New Old Bathrooms

When my husband and I first looked at our old house in February 2007, we loved many things about it. It was spacious and elegant and well-built and full of potential. The kitchen had five nice windows and a walk-in pantry and the upstairs bedroom was just right for our four-poster bed. It was a fine house, but…

It had a terrible bathroom.

It had been done in classic 1980s beige and it had been poorly done. Tiles were popping off the walls and the floor tile (12-inch faux marble) crunched and wiggled when we stepped on it. Redoing that bathroom was a major undertaking. We started in January 2010 and finished in May  2010. That’s a long time to have your primary bathroom out of commission.

The hex flooring (shown below) came from a floor covering company in Los Angeles. The material is very popular in Hollywood, and is often used in movie sets, when a 1910s or 1920s bathroom or kitchen set is needed in a hurry.

It creates the look of the 1920s hex tiles in a hurry. When I saw the material up close and personal, I was thrilled. You have to bend over and touch the flooring to ascertain that it’s not real tile.

Below are some photos of the project.

Update:  As of August 2011, we’ve sold this house and moved to a new house (Mid-Century Modern). Looking at these pictures of our “New Old Bathroom” reminds me of how much I love the 1920s look!

To see what I did to our 1960s bathroom (in our new home), click here.


Ugly bathroom

If I had to pick one word to define this bathroom, it would be ugly and beige. Wait, that's two words. How about "ugly-beige"? Pictures don't do it adequate injustice.

ugly radiator in ugly bathroom

Poor old radiator in ugly bathroom. Notice how - due to two tiling jobs atop the original tile - it's slowly being swallowed up by substitute flooring materials. The vertical pipe is rusting because some moron put the tile and/or adhesive right up against the pipe, instead of using a sleeve to protect against corrosion.

Ugly bathroom vanity

This photo shows how ugly the vanity lights were. This really was a hideous affair.

Ugly floor

Originally, it was my goal to restore the old hex tile, but after spending about 2/3rds of my fifth decade chipping away the TWO layers of tile on top of this 1920s hex tile, I realized my efforts were in vain. About half way back (headed toward the back of the room), the tile floor had been destroyed.


A very smart flooring guy studies the mess and figures out what to do to make it all pretty again. He sat on the edge of that tub for about 20 minutes but his solution was genius.


The radiator was removed and taken away to be sand-blasted and powder-coated. In the meantime, the heating contractors had to chisel out 6" of concrete and replace the old pipe(s). Cost: $,1900. This was a problem, because I had promised my husband the total bath redo would be under $2,000. Oopsie.


More views of the ugly floor mess.

New bathroom floor goes in

New bathroom floor was installed, after vast amounts of floor leveler were floated on the surface of that old mess. The look was transformative. Everyone was surprised at how good it turned out.

bathroom walls go up

New wainscoting is installed. Dave the Contractor covered the new floor with three layers of kraft paper to protect it.


Finis! Isn't it beautiful? Thanks to Craigs' List, I found this pedestal sink - Kohler Memoirs - and got it for $250. Brand new, never installed. Guy bought it and his wife didn't like it. So he did what any smart husband would do - sold it for 1/3rd the value on Craigs' List. We placed the marble slab under the radiator so that the if it ever needs service again, removal will be simple. Plus, we wanted to protect the vinyl floor from the weight of this 400-pound radiator. The marble slab is under the toilet because after we removed all that flooring, the pipes were too high. Plus, it's a cool look. And yes, that is real Italian marble.

Bathroom pretty

The only original thing in this "vintage" bathroom is that brass towel rack. We found it in the back of the linen closet when we bought the house.


Close-up of bathroom faucets.


Now the purple bathmat matches the rest of the room! 🙂

To read more about Rose’s pink house, click here.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

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  1. Kristin

    Beautiful! I know that was a lot of work. I really like the lavender color you used. I am definitely going to take you up on a tour. My mom is so excited to see what you have done to the inside of the beautiful pink house she drives by on her way to my house down the street.

    P.S. I’m enjoying your Sears Kit Home blog, I had no idea such a thing existed. Very interesting.

  2. Chris Halliwell

    Who is the manufacturer/source of the sheet vinyl with hex tile pattern?

  3. Sears Homes

    Hi Chris,

    I don’t know who manufactures it, but I purchased it from a big flooring dealer in the Los Angeles area. The information (and source) came from Jane Powells’ book, “Bungalow Bathrooms.”