Baby Blue Tubs and Lemony Loos. Are Coloured Bathroom Fixtures Chic Again? | Kanebridge News
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Baby Blue Tubs and Lemony Loos. Are Coloured Bathroom Fixtures Chic Again?

The divisive trend has design pros in a lather. Here, they argue both sides.

By LAUREN JOSEPH
Thu, Mar 16, 2023 8:00amGrey Clock 4 min

COLOURED TUBS and sinks are getting another shot. Design experts are revisiting the look, which originated in the 1920s. American waterworks brand Kohler recently revived two heritage colors they originally released in the ’20s and ’30s, and British manufacturers such as the Water Monopoly and the Bold Bathroom Company have found fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some designers, however, wincingly recall the avocado-hued tubs and sinks of the 1970s and hold that coloured fixtures are a trend that will date very quickly. For these naysayers, only white bath fixtures will do. Here, they debate the issue.

Yes, coloured fixtures give a bathroom a much-needed shot of style.

Many design pros applauded the news that come summer, Kohler’s bathroom fixtures—including toilets—will be available in two shades from its archive: Spring Green, an icy teal, and Peachblow, a mauvy pink. Fans of the chromatically diverse Rockwell collection from the Water Monopoly, meanwhile, appreciate the fixtures’ vaguely vintage eccentricity.

London interior designer Lizzie Green nestled a Powder blue Rockwell tub, one with a puffy upper rim and spheres for feet, against a wall of variegated green-blue tiles (above). “The playful design creates a center piece in a large bathroom,” she said. (In a similarly bold move, Ms. Green installed a blue art deco pedestal sink from British manufacturer the Bold Bathroom Company in a shower room clad in rose-pink tile.)

Elizabeth Metcalfe, of EM Design in Toronto, made a chalky green Rockwell tub the hero of a primary bath and a foil to some serious luxury. It sits amid walls of Breccia marble—a creamy stone veined in deep purple—and windows hung with pink cashmere drapery. The tub gives an otherwise conservative, grown-up room a “uniquely stylish” edge, she said.

The designers we surveyed agree that the trend’s biggest fans are older millennials who grew up in what Lauren Lothrop Caron terms the “beige 2000s.” The founder of Seattle’s Studio Laloc—a senior millennial herself—urges her contemporaries to be bold. For her own bathroom remodel, she’s eyeing Kohler’s Peachblow fixtures.

Noncommittal types might do best to choose one small colored fixture, says Jake Rodehuth-Harrison, founder of Los Angeles design firm Hubbahubba. Mr. Rodehuth-Harrison loves the “heavy dose of nostalgia” the pieces provide at a time when “the design world and algorithms are always looking forward and saying new, newer, newest.” He popped lilac ball feet onto another Water Monopoly Rockwell tub, this one white, in a Napa Valley, Calif., project. The result perches, most surprisingly, on muted green flooring he chose. If that’s too bold, “we can neutralize these fixtures by surrounding them with tiles in the same color,” he noted.

Another trick: Tiffany Duggan of London’s Studio Duggan suggests working with vintage fixtures that were born white. The designer recently updated an original iron tub with a wash of Farrow & Ball’s Red Earth. “If you change your mind, you can just paint over it.”

No, colored basins and bathtubs are too fatally trendy and impractical besides.

Doubters say hued baths will be a blip on the trend continuum. Unless you’re trying to preserve the aesthetic of a historic home, warned Liana Hawes Young, creative director of Wimberly Interiors in New York City, “colored fixtures will feel dated quickly, if not immediately.” And unlike trendily tinted shower curtains or wall paint that can be changed with little expense, this craze requires a spendy swap out, argued naysayers. Said Kristina Phillips, an interior designer in Ridgewood, N.J., “Clients looking for more long-term, classic design, along with keeping eventual resale in mind, might hesitate.”

Traditionalists say that if you really must, relegate such vivid choices to powder rooms and kids’ baths, spaces you don’t linger in. And well-intentioned salvage-scourers should be wary of mixing eras, said other concerned parties. “Vintage plumbing fixtures can date a space due to their scale,” explained Hattie Collins, founder of Hattie Sparks Interiors, in New Orleans. “Most times, coloured tubs and toilets are much smaller than present-day fixtures.” A safer bet, she suggests, is to focus on rescuing original floor and surround tile.

Powder blue is one thing, many say, but bright or hot-hued renditions of this trend read garish. “Neons and oranges could be a thorn in the room,” said Los Angeles designer Gilda Hariri. Even Ms. Metcalfe, who otherwise champions the trend, warned, “Avoid vibrant, aggressive tones, such as reds and oranges, that evoke a strong emotional response.”

Designers who actually can see a place for coloured fixtures couldn’t help but trivialise the trend as “retro” and “eclectic.” The rest of the room has to quietly suggest luxury, they suggest, to balance kookiness with class. Ms. Collins thinks wallpaper that has layered, expressive colours—the sort often offered by House of Hackney, Gracie or Cole and Son—could help coloured fixtures read higher end, as would lighting of reeded glass and high-quality metal finishes. “Lovely but expensive,” she added. Is the cost of a cheerful toilet really worth it?

The power of association doesn’t work well in the trend’s favor, either. A black bathroom, for instance, installed for a sense of refined moodiness, might evoke one from a 1980s basement nightclub, giving words like sterility and sanitary a new appeal. Austere white bathrooms, a holdover from the “hospital white’” tiled bathrooms of the early 1920s, are far more practical. Dark colours reveal water marks and chalky toothpaste smears. To Kristine Renee, co-founder of Sacramento, Calif., interiors firm Design Alchemy, “Nothing ever seems as clean as white.”

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.



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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.

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