The Everlasting Mid-Century Tile Bathroom

If you’ve ever owned or searched for a mid-century era home, you probably have seen the ubiquitous tile bathroom I’m referring to.  A recent New York Times article: Bathrooms: Pretty in Pink, Again, discusses the virtues of these classic tile bathrooms from the 50’s and 60’s. Instead of demolishing them, homeowners are now seeing the beauty of the craftsmanship and the color. These tile bathrooms were also built very well and often require not just tile removal, but wall removal – so replacing them is not an easy nor low-cost job. 

According to the article, “Ceramic tile work done before the 1970s was usually of very high quality, according to architects and architectural historians. The tiles themselves were often more substantial and less prone to crack and the so-called mud job, or the way tiles are set in place, was more careful and adhesive.”

“The tiles back then were laid in real mortar, which is why so many of the pink and other wild-colored bathrooms survived,” said Jane Powell, a restoration consultant in Oakland, Calif., and the author of “Bungalow Bathrooms” (2001). “It’s extremely labor intensive and expensive to get rid of them.”

 Many were pink, beige, blue and green. For those of you who might have a pink example of the genre – there’s even a blog for you:

While colors come and go with the season, one thing that never goes out of style is quality . So if you are lucky enough to have one of these bathrooms, think twice before renovating and look at the value in the tile work you have. Try changing different aspects of your bathroom while keeping the tile. You can also try painting or glazing the tile, but results can be mixed in terms of the final finish. Sometimes it’s best to just love the tile you have!

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