Friday, January 20, 2012

The Master Bath

The evolution of the master bathroom has come a long way since America's early Colonial days. Originally a separate outhouse or "privy" located outside the main dwelling and primary built for function, the bathroom eventually became standard in homes with the invention of indoor plumbing for those who could afford it. Before indoor plumbing, during cold weather folks might use a chamber pot and bathe with a washbowl and pitcher or in a portable tub near the fireplace. By the early 20th century, most homes located in towns or cities had one indoor bathroom to serve the needs of its inhabitants. However, in rural areas many families used outhouses as late as the 1950s.

Usually a sink or two, toilet and bathtub composed the typical residential bathroom in the early to mid-20th century. Tile was used frequently and tubs were often made of cast iron. Bathroom decor and materials evolved further in the 1950s and 1960s when colorful tile patterns on the floors and walls took the place of an all-white or more subdued palette. Pink, mint green, blue and yellow were popular bathroom colors but virtually  all colors of the rainbow can be found in bathrooms of this era.

Today bathrooms have changed considerably with the master bath nearly always containing a shower in addition to or in combination with a bathtub. In general, contemporary bathrooms are much larger in size and many contain the ubiquitous "vanity" holding at least one or more sinks with storage underneath. Bathrooms seem to be trending toward more of a "spa" like feel and appearance.

Our master bath is not very large, but serves us well. It features wood floors, an antique claw-foot tub, and two vintage pedestal sinks in addition to a toilet. We happened to have this Art Deco style vanity painted black and it fit perfectly between the two sinks!

 I love having a window in my bathroom that I can open and let fresh breezes come in. I didn't change much about this bathroom after we moved in except for painting it a pale pink.

In case you were wondering, we have a brass caddy that lays over top of the tub to hold our toiletries,
but I removed it for the photo shoot! 

Our master bedroom (to which the bathroom adjoins) contains some pink undertones and and I loved the look of the light pink with all the white and pops of black. Who would have thought the 1950s pink bathrooms would be back? Ha!

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  1. This looks great, Megan. I'm really quite torn about how much to modernize my bathrooms. I have a clawfoot tub in my upstairs bathroom which is really quite charming but I just never use it. I'd much prefer a modern shower with tile that looks vintage.

    OH, BTW, I grew up in the country and our old neighbor, Mr. Dewey, had an outhouse right up to his death in the 1970s. Running water in the kitchen only; of course, a gorgeous old apron sink that I'd love to have today!

  2. Beautiful bathroom- love your sinks and vintage tub!! We remodeled our vintage bathroom and kept the vintage charm as well. Stopping by from MMS~ Feathered Nest Friday is going on right now at my blog if you would like to stop by and share this!

  3. Beautiful bathroom! I love the claw foot tub especially. I'm on the lookout for one to put in our old farmhouse. Just wondering how it is for daily use? Is there anything you don't like about it?

  4. Thanks, everyone!

    Steve- I love the charm of clawfoot tubs but they can be cumbersome and slippery to use as a shower for some folks (I've actually wiped out a couple of times in ours, LOL!) Is there any way you could add a shower to the bathroom if you have enough room and retain the tub for a good soaking every now and then?

    Rachel- It's fine for daily use but we had to put a non-slip mat in the bottom of ours because I actually fell a couple of times! Storage is definitely an issue too- we have a brass caddy that fits over the lip of the tub to hold our toiletries. Also, make sure it is properly refinished and sealed if it is old. As long as you don't mind stepping up and over into the tub everyday I think it works fine!

  5. Your bathroom is so pretty, Megan. I especially love that first shot of it. And how you've added the Deco vanity between the pedestal sinks for storage. Lovely.

    Thanks for the info on the history of bathrooms. I always enjoy reading your blog.

  6. Such a cozy and fresh looking space to get ready for the day. It's very pretty.

  7. Lovely blog. Stumbled onto your blog from A country farmhouse

    We have a claw bath in our ensuite also and we love it.


  8. Just stopping back by to say thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday!