My stacks of vintage kitchen and bathroom brochures have been taunting me lately, so Ms. Scan I Am. This 1954 brochure from Crane is a beauty. Crane was top-of-the-line when it came to bathroom sinks, toilets and tubs. Gorgeous products! And, 1954 was an interesting year: America was just beginning to move into a new era of post-war styling, yet, with many of the same pre-war Streamline products.
Because these brochures were meant to be aspirational eye candy, there were very very talented interior designers working on the mockup rooms: They were fearless in their experimentation with spacial organization, materials, colors, pattern, scale — it was all so modern. The genesis of this blog was my collecting materials like this and scrutizining every single detail so that I could consider how to replicate these looks in my own house. So today: Let’s scrutinize some of the most beautiful and highest quality bathrooms of … 1954.
Above: We know it as a “Cinderella” bathtub, but in the Crane line, it’s the Neuvogue Receptor Bath. I love the color combination in this bathroom: Light blue, medium blue, coral and brown — warm, wonderful and today, unexpected.
The catalog cover was targeted at the Mrs.
Note the tropical wallpaper. Has everyone noticed how palm leaf frond wallpaper is So Popular again today. I *think* they know it’s retro.
The color palette in this one is very well done — while kind of “somber”, which keeps it pretty “neutral”, the designers added interest with materials, pattern and design. The color-values of the tile on the tub surround are particularly well done; the tile mix on the diagonal is pretty wild, but because the colors are toned down and used only around the tub, the overall effect does not “scream”.
This bathroom is a harmony of neutrals, anchored by beautiful Crane French Gray fixtures. Note the mix of materials: Ceramic, glass, wood, cork, vinyl, grasscloth, laminate, chromium, boucle.
Above, indeed: “Even the Smallest Bathroom has Room for Charm.” Because, golly, this is how big most everyone’s house was, in 1954.
Crane bathroom colors in 1954:
- Pale Jade
- Citrus Yellow
- Shell Pink
- Persian Red
- India Ivory
- Sun Tan
- French Grey
- Sky Blue
Interestingly, this brochure has no Mamie pink bathroom. In ’54, Mamie madness was only really getting started; buckle up.
Above: Interesting that Crane would sell you a wood-look laminate vanity too. Note, they seem to have postformed the Formica countertop right around the usually-tiled- or hudeed-in sink. The text explains:
The Modular Unit illustrated here has two Crane Criterion lavatories with a Formica counter-top. Base cabinets include hamper, drawer, utility, and lavatory…. Modular cabinets are made of wood and have a laminated plastic bonded facing which provides a beautiful and practical finish. The top and sides are available in a selection of attractive patterns and colors.
Crane sinks, toilets, tubs and hardware from 1954:
Above: Note they have a Swing-Away Tumbler and Toothbrush Holder. Surely this must have been made by Hall-Mack. But who knows!
Thank you, Crane bathroom designers of 1954, for all the great ideas! You must have been mighty proud, and deservedly so.