There’s a whole lot of old lady history going on in this house, and it’s actually pretty charming. I mean, after I live here for 60 years, I hope that the new owners find a little enjoyment out of figuring out what I liked, how I maintained my house, and how I lived. I never thought myself to be much of a historian, but… here I am, loving up old bathroom tile and paint samples.
We’re going to be gutting our only full bathroom sooner than later (real life timing is a factor, so is money, and so is convenience, though this time I think we’ll join a gym so we can shower routinely… after fake working out). Modernizing and updating aspects of the house is going to be a lot of fun. We definitely want to make it our own, but it’s important to us to appreciate the original intent of the design. Learning more about the construction from the original blueprints has been so interesting, and I’ve spent more than a little bit of time surfing for details on random brands and 1950’s palettes trying to determine what has been here since 1951, and what has been modified by the original family in the time since.
The label ROMANY on the bathroom tile samples I found jammed in the back of a drawer, I wanted to know more about.
I’m not cut out to be a historian, but I do like learning bits and pieces about design through the decades. The extent of my research tells me that ROMANY may or may not linked to the brand Romany Spartan, of the U.S. Ceramic Tile Company. Other queries tell me that its a product of United States Quarry Tile Company out of Canton, OH. And 99% of the search results direct towards resellers of Romany Spartan antique collectable plates, which I’ll allow you to research on your own time, but appear to be quite popular a resale item. There is also plenty out there on other companies that specialize in making tiles from Rome, a.k.a. Roman tiles, but not Romany tiles. This is vague, right? Bathroom tile roadblocks.
According to this ad, which I found listed on eBay, the product installed in our bathroom today is a real clay glazed tile, and wouldn’t you know, that’s basically what our bathroom looks like with the half wall of tile and the coffin-like standing shower. If they were installed original to the home (the maroon color actually makes us think they may have installed them in the 60’s), well, then we know that. The orientation of the bathroom itself makes us scratch our heads, and the gigantic toilet, well, someday we’ll come back to that but none of us have fallen in, so we’ll keep it.
Of course, thanks to Retro Renovation, I also have to consider that the product is related to ROMANY-Spartan, the U.S. Ceramic Tile company, meaning the tiles are ceramic, not clay. Just food for thought. They’ll all be removed at some point, don’t groan and guilt me into keeping them, many of them, especially on the floor, are cracked and actually manage to adhere to our feet when we walk over them. That’s why there’s tape on the floor. Another story for another time.
So, multiple Romany companies, huh? Owned by different U.S. conglomerates. That make tiles. And don’t seem concerned with competitors copyright infringement. The 1950’s were a different time. (Side note: Ceramaflex: Ceramic tiles cushioned in rubber! Has anyone out there had to do the dirty job of removing those during a renovation?!)
Over on the paint side of things, I now know that the woman who lived here chose the darling Dresden Pink (shown in the first image) to paint the inside of our bathroom cabinets. It’s delightfully rosy and yet so not a color I’m looking to preserve. Hechinger, after a little research, appears to have been a Maryland-based home improvement chain of 117 stores that went bankrupt in 1999, after 80 years of business. No doubt because of the growth of the big box stores, according to several articles that I read on the chain’s history and Chapter 11 filings.
I can’t figure out if/where they had a store in the Rochester area, or if it was imported from another city, but maybe someone out there knows more than Google. Also, there’s also a paint color on there named Puce.
What may be more charming is that whoever painted took literal measurements to ensure they knew the proper dimensions of the shelves. Classy and efficient. Sorry it’s blurry.
Find any small treasures in your house that allude to its construction or design history?