I love a good vintage bathroom, and I recently stumbled across a particularly delicious collection in the pages of Vogue. The designs, which range from 1931 to 2013, are a fascinating testament to the evolution of bathroom style, and style in general, although the bathrooms here are quite a bit more luxurious than those of the average person. Whether you find them absurd, or delightful, or delightfully absurd, there’s a lot to see here — and maybe even a little inspiration for your own space.
The New York City bathroom of Mrs. Harry Payne Bingham, 1932.
(Image credit: The 3/Vogue)
The mirrored tub surround is very Art Deco, and I like the little drawers to either side of the tub. Reflected in the mirror, you can see an easy chair, a sofa and even a fireplace — Mrs. Harry Payne Bingham’s bathroom definitely had plenty of room for lounging.
A luxurious bathroom in the Syosset home of Mrs. E. Marshall Field, 1936.
(Image credit: Peter Nyholm/Vogue)
Mirrors are still very much in evidence in this 1936 bathroom, as is Chinoiserie wallpaper and a crystal chandelier. It all seems a bit extravagant for a bathroom, but Mrs. E. Marshall Field, wife of the department store magnate, could probably afford to splurge.
Mrs. Harilaos Theodoracopulos in the mirrored bathroom of her New York apartment, 1969.
(Image credit: Alexis Waldeck /Vogue)
Mirrors seem to be a theme here, and this bathroom is positively covered. It’s 1969, but design-wise this is definitely a forward look to the ’70s.
To modern eyes, shag carpeting in a bathroom seems a bit disastrous — but imagine how good that would feel on your feet when emerging from the sunken tub, like a fluffy bathmat enveloping the whole room.
If you just glance at this space, you might imagine it’s a living room — but no, it’s just the most palatial bathroom you’ve ever seen. Designed by David Hicks, it’s larger than most studio apartments — if you look very carefully, you can see the tub and the toilet hiding in niches against the far wall. All that olive green places it firmly in 1972, but the furniture still feels very modern.
A dramatic bathroom in Olivier Coquelin’s villa Habitation Leclerc, 1974.
(Image credit: Horst P. Horst/Vogue)
I can’t help but think that this looks like the set for an Ayn Rand film, a testament to the primacy of the individual and a temple to a clean, pure, god-like human body.
A very pink bathroom design by François Catroux, 1975.
(Image credit: David Massey/Vogue)
With the exception of the corded phone, this 1975 bathroom could’ve been plucked wholesale from the pages of a modern design magazine. There’s even a fiddle leaf fig! It’s more than ample proof that the ’70s are back, and that pink bathrooms never really go out of style. I’m digging the sunken tub, and the way that the pink marble tub surround seamlessly abuts the similarly-colored pink carpet.
It’s still quite luxurious, but compared to the others this bathroom, from the home of decorator Chessy Rayner, seems positively minimal. I could see this translating particularly well to the modern era: it’s minimal, but still retains a touch of old-school glamour.
It’s true that 2013 isn’t exactly vintage yet, but I couldn’t resist adding just one modern bathroom, whose over-the-top style is right at home in this collection. The chrome and lacquer cabinets are a nod to Art Deco style, and the blue cabinets and burgundy-veined marble are an unexpected but delightful pair.
Want to see more vintage bathrooms? Head over to Vogue for the full slideshow, with 45 delightfully over-the-top spaces spanning from the ’30s to today.
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