Since 2015, Sam Ushiro has been showcasing her vibrant, vintage-inspired style on the internet. Images of her psychedelic outfits and kitschy interiors have earned her a dedicated readership on her AwwSam blog and more than 300,000 Instagram followers. So, it’s no surprise that she designed the happiest retro bathroom that’s ever existed.
Ushiro and her husband purchased their 1979 Austin home from the original owners, who were looking for new inhabitants with an appreciation for the abode’s historical architecture. “They wanted somebody that would bring back the seventies elements and keep a lot of the stuff that they had originally built, but just update it,” she explains. “That’s the philosophy we went into the renovation with.”
In the case of the bathroom, the couple was thrilled to restore the sunken tub, which was one of the features that first attracted them to the house. They also maintained the existing layout and the stone planter wall. Ushiro then infused the space with a sunny yellow color palette that sparks serious joy. “Yellow is a color I don’t see often in interiors, but it’s one of my favorites for that purpose,” she says. “It just makes everything so happy.”
Finding a Vision
The entire cheerful aesthetic was informed by hand-painted Fireclay Tile that combines school bus yellow, peachy cream, and crisp white in a groovy geometric pattern. Once Ushiro chose this festive material for the floors, she found funky, Space Age mirrors that matched perfectly and continued sourcing components from there. She opted for contemporary brass fixtures—because even vintage lovers like present-day amenities—and outfitted the sunken tub in anti-slip glass tile as a nod to the outdated glass block she removed.
Adding in Warmth
Though the shades of yellow are bright and inviting, Ushiro wanted a natural material to bring warmth into the bathroom. She incorporated this sense of coziness by installing Semihandmade Impression Tahoe wood grain fronts on a new IKEA vanity. Then, she added Prettypeg legs to complete the piece. “When it was floating, I felt like it looked a little bit too modern,” she reflects. “It seems more grounded now.”
The vanity is topped with a yellow ceramic tile counter and a pair of circular Nood basin sinks that Ushiro picked for both their beauty and their practicality. “They’re so much less messy,” she reveals. “Toothpaste doesn’t get everywhere, like it normally does. They are probably one of my favorite decisions after using the bathroom. They make it so much easier to keep the countertop around it clean, too.”
Focusing on the Details
Ushiro carefully curated every last inch of the space, from swapping in a pocket door for better flow and creating a recessed arch in the toilet zone to ordering a custom Sazerac Stitches globe sconce and scouring Etsy for the perfect vintage bathroom accessories. The special light fixture blends harmoniously with the sixties-era cabinet pulls, wall hooks, towel holder, and toilet paper dispenser. Of course, the details make all the difference.