A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Bathroom Break

Now that it’s getting way too hot outside for my tastes, I’m thinking about my next project — one that’s been on the agenda for a while: the bathroom tile.

Because the PO had the entire bathroom tiled, including the ceiling, we’re not going to be tearing it out anytime soon. (Yes, the ceiling too!!)


But I just cannot stand the blue-and-yellow color scheme — it has got to go. I’ve also gotten used to it, and that scares me.

So I came up with a plan that I believe I could live with indefinitely, because I’d much rather put our efforts into building a mudroom or finishing the attic before ripping out this bathroom.

Since the yellow tiles are fewest in number, I decided I will eliminate those by painting them like I did for the kitchen back splash (also same PO color scheme).

Ta da! My new color scheme (plus white):


I bought a quart of Vanex Breakthrough paint and had it tinted to match the darker floor tile color (on the left). It definitely matches the darkest swatch, but I think I could have gone with the lighter swatch. I painted a test tile and it looks a tiny smidge darker than the floor. Oh well, I still like it.

The brown you see in the background is the Ultimate Turkish Towel in Chocolate from Restoration Hardware. I loooovvvve blue and brown together, and with the white fixtures and blue-and-white floor, it will look so much better, don’t you think?

It’s going to take some time to tape and paint all those tiles, and I’m also going to paint the tiles first with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer, but I’m not in a huge rush. As long as it remains this hot, I’ll have all summer.


  1. Robin on June 12, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    OMG Denise! Tile on the ceiling?!? Yeah it’s bad when you get used to that. Of course who am I to talk I’m actually liking my avocado bathroom. : ) And I love the blue, brown, and white color scheme.

  2. Jennifer on June 13, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Wow… that is SOME tile work!

    I think your idea is great… it will look nice.

  3. denise on June 14, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Yeah, the tile work is a sight to behold, for sure. It’s a decent job, it’s just, “why EVERYWHERE??”
    Robin, I think there are definitely worse bathroom colors than avocado—I’m sure you can get creative with the color scheme in there! But if you say you’re going decorate your kitchen in Harvest Gold too, I’m going to get worried about you.

  4. Robin on June 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    LOL! No I don’t need to decorate my kitchen Harvest Gold because that’s the color of our main bath!

  5. Kathie M on March 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Hi, I’m in chicagoland as well and was wondering where you bought your Breakthrough paint. I know this post is several years old, but think it might be the answer to our ugly tiles in our kitchen. If you could email me back I’d really appreciate it!

    • denise on March 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Hi Kathie—
      I bought the paint at a local Benjamin Moore store (JC Licht); not sure if that brand is still around. I can’t say that it did a stellar job, however. It was just a quick, temporary fix. One problem was that I couldn’t scuff up the tiles at all so the paint peeled off very easily. Since then I’ve learned that there is “bonding primer” which should give you the base coat needed in order to get the paint to adhere to tile. You should be able to use a regular paint brand for the top coat. I’d suggest going to a paint store and asking them for help (like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams). Also remember that it will be difficult to get a smooth finish; it will have an eggshell texture to it, but it doesn’t look that bad. You won’t be able to avoid painting the grout as well, but you could always go back and paint them white with a small brush and steady hand. I didn’t really care myself; I was just happy to get rid of the blue and yellow, at least in the kitchen! Unfortunately our bathroom still has that color combination. Good luck—I feel your pain! 🙂

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