Romantic reds: T’ang Red, Rouge, Persian Red, and more — in bathroom fixtures!

vintage burgundy bathroomMidcentury bathrooms trimmed in maroon may not have been as popular as their pink cousins, but there are still plenty of homes built from the late 1920s – 1950s that featured this bold color. Today, we mostly refer to these bathrooms as ‘maroon’ or ‘burgundy,’ but the marketing names for these colors were much more romantic: T’ang Red, Rouge, Persian Red — even Pagan Red! 

American Standard burgundy — T’ang Red

towerlyn sinkOur favorite restoration supplier, deabath.com, recently scored the American-Standard Towerlyn pedestal sink — in T’ang Red. They say it is from the late 1920s. So, this color goes back that far, at least.

vintage burgundy bathroom vintage burgundy bathroomvintage burgundy bathroom

I first spotted this rich red in a 1930 catalog — American Standard’s T’ang Red. Above images: 1930 American-Standard T’ang Red bathroom fixtures from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

vintage 1950s maroon bathroom… And the color had legs: 20 years later, American Standard’s T’ang Red was still going strong. Above from: 1950 American-Standard catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org showing T’ang Red bathroom fixtures.

Kohler — Rouge

A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. While there was no deep red in that first palette, it wasn’t too long before Kohler added Rouge to its lineup.

1936 Kohler bathroom colors

Kohler had it own competing red, Rouge. Above: We see Kohler’s color lineup 1936 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org. Note that while Rouge was not one of their four most popular colors — it was subsidiary to the more popular Tuscan, Spring Green, Lavendar and Peachblow illustrated in the larger swatches shown above.

1948 Kohler colors bathroom

Rouge looks to have continued until 1948. Above: In this 1948 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, we see the whole palette for the year, which includes Rouge. By 1949, Rouge was dropped from the Kohler color lineup.

Crane — Persian Red

list of Crane fixture colors 1940While I can’t find any actual images of Crane’s fixtures in Persian Red, this  1940 Crane catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org lists it as one of the color options.

marcia-sinkAbove: The color was still available in 1956 — and you can get a New Old Stock Crane Marcia in Persian Red from deabath.com!

Eljer — Pagan Red

vintage bathroom colorsPam spotted this 1939 Eljer catalog from the MBJ Collection on archive.org showing Pagan Red as one of the color offerings.

Reader’s vintage burgundy/maroon bathrooms

vintage maroon bathroom

These reds are what Pam says she considers “deco” colors. High-contrast bathrooms were more popular in prewar America and the early postwar years. After about 1953, the high-contrast palettes start to fade in favor of lighter pastel combos. Above: Jodi’s 1949 maroon and pink bathroom with amazing vintage tile.

pink-and-maroon-bathroom-vintage bathroomAbove: We gave Naomi ideas to decorate her vintage pink, maroon and white bathroom. Pam says she thinks that’s a Crane sink — if so, this would be Persian Red.

burgundy-wall-sinkAbove: Kate spotted a maroon and gray bathroom during her visit to the Comer House in Tennessee.

midcentury bathroomAbove: Dana built her own pink and burgundy bathroom to reverse a bland, big box remuddle. 

vintage-ceramic-tile-bathroom-vanity-top-peach-and-mauveAbove: Marsha saves her maroon and peach tile bathroom with help from B&W Tile. Yes, B&W still offers a rich maroon color tile.

See our other stories about vintage bathroom colors:

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Comments

  1. Barbara says

    I’ve got a maroon and gray half bath from 1960. The fixtures are American Standard and are in better shape than the wall tile.

      • Barbara says

        The fixtures in the main bath are white. Back in the 80s, a former owner put up white plastic panels over the tile. I’m dying to find out what color is underneath, but I have to wait until I have the money to fix it.

    • Jay says

      My neighborhood of ranches ca 57/58 had A.S. fixtures. I went to an estate auction on the next street. I was surprised to see the hall bath fitted out the same, maroon fixtures and gray tile. I hadn’t know that such dark colors existed. The house was to be auctioned after the contents and I know this bath was gutted, the house was sadly run down.

    • Kay says

      The only bathroom in my little 1950 ranch is gray with maroon trim. The original sink and toilet are gone, but I’d love to have matching red ones!

  2. ineffablespace says

    I agree that this is one of the “Deco” colors. The only real life examples I have seen of these have been in houses with distinctly deco period bathrooms. One house had what appears to be had baths in Pagan Red, Midnight Blue and a Green that I can’t identify. The house was large, had staff bedrooms, and at least half a dozen bathrooms total, all compact.

    These Oxblood colors aren’t my favorite in overall decor, but I love bathrooms in these colors.

    This house was way out of my budget but I went on an open house. The agent said “of course the baths are way too small and need to be gutted as well as the kitchen.” And I said ” Yeah, I wanted to see this house before someone came in and ruined it.” I think that puzzled her. (I did agree about the kitchen, it was under the dining room down a set of steep narrow stairs, and there was an actual warming/butler’s pantry off the dining room, the only house I’ve seen in the city with a kitchen clearly for servants).

    I used to participate in a different design forum and a lot of people seemed to have become convinced of the notion that white toilets are “more hygienic” than a colored toilet and that colored toilets are “gross”. I know as a society we’ve gone a bit overboard in the anti-bacteria arena, but that is one of the ideas that I didn’t get at all.

    • pam kueber says

      I am guessing that as indoor plumbing became more common, people actually CELEBRATED their bathrooms by playing them up with lots of color. We Have An Indoor Bathroom — Wooot!

  3. Carolyn says

    You usually think of red as being the star but don’t consider it could be a supporting player too.
    I’m glad to see Marsha’s bath – never would have paired maroon with peach, would never have crossed my mind as a possibility.

  4. Leslie says

    My grandmother’s home in Lansing, Michigan was one of these reds. I remember best the pocket door it also had as I’d never encountered one of those before. I remember EVERYTHING being red-even the tile walls. Other than that the home was pretty bland though.

  5. says

    I have a Coral Blossom (peachy/pink) bathroom set I recently purchased. Was planning on doing gray tile with black trim HOWEVER now I can think about gray & maroon instead .. ahhh decisions decisions … LOVE to see all of these pictures for color ideas !!!! Thanks for sharing these beautiful works of art.

  6. Ranger Smith says

    My grandparents built a home in 1952 that had maroon tile trim in one of the bathrooms. I wonder if they’ve kept the bathroom intact. I’ve often thought about sending the current owners a letter giving them a bit of history on their home. Maybe they’d even invite me to come take a walk-through. Perhaps they’d find that a bit creepy though. Hmmm

    • Geronimom says

      LOL! I’ve often thought the same thing about the house my grandfather designed and built back in 1956/57… complete with pink & black bathroom which he tiled himself – and an amazing stone fireplace, which he also planned & built . I have a number of photos of that house from back in the day – including Grandma bathing my older brother in the pink bathroom sink – and even Grandpa’s original hand drawn designs for the fireplace. Google maps shows the house is still there (Hamilton, Ohio), but whenever I start to get my nerve up to contact the current owners I chicken out thinking they will surely believe I’m some kind of nut – not everyone has my love of vintage and history, unfortunately!

      • Ethan says

        That’s funny because I have also had that same desire to visit my grandfathers house. I would love to see what remains from when I was a child and what has been changed. I also am afraid that the current owners would think I’m crazy or up to no good.

        • Neil says

          I’d give somebody else’s right arm to walk through my Kentucky grandmother’s farmhouse again. But not to see the bathroom, which didn’t even exist until I was around 15 or so; the tile was faux-tile sheets of something, the fixtures the cheapest white.

          It replaced the charming ante room which contained the head of the well, and the bucket on a pulley from the ceiling, where I drew up water from the ground under the house; and…replaced the outhouse down at the terminus of a footpath, at the back corner of the chicken yard.
          THAT’s the house I want to revisit.

          • Diana says

            I have also thought of contacting the current owners of my grandparents 1910 house. I have tons of pix I could share. Unfortunately it went through some rough years, going through foreclosure at one point. The bank completely re muddled removing all charm and character except for my moms knotty pine bedroom added on in the 30’s. The current owners seem to be trying to keep it up now but you never know how people will feel about previous family contacting them. Some love it (I would). And some could care less.

            • Penny says

              We actually were contacted by the new owners of an old family home from the 30s – and were delighted about it. My sister-in-law showed them old family pictures showing the house before later owners “improved” it. My husband had been to his aunt & uncle’s house many times so could tell them what & where the rooms are/were used for.
              The new owners are trying to restore the house (gave me thrills all over to hear it). They’re in another state, and when we go back to that city we are going to arrange to visit them to see progress.
              I’d like to see if they could help me with ideas for sprucing up my in-law’s house in the same town.

    • pam kueber says

      The previous longtime owner of my house made a cold call to my house shortly after we moved in. We became fast friends. I LOVED IT! Try it!

      • Ranger Smith says

        OK, you all have given me the courage! The letter is written and will be mailed tomorrow! I wonder if the knotty pine kitchen remains.

    • Alyssa says

      You never know! My grandma’s family was from Tennessee, when her mother was a child, they bought a house in town for her father to be closer to the mines. That house was a major part of my grandma’s life, and stands across the street from her aunt’s (who grew up in it, too) house. The current owners love when the family ask to see it, and were proud to show what they did with it. Hopefully, I get to go see it next time we go down there. They’ve kept the outside pretty original.

  7. Joe Felice says

    Who knew? We always just called it plain, ol’ burgundy. It was immensely popular, especially with pink and/or gray.

  8. Penne says

    My sister’s house has a bathroom with a 1973 Crane Anniversary Edition bath tub in bright red. There is a small gold plate that denotes this anniversary status. It has oversized claw feet in bright gold. This tub sits in the center of a nearly round room with rock walls. The water flows out of a long rock protruding over the tub. The double sinks in the vanity are a pinkish mauve. The toilet is white so I can’t help but think that it is not original but can’t imagine what the original color was. She is keeping all of this and will probably do some redecorating with wallpaper and paint–just to spiff it up a little.

      • Penne says

        It was built in 1974. When I first saw this tub and commented on it, my sister stated that it was a commemarative edition. I thought that it had to be a Bicentennial Commemorative Edition. But on closer inspection saw 1973 embossed on that plate. It is unique and I’m looking forward to see how she decorates this room.

  9. Mag says

    Just a few days ago, on denver craiglist, there was a set of THREE coloured bathroom sets. One teal, another dark red, and I forget the other. They are all gone from the listings, so I assume vintage lovers snagged those in a heartbeat. It was amazing to see. They weren’t mid-century, maybe the 80’s or 90’s, but for anyone looking for colourful bath fixtures, they were treasure.

  10. says

    I enjoy this post with it’s red (maroon) ceramic toilets and sinks. We had a 1/2 bath with a maroon toilet and sink but I remember thinking it wasn’t the friendliest color for a sink because it needed cleaning every other day….toothpaste shows up vividly on maroon! I’d take pink or jadeite green any day.

  11. Randall Craig says

    This is giving me flashbacks. I moved to Miami in 2000 and looked at many apartments before settling on one. Interestingly, most of them in my price range at the time had original (vintage) bathrooms. I can recall several of them in Miami Beach having this color in the bathrooms. It was combined with a peach-pink or sometimes gray. It’s hard to believe that was 16 years ago now. I am sure that none of those bathrooms are still intact today. They have probably been redone with in a special shade that I like to call Home Depot Bland.

  12. Amy says

    My mom managed to get one cool thing in the boring house my dad had built in 1965: a cherry red drop-in sink in the main floor bathroom. Now that’s a color I wouldn’t mind seeing more of!

    Eventually she moved to a 1913 bungalow — much more her style.

  13. Ruth Kuntz says

    My girlfriends grandmother had a stunning bathroom. The bath toilet and sink were red and the walls were black and red. I do not remember what the floor tile looked like. As a child I was shocked at such a fancy bathroom. The house is located in the middle of nowhere 10 miles from any sizable town.

  14. Reader Deb says

    Come into my bathroom said the spider to the fly. You know you’re stuck in the web when you freeze frame Storage Wars to check out the stash of vintage toilets and sinks in a variety of colors at a place in Los Angeles that was on the show this week.

  15. Mary Anne S says

    The upstairs 1/2 bath with pink and red tiled shower in my former neighbor’s 1923 house has a red sink and toilet. I have no idea what the new owners are doing with it but it is a lovely little room. Sink is a sort of console so I am guessing this bathroom was added mid-50’s or so. Original bathroom on main floor with huge tub is all white. I love the colored fixtures but did remove them [and recycle] from my previous home, a 1912 bungalow. Thanks for the great stories!

  16. ChrisM says

    I do not have much to say about the beautiful colored bathrooms but I do have a wonderful story of touring the house my grandfather built around 1910.
    My parents and I were visiting NJ and drove by the big old house. When we were staring at it the current owners came out and were kind and generous enough to give us a tour of the entire house. Very nice people who had added a kitchen on back but kept the rest of the house beautiful with original woodwork and pocket doors. I think they enjoyed talking to the man who had lived there as a young boy and we were certainly pleased to meet them and get to see the house.
    So it is possible to view an old family home.

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