Monday, March 22, 2021

'Mamie Pink'

First Lady Eisenhower in a lovely pink gown.


I had mentioned to a friend that my husband and I are attempting to restore the tile in our bathroom to its original state. What was once a floor covered in white paint (why?!) is now one of two-tone fun: a rose-pink border with an extremely light sort of lavender/grey center. My friend asked when the house had been built. When I told her the year was 1944, she said, 'Oh! That's probably Mamie Pink!' Whose pink? 

From what I gather, Mrs. Eisenhower, 'Mamie' to her friends, adored the color pink. When she and President Eisenhower moved into the White House, she set about redecorating the residence leaning heavily on her favorite color: PINK. The White House was dubbed The Pink Palace during her tenure. Pink became the color du jour for decorators & Mamie Pink bathrooms began popping up all over the country. Given that Mrs. Eisenhower was First Lady in the 50s, my pink-bordered bathroom pre-dates the pink tile bathroom trend. And when I came into the world in the 70s, rooms in homes were awash in pea and avocado greens. Pink had been sidelined. 

Here are a few snaps of the bathroom tile renovation in progress---


Note the white paint and the newly uncovered lavender-ish tile adjacent.



The last remaining bits of white paint are now only in & around the grout.


Scraping white paint off the trim.







27 comments:

  1. One memorable bathroom I knew in my childhood was very small (just a white sink and white toilet) but was painted in bright pink -- the walls, the ceiling, the floor, everything. It was like being trapped inside a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.

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  2. Lots of work - but your bathroom is going to look wonderful.
    That is a very elegant dress Mrs Eisenhower is wearing too.

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    1. Yes, very elegant. I hope the bathroom will look good. It already looks nicer than it did.

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  3. That same colour was in a bathroom in my grandmother's craftsman-style house which I think was built in the 30's. I seem to remember black tile accents with it. -Jenn

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  4. A lot of work but that bathroom is going to look wonderful. Can we see the finished job please.

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  5. It's fascinating how different eras have different color palates. I'm sure the pink was covered because it was out of date. Now, it's vintage.

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  6. You're doing a super job there, it's going to look great! We've still got some original bathrooms in our apartment block, circa 1934, that are variously tiled yellow or green or that same pink, accented with black. They all look amazing.

    FLE looks a picture but I don't believe I've seen a fringe quite like that before.

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    1. Thanks, Pip. Jenn, too, mentioned black accents in her grandmother's bathroom. How fab is that era of tile?!

      Yes, the hair-do does look a bit severe. She does look a beauty, however.

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  7. When my parents "remodeled" our bathroom, in the fifties, it became black and pink. Or pink and black, however you cared to look at it. Ours was plastic tile. Yours is ceramic, and beautiful. Who would put white paint over that?

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    1. Black and pink! I'm into it. I think the selling agent painted over it to cover up any scuffs and chips found in the tile. A cheap fix, to be sure.

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  8. It looks much better. It will be all worth it when you are done. We have found a few home improvement surprises in our house as well but nothing quite like this.

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    1. Yeah, and uncovered tile feels better under foot. Painted tile felt yucky.

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  9. We have a pink bathroom. Have a look at this:
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=UeGPt6RgjZI&feature=share

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  10. That car spray cost 21 guineas. It will give the Mini a 'compulsive, feminine difference'! :D

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  11. Mamie - isn't that French for Grandma?

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    1. I think it might be. Interesting nickname, to be sure.

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  12. That is tile is Definitely "Mamie Pink"!! My parents tiled the hallway bath in Mamie Pink tiles with little green seahorses painted on a few of them. There were a few other bluegreen tiles stuck in as well for contrast. We loved that pink bathroom! We 5 girls always looked good in the mirrors. We had a sisters reunion a few years ago, and the rental's bathroom was also done in Mamie Pink tile! It was good to see it again.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, your hallway bathroom sounds lovely! Thank you so much for sharing your Mamie Pink memories with me, Ruth.

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  13. Born in 1950, I well versed on the Mamie Pink. Several of friends had pink bathrooms in my growing up years. Most were pink and gray, or pink and black. My Mom stuck with white, so our bathroom looked newer longer than some of the neighbors. I don't remember when the pink went out of fashion, but don't think it lasted too long. When hubby and I moved into our house I was amazed how much pink there was. Our house was built in the 50's. Heck even the outdoor cement footers had been painted pink. When I started landscaping and pulled dirt away from the base of the house I found the pink. Hubby made it gray to match the color we choose from an ugly dark brown when we moved in.
    Sandy's Space

    Looks like lots of work, looking forward to your finished project.

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    1. Wow. Your house was awash in pink when you moved in, it sounds like. :D

      I think the color combos of pink/gray and pink/black. The pink/white in our bathroom is good, I think, because the darn room is so small. Were all the tiles darker, then the space would feel dinky.

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  14. I recall when Ike was President but I don't recall hearing about Mamie’s pink for bathrooms or anywhere else. Maybe I wasn't paying much attention to what went on in the White House. That is a nice soft shade of pink.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's sort of a dusty-rose pink. I like it very much, too.

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