Before and After: A Mid-Century Modern Bathroom Gets a Facelift, But Keeps Its 50-Year-Old Blue Tub 

published Mar 21, 2023
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Bathroom before renovation. dated faux wood cabinets, white counter, blue sink, off white walls, white tile floor
Credit: Karen Graham

When planning a home renovation project, it can be difficult to decide which details stay and which ones go. For homeowners who don’t want to accidentally strip their spaces of character, keeping a few key pieces of the original design goes a long way. 

When Karen Graham purchased her 1979 home seven years ago, she loved its groovy feel and wanted to maintain as much as she could of its classic look. As with most homes, though, not all of the throwback details withstood the test of time. 

Credit: Karen Graham

The home’s bathroom was a prime example. “While I wanted to keep the blue bathtub, the rest of the fixtures in the room were drab and dated,” Karen says. 

The glass doors on the tub were claustrophobic, and the white tiles had yellowed and grayed. Karen had replaced a few things over the years, like the toilet, but she knew a bigger renovation was finally in store. 

Credit: Karen Graham

She called in an experienced friend named Phillippe Tardivet to help, and he handled the demolition, vanity installation, and floor tile alongside another pro who oversaw plumbing. She was in charge of painting, wallpaper, and general aesthetics. To blend the remodel with the mid-century feel of the house, Karen chose a white vanity with simple lines and a faucet from Wayfair. 

Credit: Karen Graham

The pebble tile flooring, which was purchased at Lowe’s, also brings the outdoors in — another key feature of that bygone era. The existing blue tub remains a focal point, but the new deep blue paint and geometric blue wallpaper tie the entire space together. “[Those upgrades] made a huge difference to the feel and function of this room,” Karen says. 

There’s not much she would change about this remodel, since she says that it meets all of her expectations. The only advice she offers anyone tackling a similar project? Be precise to avoid more work. “Measure twice, cut once,” she advises.

Credit: Karen Graham

“I love the way the room feels — it is so much brighter and more functional,” Karen says. “The pebble floors feel good on my bare feet, too.”