A 1951 tiled bathroom; what stays? what goes?


The main bath retains its original fixtures (tub and sink), tiled walls and floor,  a 1950’s Blo-Fan exhaust fan, tiled in soap dish/cup holder/ toilet paper holder and towel bar and a recessed chrome edged light fixture above the area where the laundry had been when the house was built. The toilet was replaced with a white one at some point.

We had to replace the sink faucet;  years of neglect made me afraid to even touch it.  No amount of cleanser made me feel better about it. The tub/shower faucets and the light fixture above the sink were fairly recent additions. They are chrome and the faucets will stay.

The oil rubbed bronze handles, pulls and hinges on all of the cabinets will have to go. I think that was an attempt to “update” the room and make it “Tuscan”. The walls were painted a terra cotta color that made even the men who saw it say “Oh, Southwestern?”.  We quickly painted it white before anyone got the wrong idea about our style.

We plan to remove the wall of cabinets and put the washer/dryer back where they were originally. We will reuse those doors for the vanity.  Retro chrome  hardware and light fixture over the sink will just about finish this project.


6 responses »

  1. I would take your cabinet doors and drawer fronts to a local cabinet maker, and have him make new ones that have flat fronts with simple rounded edges. This will be more in keeping with the midcentury style… the ones you have don’t look vintage or original to me. Then, order atomic or retro knobs for them.

    If new fronts aren’t in the budget, then paint the existing ones the same white as your walls, but in satin or semi-gloss. This will minimize their country look. Then add very simple retro chrome knobs and handles that match your faucet.

    Hope this helps!

    Aloha, Kai

  2. Thanks Kai! I sure appreciate other peoples opinions 🙂 Yes, those doors on the sink vanity are an 80’s (?) addition. What is only partially shown in the bath photos is an entire wall of floor to ceiling cabinets (to the right of the little wall by the toilet). They were added at some point (still mid century though) when the washer/dryer were taken out of this bath and moved to the basement. All of the ORIGINAL flooring, wall tiles and plumbing are still there! I discovered that when adding contact paper to the shelves. We are planning to take these cabinets out, put the washer/dryer back in there and keep those cabinet doors and reuse them for the sink vanity. They are thin and flat fronted with rounded edges, just like you suggested! I am hoping to get chrome star burst or big round back plates and dish style pulls.

      • Was the original set-up a side by side washer and dryer? Maybe sell your existing on Craigslist, buy a stackable set, and that way you can have a counter for folding with storage above, where the dryer would go! 🙂

  3. Yes originally they were side by side, the washer on the left. The supply lines and drain are still there, as is the gas line for the dryer and vent-stack up through the roof for exhaust. It is hard to believe all that was hidden behind these cabinets. All of the original wall and floor tile are still there, too! If you look closely at the photo, you can see that the cabinets were actually cut around the little wall by the toilet so it could be left intact.
    I had not considered a stackable set; now you have me thinking 🙂

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