bathroom, decorating, renovation

A New Vintage Look for an Old Bathroom


Vintage Style Bathroom on This American House - white pedestal sink, hex tile flooring and more

The Delbert Meier House was built in 1917. At that time the bathroom would have been pretty simple – a toilet, a bathtub, a pedestal sink and a built-in medicine cabinet. There was also a built-in closet that covered the entire west wall. At some point in the house’s 100 year history the bathroom was reconfigured. The tub and shower replaced the closet, the toilet was moved where the shower had been and the pedestal sink was replaced with large vanity. Oh, and the medicine cabinet (assuming that the plans we found for it were actually included with this house) was pulled out and the wall closed in.

Now that we’ve decided to go balls to the wall with the bathroom rehab, I’m going to give back to the room some of its vintage charm. We’ll keep the toilet that we installed out of necessity last year and we’re going to leave the tub and its tile surround as-is for now. But everything else – from the vinyl peel and stick flooring to the vanity that I spent a weekend painting – will be ripped out and replaced.

The bathroom at the Delbert Meier House before remodeling

The bathroom as it looks today. I spent a weekend painting the vanity white when I thought that we were going to give the bathroom a simple facelift. Now it – along with the flooring – is going to get ripped out and replaced.

While I want to give the bathroom a vintage vibe, I don’t want it to feel like a museum or time capsule. So while we’re bringing in some vintage elements, like a hex tile floor and pedestal sink, we’ll also bring in some more modern touches, like black light fixtures. Here are the elements that we’re planning to use for the bathroom remodel. Keep in mind that any of these can change at a moment’s notice as we start the actual remodel.

  • We’re going to replace the vinyl tile with white hex tile. This is something I’ve been wanting to do since we first walked through the house three years ago. I found a 2″ hext tile at Home Depot that’s super affordable. It’s a little bigger that I had originally been thinking but it’s a slightly larger room so I think we’ll be OK. We’ll use a gray grout to create a nice contrast between the tiles and to finish off the vintage look.
  • A simple white pedestal sink will never go out of style. We’re going with an affordable Kohler pedestal and sink from Home Depot. Replacing the large vanity with this pedestal sink is really going to open up the room and give us a space for a small cabinet along the same wall as the door.
  • We’re going to keep it classic with a vintage chrome faucet with ceramic levers. I had toyed with a black faucet to give the bathroom a more modern touch, but I really like the old fashioned feel of this chrome faucet. Plus, it has the “H” and “C” on the handles, which is just too damned charming.
  • I do still want to bring some black into the room to try to play off the contrast of the grout in the flooring, so I’m going to replace the existing lighting with simple black industrial wall sconces. We’re going to be reusing the wood framed mirror that’s currently hanging in the bathroom. I think the black sconces will pair nicely with it.
  • And to replace the ceiling light, this mission style light.

We’re planning to start the work this weekend. Mind you, I’ve never tiled anything in my life, so we’ll see how this all comes together. I have, however, watched a hundred YouTube videos about tiling and while it looks like a lot of work, it’s not exactly brain surgery. (Here’s hoping that doctors don’t bone up on surgery by watching YouTube the night before a procedure!)


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1 Comment

  • Reply A WORK IN PROGRESS 03/23/2018 at 12:05 pm

    I carried hex floor tiles from coast to coast and finally got to use them in my new shower. I love them. I think your plan looks great but I would say the light fixtures are kind of disappointing as they are more generic than I would expect. Now if they are place holders until you can find some nice vintage fixtures I certainly understand, but otherwise I think you are doing the bathroom a disservice. Good luck and be careful with the electricity!

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