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The Loo!!

As promised, I’m back with a complete breakdown of our loo re-do.  When we first toured this house, one of the things I fell in love with was our original 1956 blue bathtub and tile work.  The realtor thought it was a bit strange because everyone else that had toured this house felt the bathroom need a complete gutting.  This is a phenomena discussed in great detail on Retro Renovation, so much so, that Pam Kueber started an entire movement called “Save the Pink Bathrooms“.  Our bathroom, of course, is primarily blue and white, but the idea of preservation is the same.  Plus, given my personal motto of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”, I couldn’t justify ripping-out an absolutely useable bathroom.  Mostly, though, I really like the idea of saving our time-capsule bathroom for future generations (who will probably rip it out…).

When we first bought the house, the bathroom was predictably painted in, you guessed it, contractor chalky white.

Everything was chalky white.  The walls and cabinets had been poorly painted and the flat paint did not hold-up well in the humid environment of the bathroom.  We lived with it for nearly a year until I finally got around to working on this room.  It was then I turned to my favorite inspiration spot and found these pictures.

I liked the combination of pink and blue, although I wasn’t sure how that would fly with the boys in the family.  J said he really didn’t care what color I painted the bathroom since all he does in there is use the facilities and shower.  That’s not exactly how he put it, but since I’m polite we’ll leave it at that.  Once given the green light, I started finding a paint color I liked.  This time I didn’t leave it up to whatever was available on the mis-tint shelf, as I had a specific color and paint option in mind.  I ended-up going with Olympic’s bathroom paint in a hue called “Bubble Bath”.  It is the lightest of pinks, yet really warms the room.  For the cabinets, I went with Olympic glossy white, premixed on the shelf.

Another issue we had was lack of towel bars.  There were two, but one of them is really only sufficient for a hand-towel next to the sink, which left us with one towel bar and the shower door handle for towels.  We already had an original, or near original, towel bar that looked like this 1962 Hall-Mack Metropolitan Series bar.

As luck would have it, Lowe’s had a very similar style from Seton, which also happened to be incredibly economical.

I added two of them behind the door leading to the master bedroom and now everyone has a place to hang their towel.

I also replaced the world’s ugliest wooden toilet paper holder with a chrome one from the same Seton line and replaced the cabinet hardware with a simple chrome dish.

These knobs were period appropriate and replaced some original, but ugly, cabinet pulls that really weren’t doing it for me.  I wish I had taken a before picture of those, but I didn’t.

After a month, and it literally took me a month, of meticulously painting the bathroom walls, ceiling and cabinet, we went from this

to this.


The pink is very subtle but effective. Also, you can’t tell from the pictures, but the glossy white on the trim and cabinetry is really beautiful.  Plus, the cabinets wipe clean now, which is necessary with children who get towels out to wipe their muddy hands, etc.  We bought the artwork from an artist named Travis Lewis and had the prints professionally framed.  J actually had them framed for my birthday, so they were a present to me, but not free at $112.00 for the framing.  The prints themselves were rather inexpensive but I thought they were unique and really gave the bathroom the personality it desperately needed.  All-in-all, I’m pleased with my 2011 homage to my original 1956 bathroom.  As such, what 1956 bathroom would be complete without a chalkware fish?

The breakdown

Towel bars and toilet paper holder: $28.94

Cabinet knobs: $8.48

Paint: $38.45

Art (prints, frames, fish): $150.00

Pink and Blue hand towels for guests: $6.00 (Ralph Lauren no less, at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet)

Total: $231.87

If we hadn’t spend $150.00 on artwork, the total overhaul would be much lower.  I love the art, though, and it was combined with a gift-giving opportunity, so I guess we can justify it, sort of.  Definitely cheaper than a total renovation which would run into thousands of dollars and we can smile every time we “use the facilities”, knowing we’re not deep in debt over a bathroom remodel, which is truly a bargain.


About sugarshellandbutterknife

I am a work-at-home mother of two, daughter K who is 16 and son N who is 12. I live in a 1956 mid-mod ranch with my children and the love of my life, J. We're slowly renovating our house on a budget and love all things DIY. I hope to make this a place where frugal-minded folks like myself can exchange ideas, gain inspiration and find encouragement to tackle whatever life throws our way.

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