both awful geometric mosaic patterns.

The floors bother me the most so they absolutely 100% have to go, but I am wondering if it would be possible to work with the wall tile as it is in excellent condition, and my husband and I are on a bit of a budget and are doing the work ourselves (and as i understand it, taking down wall tile is no small feat without significantly damaging the walls and having to replace them). Do you all have any ideas of what i could do with the floors/paint/vanity/etc. to beautify this bathroom without having to rip down the wall tile?

Or do you all think i should suck it up and tear down the wall tile as well?

I would appreciate any/all advice you could give!!!!!

Thank you!

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aimily

Here is a picture of the other bathroom

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:54PM
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lyvia

I'm just a creative homeowner, but here are some thoughts.

Before color comes structure. Is the current floor cracked at all? Old floors are likely to have week subfloor: If a heavy person bounces on it does it flex at all? Be prepared to put down new underlayment.

For the pink/brown,
some websites say tile can be painted. I don't think I would do it, but if it fits your resources and makes you happy, maybe.
Or color can be muted by draping, where you hang enough stuff over the tile that it only peeks out in spots. This can look cluttered. Would a few extra towel bars or mirrors help? Towels, rugs, art, curtains, inside door and such. Could you cover all/part of the tile with wainscoting or beadboard?

I think you can change the color of the grout. I'm not sure how that would work here. If you go brown, it's likely to look dirty, so you would have to go bold - black or red or pumpkin? and that grid would be so "in your face" that it would be odd. Would you consider coloring the verticals only, to get pinstripes? Hmm.

Or change the color scheme. There are some cute paris theme things in pink and black. Could you put little black vinyl stickers on the tile to get a polka dot pattern? Just leave the brown, and upstage it with an eiffel tower on the wall.
Some people like a warm red with pink. Think of the colors of a bouquet of mixed roses. But your pink may be a little pale for that.

Or for a more peaceful look, choose a pale peach color midway between the pink and the brown for the walls and vanity. And then rich terra cotta accents - rug, towels, curtains, maybe paint the vanity and window a soft warm light brown.

Personally, I don't mind the yellow.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:01AM
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palimpsest

I actually like both bathrooms in terms of the tile, and many people would try to preserve them.

The vanity in the peach bathroom is an awful color and there needs to be an actual wall color in both bathrooms. I think you could go a long way by changing the lighting and mirrors and paint colors and leaving the tile well enough alone.

The floor pattern is called "Text". These bathrooms were installed at at time when most work was still done in very sturdy workmanlike fashion. I've seen a lot of these taken out only to be replaced by something that was current, but much more cheaply done.

Here is a link that might be useful: RetroRenovations Save the Pink Bathrooms.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 9:56AM
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EngineerChic

I actually love the yellow and gray one :)

But the pink and brown ... I agree that it needs help. Colors to work with that pink/peach color will be hard to figure out. Maybe photoshop it to try lots of different options?

If you have an iPad, there is an app called moodboard that has a free version, that might help you try different combinations most easily.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 10:20AM
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mamattorney

My mother had her 4x4 tile kitchen backsplash professionally painted white from its former avacado green and it was held up beautifully. It's been YEARS - at least 10-12 years. If you don't want to work with the wall colors I would try it. I don't know that it will work with the tiles in the tub surround as those get much wetter than a backsplash or wall tile.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 11:07AM
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palimpsest

Getting rid of the pink on the vanity changes the complexion somewhat.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 12:17PM
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lee676

The sink/vanity top not original to the house.

I'd keep the wall tile, put up some nice, subdued wallpaper above it, change the faucet and light fixtures, and replace the floor with large slates of some sort (or even vinyl tiles above the existing ceramic tile if the budget is tight). New doorknob. Maybe new vanity cabinet and sink - there's some nice stuff out there now that isn't too pricey.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:21PM
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terriks

Gray and yellow is a pretty popular color combination right now, and I happen to really like the geometric floors! I think that I would paint the top half of the walls a dark gray and find a gray/yellow fabric to make a roman shade for the window.

Here are some examples:

In the peach/brown bath I would probably paint the cabinet an espresso brown color and paint the walls the same brown as the tile trim color or maybe a shade lighter.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 2:49PM
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kmcg

I love the gray and yellow tilework, including the floor. Not so crazy about the peach combo, but look at how "custom" the tile is in both bathrooms, including the tiled-in soapdishes and such. And the floors are totally coordinated with the tile. I'm not sure I would mess with these surfaces.

For the pink room, I think a new vanity would hugely improve the space. Both rooms need some color, and I think Terriks' idea of pattern on Roman shades is really good. Those are some wonderful fabrics in yellow and gray! You could go even bolder and put some wallpaper in there to pick up on the colors. I'm posting a photo of a colorful yellow and gray bath from houzz; you have an even better foundation to work with, I think.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 3:19PM
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SparklingWater

In the 1950's, as I understand it, these bathroom tiles were tiled onto cement/concrete. As others have said, sturdy. Removal=messy but possible.

I've never heard of painting tiles. If you filled in chips and breaks well, and worked with a tile person to get the right gloss and water tolerant paint, that might be a good alternative.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 5:20PM
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sofla

the pink bathroom reminds me of the 1940s cape I grew up in. Your yellow and gray bath colors are in right now. The most I would do is paint the vanity in the pink bath and replace the sink in the yellow bath with a pedestal. The sconce in the yellow bath is current now. I would dress them up with paint, rugs and shower curtains. They are not as bad as you think they are.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 7:18PM
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pricklypearcactus

I really love the gray and yellow bathroom. The brown and pink one would do much better with the vanity painted something other than pink. I actually really like the geometric mosaic tile. Personally I would paint the pink vanity something else (maybe a beige or white) and then try living with it for a while.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 7:53PM
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ellendi

For a quick cheap fix, I would remove the tile (but of course leave it in the shower area) put up wainscotting, paint it white, then choose a color for the upper half. Get an inexpensive vanity, get a rug remant for the floor to cover the tiles.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:40PM
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gmp3

I don't mind the pink one. I've photshopped beigy pink on the walls, an expresso cabinet, some art, a valance and a new mirror.

I love the ideas for the yellow and gray bath. Perhaps you could regrout the floor? I think it is a keeper, paint a lighter shade of gray than the tile. Terriks has some fabulous ideas for the fabrics.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:23AM
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gmp3

I don't mind the pink one. I've photshopped beigy pink on the walls, an expresso cabinet, some art, a valance and a new mirror.

I love the ideas for the yellow and gray bath. Perhaps you could regrout the floor? I think it is a keeper, paint a lighter shade of gray than the tile. Terriks has some fabulous ideas for the fabrics.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:29AM
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enduring

Gmp3, that is a great remake on the brown bathroom. I really like it. I'd like to see you work with the popular gray and yellow one too :)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 7:49AM
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gmp3

Here is another thought, is you really want to change the floor. I tried to pick something that wouldn't lock you into MCM in the future. I'm sure this is a decorating sin for some, but if you want something flexible for the future that will look nice now, I think it could work. Those pink tiles are tough to coordinate without locking you into pink.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:26AM
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williamsem

Wow, that's some impressive photoshopping! Are you a designer by chance?

Looks like these rooms can be spruced up with some easy updates and not have to mess with the tile. I agree that the yellow one especially is great, those colors are popular at the moment.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:46AM
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gmp3

Yellow bath.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 11:14AM
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aimily

wow-these are all amazing suggestions! I had no idea how different the bathrooms could look with a simple change of the vanity/mirror/curtain--and I guess i don't hate the floor tiles as much as i thought afterall!!

gmp3 what program did you use to make those photos?! They are awesome!! I would love to get whichever program you used to play around with some of the suggestions.

Thanks so much to everyone!!! I really appreciate all of your help/ideas/etc.!!! and if anyone has any other ideas bring them on!! :)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:03PM
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gmp3

I used photoshop. I'm glad you decided not to do major rennos. You can make the bathrooms cute!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:14PM
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terriks

gmp, Thanks for taking my ideas and making them come to life! I think that the dark gray walls in the yellow bath really makes it look modern. I wonder how the peach/brown bath would look with darker brown walls?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:16PM
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palimpsest

Sometimes it is one thing (like that Pink vanity in the Peach bathroom) that really throws things off and makes the whole thing look awful.

I read an article by a contributor to a building magazine, how one night, (fueled by some alcohol) he took a sledge hammer to the mismatched pink bathroom. Only to find out in daylight, when he looked at the broken fixtures and tiles piled in the yard, that only the walls and trim were actually the bright, mismatched pinks: The tile and fixtures were actually a nice gentle beige color that picked up reflection from the poorly chosen paint.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:38PM
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powermuffin

Love the yellow and gray bath. As far as the peachy one goes, I would like to see it photoshopped with a latte brown paint, similar to the trim tiles but maybe a bit lighter, and with the dark vanity.
Diane

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:03PM
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gmp3

dark brown paint....

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 11:33PM
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terriks

That looks great gmp. The darker paint really updates and creates a statement.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 12:32PM
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kmcg

gmp - you're the queen (king?) of photoshopping! I love what you're doing with both baths.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 2:52PM
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debrak_2008

We kept our 50's yellow tile. Attached is a link to the almost finished bathroom. Since then added a white window curtain and a white and green shower curtain. Still need some artwork for the walls.

I read the same 'pink bathroom demo' story. I often refer to it.

Here is a link that might be useful: keeping the yellow tile

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 5:08PM
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nosoccermom

You got some great suggestions here. I actually like the floors, and the gray/yellow bathroom, in particular.
Below another link.

Here is a link that might be useful: vintage tiles

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:34PM
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