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The color gray in vintage bathrooms from 1927 to 1962

vintage gray bathroomsLast up in our six-part series reviewing the history and timeline transformations of the most common colors used for vintage bathroom fixtures: Let’s look at the variety of gray tubs, sinks and toilets offered by a variety of manufacturers reaching back as far as 1927. Along the way, we also get great ideas about how to decorate a gray bathroom — an eminently versatile color — without going all … monotone.  

American Standard: 1962 Platinum Gray

vintage gray bathroomAmerican Standard’s Platinum Gray looks fantastic when mixed with a creamy yellow and blue.

vintage gray bathroomAnd here, they’ve mixed gray with beige, yellow and pink creating a cheery space.
vintage gray bathroom

Even this richer color combination of gray with avocado green, blue and cream is anything but boring.

Three images above: 1962 American-Standard catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.

Kohler: 1927 West Point Gray and the 1952-1967 Argent

colors for bathroom sinks tubs and toilets introduced by kohler in 1927Although Kohler was the first company to start making fixtures in color back in 1927, the ‘West Point Gray’ in their original color lineup.

kohler-gray-bathroom-1959‘Argent’ was Kohler’s 1950s gray. It appears to have been quite rich in depth. Shown (above) in a 1959 catalog in the Building Technology Heritage Library, the color gets a high-contrast decorator treatment.

kohler-argent-grayIn this 1961 catalog in the Building Technology Heritage Library, they pair it with 60s flower power colors — orange and green. Who’da thunk it!

Over on their extensive color timeline, Kohler says that Argent was in their lineup form 1952-1967.

Briggs: 1950s Pearl Gray

vintage gray bathroom vintage gray bathroomBrigg’s Pearl Gray seems to be a darker gray than the American Standard Platinum Gray, definitely more declaratively gray with less likelihood of reflecting and taking on the hue of adjacent strong colors. When combined with white tile and rosy pink floors and accents, it looks very nice indeed — pink and gray is one of Pam’s favorite color combinations in a vintage bathroom, whenever she sees one. The two images above show Pearl Gray from the 1950s Briggs Beautyware catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.

AllianceWare: 1950s Greyalliance ware vintage bathroom fixtures

Pam found this ad for AllianceWare bathroom fixtures that includes ‘Grey’ in a 1950s Small Homes Guide. Alliance Ware kinda makes us smile, because it seems they did not have a marketing person to name their colors!

See all our stories about vintage bathroom colors:

  1. Zach says:

    Working a renovation in Alaska for a family member and am on the lookout for a Briggs Pearl Gray toilet if anyone has one sitting on the shelf to re-complete one of the bathrooms. Have two bathrooms with the Whittier sink and Medallion tub from the Beautyware catalog, and one with a matching toilet but the guest bathroom has a modern, beige crappy crapper in it.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Zach, as a reminder no buying/selling on the blog, or it becomes chaos.

      For items like this your best bets, I think are: salvage places including those that sell online such as deabath.com… craigslist… maybe Facebook Marketplace… area Restore/Habitat for Humanity’s.

      ALSO, I checked and see that Kohler has several gray colors for toilets now — one of those might be close enough, check them out.

      AND, check this story, the company identified (Wholesale Supply Group) seems to have some grey toilets in its stock, the color(s) might be close enough >> https://retrorenovation.com/2018/05/15/discontinued-new-old-stock-kohler-and-elger-bathroom-fixtures-including-color-bath-tubs/

      Good luck!

      1. Zach says:

        Ah, sorry, I’d stumbled on this particular article as I was researching the models to try and find a match – sorry to miss the no buy-sell rule.

        And yes, most of the best best are the most likely option for a match. Appreciate the links to the other options as well!

  2. Bev says:

    I have this entire 3 piece suite. It looks the same as mine, but I would describe mine as powder blue. I’ll use it in a bathroom of a home we are converting which was built in 1962. We found it at a house that was being renovated.

  3. Markie Crossman says:

    Late to the game, but I LOVE one with avocado. We have ming green commode, cinderella tub and sink…. using gray floor tile, painting walls light gray, tub tile is a mix of white and vintage ming tiles…. I have some turquoise and ming accessories. easy peasy to get a quart of avocado for the wall behind the sink and add a few tchotschkes for the wall… DONE. perfect blend of sophistication and warmth!!!

  4. Paul-CT says:

    Somebody please hold me! The house next door has two gorgeous pearl grey bathrooms with pearl grey tile and gorgeous one piece pearl grey 1961 commodes all with in bathrooms with beautiful redwood paneling and trim.

    Long story short, the new neighbors just started moving in and I see the two gorgeous pearl grey toilets sitting at the side of the street ready to be trashed.

    I am so upset! If I had a grey bathroom, I’d grab them!

    P.

  5. Laura says:

    My Grandma’s house still has the original gray bathtub, bathroom sink & toilet! I think they are American Standard. I seem to remember finding a replacement seat was a real pain. Also, when I worked @ Home Depot I helped a customer try to find a replacement tank for a color toilet. Sadly, we failed.
    I think it’s sad that our grandparents & great-grandparents were so much bolder with color than our generation. Of course that can be said for so many things…

    1. Rick Grant says:

      I agree, I find the colors, ( or lack of ) now; reminiscent of pre war colors; very depressing. I’m not sure if everyone has decided to abandon color & good taste; forgot what cool is, or what has happened. In the 50’s, 60’s & even the 70’s, people were being creative with design, and enjoying colors ; now, people get thrilled by having their kitchens & bathrooms look like sterile medical labs.

      1. Lynn says:

        I agree! A former neighbor of mine built a brand new house. It had 5 bedrooms and several other rooms. She had three kids, and the daughter’s bedroom was the ONLY room in the house painted a color other than white, beige, or gray. The neighbor once described her style as “tasteful”, which I found really depressing. She must have been overwhelmed with all the color in my house!

      2. Linda says:

        Me too! When I watch the hgtv reno shows and have them ponder over which shade of greige to use on the exterior, not to mention sterile-looking everything else, I want to scream! Even carpet samples now will have 49 shades of cream and beige, maybe a token muted blue or green thrown in. I hope, like most trends, it boomerangs back to including color!

  6. Rick G says:

    I’ve always loved the look of the mint green & pastel yellow bathroom from the movie “The Shining” – never mind the film itself, but the design , layout & use of colors for this bathroom is genius . For me, it shows a well thought out plan at it’s best. I think the placement of the tub at the far wall of the room, with the border really adds to the dramatic effect .

  7. Jessie says:

    My mother always wanted a “dubonnet and pearl gray” bathroom, that was never to be. Her other bath combo was “fawn and misty lilac”; this combo didn’t occur either. I think of her everytime you post the vintage bath colors.

    1. Rick G says:

      Either choice would’ve been ultra luxurious !! – perhaps you could still consider incorporating one of these combos into one of your rooms as a tribute Jessie ?

  8. Carolyn says:

    I’m thinking we need an uploader when the days are dark and gloomy in January – March…cuz a picture is worth a thousand words.

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