If you live in a home built in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, most likely you have encountered the pink bathroom. It’s often identified by pink bathroom fixtures including, sink, bath tub, and even, toilet. There may even be pink tiling on the walls, floor, and back splash. Neighborhoods across Denver, such as Southern Hills, Krisana Park, Arapahoe Acres, and even parts of Park Hill and Cory Merrill, are home to this historical trend. And, as the mid-century modern style has made a comeback in recent years, you’re sure to see a lot more of it.
Southern Hills Realtor’s Remodel
As an active Denver Realtor in Southern Hills, my home was built in 1959 and features both a pink bathroom and a mint green bathroom. My husband and I actually love these bathrooms. We find that they contribute to the mid-century vibe of the home that we fell in love with and paid a lot of money to recreate with our kitchen renovation earlier this year. Although many homeowners today shy away from the girly décor, it’s important to consider the historical significance and the great decorating resources available to you before you break out your sledge hammer.
The Queen of Pink
According to my favorite website, SavethePinkBathrooms.com, the Art Deco period after World War II was largely inspired by bright colors as a way to rebel against the sanitary, stark white of the 20’s and 30’s. It was also considered a nod to the bright future that lay ahead for America after the Great Depression. Lady Mamie Eisenhower was an iconic figure who helped to popularize her favorite color so much so that it’s believed that over 5 million pink bathrooms were installed in homes across country during the 1950’s alone.
Mamie sure loved her pink and used her signature color to decorate the White House to the extent that it was dubbed The Pink Palace. Interior decorators and real estate agents of the time even referred to a certain shade of pink features in kitchens and bathrooms as “Mamie Pink” after the beloved First Lady; furthermore, they peddled the warm bathrooms as a signal of affluence and prosperity.
Quality Of Construction
So, what do you do with a pink bathroom? Instead of coughing up the cash to do a total overhaul, consider a few more cost effective solutions:
According to many architects and historians, the quality of the ceramic work done prior to the 1970’s is unparalleled. Both the durability of the tile and the process of installation (read: mudding) were superior to what you can find in homes even today. That’s is the primary reason we decided to keep preserve our pink bathroom.
As you can see, the tile work is predominate throughout the room, crawling from the floors up the walls and on the counters – and, frankly, can’t be matched. Not to mention, it would be extremely labor intensive and expensive to take down the tile and repair the walls. So, instead of going against this beloved piece of history, we embraced it.
Inexpensive Pink Remodeling
I painted the cabinets pink, added some more lighting, and installed modern pink print wall paper. I ultimately decided that if we were going to “do pink,” then we were going to “DO PINK” in a huge way. In the process, I also discovered how expensive it is to actually duplicate a pink day with modern day resources. For example, you can find modern toilets and bathtubs in the rosy hue, but manufactures sell them at a huge premium.
Another option for your unwanted pink bathroom is to glaze the original, pink tile in the color of your choice. Like most things, the range of quality and expense runs the gamete. I’ve had some friends have a lot of success with buying a kit from your local hardware store. Of course, DIY requires a certain level of handy-ness and skill that I do not possess. So, I went to the pros. We hired a local to come in and “refinish” our mint green bathroom and put it out of its misery. It ended up being about $500 to do the shower and the pedal-stool sink. We chose a white finish that still felt “mid-century modern,” but brightened up the room more than the green.
Regardless of what you decide, keep in mind when considering a bathroom renovation that the cost can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $30,000 for a five-piece master bathroom re-do. When it comes to the pink bathroom, I say save yourself the cost, and “think pink!”. It worked for us!
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