For the love of quality, I have to share my obsession with the classic Cincinnati midcentury bathroom. I am in my 14th year of selling real estate, and I can say I have seen literally thousands of Cincinnati bathrooms. I am also a faithful reader of RetroRenovation, a very popular blog and FB page celebrating/sharing/sourcing vintage homes and details. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but the craftsmanship, design and details of midcentury baths here in Cincinnati are the best of the best. For the most part, midcentury baths have held up way better than midcentury kitchens, both functionally and condition wise. But when a buyer or agent walks through one of our listings with a *prisitine* midcentury bath and says that the bathrooms ‘need updating,’ I just want to scream. And kick them out. Seriously!
So what exactly about these bathrooms is ‘dated’ and needs updating? Let’s look at the mechanicals. These baths are usually outfitted with thick ceramic tiled walls (set in concrete no less), American Standard or Crane fixtures, and Formica counters. The plumbing is copper. The vanities are custom made for the space and often have canted fronts. Everything works and looks like the day it was built. And to top that off, each and every one is similar but different, a unique work of art.
So step away from HGTV and the sledgehammer, and think about it. Demo it all and put in a Home Depot special (*insert expletive here*)? Or go for something more sleek and modern a la Dwell Magazine and make your midcentury bath look like “today.” But why?! With the most perfectly preserved time capsule of all time right there and ready for your business!
Time to address the elephant in the room. The crazy midcentury color palate is what people are referring to when the say dated. Is it really that hard to embrace the pink, yellow, blue, green, gray and beige (in a staggering number of combos)? And some wild Formica patterns? Think of these colors like cool vintage cars. For the most part, our car color palate now has been distilled to black, silver, white and the occasional blue or red. But who doesn’t love a cool classic car in an Easter egg hue?
So before you write that vintage bath off as dated, embrace the quality, uniqueness and craftsmanship of yesteryear and give it a chance. I bet you grow to love it.
Please enjoy this slideshow of vintage Cincinnati baths from homes we have shown or sold over the past 14 years. I even threw in a few Rookwood baths from the 1930’s that managed to survive. Did your house make the slideshow?
and p.s. – QUALITY baths are the ones worth keeping. Crappy is always worth replacing