The best approach to bathrooms, like the best approach to kitchens, is neither clinical nor sterile. Taking hygienic efficiency for granted, baths now stress the pleasures rather than the practical functions for which they are designed. Yesterday’s baths were strictly puritanical in-and-out-fast rooms.
Today’s are permissive, beautiful backgrounds for beauty rituals, pleasant retreats for lingering and lounging. Materials are getting more luxurious, accessories more imaginative by the minute. Wallpaper, Paneling, carpeting, prints, fabrics, plants, paintings, bibelots make bathrooms come alive — as colorful and nonconformist as the rest of the house. They also help integrate the bathroom visually into the overall decorative scheme so that there are no separate fashion or design trends for bathrooms any more. They echo the mood, the look, theme of the house.
A pretty house will have flowery bathrooms; a modern one, architectural; a traditional one, cozy bathrooms. Privacy, always a prime requisite in bathrooms, is served well by the new compartmented floor plans that also separate various areas. Bathrooms have become health centers, some complete with saunas and adjoining sunbathing gardens. And the new pool-size tubs are the most luxurious things since the days of the Romans.
If yours is old, decorate and hide the flaws — if new, dress it with style and personality.
1) Flowers everywhere! One brilliant wallpaper bouquet splashed on walls, ceilings, and of all places, the floor in the Chicago apartment of columnist Maggie Daly. Matching fabric is used for shower curtain and to cover wastebasket.
2) Mundane pink bathroom was transformed. Black burlap now covers walls; cracked ceiling is masked with poster covered in vinyl and suspended from ceiling. Further eye-catchers: profusion of exciting accessories, the vertical strip of adjustable lighting.
3) Rosewood is the one genuine luxury in this apartment bathroom in Boston. It’s used lavishly for a built-in cabinet, as a valance for the lighting and shower-curtain rod, and as a mirror frame.
Remodeled baths & baths with a view
This odd-shaped bathroom suite used to be all mottled pistachio and mauve tile until it was transformed into a modern beauty of slick white tile and chrome. Part of the magic: colorful towels, bright accessories. An extra bath is tucked under the eaves. Everything is here and nothing is custom-made.
The tub is tiny, 25×45 inches and there is the popular Boston telephone shower. Lavatory comes with its own cabinet. The only vertical wall is used for medicine cabinet. A fireplace and chaise longue provide this bathroom with all the living room amenities. Fabrics are all practical cotton.
Borrowed from the Japanese, this indoor-outdoor bath in Berkeley, California, has a giant-tiled tub big enough for a shower without the usual doors or curtains. Sliding door opens up to shoji-screened deck. It’s hard to tell the outdoors from the indoors in this bathroom. Indoors, there’s a spacious shower area with a massive stone bench for sunbathing. Outdoors, a walled garden, entered only through the master bedroom. The dividing point is a wall of glass.
Carved into the side of a mountain, privacy is no problem. Sumptuous bathroom with a view to an enclosed garden has a sunken tub with brass fittings. Crystal chandelier and thick pile carpeting add to the general feeling of opulence.
Luxury baths & compartmented baths
The sun pours into this spacious bathroom through a window wall, curtained for privacy with drifts of sheer white fabric. Natural slate, Bristol blue fixtures, potted plants, a collection of crystal paper-weights all add up to luxury.
In order to gain space when remodeling this bathroom, an unused back stairway was removed. A mirrored tvall, floor-to-ceiling window, and simple white fixtures visually enlarge this comparatively small room. Decorative accent is from a pair of handsome armoire doors. Other luxuries: the soft gold-and-white wallpaper, painted shutters framing the window, and a furry rug topping the wood floor, stained a deep, rich brown.
The new multi-compartmented bathrooms make a lot of sense for busy families. This one has separate areas for dressing, storage, bathing, lavatory, toilet, and even health facilities. A tiny compartment equipped with a slat bench, topped with terry pillows, is perfect for drying and dressing the children and for quick moments under a portable sun lamp.
This dual-compartmented bath provides privacy and individual storage space for both husband and wife. “Her” area becomes distinctly feminine by stashing bright guest towels in an old jewel chest, adding an attractive mirror.
King-size cement shower pan in this skylighted bathroom is shielded, not by a conventional shower curtain, but by a pair of wooden baffles, left and right. All-white room is warmed by antique mirror frame and patterned area rug.
A custom, pool-shaped tub of brown ceramic tile has a wide ledge for sitting. Its outer curve projects into the living room where it creates an interesting turret-shaped wall. Convenient three-way mirror hides storage space.