They say what’s old is new again, and that’s certainly true with the popular Instagram account Vintage Bathroom Love, which celebrates retro bathrooms, tile, and home design. The two rooms most likely to be renovated in a home are the kitchen and bathroom, so to find a still-intact ceramic-tiled bathroom is something of a miracle. Clawfoot tubs, pink tile, floral wallpaper, and vintage vanities can be incredibly charming. While these outdated bathrooms might not be to everyone’s liking or a selling point for potential home buyers, embracing the classic look is sometimes a good thing. Trendy and modern tastes don’t always work in a historic home, so let’s look at some bathrooms that have survived the decades.
Oak Park is known for its older homes, so I’m not surprised to find this 1950 Art Moderne design with not one but three colorful bathrooms. The 3,500-square-foot single-family house needs a would-be buyer who not only loves glass blocks and curving staircases but also wants to preserve a fun piece of nostalgia. Instead of redoing the retro pink-and-black tiled bathroom, why not celebrate it by modernizing the overall aesthetic as the current owners have done here? A wallpapered ceiling can make a bold statement, while also freshening up the space. But let’s not forget about the other two vintage lavatories, which are pretty cool in their own right.
Hitting the real estate market just last month, this “sold as-is” property in Chicago’s Sauganash neighborhood has already received a price cut, currently listed at $449,000. The 1920s home is in need of some freshening up, but let’s acknowledge the untouched bathroom. The oversized space has vintage ceramic tile (notice the built-in, tile-glazed cup holder), a full bathtub, art deco-style vanity with side lights, historic sink, and original flooring with a basketweave design. I love how the faded green tile covers not only the walls but the tub as well.
In the 1950s and 60s, pink bathrooms became all the rage, finding their way into millions of homes across the country, whether Cape Cods, ranches, or split levels like this one located in Downers Grove. While the kitchen was updated twenty years ago, the overall appearance of this five-bedroom, three-bathroom home looks fairly original. Between the wood-paneled living room ceiling and the stone fireplace and wet bar in the recreation room, this dwelling is a great throwback to the midcentury modern style. And instead of gutting the pink bathroom, the glass-etched shower and ceramic tile survive as evidence of the 1950s.
Located on on more than eight acres in Bannockburn, this five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home is a literal time capsule, unchanged since it was built in 1970. Even if you’re not a fan of its outdated interior, you’re bound to love the property’s beautiful outdoor spaces, which include a pool/spa, sport court, terraces, putting green, mature trees, and views of a lake. But let’s talk about those bathrooms. While the rest of the house is quite amazing with its original herringbone floors and family room sunken bar, some of the bathrooms also allow you to step back in time. Retro fans will love the groovy geometric patterns in the wallpaper and the old-school vanities and countertops.
This timeless Italian Renaissance Revival residence was built for Henry W. and Tillie Lutter in 1928-29. Serving as Glenview Village President for six years, Henry was also vice president and superintendent of the Lutter Brick Company’s 150-acre site in town, making it one of the largest brickyards in the Chicago area. Located on a half-acre lot across from the North Shore Country Club, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home features Lutter’s famous cream-colored brick on the exterior, while the inside is a mix of modern updates and vintage splendor. Two of the bathrooms are original with minimal changes — the highlights being the colorful tiles, pedestal sinks, and basketweave floors.