Monday, October 08, 2007

Olympia Tile - the colors are the best for retro renos!

I've moved: Please see my dramatically improved site:

I wanted to do a more complete posting on Olympia tile colors - and 50s tile colors in general - after reading something over the weekend.
On an eBay listing that I featured - the Manchu Yellow bathroom suite - the lister mentioned that Kohler had recently reissued some vintage colors. I went online to look, and must say I don't think much of them at all, they are not true 50s hues. I also went and took a look at the American Olean site, to see if they had anything new to suit retro reno bathrooms; nope. I suspect that Waterworks has some great colors -- that that is really expensive tile.
That brings me back to Olympia. I was fortunate enough to run into this company because I lived in metro Toronto a few years ago. When I was reno'ing my three bathrooms, I located a distributor nearby in the states. They sent me the board of colors - which I've photographed for you, above. Unfortunately, the company does not have any marketing materials -- no brochures, no photos on their website, nothing. Seems like they really only market directly through independent tile stores.
It is well worth the hassle to pursue these tiles, in my experience. The picture shown is our "Heron Blue" bathroom. This bathroom, like my others, was originally plastic tile, which had rotted out the shower walls altogether. I had true 50s color schemes originally - pink/green, green/beige. As you can see I toned the original exuberant 50s look down a little by choosing a blue and white scheme. I replicate the original with use of the contrasting 2x6s, and by tiling up to the original height. The wallpaper is from a now-discontinued Waverly line, Kitchen Kitsch. I hope you agree it all comes together in a perfectly acceptable, cheerful and functional retro reno look.
Finally, the Olympia tile was very reasonably priced. This is not high end. But then, neither were these original 50s bathrooms!
Here's the link to Olympia's site - which includes locations of the retail locations where you can order their tile:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for taking the time to photograph the tile board. I was looking for the salmon colored tile to replace a few broken tiles in my shower, but I love the blue so much, I think I might use it instead! Again, thanks. Kim