Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Fun Resolution to a Bathroom Dilemma

My friends Sandy and Greg recently bought a rental house in need of much cleaning and restoration. Fortunately for them, the house was very solid and many of the problems were cosmetic. Also, the last and original owner had never made "improvements," which in my experience are often harder to undo than anything original to a house.

Notice the terrazzo floor, a great plus in older Florida houses.

The bathroom posed an interesting problem. The original 1948, built-in sink was in bad shape and needed to be replaced. It had been a little deeper than the design of current sinks, which meant that when the new sink was installed, at least a dozen tiles would need to be replaced. Have you ever tried to match 63-year-old tiles? It's virtually impossible, and the budget wouldn't allow for all new tiling.

My suggestion was to fill the space with a plasterboard that was painted the exact color of the tiles. Today, through the wonder of scanners and computers, paint stores can match virtually anything you hand them, so that wasn't a problem. They matched the small tile at the beginning of this post.

And here's a view of the finished project. It's not seamless, but it's a fun solution — and a bathroom conversation piece to boot!


  1. Mark, you are full of such wonderful ideas! I am glad your friends decided to keep the original tile as they don' make them like that anymore, and your solution was very clever. The colour of the tiles is amazing

  2. Very smart Mark. I will remember this solution!

  3. Thanks, David and Theresa. It's a bit of a remodeling eye-opener to realize that kitchen and bathroom sinks and counters of the 1940s (at least in Florida) were mostly built-ins.

  4. I'm in a 55 year old home, and am faced with similar repairs from time to time. It is a challenge to devise effective solutions when original materials are no longer available. I think in matching these classic bathroom tiles, sometimes a piece of plastic laminate, such as Formica, might work. They have quite a few solid colours, and sometimes a colour might be an acceptable "match." That said, whenever I do painting, wallpapering, flooring, upholstery, etcetera, I try to have a bit of extra for future repairs and replacements, especially if one doesn't move frequently.

  5. If only we had found a box of aqua tiles right under the sink! I would have run out and bought a lottery ticket!