I was flipping through pages in the June 1929 issue of the Women’s Home Companion, a vintage magazine I had just received, and was about to put it down when I found this gorgeous color illustration on the inside back cover.
It completely stopped me in my tracks. This had to be the most wonderful bathroom I had ever seen! The colors are rich and beautiful, and everything about it says opulence to me without ever being too much. Immediately I had to find out more.
To start, I noticed that the ad was for the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co, Pittsburgh. (Originally from Pittsburgh, I have to admit to feeling a bit of hometown pride upon seeing this.) I read the advertising copy on the page and learned that the Standard company had created plumbing and bathroom fixtures in a wide variety of vivid, 1920′s colors, all inspired by artists.
At this point, I was ready to run out and stalk antique stores and ebay sellers until I found some vintage pieces that would help me replicate a room just like this one. So when I learned that the company had made a book available, full of pictures just like this one as well as all the information you could ever need to decorate such a room, you can only imagine my determination to find myself a copy. Seriously, just read a bit about this book:
“But it was not enough to create beautiful colors. Colors must be used correctly lest they lose much of their charm. And again the hand of the artist is plain on every page of the book ‘Color and Style in Bathroom Furnishing and Decoration,’ pointing the way to greater bathroom beauty (and greater utility) through architectural design, through a better use of materials old and new, through the harmonious use of color.”
“Words are not used to decribe colors in this book. The bathrooms are lithographed in all the colors of the artist’s original design. Each reproduction is supplemented by a chart which gives the correct color for the walls, ceiling, floor, floor covering, furniture, and draperies. Thus the book is invaluable as a color guide in bathroom decoration because it is authoritative.”
It seems like this book would be such an immense help for anyone trying to recreate a bit of jazz age decor in their own home. Well, good news: I found a scanned copy of the book online, available for any of us to view! Simply go to this page at the Hagley Digital Archives, and there you have it, your own online copy of “Color and Style in Bathroom Furnishing and Decoration.” And the pictures inside are every bit as lush and beautiful as I had been hoping. If you are interested in 1920′s style home decor, I’m sure it would be worth your time to look over – there are color samples, examples of rooms, and illustrations on which to model your own decor.