Jul 5, 2010

Republic of Pink

I have a bit of a love-stuck relationship with my pink upstairs bathroom at the moment*. Sure, I'm proud that we've dug in our heels and kept the pink but stuck because there are certain design elements in the bathroom that I am not sure will translate well to a more modern audience.

El Pinko is nearly original. Cast iron tub (pink), tub faucet, pink splattered tile, toilet (pink again), wood vanity, mirror, lighting, hardware, trim and vent. As far as I can tell, the enamel pink sink and tap and cream vinyl floor were replaced.

Original toilet with 'stunning' wooden toilet seat. Wood + toilet seat = worst invention ever. Love the angled lines of the toilet base though. Note broken toilet lid and shelf over toilet that appears to be blocking any type of access into toilet bowl. Nothing beats needing a sledgehammer to fix a toilet.

Sweet little original chrome taps by Mueller. Company no longer exists. Plumbateria in Calgary carries a good selection of discontinued or hard to find plumbing parts. Unfortunately no Mueller parts from that era. Ebay is the next best option.

Cute little chrome soap holder and good closeup of original pink/white tiles surrounding the bathtub.

Original vent. We had this same style vent re-chromed for the downstairs bathroom. It looks amazing. Maybe when we finally get a sink downstairs sometime in the next 10 years I'll be able to post pictures of it.

We've been boggled by the faux marble laminate counter. When we first moved in, it was covered in blue Mac Tac. I know, I know. Who would be that mean to a counter? After removing we found an intact, but quite water damaged original cream? white? laminate counter. There's a portion that extends over the toilet and it appeared that should anything go wrong with the toilet, that we'd have to smash out the counter (see first picture). Lucky for us, the toilet chain broke 5 minutes after our first summer guests arrived for us to test it out** Awesome.

With hammer in hand, Jason reluctantly headed up to the bathroom to conduct his first unplanned demo while I huddled in the kitchen. He came down a few minutes later with the over-the-toilet section in his hand and a smile on his face. Turns out this section just slides out. Clever non?

So our big dilemma? Do we replace with laminate to preserve the original material and design of the counter or replace with a material that will glam up the pink? Glamming it up means losing the portion over the toilet. Bottom line with the bathroom is to ensure its 'survival' after we sell. Prior to this fun discovery, we were going to replace the counter with a local recycled glass counter from Crystal Crete, based out of Red Deer - 100% local and green. I keep flip flopping between them and laminate.

This bathroom will have the highest level of restoration in our house. Here's the plan as it stands:

  • Repaint cast iron tub (pink)
  • Restore chrome tub taps
  • Retain soap and toilet paper holders
  • Chrome vent
  • Retain wood vanity - to be reclad with birch veneer and new chrome handles from Rejuvenation (dish cabinet knob with star back)
  • Refinish mirrored cupboard and replace cracked/degraded mirrors with new
  • Retain lighting
  • Refinish door and retain chrome door handle
  • Repaint toilet (pink)
  • Replace completely rusted out sink with repainted replica
  • Paint walls and original trim

  • Replace cream vinyl floor with white oval stone tile floor (it's so fabulous)
  • New sink tap
  • Counter????? Help!

We recently completed the refinishing of the bathtub. It had actually dulled to a peachy colour and was pretty dinged up. We used Granor Bath Renovations, based in Calgary. Grant Sayles, the owner, is excellent. He's been in the business for a long time, stands by his work and has some juicy stories about people's obsessions with their fixtures in Calgary. Make sure you're home when he's working - hours of entertainment. Grant also provided us with a re-finished toilet lid and a 50's pink toilet seat from his collection. The toilet seat doesn't match completely but is good enough until we can do this: Beamis Color Direct Toilet Seats For the whole shebang, including repainted tub, toilet lid, repainted exact Crane sink to replace rusted sink (from Restore), it cost us $800. Grant guarantees his work for 5 years and has already come back to buff out the tub at no charge. In the end, much cheaper than demo'ing and buying a new tub and far gentler on the earth.

For those who are interested, Grant apparently has a pretty good collection of fixtures at his house. Best to contact him to see if he has what you are looking for in stock. And always keep in mind that if you find a fixture you really like at the local new and used and it's burgundy or lavender, that he can likely repaint to match your bathroom.

Here's a play by play of the re-finishing which took about 6 hours total:

A layer of acid is smeared on the bath to remove the paint. Also good to clear clogs in the drain...

A base coat and sealer is sprayed onto the bath

The bath is sprayed in this pretty pink and left to dry for 3 days. We should have planned for this as we had no shower at the time. Anyone for a dip in the kitchen sink?

Before: Dull, peachy and pocky (also for those lead fearing folk, apparently you can tell if lead is leaching in a bath by how dull the colour of the bath is. Which is why we had re-finishing as top on the list)

After: Shiny, happy, and pink! This was after the bath was buffed out a couple of weeks ago. The bath now always looks this good. Well, as good as pink can look...

Next on the list for this bathroom is to fix up this vanity (recladding in birch veneer), doing away with the cracked and rotting laminate counter, replacing the now gushing sink and pipes with the repainted version (this will happen in the next couple of days) and replacing damaged mirrors with new. I will be painting the room some shade of grey (naturally). Floor will follow probably later this year.

Current state of the vanity. Note wood under laminate showing.

Toilet with it's 'new' toilet seat that doesn't quite match but is leagues better than the wooden one. See the fancy tupperware container catching the leak? So classy.


*Apart from the fact that every single fixture is currently leaking/dripping/gushing at this moment (and our plumber's in Edmonton - thank god for tupperware).

** The downstairs toilet had just been re-installed the day before after 4 months with only 1 bathroom.


VoyageVixen said...

I love the pink and the space age taps! :)

Sara In AZ said...

Hey, LOVE your pink bathroom! And, congrats to you for not gutting out the retro charm! One idea for your counter might be Formica 6942 Charcoal Boomerang. It has that retro look, but modern too.

Laura said...

Hi Sara!

Thanks! It's definitely a challenge to work with the pink. But a challenge I am up for. That's an excellent suggestion. I love that pattern and grey is such a good complement to pink (one of the few).

Unknown said...

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Anonymous said...

Pink. You just can't go wrong with pink. In fact, from what I understand, pink is what real men wear. All the red deer plumbers I know wear pink all the time. And it looks great. Eureka! You should have the pink plumbers inspect your pink bathroom!

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