How I learned to stop worrying and love pink

From the Record:

Pink baths: time has not been kind to these tiles

When Stacey Lopis’ friends see the bathroom in her 1960-vintage Hawthorne ranch, they all say the same thing: “You have to get rid of the pink tile.”

Pink bathrooms.

They were built by the millions in 1950s and 1960s ranches, Capes and split-levels, but they get no love from today’s home buyers — even the young buyers who are drawn to other midcentury styles in architecture and design.

“As much as the midcentury modern look is back, it’s still something that people are not going to find appealing,” said Gary Silberstein, a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Woodcliff Lake. “Barbie’s not back.”

But one lover of 1950s design says pink bathrooms deserve more respect.

“Pink bathrooms are emblematic of the design of the period,” said Pam Kueber, who started the websites and after buying a 1950s ranch in Lenox, Mass. “If people could get their heads around pink bathrooms, they’d understand why something that looks so shocking today is actually a very appealing and wonderful thing.”

Kueber said developers of suburban tract homes started installing pink bathrooms after first lady Mamie Eisenhower popularized the color when she wore a rhinestone-studded blush ball gown to her husband’s inauguration in 1953.

Kueber started after watching people rip them out with “sledgehammer glee” on TV home-improvement shows.

“They’d throw the toilets out the window and guffaw. I was appalled. That’s disrespectful,” she said. “That bath was put in by somebody who loved that color.”

Pink wasn’t the only pastel used in postwar home design, as the nation’s mood turned sunnier. Builders also put in bathrooms that were yellow, blue or green, often with black trim.

“They were exuberant years, and people chose these colors,” Kueber said. “Walking into a pink or yellow or robin’s-egg blue or turquoise bathroom is going to be more uplifting than walking into a greige bathroom, don’t you think?”

George Rosko, a real estate agent with Coccia Realty in Lyndhurst, recalls how difficult it was to rip out the pink bathroom in his North Arlington Cape Cod two decades ago.

“What a job,” he said. “The tiles were on concrete embedded in a heavy steel mesh. I was bleeding trying to remove them.”

“I hear stories from people who start out hating pink bathrooms and go on our site and come out loving them,” Kueber said. “Here someone gave them permission to love something that’s not necessarily popular. Once you understand why the color was popular, I think it’s really easy to love a pink bathroom.

“I have readers looking for houses with pink bathrooms,” she continued, “so get with the program, people.”

This entry was posted in Demographics, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to How I learned to stop worrying and love pink

  1. grim says:

    I thought the actual manufacturer’s color name for most of these fixtures was “Shell”, and not “Pink”.

  2. Fast Eddie says:

    Once you understand why the color was popular, I think it’s really easy to love a pink bathroom.

    There’s no boundaries when applying lipstick to a pig or marketing a bag of dog sh1t. The price is “warranted” because pink is retro and retro is in because we made it up yesterday. I mean, a house tour guide has to eat, too.

  3. leftwing says:

    How I learned to stop worrying and love pink….

    ….I looked at the balance in my checking account post-closing

    ….it matches the words slapped across my teenager daughter’s a**

    Letterman it, folks. The Top Ten reasons how I learned to stop worrying and love pink are…….

  4. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Fast Eddie, go back and read left wings posts, he gets it. You certainly don’t. Sad part is, you think you are right.

  5. leftwing says:

    Morning, punkin.

    Leave me out of it.

  6. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Great post and sums it up. It’s not going to crash, so take advantage of the situation and bet long term. Inflation is the only way out of this mess. Bet your ass that home prices will get the inflation button. Inflation is the only way to erase huge debts and you can bet your ass that the fed will do it.

    leftwing says:
    February 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm
    And for the record I feel the real estate on any ‘rational’ measure is overvalued, especially locally. But the ridiculously low rates scare me, as does the prospect that the only way this country can get out of the fiscal mess it has created (at least nominally) is to inflate the hell out of everything eventually.

    In which case being long somewhat desirable real estate with a large amount of fixed rate low interest debt is not the worst position.

    So my play is to extract my equity by selling the house, downsize to the condo I was discussing a week or so ago (CF positive strongly if I ever decide to rent it), and with the net proceeds go long a highly levered house in a desirable (rising value) market that works as a ‘vacation’ house now, potentially a ‘retirement’ house later on, and an inflation hedge.

    Any potential buyer coming in with 22 spreadsheets to show me why my ask is ‘wrong’ is so far off base it doesn’t matter, because my motivations (ie pricing) don’t entail one spreadsheet.

  7. The Great Pumpkin says:


    leftwing says:
    February 15, 2015 at 7:39 am
    Morning, punkin.

    Leave me out of it.

  8. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Okay, let’s look at it this way. If prices dropped 30% tomorrow, how long would prices actually stay there, before every investor with capital drives the prices right back up? I’m sorry, go look at what actual selling prices are, not asking. You will see that the values are not off. Don’t show me unrealistic asking prices as the gauge to measure whether housing is overpriced. Show me data on selling prices to state that it’s overvalued.

    Fast Eddie says:
    February 15, 2015 at 7:31 am
    Once you understand why the color was popular, I think it’s really easy to love a pink bathroom.

    There’s no boundaries when applying lipstick to a pig or marketing a bag of dog sh1t. The price is “warranted” because pink is retro and retro is in because we made it up yesterday. I mean, a house tour guide has to eat, too.

  9. Fast Eddie says:

    Pumpkin Seed [8],

    When do property taxes enter in your calculation?

  10. chi says:

    It is not pink. The proper description is “dusty rose”.

  11. Essex says:

    Those tiles…..come out…..just sayin ;)

  12. grim says:

    Free dirt in Newark, no takers here? From the Star Ledger:

    $1,000 property sales, guarantee couples will build in Newark make for ‘beautiful Valentine’s Day’

    As Newark’s Valentine’s Day land sale — in which couples could buy land for $1,000 under the promise they’d build homes on it — was drawing to a close, city officials declared the program a success.

    “I think it was great just to get the word out. We’re not like Jersey City trying to be the sixth borough,” said Otis Rolley, the CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation. “We are a city onto itself. It’s a great place and an affordable place to live. That word went out around the nation.”

    Housing and economic development director Baye Adofo-Wilson echoed similar sentiments.

    “We had a very successful day,” he said. “It was a beautiful Valentine’s Day.”

    Under the program, a couple could buy a plot of vacant land for $1,000. Each buyer was required to put down a $500 down payment and pay an additional $500 at closing. The couple buying a property was also required to be willing to live in the property for five years after closing on the purchase.

    Before the sale can be finalized, each buyer will have to present the city planning board with an approved site plan and proof of of cash or a commitment letter from a financial institution that shows the buyer can pay for the construction of the home.

    The next step is “they are going to come into our department and obtain site plan approval for these spots,” said Adofo-Wilson.

  13. homeboken says:

    Grim 12 – 80 lots sold, can we bookmark that article and review in 18 months? I am very interested to see how many of the 80 have completed structures on them by the deadline.

    Also – I didn’t see in the article and didn’t bother reviewing the detailed documents, but if a home isn’t completed in 18 months, then does the lot revert back to the city?

  14. grim says:

    Rental prices at all time highs and rental vacancies at something like 10 year lows, this is despite the construction.

    Population continues to grow. What happens when household formation ratchets up again?

    High rents put a floor under resale prices.

  15. grim says:

    13 – I wager that half the buyers didn’t even consider the price of construction, and have no way of securing construction financing.

  16. Grim says:

    If you thought buying was frustrating, try renting a decent single family house.

  17. Liquor Luge says:

    Did Punkinhead’s grandma buy him a Newark lot?

  18. Liquor Luge says:

    Bet these suckers who bought Newark lots are on the hook for property taxes, starting from yesterday.

  19. Liquor Luge says:

    I’d buy a vacant lot in Newark. Could custom build a grow house or meth lab.

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  21. DaBomb says:


    Your momma so fat her pant sez “ultraviolet”

  22. DaBomb says:


    Your momma so fat she gets two lots, one for each a$$-cheek

  23. 30 year realtor says:

    Problem with building a house in Newark is that the construction costs the same as anywhere else and the land is worthless.

  24. anon (the good one) says:

    “At the end of 2004, a series of public opinion polls offered disturbing news. More than half of all Americans, we learned, believed that there had been weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq — the principal raison d’être for George W. Bush’s war of choice there — despite the fact that numerous widely publicized bipartisan and international reports had definitively shown that no such weapons existed. This stubborn refusal to face the facts about Iraq continues today for millions of Americans. [1]”

    “Facts are and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy.” The lies we believed (and still believe) about Iraq

  25. anon (the good one) says:

    yep. recently someone told me this

    grim says:
    February 15, 2015 at 9:17 am
    Rental prices at all time highs and rental vacancies at something like 10 year lows, this is despite the construction.

  26. njescapee says:

    How’s the weather up there? Lol

  27. homeboken says:

    30 yr – It costs MORE to be in the tri-state area than it does anywhere else. Add your point that the land is useless and you have a recipe for disaster. Well technically the lot is worth $1,000.

    I think clot is right, these sales transfer the tax to the new owners and relieves the city of the liability for 18 months. In the end, Newark ends up with the lots back on their REO anyway.

  28. 1987 condo says:

    from NYT:

    Ms. Payne, a former administrative assistant in the New York Police City Department, has not made a single payment on a $30,770 Santander loan that was taken out to buy a 2011 BMW 328xi. Ms. Payne, who has no driver’s license, said she took out the loan so her daughter, who lives in New Jersey, could have a car. The loan has an interest rate of 11.89 percent, according to her loan document, a copy of which was reviewed by The Times.

    Ms. Payne went with her daughter to a dealership that arranges loans for Santander and other auto lenders to buy the car. She said an employee at the dealership in Great Neck, N.Y., assured her that, even though she was on food stamps, she could afford the loan. At the time, Ms. Payne said she thought she was co-signing the loan with her daughter.

    “I looked him in the eye and said, ‘I don’t have any income,’ ” said Ms. Payne.

    The dealership did not comment.

  29. Mike says:

    1- Like being inside a Pepto Bismol bottle.

  30. Liquor Luge says:

    30 year (23)-

    That’s why growing weed or cooking meth are the only things that make sense. You turn “worthless” residential dirt into productive commercial square footage.

  31. Liquor Luge says:

    Newarkers will also appreciate and pay a premium for farm-to-table choom and ice.

  32. Toxic Crayons says:

    More of your tax dollars at work

    72 year old man facing 10 years in prison for possession of flintlock pistol from 1750’s.

  33. Liquor Luge says:

    There has to be some way to get most of Newark’s population to disperse themselves across the Poconos.

  34. Liquor Luge says:

    Newark would be fine if it were reduced to downtown, Ironbound, NJPAC, hockey, baseball and Red Bulls.

  35. Boss Hogg says:


    I found you relatives doing performance art – Southern Trailer style. Is a catchy tune.

  36. NJT says:

    #35 [LL ]

    “There has to be some way to get most of Newark’s population to disperse themselves across the Poconos.”

    Been to Stroudsburg lately?

  37. leftwing says:

    28. Here we go again……

    Humanity so stupid as to not know that they are actually signing something relying on the counterparty to ‘take care’ of them in the contract.

    And, again, it’s the fault of the big bad finance.

    Darwin, please just intercede. Please.

  38. joyce says:

    Please indeed. Where would Finance be without these people considering the industry creates nothing?

  39. Liquor Luge says:

    The next time Darwin intercedes, almost the entire population of the planet will be taken out.

  40. Liquor Luge says:

    joyce (40)-

    Agreed. The way most finance is practiced these days, it looks like organized crime.

  41. leftwing says:

    OK Joyce.

    Let’s take away finance. Because they create nothing.

    Have fun share-cropping, because unless you have cash you don’t have a house. Ditto the auto. Heck, the whole auto industry because we all know every entrepreneur from Ford through Zuckerberg was self funding. Any other consumer loan, gone. Whoops, sorry middle class and lower kids, back to the 1920s model of University, not for you, but someone has to dig the ditches. Retirement, good luck, see how compounding works over 30 years at 3%.

    Are you seriously going to indict the entire financial services sector on the back of some woman so stupid to not even understand she was signing a legally binding contract? Her parents should have been locked up for neglect, and she neutered.

  42. leftwing says:

    Clot, as are most industries. Name me the altruistic industries. Everyone from your local pizzeria to Apple would take the same advantage.

    If she can’t run with the dogs stay on the porch.

    Find a nice owner with a warm home who will fill her dish and pat her on the head. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    While I’ll deal with her stupidity just don’t ask me to cater to it. It’s already criminal her vote counts as much as yours and mine.

    Self righteous bast**ds. Every single one of our spreadsheet boys on here – who can tell you to the decimal point how over priced a home is based on comps – would trip over themselves signing a home purchase contract with a retiree priced at less than median. And never make a peep. And probably find a way to blame the banks to justify ripping the old man off, LOL.

  43. joyce says:

    How many other industries are given the privilege of creating money?

    Your post in 43 contains a lot of inaccurate assumptions and generalizations. And by the way, I’m not positive but I think your two entrepreneurial examples didn’t require credit from a bank and got real financing from themselves/others. Read up on the difference between bank created credit and other forms.

  44. chi says:

    Joyce: you are taking potshots at finance and you manage a restaurant? What do serve there? Flash frozen liquid MSG, salt and grease with obscene markups? Employees that are paid slave wages and off-the-books illegals. Meanwhile you pay off the health inspector to serve ptomaine laced gruel while openly flouting liquor laws.

  45. leftwing says:

    Haha Joyce, think I have a handle on all forms of corporate finance, thanks.

    So it’s just bank credit that is evil? All the other participants in the financial markets are OK? Love to hear the logic on that one……

    Many would say that they real financial ‘leeches’ are the private equity and vc guys. And Zuckerberg did a bunch of early rounds, angel and vc. And more villians, don’t forget the whole tech bubble. And no way the investment bankers get off easily, since no one actually knows what their job description is anyway.

    The massive real estate bubble and subsequent meltdown is squarely on the back of the rating agencies, who threw their fiduciary duty and common sense out the window to enable the creation of super steroidal CMBSs without which the bubble could not have happened.

    But it is just so much easier to paint big bad banks manipulating Ma Jones as the cause.

    And BTW, the idea to anyone in finance that commercial bank credit guys are anywhere near the food chain, let alone controlling it, is laughable. They are viewed somewhere between special needs and lepers, clearing a room on their entrance.

  46. joyce says:

    If you consider factual statements to be potshots, then what does that say about the state of that industry?

    chi says:
    February 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm

  47. Liquor Luge says:

    Big difference between finance and financialization.

  48. joyce says:

    Yes, exactly.

  49. joyce says:

    Almost the entire money supply is bank credit.

  50. joyce says:

    “The massive real estate bubble and subsequent meltdown is squarely on the back of the rating agencies”

    Wait a minute, Ma Jones’s stupidity wasn’t a factor?

    “it is just so much easier to paint big bad banks manipulating Ma Jones as the cause”

    If you care to reread not only today but years of previous comments, I’ve always said those that borrowed too much deserve nothing. Never did I defend them. It’s possible to criticize A without defending B. (just like with the political parties) Like I said a little while ago, I guess I can’t criticize the democrats without someone accusing me of supporting the republicans, or vice versa.

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