What’s in our “Retro Bathroom”

What’s in our “Retro Bathroom”

We wanted the bathroom’s style to blend in with the rest of our old 1940’s house, using both new and vintage materials.  We were going for a look that “the bathroom has been this way all along” and that it just had a few noticeable green updates over the years, like low flow fixtures, Low-E coated/ vinyl window, and florescent lighting over head.  After two months of using it, we absolutely love the bathroom and wish we had done it years ago.

vintage accessories retro bathroom
We were so busy with school starting back in September and then just moving on to the next home improvement project, that I neglected to post anything more about our 1940’s bathroom project until recently.
  • Shower Faucet Set:  Moen “Kingsley” in chrome with Moentrol valve.  I like the single handle in the hall bathroom too much to go with a vintage 3 handle set in the remodel.
  • Toilet: Toto Promenade Round Bowl E-Max 1.28 gal. Water Sense / high efficiency toilet
  • Sink:  Kohler Memoirs Stately Self Rimming sink
  • Lavatory Faucet:  Franz Viegner “Veracruz” chrome plated brass widespread faucet
  • Tub:  Kohlor Memoirs Cast Iron Alcove Soaking Tub K-721
  • Sink and Tub Tile Surround:  Ceramic blue #40 from B & W Tile in Gardena, California, and Dal Ceramic black tile
  • Outlet/ Switch Cover Plates: Porcelain Black Double Duplex and Double GFCI with enameled black screws from House of Antique Hardware
  • Floor Tile:  “Chloe” Black and White Pin Wheel moasic porcelain floor tile from American Olean
  • Grout and Caulk: Laticrete epoxy grout and Latasil silicone caulk in Almond for sink & tub areas and in Midnight Black on the floor.  The Latasil caulk had to be special ordered from a tile store in Anaheim.
  • Drawer Pulls:  Vintage 1940’s Streamline chromed handles
  • Cabinet: We bought a stock stain grade poplar cabinet from Builder’s Surplus in Santa Ana, and then we added additional wood trim it to make it appear similar to other original built in sinks in the neighborhood.
  • Towel Ring and Robe Hook: “Vintage” line from Restoration Hardware
  • Lighting Scones:  “Echo” Large Art Deco Porcelain Wall Brackets from Rejuventaion
  • Exhaust Fan and Light:  NuTone
  • Mirror: Kohler Archer Beveled Mirror Vanity Cabinet
  • 3 Panel Oak Door:  When we first bought the house, we found it in our garage rafters with many colorful layers of old paint on it, and we saved it all these years with the intention of one day using it for the bathroom redo.  When we finally took it down last summer, we discovered it was originally used as the kitchen door and had a double hinge that allowed it to freely swing into both the kitchen and the dinning room.
  • Door Handle: Schlage brass (for the bedroom side) and chrome plated brass (for the bathroom side) push button locking bathroom door handle set, vintage 1960’s N.O.S.   It matched the other handles in the house and was made in the era when my husband’s grandfather still worked for the Schlage company.  We found it on ebay.
Mid century bathroom ceramic wall plate outlet plate chrome hooks towel hanger bar
The ceramic tile outlets, tub, sink, toilet, and chrome robe hanger

13 thoughts on “What’s in our “Retro Bathroom”

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      If I remember correctly, I think I bought my drawer pulls on etsy. They were from a vintage hardware reseller, but it could have been ebay. I bought a variety of vintage hardware from both places when I was collecting items for my 1940’s laundry room and bathroom. I have seen the same streamline pulls show up at both ebay and etsy, multiple times while working on our bathroom, sometimes singly, sometimes in lots. I would recommend checking in once a week at both places and some may get listed for sale eventually. The lot I bought was for 12, but some of them were rusted. Enough were in good shape for my bathroom cabinet project.

  1. Hi Lianne,
    I just found your blog searching for 1940’s home renovation ideas. We just purchased a small fixer that was built in 1940, but unfortunately has almost no character. Trying to bring back some of it’s original glory in our renovation of the bathroom and kitchen and your blog will be extremely helpful! I’ve subscribed! 🙂

  2. Oops…meant to ask you…why did you use
    Laticrete epoxy grout and Latasil silicone caulk?

    The Latasil caulk had to be special ordered from a tile store in Anaheim.

    1. I used Laticrete epoxy grout on my hall bathroom counter many years ago. Epoxy does cost a lot more than regular grout, but since that hall bathroom only had about ten square feet to grout and it was the main family bathroom, it wasn’t too cost prohibitive and I figured I could afford to give it a try. I think I tiled that bathroom when my daughter was about three. She is now almost twelve and the grout in the counter top looks as good as when I put it in.

      It cleans up super easy. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing seems to stain that grout in the other bathroom, and it is a light colored grout. It has even got hair dye on it and it came off just fine. Epoxy grout doesn’t need sealing, unlike traditional sanded grout; the chemical sealers needed for regular sanded grout aren’t cheap, are toxic and stinky until dry, and have to be reapplied regularly. After living with our epoxy grout in the bathroom so long and seeing how superior the epoxy grout in the bathroom was to the sanded grout we have in the kitchen, I decided I didn’t mind the extra effort and expense in new bathroom for something that looked better much longer and was less work in the long run.

      I got the matching Latisil silcone caulk due to the good reviews I had read in contractor tile forums. It isn’t sold at Lowes, but many tile stores carry it. I hope that answers your questions.

  3. Lianne:

    You are the most generous soul for sharing all this information! You have saved me copious hours looking for vendors as I am redoing the (small) bathroom in my 1940s house. I LOVE B & W Tile! So cool! I am probably going to use the same sink you did, in a white vanity but a Kohler toilet. Trying to decide about my countertop because the blue colored tile I want to use (not B & W) does not have V caps and I am not sure I want to have a two toned countertop. My color scheme is a darker wedgewood-type blue with white. Using a 1 inch white hex on floor with random blue tiles scattered throughout.

    So many decisions and everything begats something else! And I just wanted a new toilet and everything else came after! 🙂


    1. Thanks Erin for the nice comments!

      I sure know what you mean about everything begets something else. I am going through that in my kitchen right now. It was only suppose to get a new floor when the laundry room did, but I seem to be starting a ripple effect.

      Your color scheme sounds like it will turn out really nice. I took forever to decide on the tile. When I did the other bathroom, the hall bathroom, in the days before everything could be found on the internet, I found a seafoam color tile I really liked, but I had the same issue you have with finding a matching end cap. I settled for the same color as the sink, white. And I have been happy. However, if you still want to look around, check Retro Renovation for other tile v cap sources.

I would love to know what you think about this.

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