Vibrant vintage bathrooms

Individuality, exuberant color, and meticulous installation make vintage bathrooms worthy of saving.

 

Sonneveld House, 1929-1933. (Photo: Pinterest)

Sonneveld House, 1929-1933. (Photo: Pinterest)

Vintage bathrooms have a certain appeal. Their joyful color is a welcome surprise. Interestingly, some are decades old yet timeless in their design.

Color abounds in vintage bathrooms.

Vintage bathroom from a 1929 Kohler advertisement.

Vintage bathroom from a 1929 Kohler advertisement.

While this bathroom is simple in style, its use of color is grand. Midnight navy combines with flamingo pink and tangerine for uplifting results.

(Photo: Pinterest)

(Photo: Pinterest)

Greens offer a feeling of refreshment. (Photo: Pinterest)

Greens offer a feeling of refreshment. (Photo: Pinterest)

My view is apparently not shared in Winter Park. In other words, owners of historic homes change out their bathrooms to whatever is trending. Into the dumpster go the decos.

Special detailing makes vintage bathrooms timeless.

Casa de las Campanas. (Photo: Melba Levick)

Casa de las Campanas. (Photo: Melba Levick)

One of my all-time favorite bathrooms is in Hancock Park, Los Angeles. Casa de las Campanas was built by Willis Howard Mead in 1926. His daughter Lucile designed the apple-green tiles. I love everything about this bathroom. For instance, the placement of the cross handles. While their location might not be convenient, the placement was well-thought.

(Photo: Photoshelter.com)

(Photo: Photoshelter.com)

Above is another extraordinary example. This shower is from a Hollywood Hills estate. It was owned by Hollywood composer Miklos Rozsa followed by the late Andrew Getty. I find it special for two reasons. First, the combination of shapes and colors is unusual. Secondly, the floral inserts are a singular addition making this shower extra special.

Present-day vintage.

(Photo: brookegiannetti.typepad.com)

(Photo: brookegiannetti.typepad.com)

If you desire a new vintage bathroom, Mission Tile West may be your savior. Their Revival series features 1920’s shapes and colors. Architect Steve Giannetti specifies them for his Spanish-revival work.

(Photo: brookegiannetti.typepad.com)

(Photo: brookegiannetti.typepad.com)

My grandmother’s 1920’s home had a lavender bathroom. Consequently, I have always thought that to be a special and perfectly appropriate color.

(Photo: brookegiannetti.typepad.com)

(Photo: brookegiannetti.typepad.com)

Another Giannetti bathroom above.  This one in turquoise. The simplest black and white deco detail wraps the tub.

(Photo: Trevor Tondro)

(Photo: Trevor Tondro)

Madeline Stuart is another fan of Mission Tile West. She looks to them for her new vintage bathrooms.

(Photo: Trevor Tondro)

(Photo: Trevor Tondro)

Another view of Stuart’s bathroom.

Should these be saved?

 

Refreshing vintage bathrooms is tricky. How much change is too much? On the other hand, how much is too little?

These questions are on my mind. It makes me sad to tour a well-preserved historic home with obviously new bathrooms. The disparity disrupts the flow of the house. The challenge is to find a way to make the old timeless. I will be sure to share the recipe if I figure it out.

Casa V delights in unique houses and can create one for you.