1948 Bathroom
Part One

by Liz Dowling

The 1948 master bathroom in our house has, for the most part, remained untouched.

It still has the original Tasso marble floor.  A midcentury stall shower.  French’s mustard yellow tiles with a black border.

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Our midcentury stall shower on the left.  Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs midcentury stall shower on the right from my Modernism tour last month.  It’s a match!

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I am quite positive the American Standard toilet we have is the original one installed 68 years ago.

Roman Shade

Roman Shade

My daughter took the old master bedroom when we moved in.  I dressed up this bathroom just enough for a ten year-old to survive.  A frilly roman shade and a wallpaper pattern to somehow incorporate the weird yellow and black color scheme I had to work with.



We installed a new pedestal sink because the old one was completely rusted, and some storage in the form of a basic hanging cabinet.  In other words, not much!

White hanging cabinet

White hanging cabinet

The medicine cabinet is authentic, too.  It has the slot to dispose of old razor blades inside.


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Fast forward, my daughter is now in college and her room has become the favorite place for our guests because it’s a big, cozy spot.  This bathroom is no longer cutting it for people visiting.

I had BIG plans for this tiny bathroom.  A full gut.  New marble floor.  Beveled white subway tile with charcoal gray grout. Bigger, frameless glass shower.  New sink, toilet, a modern medicine cabinet.  New wallpaper and a new roman shade.

Until the quotes started coming in…  For this 47″ x 97″ bathroom, the five contractor quotes I received ranged from $10,00 to $14,500.  What?

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By the way, I was personally buying the new sink, toilet, medicine cabinet, wallpaper and tile for this job – these items were not included in the quotes.  The reasons for the high prices were crazy.  The bathroom was a mud job?  The plaster walls might fall apart.  You never know what you will find until you open things up.  Blah, blah, blah.  News flash, this bathroom has been up and running with no issues since 1948!

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Ok, I am going to figure this out myself.

First order of business, remove the old sink and toilet and have the marble floor professionally patched/cleaned.  The floor is actually in very good shape.  A couple of holes and some rust, that’s it.  Picture is gross, I know…

Tasso Marble floor cleaned, patched and sealed

Tasso Marble floor cleaned, patched and sealed

Floor is done and looks great!  The rest will unfold in a few weeks.  Code for, I am not really sure what I am going to do, so stay tuned!  Reader suggestions are encouraged.

the wry home

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