black and yellow vintage bathroom | Lowe

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. See part I of this II post series right here!

As it turns out (but probably not so surprisingly?), vintage bathrooms are very polarizing! We enjoyed reading each and every one of your thoughtful responses to part I of Pete and Rachael’s bathroom refresh, and we quickly saw that there were two schools of thought.

On one hand, we heard the pain points of vintage bath owners; you love your mint, pink and yellow tiles, but you don’t know how to make them work in your day-to-day. We received messages with photos of your own baths attached, and we were honestly green – mint? – with envy over your beautiful spaces! In most cases, a quick coat of paint on the walls would do wonders, in others, a swap for modern plumbing would allow you to see your room(s) with fresh eyes.

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  • Caitlin Spearson - March 15, 2019 - 6:39 AM

    It’s beautiful, but these bathrooms are so not for me. The colored tiles make me twitch haha. So glad we didn’t have one in the house we bought, so I wouldn’t have to wrestle with whether or not to rip it out.

    I definitely think the white walls were the way to go! That bathroom doesn’t need anything “extra.” :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 9:19 AM

      Hahah, we understand! The heart wants what it wants. Luckily you weren’t put in that position!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - March 15, 2019 - 8:15 AM

    So glad to see vintage bathrooms get the love they deserve! All too many people are ready to rip them out entirely, but I think there’s so much potential for charming there. (Although I must admit, of the classic pink, mint, and yellow, yellow is definitely the one I would struggle the most with keeping…)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 9:20 AM

      We’re with you. Yellow is a tough one, but we also don’t see it as often!ReplyCancel

    • SheLikesToTravel - March 15, 2019 - 1:35 PM

      Oh, that is funny to me because yellow is my preference if I get a vintage bathroom.

      I liked the design of the before, but the rest of the house would really have to live up to it. I like the after design a lot too!ReplyCancel

  • thelady - March 15, 2019 - 8:39 AM

    This is so beautiful! So crisp and lovely. It looks like a beautiful boutique hotel with a history! And that mirror !! WowReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 9:18 AM

      The mirror makes my heart sing, for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Kara - March 15, 2019 - 8:41 AM

    I LOVE the challenge of working with what you’ve got and honoring the history of a house. So happy to see that you were able to accomplish that in this space. I’m also happy that some of the fixtures you sourced, like that shower head, will help solve some of my own bath problems!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 9:18 AM

      Hooray! That shower arm was a game changer.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Flynn - March 15, 2019 - 8:53 AM

    I love the new makeover. It feels so much lighter and brighter. But I have to admit that I also loved the old fashioned glamour of the Before. I’m betting that it is an age thing. The Before reminded me a European hotel bathroom; heavy and grand, rather museum like. For such a small space brighter is certainly more user friendly. I still would like to see a little more interest in the window. Lowe’s has a window privacy film Artscape Light Effects Old English that I think might be cute.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 9:18 AM

      Oh, the window film idea is super interesting! Definitely worth checking into for the homeowners. Thank you for the suggestion!ReplyCancel

  • Anne - March 15, 2019 - 8:53 AM

    This is amazing. What a beautiful bathroom. I wouldn’t have believed that such relatively subtle changes would make SUCH a difference. Good job!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 9:18 AM

      All the small details can definitely add up. :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura R - March 15, 2019 - 9:07 AM

    Tiny switches to really let that bathroom shed that weight and those tiles to shine. The bathroom is beautiful – nice job!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - March 15, 2019 - 10:01 AM

    This bathroom is so so so gorgeous! I originally thought the ‘before’ was the ‘after’ when you first shared this bathroom- but oh my goodness- Wow! The after is stunning! The white really makes the yellow and black tile pop. It feels so much lighter and happier now.

    I’d kill to have a bathroom like this in my house! You guys did a fantastic jobReplyCancel

  • Rachel - March 15, 2019 - 10:14 AM

    Nice! At first I thought the white paint plan was a mistake, but it really does let the tile shine. I’m not a fan of the glass shelf over the toilet. That wall is already busy and it seems a bit redundant with the toilet top “surface” right below it. Otherwise, lovely refresh :).ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 1:19 PM

      We hear ya! The homeowners were on the fence at the beginning with the shelf, too. We would rather set something on a shelf than directly on the toilet. Personal preference though. :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - March 15, 2019 - 10:21 AM

    I love how this turned out. I appreciate the restraint and your deft hand — all the little details that add up to a (subtly) big impact. What a refreshingly beautiful “after.” And for the record, I’m #teamvintagetile all the way!ReplyCancel

  • southern gal - March 15, 2019 - 10:29 AM

    well its nice but
    i would have left the yellow border in the ceiling and the original light and medallion and painted the ceiling a very light complementary yellow which would have popped the black tile border

    as for the scones – i would have cleaned and polished them and left them.

    the glass shelf is great and the shower fix

    but its so so sad to get rid of that gorgeous ceiling light and medallion- now that ceiling is bland.

    obviously IMHO.ReplyCancel

  • Shauna Mooney - March 15, 2019 - 10:34 AM

    GLORIOUS! This is such an amazing makeover. And I am so so so happy that all the details are preserved. I will say, I totally would have kept the ornate medallion and sprayed it black. (With the white ceiling.) In fact now I kind of want some medallions like that in my house, do you ship? LOL. Seriously, wonderful job.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 10:51 AM

      We went back and forth on spraying that old medallion black – or even white – several times before deciding that it just didn’t ‘fit’ with the rest of the family home. Pete and Rachael’s house is so sweet and full of vintage charm, but it’s not over-the-top or ornate just for the sake of being different. This feels more like them, which was the whole goal while preserving the tile (which is the real star of the room!).ReplyCancel

  • yasmara - March 15, 2019 - 10:35 AM

    I love it! You have brought the absolute best out of this bathroom.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - March 15, 2019 - 11:15 AM

    I’m one of the people who thought the before was the after (and loved it, initially!); I think because you took the time to get such beautiful photos and nobody does that for the “before” look! I really appreciate it because I get a much better sense of the actual difference. It looks much fresher now; I’m pretty crazy about this bathroom (and the glimpse of the wood doors, love!). If they let you share any more of their house I’d sure love to see…great job!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 1:16 PM

      Melanie, I couldn’t agree with you more! Purposely terrible ‘before’ photos drive me nuts. (Sometimes I understand it might be an old listing photo, but otherwise, there’s no excuse, haha.)

      You can actually see their living room (with the blue velvet sofa!) in this post: https://www.yellowbrickhome.com/bali-olympic-room-makeovers/ReplyCancel

  • Taylor - March 15, 2019 - 11:52 AM

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. It feels so much more accessible than a full renovation, and it makes me feel like I can make some small updates to my old bathroom to make it better! We have a 1959 mint green tiled bathroom :)

    I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s the point of having lots of different styles! And in an older house, it’s not always worth an expensive total overhaul.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 1:16 PM

      Be still my heart! Mint green!ReplyCancel

      • Lisa - March 15, 2019 - 2:54 PM

        Yes! Friends of ours have a gorgeous mint green bathroom with black tile accents. I frequently tell them that I would scoop their house up for that room alone!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - March 15, 2019 - 2:30 PM

    The white paint brightened up the room a lot, and I like the change to the more simple medallion – it lets the schoolhouse fixture stand out, in a way the fancy medallion didn’t – it was fighting with the fixture for attention. Now the schoolhouse fixture looks right.

    I still don’t think the sconces fit with the room, but I guess choices were limited by the need for a large backplate and the limit of one-store shopping. If they find some vintage tiles in the future, they could also redo the electrical boxes so that they could install different lighting with much smaller backplates there.

    I still miss that lovely fabric window shade that was there. Even if it was broken, or they didn’t like it, the window still needs some window dressing to look right. If they don’t feel the need for a shade or blinds due to the window glass not being clear, then the window just needs a fabric valance. I did this in one vintage bathroom I had – I didn’t need a shade as it already had needed plastic blinds (which I left, since it was a rental), but I did add a small valance to the top of the window – not very full at all, mostly just straight fabric with a little ease in it, on a small spring rod I stuck up there inside the window frame. The valance was easy to make – I didn’t get out the sewing machine, but just used iron-on bonding stuff to make a pocket for the spring rod, and to hem the bottom and sides.

    Windows like this one just look bare without something (unlike ones with extensive wood molding), and a valance works for these. I used fabric that was the same as that of a sink skirt I made for the old wall-hung sink (also using flat panels of fabric) to cover the ugly old pipes and give me some needed hidden storage. In this bathroom, I would have used something other than a plain white shower curtain – though I had a white shower curtain in that bathroom with the fabric valance and sink skirt, I think every bathroom needs some colorful fabric. For this bath, I’d find a fabric that picks up on the yellow and black of the tile for the shower curtain, and use that, or another fabric that coordinates with the shower curtain fabric colors, for the valance.

    All in all, a nice improvement here. The new mirror looks great as well. I’m thinking there may be some original caps out there that would cover the screws in the centers of the tub hot and cold valves they might find in some vintage place, but maybe those are the first things to break or get lost, and so are hard to find. Or they might make reproduction versions. It isn’t clear they’d be white ceramic ones – the handles on the hot and cold look like they could be newer replacement ones for the original ones – they look different than the shower diverter handle.

    I love the old 30’s tiles – and I love the yellow ones here. I know some don’t like yellow in bathrooms, but I do. I had a black and white tile bathroom that I use yellow and some greens in as the accent colors, including a nice yellow fabric shower curtain. I have friends with the green and lavender versions of the sort of tiles here, and I like them too, especially the classic light green ones. I don’t love the pink ones as much, but I once had a very pink tiled bathroom (not the 30’s version, but a mid-century version) – but by the time I got working with the pink to tone it down to make it work (using blue and grey fabrics), I came to like that pink bath.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 17, 2019 - 7:09 PM

      We love and appreciate this thoughtful comment! Thank you so much, Ann.

      Regarding the window treatment, I can’t say I disagree. Perhaps a valance would be a nice way to add some texture and a dash of “something.” The window is frosted, so there’s technically no need for a shade of any kind, as privacy isn’t an issue. I had considered a black roller shade or a bamboo shade for warmth, but once the old shade was down, the room felt so much bigger! We decided to leave it for now, and if the homeowners decide that they need a little boost, they would choose a fabric that THEY love, as opposed to the previous homeowner. :)

      Also, a lavender bathroom – be still my heart! Lucky friends you have!ReplyCancel

  • peter - March 15, 2019 - 2:30 PM

    So in love with the transformation! Great job guys <3ReplyCancel

  • Kristi - March 15, 2019 - 3:48 PM

    Come do this to my PINK AND MINT GREEN bathroom….haha! I love the old school tile and want to embrace it but it looks like a clown threw up in my bathroom. You guys did and amazing job, I am jealous!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - March 15, 2019 - 8:08 PM

    I have two of these vintage bathrooms in my house. One’s pink and one’s a creamy, light yellow with black border. To be honest, I’ve thought about renovating our bathrooms, but I’m a stickler for keeping what’s original or vintage in the house. I love seeing this refresh. It makes me see my bathroom in a new light!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - March 16, 2019 - 7:38 AM

    I’m pretty sure this is the prettiest and my favorite bathroom I’ve ever seen. Perfect job!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - March 16, 2019 - 8:32 AM

    I loved this makeover! I love seeing vintage bathrooms get the love they deserve. I know they’re not for everyone, but I’m so, so sad that ours was ripped out about 10 years ago in our 1932 Dutch Colonial. Oh well.

    I know that you probably didn’t purchase this since it isn’t in your list of products, but because they’re your friends you may know ;) Where is that cute little stool from that their daughter is using?ReplyCancel

  • Kim B. - March 16, 2019 - 12:36 PM

    This is SO charming and exquisite. And I would have said I don’t like yellow and black! But the detailing and the restraint that you chose really made this room sing. The restoration to the original mirror shape, the sconces you chose the morning of!! (and your trick solutions), letting the tile sing, the terrific solution with the shower head and oh my, that silhouette. Bravo, well done!ReplyCancel

  • lak - March 16, 2019 - 2:46 PM

    It looks fabulous….I too like seeing a redo with many existing features incorporated in the design! NICE JOB!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - March 17, 2019 - 11:58 AM

    This bathroom mimics your blog logo 🙂. I love the refresh you gave it.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - March 17, 2019 - 6:12 PM

    I would love it if you could talk more about the mirror switch. Was the old one just screwed in? How did the new one fit in without those weird screw head/rivets on the front? So many questions!ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer - March 17, 2019 - 6:14 PM

      Also, great job! I just let my mirror enthusiasm overtake me!

      I’m a fan of vintage bathrooms, and I think you did a really great job honoring the original while making it functional (that shower head…genius!) and striking. So well done!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 17, 2019 - 7:05 PM

      Great question! Do you see those little buttons in the four corners of the rectangular mirror? Those were little discs that covered screws that attached the rectangular mirror to the original shape. We couldn’t tell what the shape was from the back, so Scott removed the discs (or caps) and unscrewed the mirror. We didn’t know if it was glued on or what – but luckily, it was only held in place with screws, and it revealed the new shape underneath! Rachael took the door off the hinges, and when she had a mirror cut to replicate the original shape, they glued it right onto the door, which eliminated the need for those caps/discs. It couldn’t have turned out better, we think!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - March 17, 2019 - 8:22 PM

    Thank you for showing how freshen/style a vintage bathroom! Both homes I’ve owned have original, vintage bathrooms and it’s so much harder to figure out how to update while working with what you’ve got. Thanks for showing it can be done and done beautifully!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa A MacGregor - March 18, 2019 - 11:14 AM

    Love this!! Amazing job!!ReplyCancel

  • love links – in backyards - March 18, 2019 - 12:31 PM

    […] not usually into older homes, but this bathroom makeover is […]ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - March 18, 2019 - 4:18 PM

    I think the bathroom came out great and you’re right when you say that they new white paint and other makeunder details lets the feature be the original tile instead of fighting with the other bold additions.

    For the leaky tub filler, they probably don’t need to replace the filler but need new stems in the hot/cold/diverter. If they do want to replace the filler spout it should screw off from the tub side – hoping that the replacement filler has the same threads though might be an issue. The old tub handles were made with compression stems and those can also be replaced from the tub side. Use a screw driver to remove the handle and then you’ll need a stem wrench to remove the stem. I bought a set with multiple sizes since I wasn’t sure what size i needed and just tried them all until one fit. The washers on the old stems are probably worn and stretched and that’s why the tub is leaking. It’s probably easier to get new replacement stems than just new washers but you’ll want to find an old plumbing supply store since Lowes probably won’t have parts for pluming that old. It’s not an easy fix but really isn’t very hard at all and once you have all the right tools it’s quick.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 18, 2019 - 7:57 PM

      Wonderful info, thank you, Ryan!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - March 19, 2019 - 5:16 PM

    I think the bathroom is adorable. I live in a 1920s house with lots of stained glass. I admit that I haven’t quite gotten the upstairs bathroom right. The window is a big lily pond with cattails. It has blues, green, pink and brown. What goes with that?
    Some people say not to worry about it, but I think that in a small bathroom the window should be the star and everything else shoudl comlement. Any ideas?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 19, 2019 - 5:29 PM

      I agree with you, and I’d keep everything else subdued. Maybe choose a very pale pink, which is also a very flattering color under bathroom lighting.ReplyCancel

      • Leslie - March 20, 2019 - 2:01 PM

        Thanks, Kim!ReplyCancel

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how we mix wood tones in a space | 5 general rules to keep in mind | via Yellow Brick Home

vintage rug (similar) | dipped stool | sconce | vanity

Much like mixing metals, colors, or fabrics, mixing wood tones can be an exercise in subtlety. Variations in tone, grain, finish, and scale should all be considered when tossing different species of wood in a space. After posting about the update to our recently modified media console, we received a question from a reader in search of some guidance on mixing wood tones happily in a space that is currently dominated by dark walnut tones.

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

credenza | entryway light | clock

She asks:

Do you have a recommendation on how to mix wood tones? Most of our wood pieces are a dark walnut. How do you make mixed wood tones look intentional and organic? – Gina

We’re often answering this question through emails and DMs, and Gina’s question was the kick we needed to pull our answer together under one post. We hope this helps!

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  • lak - March 14, 2019 - 8:35 AM

    Love the suggestions, and your homesReplyCancel

  • Austin - March 14, 2019 - 3:43 PM

    Such a timely post! I just bought this mirror from Target that I LOVE (link: https://www.target.com/p/french-country-mirror-42-x-30-threshold-153/-/A-53476055 – it’s a little grayer in person than it reads online.) for my entry, but I have NO idea what material/color console table to pair it with. I feel like the color of the wood frame isn’t a “natural” tone, but I don’t want to pair it with a matching piece that looks like a set from Rooms To Go. I was thinking black, but I’d really love a more eclectic feel with another wood tone. Any tips? Paralyzed with indecision!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 14, 2019 - 6:09 PM

      That is SO pretty! To be honest, I’d pair it with something in the warm white family (but not TOO white, for fear of it leaning grandma-y) OR a wood that’s lighter in tone that’s been ‘pickled’ – here’s an example of pickled wood.ReplyCancel

      • Austin - March 15, 2019 - 4:33 PM

        Awesome! I think a warm white is definitely the way to go! Thank you so much for the advice.ReplyCancel

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How We

This post is in partnership with Homes.com.

Our first floor bath renovation is around the corner! Did you notice it during our recent house tour? It hasn’t changed one bit since the day we moved into our home – almost 6 years ago. This future makeover remains untouched due to my all-or-nothing mentality, but to be honest, it never felt like a fresh coat of paint would stretch very far anyway. The mis-match of tiles (and random placement thereof), the countless layers of subfloor and that big, gold corner shower would still steal the show no matter what, certainly, and investing in a replacement vanity hardly felt worth the effort. We knew it would all change eventually, and friends, that time is now.

While we have no intention of moving, it’s a well known fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. This should come as no surprise! With that in mind, we’ll be making conscious decisions to ensure that our choices maximize the return on our investment for when we’re older, more grey (than we already are!) and ready to sell our home (and move somewhere where it’s sunny year-round, of course). We’re speaking more to that on Homes.com, where we’ll also be recapping how we did once the renovation is complete! The first part of that two part series is right here, and we hope it will give you a better understanding on our thought process in regards to ROI before the first sledgehammer hits the wall.

How We

We’re still in the early planning stages, but we do know that the shower will stay – that is, once we push the wall back and can create a more usable, linear space. The toilet and vanity will swap. The old floor (and the floor beneath that and the floor beneath that) will all come up. Drywall will be replaced altogether. It’s going to be so drastically different!

How We

We think it will be fun to bring in a real estate expert to gather information on how our renovation investment paid off, which will be fun to see once the dust has settled and the new tile has been shined up. In the meantime, we’re still gathering inspiration on how we’d like to finish the room – tiled walls? Tongue and groove? An unexpected wallpaper?

More before photos and how we plan to maximize ROI can be found on Homes.com right here! (Side note: Did you know that Homes.com has a database where you can view the value of your home based on where you live and comparable public records?) We can’t wait to start sharing our design decisions as they begin to unfold!

  • Carolyn - March 14, 2019 - 6:53 AM

    Hi Kim and Scott, long time reader, love your blog and great job on your beautiful home. I wonder if you would ever do a post on how to contain dust and debris while you’re living through a renovation? I think especially for those of us with young children at home, this is a big concern. I am considering renovating one of our bathrooms but am concerned about what dust/dirt may be kicked up with my toddler around. Do you just cover all your furniture in plastic, try to seal off doorways, etc? Would you to hear your thoughts. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 14, 2019 - 12:54 PM

      We hear you – renovation dust is HUGE. For big jobs, our contractors hang thick plastic sheeting from ceiling to floor to close off the demo area. Sometimes they’ll cut a slit in it to act as a doorway for each access, but during active work, it’s sealed up. Outside of the sheeting (in any usable living areas), we’ll lay more plastic sheeting or dropcloths on big furniture or tables nearby. :)ReplyCancel

  • Hope - March 15, 2019 - 11:21 AM

    I’ve read your blog off and on for years and always wondered if it bothered you to have the bathroom door right there next to the dining table. I never thought it was really appropriate to ask before now, though. I just assumed that when everyone was gathered around the table people would use the bathroom upstairs. When you redid the kitchen, did you ever consider putting a door into the bathroom from there? Have you considered having people enter the bathroom through the work room?

    All this time, I assumed you’d redone the bathroom before I started reading your blog. i’m really excited that you have one more room in the house that I can watch you work on.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 1:20 PM

      Hi, Hope! It used to drive us nuts that the bath was right off of the dining room, but it’s definitely one of those weird old Chicago house things. We thought about all the ways we could move the door when we renovated the kitchen, but then… we’d have a bathroom door off of the kitchen! It felt like a no win, so we’ll just have to make this extra pretty. It’s a few steps away from the guest room, so it’s actually been nice that people are close to their ‘guest’ bath as well.ReplyCancel

  • Katy - March 15, 2019 - 3:23 PM

    Kind of related to Hope’s comment, if you switch the locations of the vanity and toilet, won’t you see the toilet if the door is open? I would 100% rather look at a vanity than a toilet. What are the reasons for not keeping the toilet tucked around a corner out of view?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2019 - 5:04 PM

      The toilet is going to be on the same wall that it is now, but the vanity will move as well so that a shower can span the length of that back wall! (I wonder if I misspoke earlier or in the article?) yeah, we definitely don’t want to be opening the door to walk right into a toilet!ReplyCancel

      • Clarissa - March 18, 2019 - 11:11 AM

        Thank goodness you aren’t putting the toilet on display by swapping things around! I was worried about that too. I still think seeing the vanity is better than seeing the shower when the door is open, but it’s understandable that you have to shift things to get the most out of the space.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - March 17, 2019 - 1:11 AM

    I really appreciate this series! I’ve hear about ROI, but almost always in a very abstract sense. If you’re able, sharing numbers – even ballpark – would make this series extremely helpful!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 17, 2019 - 7:09 PM

      Thanks for the feedback, we’d be happy to!ReplyCancel

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