“This is an age of color,” proclaimed a 1927 Kohler marketing brochure promoting color toilets and sinks, picturing pale pink and jade green iterations. “Color in the world out-of-doors affects our moods, our outlook upon life. And properly employed within the house, it has a like effect.” On first glance, the pastel-hued bathroom fixtures meant to replace regular old white might seem like a design move reserved for the likes of Betty Draper, but nearly a century later designers are revisiting the throwback style and amping up bathrooms with colorful sinks, toilets, and tubs.
“With a rise in midcentury-modern home remodels and an increased nostalgia for retro furnishings, we’re seeing more customers favoring color,” says Alyssa Wilterdink, Kohler’s senior marketing manager. What’s more, as Kohler celebrates its 150th anniversary, the legacy company has polled the public for their favorite vintage hues which will be put back into production. The winners? A blush-y pink called Peachblow and a soft teal dubbed Spring Green.
“They help liven up a space that can sometimes feel clinical and spare,” explains AD100 interior designer Virginia Tupker, who recently ordered custom colored Water Monopoly sinks in pale pink and blue for a family home in Connecticut. “I love them in older houses as they bring back a retro glamor.” She’s also used them in children’s bathrooms (“a splash of imagination”) and a black toilet in a basement night club (“It upped the swanky factor ten-fold”).
Other designers have been experimenting with a similar look. AD100 designer Beata Heuman spray painted an old-fashioned sink teal blue in a fun London flat. In Stacy Bendet’s New York home, the slipper tub from the Cast Iron Bath Co. is painted grassy green. Meanwhile, in Mary Weatherford’s midcentury-modern LA home, designed by Oliver Furth, a pink toilet—vintage Kohler, in fact—sets the tone.