Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Bathroom Tiles in many older Detroit homes... Previous Next
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Nativegirl
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Username: Nativegirl

Post Number: 57
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 136.1.1.154
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 4:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have been fascinated by the many homes in Detroit that have the ceramic tiles with the groat in the middle and the black ceramic tile "borders" in either the bathroom or some even have it in the kitchen. I have noticed that tiles are not duplicated in "newer" homes that I have been (especially after the '60s). The colors that I have seen thus far are:
Peach (mine and it gorgeous, even my floors are tile in Peach but not the same material as the walls)

A light, soft Pink (maternal granny and floor tiles are done in the same material as mine)

Light blue (baby blue; but the floor was done in white tile with a design in the baby blue color).

Lilac (yep! My friend stays in a building on Manderson in Palmer Park and her bathroom is gorgeous. Even the floor tile was lilac with some white designs).

Aqua green ( my sisters; her floor tiles are aqua green but has black designs).

Light Yellow (my paternal grandmothers; I have to go back over there since I cannot recall her floor tiles :<)

A deep pink (my dads and stepmom. But there floor had some damage and I am not a fan of the ceramic tile designs on theirs. They're not either as they covered it with carpet).

Does anyone have idea who was the company that installed these tiles? Are they still in business? Wallside damaged some tiles by the window and now two have a noticable crack. Also, some kitchens have the tiles such as my dads who has a light beige with a burgundy border; my maternal grandmother has a gorgeous pink (matches the bathroom) and its even inside the archway btwn the kitchen to her kitchen nook (she's in the W. Outer Drive area near the new Grace Hosp.).
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Goat
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Username: Goat

Post Number: 8292
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.53.98.36
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 4:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They were very common in houses up until the late 1940's. Many companies had these made at the time but I have yet to see replacements in your local home reno store. You may only find them at antique or salvage places today.

Check the 'net for restoration stores or salvage companies. I'm sure you will find some there especially if the colour is a standard black or white.
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Dougw
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Username: Dougw

Post Number: 1019
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 136.1.1.154
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 4:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

These were the not-too-small square or rectangular colored tiles? Yeah, those are probably 1920's to 1940's/50's or so.

A lot of bathrooms in Indian Village and probably other neighborhoods have the tiny hexagonal white floor tiles, which are different, but also nice. They're no more than 1 inch wide. I think those were earlier, probably 1900's to 1920's.

Unfortunately, most of our bathrooms were re-done (poorly) by someone somewhere along the line. Only our third floor bathroom is still original with the little hex floor tiles.


(Message edited by Dougw on March 20, 2006)
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 1904
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 4.229.81.62
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 5:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They were done until the 1950's. I have seen many 1950's houses in St. Clair Shores and Royal Oak that still have these tiles, although the floor tiles are usually the smaller square mosaic tiles. My SCS house has the light blue tiles with black border. My house was built in 1956.
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Bvos
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Username: Bvos

Post Number: 1287
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.238.170.39
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 5:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A lot of the houses built in Rosedale Park around the late 30s and early 40s have that title sceme in the bathroom. The most common in RP seems to be the pink w/ black trim. My 1939 bathroom still has the original wall tiles in outstanding condition but the floor tiles are a bit worn, however the grout is in perfect condition. I've noticed that the black tiles that are not in high traffic areas (under the toilet and sink, behind the door) have a slight irradecence to them. I've often wondered if Pewabic had a hand in it or if it was just something they did as a "nod" to Pewabic's influence.

The kitchen is white with black trim. It's the same pattern and definately by the same company. The walls are it outstanding condition and the countertops (with the original cabinets) are in very good condition considering their age. I just need to do some touch up grout work to them.

I too have wondered if it's possible to get replacement tiles to match. I'd love to replace my bathroom floor in tile that perfectly matches the wall as the current, original tile does.
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_sj_
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Username: _sj_

Post Number: 1274
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 69.220.230.150
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 6:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Would someone happen to have a picture they could share?
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2231
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 130.132.177.245
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 6:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My parents 1927 NW Detroit house has what is most certainly a Pewabic tile fireplace face. (Their house is typical of houses of similar vintage in their area ... not the nicest on the block, not the worst.) The fireplace face had been painted over at one time and then even PLASTERED (or spackled or something) over smooth in an unfortunate modernization long ago and the original mantelpiece was replaced with a 50's modernist slab of wood. When I was a kid we carefully removed the plaster and paint to reveal the underlying original tile. The modernist slab mantel shelf remains above juxtaposed with the arty-and-crafty tiles below.

The second floor bathroom has the original tilework on the floors and walls (the usual small white hexagons with the small square pink and black borders, with white rectangular tile up the walls), the original tub, original pedestal sink, and, rare for a house of that vintage, a separate standalone shower.

BV, you are most fortunate that your kitchen didn't suffer a series of modernizations. My parents' house had the leaded glass doored oak kitchen cabinetry removed for plywood cabinets at one point (a few of the original cabinets, painted over (glass and all), had been placed in the basement as storage shelves).
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Wabashrr1
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Username: Wabashrr1

Post Number: 10
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 205.188.116.137
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 7:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A lot of homes in SE Michigan have that sort of tile , including mine in Allen Park (1949), which is the light blue variety. The floor is the small 1" squares and is bordered with the same shade of blue as the walls. The wall tile, usually (if not always) is installed on cement on top of wire mesh that is about 1 inch thick. In setting the tiles wall tiles they are usually seperated by a thin rope that is left in there and the cement bearing grout is placed over it. Same is true (minus the rope) for the floors. The bathtubs in many of these places are made of cast iron, not all but many of them. Mine is steel and is probably still better than any steel tub that can be bought today.

If water is kept out of there, this stuff will last forever, or at least longer than any of us will be here. The problem is that tub faucets develop leaks around them, toilets leak, and people either don't notice it or ignore it. Until it's too late to save any of it. In order to replace the tub faucet in one of these places the wall usually has to come out because the pipes are usually semi-encased in the cement. Being made of steel, the pipes (usually the hot water pipe) do rust inside and eventually close off to a trickle. That's another reason some of these are sometimes torn out. At any rate, sadly, typically the only way to remove it is with brute force. A large sledge hammer and a wrecking bar. You aren't likely to find too much wall tile at an antique shop. You May get lucky and find some pieces of floor tile though.

Another common tile that can be found in SE Michigan homes is rectangular.. That is, about 6x3 in size and these are next to if not completely impossible to replace. Usually installed much like the floor tile (very thin black grout lines).

Also quite common in SOME kitchens and even bathrooms many times had Plastic tiles on the walls. What person ever thought that was a good idea, I'll never know. Usually 4x4 like your typical ceramic wall tiles, but hollow behind them. If installed properly, they lasted quite a long time but the lack of sealing in the 'grout' lines did nothing to keep out the elements. Some of these may still exist in some of your homes.

In the 1950s and 1960s (I know this is a bathroom tile thread), a lot of people either had or did it themselves thier kitchens modernized with Steel cabinets. Tearing out the built in wood cabinetry in order to complete the task. Part of the true shame of that is, many of those old, useless, outdated, wood cabinets were built with 24" wide clear lumber and the wood was just tossed. Try and find a piece of wood like that now. Ah, the march of progress..
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 183
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.250.41.21
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 10:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The company that made them was called All-Tile. When I was growing up in a house from the 1930s, the sticker was still in the inset toilet paper dispenser/tile.
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Oldredfordette
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Username: Oldredfordette

Post Number: 550
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 68.61.98.175
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 11:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Interestingly (or not) in my neighborhood in Old Redford, none of the houses had that tile except the small floor tiles, and that only in two of the houses. It wasn't until I went to high school and had friends in Rosedale did I see that scheme regularly.

It is beautful and when I hear of someone tearing them out and "modernizing" their bathrooms, I mourn.
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Dougw
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Username: Dougw

Post Number: 1023
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.252.4.228
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 11:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here are some of the old hex tiles in one of our bathrooms. Should be 1916 era, along with the baseboard tile. Not the same type of tile as the subject of this thread, though.

Sadly, no wall tile in here. (Shoe included for scale...)
hex tiles
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The_aram
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Username: The_aram

Post Number: 4729
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 141.213.175.233
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 11:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My grandparents' postwar ranch in Redford has the greatest salmon-pink tile in both bathrooms. It's fantastic stuff. Soapdish nooks built into the walls, it's great.
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Bvos
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Username: Bvos

Post Number: 1288
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.148.226.17
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 12:01 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here are some pics from my place with the vintage tile being discussed. This is classic "Rosedale Park" for anyone who grew up in or visited friends in RP (as I'm told by everyone who visits).

The bathroom is pink with black trim. As Wabashrr1 stated this already thick tile (about 3/8") has an inch of concrete behind it on top of
a heavy duty expanded steel mesh. You'd have to drop a bomb in there to remodel it.

It has the built in ceramic soap dish, built in ceramic tooth brush and cup holder, original ceramic (with wood bars) towel bars as Aram described. As stated earlier the black tiles in the low traffic areas still have a slight irradecence to them. You can see the wearing of the floor tiles in the right hand corner of the picture. I didn't show the soap dish and tooth brush holder, despite being in great condition, because I didn't have the time to properly clean!

The kitchen is all original except the floor. When I moved in I took up 3 layers of flooring, all linoleum/vinyl. The bottom layer was a brown and beige linoleum floor (could have been dirty/worn black and white) with beige teapot cut-outs as border and pattern. I don't know if it's original, but I half expected June Cleaver to appear and share her memories of selecting it up at Fleishman's when I tore it out.

The walls are white with black trim. You can see the milk door behind the microwave. I also have a shot of the original cabinets, complete with the original Art Deco/Streamline Modern handles. The sink, including the faucet, is original as well, but in a little rough condition. Some new grout,
a replacement period-styled faucet and a new porcelain sink are the next rehab projects on the honey do list.

Kitchen 1

Kitchen 2

Bathroom 1

Bathroom 2
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Nativegirl
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Username: Nativegirl

Post Number: 58
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 136.1.1.154
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 10:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BVOS! You've captured what I was talking about! Now that I have read the thread and someone mentioned that the bathroom tiles could be Pewabic mosiac tiles. I have to post my pics because my floor it totally different than what you and the other poster shows. Mine is definitely a smaller ceramic tile but you guys can be the judges.
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Tammypio
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Username: Tammypio

Post Number: 63
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 198.109.24.7
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 11:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We just bought a house in Lincoln Park that has 2 bathrooms with the original ceramic tile work. The pictures above look a lot like my bathrooms too....my main bath is a light gray tile with black trim and the upstairs bath is kind of a peachy-salmon color. We also have the built in soap dishes, towel bars and even a toothbrush holder. The sink has been redone, but we have cabinets that look identical to the ones in the kitchen picture above with new hardware added. My home is a bungalow built in 1956.
I was considering redoing a lot of it, but I kind of like the look of it and will probably keep it. Thanks for the pictures and great descriptions!

(Message edited by tammypio on March 21, 2006)
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2232
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 130.132.177.245
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 11:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BV, spiffy kitchen tilework, I'll bet few of those remain in such pristine condition. Looks like you could pick up an old mixer, blender and bread box from a garage sale, drape a dish towel over the microwave and step back in time ...

Far removed from the tidy petit bourgeois homes and comfortable middle management manses of the GR/Fenkell neighborhoods, a friend of mine owned an Arden Park mansion with an elaboratly tiled kitchen. There was one tiled kitchen countertop that must have been 18 feet long. That room felt as impressive and efficient as the shower room at the Clark St YMCA. (I mean that in a good way, btw). I recall this kitchen also had an elaborate electromechanical signalling system in an upper wall corner for the owners of the house to beckon staff -- a button pushed in, say the "greatroom", caused a bell to ding and light to flash in the kitchen and even little flag to raise up that said "greatroom". WHEEEE ...
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Xd_brklyn
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Username: Xd_brklyn

Post Number: 118
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.88.89.94
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 11:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

These tiles were also installed in our place over in Westchester, New York, circa 1930. Looks like they were probably national.
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Goat
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Username: Goat

Post Number: 8293
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.53.99.245
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 11:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wonder is she is talkig about the "subway" style tiles? Rectangular, flat tiles that have very thin grout lines and are pretty much flush across the while (no curves on the endges of teh tile as they seem to be quite thin).
I guess I will wait and see. Again, I have not seen a company build new tiles to match as of yet.
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_sj_
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Username: _sj_

Post Number: 1275
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 69.220.230.150
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 1:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for the pictures. What you are seeing is not very rare. That is the way Ceramic Tile was done in those days.

the other picture with small hex tiles are usually set on a sheet, they are not individual tiles.

Good ceramic tile work is a lost art. It is a shame.
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Courtney
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Username: Courtney

Post Number: 95
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 70.228.0.84
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 1:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

More like this?

subway tiles

It would help if I get the right link.

My brain feels like it's bleeding from all the research I've been doing on tile lately. But now I'm in love with tile and wish I could just tile the whole house. Every inch. =)
(Message edited by courtney on March 21, 2006)

(Message edited by courtney on March 21, 2006)
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1honey
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Username: 1honey

Post Number: 104
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 208.39.170.90
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 1:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bvos get out of my house, lol. That was my bathroom before completely remodeling it.
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Bvos
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Username: Bvos

Post Number: 1293
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.238.170.39
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 1:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have some friends in Dearborn and in Redford who have the same bathroom tile pattern as I. The folks in Redford just fully remodeled the bathroom (down to the studs) due to the tile being in very poor condition.

A lot of folks really distain the bathroom I have as being old. I really like it though and consider it a treasure to have a house with nearly all original finishings and fixtures.
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_sj_
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Username: _sj_

Post Number: 1277
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 69.220.230.150
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 3:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

My brain feels like it's bleeding from all the research I've been doing on tile lately. But now I'm in love with tile and wish I could just tile the whole house. Every inch. =)




Don't forget the front porch.
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Courtney
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Username: Courtney

Post Number: 96
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 70.228.0.84
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 3:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Don't forget the front porch.




I'm already counting down until I can justify the cost of some thin natural slate tiles. =)

And getting totally off topic here, I think a LOT of negative feelings people have towards old houses have been because there is a whole ton of half assed repairs done on them throughout the years. So by the time it's really old, it becomes a nightmare and a half to make it anywhere close to what it once was.

I've thankfully learned over the years to transfer those negative feelings (usually felt when I've been trying to scrub the walls for 10 straight hours) towards the previous owners, and think of the house as a poor abused animal that just needs some love.

Don't mind me, it must be the lead paint chips talking. =)
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Goat
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Username: Goat

Post Number: 8300
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.54.69.119
Posted on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 6:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Courtney, the picture on the left is correct.

I think the same way but sometimes....arrghhh!

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