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Mint-green bathrooms.

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Photo via 1st Dibs

How happy does this sink make you? Those knobs! That chrome! The minty goodness of it all! This beauty was designed by George Saiker for the American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corporation (which would later join and eventually become what we now know as American Standard) in 1933. Man, what a beauty! It’s like a Breuer chair mated with a 1957 MG.

Between those brightly-colored sinks, the pink kitchens, and Wes Anderson’s confection of a cafe, I have really been feeling like I need lots of color in my life lately. Looking through my stash of bathroom photos, I’m surprised by how many of them are this certain shade of minty, sea-glassy green. It’s not a color I think of myself as gravitating to, but I guess I do!

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First row: Photos by Lisa Hubbard and Ekenstam (via Sartorial Roadmap) / Second row: Photos by Tom Kirsch/Opacity and Jean Randazzo

It’s funny, whenever I’m poking around looking for photos of vintage kitchens and bathrooms, the commentary on the ones I find on non-“designy” sites tend to run along the lines of “I CAN’T WAIT TO RIP THIS MINT GREEN ATROCITY OF SINK OFF OF THE WALL, HAHAHAHA,” and then of course on interiors blogs everyone is cooing about all of the original fixtures. I totally get not wanting to live in a time capsule, but I there are so many ways to update vintage bathrooms for better functionality and to feel more contemporary. Once those seafoam tiles are in the landfill, though, they’re gone.

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Photo by Toby Scott

I’m pretty sure this sink and tub are old, and I’m totally sure the floor and walls are new. Now, that’s not the tile I’d choose for my own bathroom, but I think this looks really good. It’s bright and fresh and airy and all of the things that people worry about vintage bathrooms not being. Of course, you’d have to make sure your shampoo and conditioner bottles match the tub and sink, so I hope you like Prell.

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To close out this post, let’s take a look at what is arguably the greatest mint green bathroom of all time, the one in room 237 at the Overlook Hotel. The Shining has not one, not two, but three of the best bathroom scenes in cinematic history in it. Pretty amazing. Apparently Roy Walker didn’t want to make the Overlook appear to be from any specific era, so you’re constantly moving from the 1920s through to the 1970s from room to room, this weird vintage/futuristic juxtaposition that turns up in a lot of Kubrick movies. All that and a rotting corpse aside, though, that’s one helluva gorgeous mint green bathroom…

(Clip possibly NSFW, but your boss will get over it.)

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31 Comments

  • Reply Feisty Harriet July 29, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I have a mint-green ceramic tub, just like the Tom Kirsch/Opacity pic…only it’s paired with white/gray marble floors (swoon!) and LEMON YELLOW, BLACK, and ORANGE tile walls….It…it’s the worst and makes me want to stab my eyes out. I think I’ve figured out a way to refinish the tile without pulling it all out, but I cannot tell you how much I dream of white subway tile. Honestly, with the marble and the mint tub that could be a really great bathroom….just not with yellow/black/orange. Ahem.

    xox

    • Reply PrimroseRoad September 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      You can paint tile. It’s a little difficult as a DYI but I’ve seen it done and it looks fantastic. I don’t know why more people don’t do it. There’s no need to rip it out — you can even paint a design into it. Although you might want to leave one section of the tile as a reminder of ‘back in the day’…

      • Reply Anna @ D16 September 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

        I’d definitely paint tile if I knew I were going to be ripping it out eventually, but I wouldn’t consider it as a long-term solution in a wet area. There’s too much potential for moisture getting trapped behind the paint and causing the grout to fail. I’ve seen way too many mold-riddled stopgap “renovations” involving painted tile for me to be able to recommend it other than in completely dry areas.

  • Reply Reba July 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Oh yes! I truly love an OG bathroom–check out the sea foam on pink action in this place bathroom–with bonus minty kitchen: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/2924-Iroquois-St_Detroit_MI_48214_M37618-14584.

    Never mind it’s more than 2x the size (and price) we’re looking for… Worth it maybe?

    • Reply Daniel @ Manhattan Nest July 30, 2015 at 10:13 am

      GASP. That kitchen tile!! The way it wraps the doorways! Looks like cabinets and countertops and everything are much newer…good on them for not ripping it out when they renovated! (and omg that butler’s pantry!)

      • Reply Reba August 2, 2015 at 8:48 pm

        I know–can you imagine the work behind hanging that?? A lot of old Detroit houses do tile very well, in large part thanks to the Pewabic Tile (http://www.pewabic.org/) tradition. For all the “Detroit is the new Brooklyn” hype, there’s some things we gladly claim as ours! Hmm…could be an interesting destination for the next Anna/Daniel trip… 🙂

        • Reply Anna @ D16 August 2, 2015 at 8:49 pm

          Reba, I would LOVE to go to Detroit!!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 July 31, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Reba, I’m just taking the time to click through this listing now. Holy mackerel! What a house. That kitchen!!!

  • Reply Amanda July 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Best mint green bathroom eva’ http://www.notshallow.org/2014/04/out-about

  • Reply Jade Sheldon July 29, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    *Sigh* I guess I will always have a fondness for this particular shade of green. I guess that’s what happens when you’re given a name like Jade…

  • Reply lau July 29, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    i love you so much for posting the 237 bathroom. !!!

  • Reply Victoria Smith July 30, 2015 at 12:46 am

    it’s like the house i ‘almost’ got. the bathroom had epic green tile!

  • Reply Jacinta July 30, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Pink and/or green bathrooms are everything. I love mine soooooo much! And to run with the theme, only pink and/or green plants are allowed. https://instagram.com/p/xxp8ujLOpY/?taken-by=bawkbawk

    • Reply Anna @ D16 July 31, 2015 at 11:33 am

      That looks GORGEOUS, Jacinta! I love it.

  • Reply Jacinta July 30, 2015 at 4:04 am

    (oh and my bathroom floor matches almost exactly the pink floors used in the wes anderson cafe <333333)

  • Reply Kate July 30, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I love that white bathroom with the green sink and tub. Those tiles wouldn’t be my choice, either, but they go a long way towards making it look updated.

  • Reply RebeccaNYC July 30, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Back in my “renovating a victorian Philadelphia townhouse” days, a British friend was visiting and commented that he had not seen that much L’eau de Nil since post-war Britain. What we call Mint Green I guess everyone else calls water of the Nile. I loved my Mint Green bathroom. I regret that I had to leave it behind before the renovation was over to start a new life in NYC. Now I have generic rental beige. oh well.

  • Reply lisafromjapan July 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    oh thank you for room 237!
    that was my first thought when I saw your title.

    • Reply lisafromjapan July 30, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      and the Prell comment……….. pretty hilarious!

  • Reply Judi July 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I’m working on an exhibition about how Alfred Barr and Phiip Johnson brought modernism to the US (in NYC in 2017; stay tuned), and that first image…that’s my life right now! You brought to mind a conversation that the team has been having–the idea that most people don’t think of the Bauhaus and early modernism as being as colorful as it was, because the photographs of the objects were all B/W until much later. Interesting, no?

    And you might appreciate this: I was doing some research on “good design” according to MoMA and came across this 1951 press release about one of the “Good Design” shows. Check out all the new players who became household names:

    http://www.moma.org/momaorg/shared/pdfs/docs/press_archives/1522/releases/MOMA_1951_0040.pdf

    Oh, and I thought I’d miss all the home improvement posts, but this life curatorial conversation (for lack of a better term) that you’ve opened with your readers is so much fun! Thank you!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 July 31, 2015 at 11:34 am

      This is really cool, Judi, thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply Lucie July 30, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you for this post. I am renovating our house (some kind of Victorian house but in France) and I have precisely a mint-green bathroom that I don’t want to rip off. I need some inspiration, and you just manage to give me some. I don’t know you Anna, but for years now (so a long time before we get our house) I’m reading your blog and well, thank you so much, for all the inspiration you give. If you want to have a look, we aren’t really in the decorating stage! It’s in french (by the way sorry for the mistakes) but we tried to put nice pictures in it: au33delarue.wordpress.com

    • Reply Anna @ D16 July 31, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Lucie, wow! Your house!!! What a massive project that looks like, but you have an amazing place to work with. Good luck!!!

  • Reply Lindsay July 30, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Hmm, yes, nice…ohh, love that color…that’s interesting…..AHHH HORRORS! ANXIETY ATTACK!
    I’ll never forget that bathroom!

  • Reply Kathy July 30, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I completely agree. I just renovated my 1936 bathroom. I started by removing ugly cream colored paint from my vintage blue- green tiles. I love the super saturated color every time I walk in my bathroom and I don think I’ll ever tire of it.

  • Reply Jane July 30, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    My husband has always called this green “Harry Truman Green”. We’ve also met someone else who had always called it “Early Eisenhower”. It’s a fine point.

  • Reply Cindi M July 30, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Back in the 70’s I had an office in an old psychiatric hospital (yes, they saved a room for me!) and the walls were mint green. Hated it until I realized that my black plastic square tables full of plants and my black rotary telephone were the perfect accents for that color.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 July 31, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Cindi, your comment is making me laugh. I know…context is everything. 😉

  • Reply Gina August 1, 2015 at 8:32 am

    This is my bathroom! Very much the colour theme in The Shining – light yellow and mint green… the terazzo floor with a little red and black geometric detail. It is absolutely divine!

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