A gazillion people pledged to preserve vintage pink bathrooms.
Maybe you have a pink bathroom. Or you just love them.
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MAMIE PINK: The iconic decorating color of the 50s, arguably. Ubiquitous in fashion as well as bathrooms and kitchens. The mid-century trend to pink seems to have come directly and irrefutably from Mamie Eisenhower, first lady from 1953 to 1961. Pink was Mamie’s favorite color. She wore a pink gown with 2,000 pink rhinestones to Ike’s inauguration. Ike sent her pink flowers every morning. Her bathroom in Gettysburg was pink down to the cotton balls. She re-decorated the private quarters in the White House in pink. So much so that reporters called it the “Pink Palace.” The color also seems to have been known as “First Lady Pink.” As a result of all this pink-think, there was probably no question that American women (and marketers) would pick up on it. It also was a color trend right in line with the exuberance of the time — and even supportive of the return of women to the home after WWII and their complete remaking of the American domestic landscape. Read more
If you like pink bathrooms, you’ll love my main site, RetroRenovation.com — a retro-wonderland of mid-century renovation resources… design inspiration… vintage finds… and friends all interested in cherishing their postwar homes. Click here to jump on over to Retro Renovation — welcome!
Glamorlux Nancy was one of the first Retro Renovation readers to show off a vintage pink bathroom that she had embraced wholeheartedly. Her theme: Pink poodles, how appropro. “Two years ago,” she says, “when we were house-hunting, the pink bathroom (and other original 50′s features) is what sold us on this particular home!” Her bathroom is an all-time favorite — with readers writing me regularly to ask, “Where can I get a shower curtain just like that?” Sorry, folks, no straighforward answer on that one. You’ll have to hunt it down vintage. But send out kind and patient vibes, and the retro decorating gods may well send one your way. Read more about Nancy’ bathroom over on Retro Renovation.
If you think pink is a *limited* color, think pink again. At World of Tile — a time capsule tile store that we discovered in Springfield, N.J. — I counted 95 colors of vintage pink bathroom replacement tile. If you need replacements — for wall or floor — this is your go-to source. You will need to send an actual sample — photos won’t work — because, did I mention: There are 95 potential matches! Tell Chippy I sent you. Oh, and they have lots of great vintage floor tile, too. Original story here. Contact World of Tile here.
Real men DO have pink bathrooms. You see, a university professor, Jo Paoletti of the University of Maryland, actually has done extensive academic research studying how it is that the color pink today has come to be associated with girls and the color blue, with boys. Seems like the shift did not begin until the beginning of the 20th century and even then, it took until after World War II for this yet-another gender distinction to become entrenched. Before that, parents used a variety of colors for their children’s clothing and rooms. So, in the 1930s, when pink bathrooms started to appear, I am surmising that pink did NOT mean girlie or effeminate — it just meant “lovely.” The University of Utah Press will publish Jo Paoletti’s monograph, Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, in 2010. Ad: Kohler, 1954.
Taylor was among the two dozen or so RetroRenovation.com readers who attended my first-ever talk on Save The Pink Bathrooms, at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 5, 2010. It’s readers like this who make it all worth while.
That’s my sister Jenni. She and I drove to Lexington to visit Judi, who took us to Cindy’s house to see her pink bathroom. Following that? A road trip. To see a pink bathroom. The bathroom was really quite lovely — Cindy had decorated it in a way that I describe as “timeless.” Not kitschy, although I have no problem with that whatsoever. She took this other route, mixing Victoriana, Maine pottery, delicate floral wallpaper — and even a Hello Kitty — in an eclectic mix that was … just her own. I wrote a complete post about the visit on my other site here.
How did America end up with 5 million pink bathrooms? Credit goes to: A super-efficient military wife with sparkling blue eyes.
Mamie Doud Eisenhower had a tried-and-true method for setting up new households as she traveled the world with her husband the General. She knew she looked good in pink. Put the two together and ultimately you get: Mamie Pink bathrooms all across America. Five million is my conservative estimate. Maybe even 10 million, a reader yesterday estimated. Today we dive into the story of how Mamie Eisenhower led us down this primrose pink path. Above: 1960 Christmas card made by Hallmark for Mamie. All images in this post courtesy The Eisenhower National Historic Site. Read more
It’s a pink bathroom bonanza: Here we have not only pink , but also the blog’s first Jack ‘n Jill bathroom. And — the adorable Susan (above), a first-time homeowner, to tell us all about the bathroom, and her ‘new’ 1962 home. Surprise surprise, her note includes this:
“When we first bought the house I was not a fan of the bathrooms. However, thanks to your site I have realized how great a pink bathroom can be!” Read more
Pink bathrooms got a lot of viz when this video of “Jessica’s Daily Affirmation” went viral starting in June 2009. Could it be that this weebit’s pink bathroom had something to do with her good mood? Reader Donna thinks so: “I know this isn’t exactly about renovations, but the bathroom is an excellent pink with a hudee ring sink, and I’m certain that contributes to the little girl’s positive outlook! Love your site, I get so many great ideas here!”
Yes, evolutionary biology pretty much answers all questions about why we like anything. Our partners. Chocolate. Pink bathrooms…. Our preferences are hard-wired into our brains (which reach all the way down to our stomachs) back to caveman and cavewoman days. Why pink? Well…for women, scientists hypothesize that our senses are honed to the color as part of our historic hunting-and-gathering role. Those of us who can spot the bright red berries — survive! Hey, it sounds good to me, I like berries a lot, too. Read more about pink and evolutionary biology over on Retro Renovation.
There’s pretty much nothing we find more exciting than time capsule houses — homes that have been well tended and haven’t changed much over the years. We spotlight lots of them on Retro Renovation. And when there’s a pink bathroom inside – whoa! stop the presses! That’s me, at an estate sale where I was able to capture this Hollywood Regency delight. Come on, people. Life is too short. Don’t take yourself too seriously. A pink bathroom has come into your life? Seize the day. BTW this time capsule house was fantastic, read more here.
Scathing Jane is a regular reader of Retro Renovation. The small pink bathroom in her mid-century Atlanta home needed to be expanded. Instead of ripping out the old pink tile, she chose to work with it. Those are vintage Crane bathrooms sinks she hunted down. Even after she found these for her own, she scopes vintage fixtures for sale on craigslist all across the nation — posting them almost every day on our Retro Renovation Forum for steel cabinets and other kitchen and bath stuff. Jane rocks. Read more about her bathroom here.
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Evaxebra is a talented, spirited photographer who loves pink bathrooms to live with — and to photograph in. You see, there’s something special about the light as it bounces off all that pink tile. It makes you look really good — glowing. Unless you are immersed in a tub of faux blood, of course. We now have 900+ photos in our Save the Pink Bathrooms group. You can see them all here. Seems like amateur and professional photographers alike love to take photos in pink bathrooms. The tile. Toilets. Tubs. Vanities. Cats in pink bathrooms. Dogs, too. There’s plenty of mirror blogging. Nothing kinky allowed in this group, although I assure you I screen plenty of those out. Special thanks to Evaxebra for giving me permission to post this photo. You can see all her photographs on flickr here. Fellow bloggers/websites, please play nice and ask her permission if you’d like to feature this image as well. Thank you.