Reviving a 1970s ‘Mellow Yellow’ Bathroom

Ronnie and Cindy McCarson's bathroom after the remodel
Homeowners described this bathroom as 1970s ‘Mellow Yellow’ before our modern farmhouse makeover!

Ronnie & Cindy McCarson purchased a 1,700-square-foot home built in 1976 after they downsized from a 2,650-square-foot home.

They love that the home is in great shape and has character, but they know that this retro residence needs remodeling.

The couple replaced all the carpet with hardwood floors, installed new countertops, removed textured ceilings and repainted everything in the kitchen.

It’s a brighter and happier home after all the improvements, but their bathrooms still have ’70s colors, countertops and fixtures.

Cindy’s bathroom comes first — we’ll tile over the existing ceramic tile floor, give the vanity a new top, sink and cabinet doors and even raise it a few inches. We’ll also cover up the dated tub and surround with an acrylic overlay and add a new light fixture.

The Projects

Yellow ceramic tile bathroom floor
These yellow ceramic tiles are in great shape, but they’re not homeowner Cindy’s style.

Prep the Floor

We remove the sink, vanity countertop and marble threshold before prepping the old tile floor.

That means first removing some dated tile baseboards. Breaking the first tile, getting a flatbar behind it and then prying the rest off prevents us from having to damage the wall above the baseboard. We then replace the tiles with a slightly taller wood baseboard.

Then we use a pole sander — it’s like a mop, just with sandpaper — to remove the ceramic tiles’ glossy finish. This makes it easier to lay thinset.


Install Ceramic Tiles

Danny Lipford applying thinset in a bathroom
ProLite Thinset Adhesive from Custom Building Products is an ideal solution for tile-over-tile applications.

We’re replacing the yellow tiles with wood-finish ceramic flooring.

Generally, you should run wood flooring parallel to the room’s longest wall, and that’s just what we’re doing!

This also means we get to make fewer cuts compared to laying the tiles horizontally in this narrow bathroom.

We use Aqua Mix Concentrated Stone and Tile Cleaner to prep the surface, and then ProLite Thinset Adhesive from Custom Building Products to install the tiles because it’s ideal for tile-over-tile application.

After chalking a perfect line for the first set of tiles, we apply the thinset with a notched trowel. We then cut the tiles on a wet saw outside and lay them on the bathroom floor.

Danny Lipford laying ceramic tile floors in a bathroom
Grouting tiles offers instant gratification because what you see is pretty much what you get!

Finally, we grout the tiles with Fusion Pro from Custom Building Products because it’s easy to spread and clean up, the color is consistent, and it’s stain-resistant.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Could you please tell me, what did you use to make the new countertop? It all looks lovely! Also wondering about the approximate cost of having the bathfitters do that to a tub?

    Thanks,
    Diane Carlson

    • Hi, Diane,
      We’ve received many comments about this countertop! It’s laminate made to look like granite. 🙂
      Bath Fitter’s transformations vary in price, so an estimate for this project would not necessarily apply to another project.
      Your best bet is to get a free in-home consultation for a quote that matches your home’s unique situation.
      You can sign up for one here: http://bit.ly/2sftVMl
      Thanks for your questions!

  2. I love watching the Today Show with Danny and Chelsea and get some project ideas.
    Will, we are retired and we bought a ranch house as we are getting older. However, I have an outdoor project in mind which is too big for me to handle. If Danny and or Chelsea contact me it is greatly appreciated. And we moved to Staunton, VA a year ago.
    Thank you so much.

    • Hi, Thelma,
      Thanks for watching our TV show! We receive a high volume of comments and can’t place individual phone calls, but would be happy to direct you to our online resources.
      Please elaborate on the project you’d like to tackle so we can further assist you with our DIY guides.
      Or you can contact Danny directly to ask questions about your project on The Today’s Homeowner Radio Show: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/radio/ask-questions/
      Thanks!

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