before and after

Before & After: Christina’s 1950s Bathroom Makeover

by Grace Bonney

I am a sucker for a good subway tile makeover. Throw in killer brass details, and I’m 100% sold. This beautiful mid-century bathroom makeover comes from designer Christina Loucks, who turned a green-tiled bathroom into a calm white oasis. I like that she mixed different tile types and added a few metallic touches that feel modern but not overly contemporary for the space. If this were my bathroom, I would be one happy camper. Great job, Christina! xo, grace

Photos by to Amber Fouts

More images continue after the jump . . .

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  • Beautiful! Two questions: 1) did you frost the window? 2) are you concerned about steam from the shower rotting the window sill? I’m about to move my tub in front of a window. Thx!

  • Gorgeous! Love the floor tile! Would you mind sharing your source for the hand towel ring? It is gorgeou

  • I have to admit, I would have kept that awesome Tetris floor! But the white looks lovely and refreshing.

    Where is that brass hand-towel ring from? It’s great!

  • Wow, I love seeing these before and after photos! Definitely want my bathroom to look like that once I have my own place :)

  • Nice job! Love the new floor. I guess I’m another one interested in where you got the brass towel ring–that would look fantastic in my bath “mini-makeover” I’m about to do!

  • Love the little nook shelf. Do you keep the little plant there? I bet there are some tropical plants that would love the extra steam and humidity…

  • What are the dimensions of the bathroom – and would love to see your sink! thank you.

  • Beautiful work. I’d like to see a picture of your sink as well. I love that DS decided to show a makeover of a small bathroom, as many of us live in small, older homes. My bathroom is teensy and I’d love to get more details about this renovation because I hate my sink!

  • I love all the white. Great makeover. Personally, I would have kept that amazing floor tiling. I loved the hues, much more than the safe greys, but to each his/her own.

  • I have that exact same floor tile in my bathroom!! I almost did a double take, thinking I had somehow imposed my memory onto your photo. Maybe because I desperately want to redo mine. Anyway, yours looks great now!

  • HI! It’s Christina, again! It is so fun to read your comments on the design! I did LOVE the floors, but they were in bad shape and when we pulled the tub out there was no way to save it. You just don’t find tiling like that anymore! Except in my other bathroom:)

    The sink is a 30″ all-white vanity. Not much counter space, so what you see in the image above is most of it.

    The total square footage of the space is 40 square ft, including the tub/shower. It feels much bigger now after the renovation and using a clear shower curtain to keep the space feeling open.

  • Beautiful.
    Can you share the name of the tile or where you got it? Need to replace my floor and this one might work.

  • We’re just about to do our bathroom in a very similar way with metro tiles. Love your floor, great idea, it is hard to know what goes with the metro tiles and yours work well. Have you got pale grey grout? Thanks do sharing, it’s lovely.

  • I’m about to make tile decisons for a bathroom – was planning on doing this ( http://www.modwalls.com/brioblendsurfside.aspx ) tile around the tub which is eerily like those floors…..but seeing your bathroom be so bright and white makes me gun-shy to go so bold in a bathroom without a window. maybe i’ll do the inset shelves in that tile. Can you tell me where you got the subway? I’ve heard that you can “really tell” the difference between cheap and quality tile, but i’m not certain of that yet.

  • I agree with everyone else–beautiful! And Urban Outfitters?! I forget what great home stuff they have; thanks for the link.

  • Christina, I love love love the makeover! It looks very similar to the one I am planning in my own bath. I have to know, where is the penny tile from?

  • Your bathroom is serene and refreshing. I too am dying to know where you sourced the bathroom floor tile. I love the gradation in the pattern!

  • Sorry, but a white bathroom is SO boring. It’s a pity you didn’t consult the website “Retro Renovation” before you started, that “before” tile is stunning. You could have pulled some nice green and gold accents from it to use in your remodel. It’s a pity. LONG LIVE THE PINK BATHROOM! :0)

  • There is always an obnoxious commentator when it comes to white!! :P Sure they’re nice green tiles but she explained at least twice that she couldn’t re-use them and maybe she just didn’t want a retro kitschy bathroom and move on a bit with the times. Her bathroom her choice. If she wants white so be it! It was tastefully done. Personally I like colourful chaos but I seriously felt envious when seeing this. I need a great space like that to shed all the troubles, to stay calm and recharge. This also gives her carte blanche for adding any colourful accessory! You know, in case she gets bored! ;)

  • I love it all, especially the brass accessories. Can anyone tell me where the hand towel came from?

  • Polished brass and white had their heyday in the early 1960s, and a revival is due. I would have opted for an antique ivory tile with crazing (subtle brassy warmth) and brought in some color accents. However, I’m totally with Libby and several others on this one: that original mosaic floor was simply amazing and had a real wow factor…covering it up with mega-pixelated grey was an easy option, but not the best one. You could have tried a more careful demo and saved It may have been worth splicing in a complementary solid tile where the tub pullout damage was, then using TSP and some grout stain on the whole floor (old and new) to keep uniformity. Saving the old flooring section would have rightly kept it (not the generic subway tile) in the focus.

    • Woody

      People could have tried lots of different options, but they typically choose the ones that they like best. I think people often forget there isn’t a universal “best” way to do most things.


  • Hi! Christina, Again:)

    The towel is from west elm. It had the option for monogramming, so I chose to write HAND.

    The mirror is from Ikea.

  • Was this a complete gut? Did you tear out the walls and start over? Or go over the tiles? I have a really ugly 1950 bathroom and I’m agonizing how to accomplish this with only one bathroom…

  • wow. we tried to get a little ‘alcove’ with shelf in our bathroom reno and the guy who did the bathroom just went ballistic and said it was impossible to do. We ended up with an irregularly shaped cavern in the wall that we could probably put some house plants in. Yours was what we were dreaming of! beautiful reno, great taste!!

  • Hi Christina! I love your bathroom, it’s an absolute dream. Can you tell me where you found the brass plant holder? I’m looking for receptacles like this for my wedding this fall… thank you!

  • Lovely! I have a 1950s green tile bath with the tetris floor. I would love to tear it out! I have to sit bunched in the floor each summer with grout paint and try to make it look clean for a few months. I want this whole serene bath!