Friday, July 25, 2014

Lots of Bubbly Vintage Tile Love

These are so awesome it's hard not squee when I look at them. They are aggressively colorful with red, yellow, green, blue, and purple glass, white-glazed dimensional "bubbles," and a background that is gray with an overspray of gold crackle glaze.

Shut the front door, they've got everything.

The other thing they've got is my heart strings, because they came from my aunt's house. My aunt married in 1960, and she and my uncle built a little brick ranch home on a farm in Missouri. I've always called it "pink and pepper," though I don't really know the real name for the brick style.

This is the only photo I could find of the place as I remember it as a child; but perhaps it's just as well, because the foreground explains everything about the heartstrings part. I spent a great deal of my childhood running around that farm, barefoot, sweaty, dirty, picking green beans and cherries and sweet corn, and generally getting into trouble with pack of equally grubby cousins. I think the photo above is from 1976 or 1977, and shows (from left) my sister Dyan, my cousins Thea and Leah, me (with my glasses slipping down my nose, as always) and my cousin Anya, playing with (and hopefully not torturing too badly) a toad.

What I don't have is a picture of the bathroom in that house in all its former glory. Salmon pink field tile, blonde wood cabinetry, and these accent tiles. It was marvelous. One of my earliest memories as a child is sitting in the bathtub at my aunt's house, running my fingers over the smooth glass bubbles, enchanted by the color and the glamor. My own bathroom at home was very plain, and these were just too much for my child-like desires to bear. I was going to have something just as fabulous when I grew up.

While my aunt and uncle still live in the same house, about 10 years ago the bathroom got remodeled. Mid-century enthusiasts can be dismayed if they want, but the lady of the house had grown tired of salmon pink and 40 years of wear on a bathroom is more than enough. I was sorry to see the tiles go, but I understood.

A few weeks ago, my mom was helping my aunt clean her basement, and found these, eight of them, in a storage box. They'd been salvaged. They both remembered how much I loved them as a little girl, and my aunt gave them to me.

I have to admit, I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. My long range plans for the downstairs bathroom has always been an aqua and black tile bath. I know I am not interested in a salmon pink tile bath, but I do like the way these tiles look with a dove gray:

That's a paint chip of Woodsmoke by Eddie Bauer Home. And again, there are only eight of them. My wheels are turning. Perhaps a framed wall hanging instead? I do not know for sure, only that I'm deeply happy to have something from my childhood back in my life like this. It's the best kind of serendipity.


  1. Found your blog via This Sorta Old Life. There's a story on Retro Renovation this week that has your tile! It's pictured on an old viewmaster reel from Pomona tile.

    1. Thanks so much for the tip! We had no information on these, and it's good to know!

  2. Oh, I love this post! For all kinds of reasons. I'm sure you'll figure out something wonderful to do with those tiles. Can't wait to see what it is.