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Lavender sinks, tubs and toilets in bathrooms from 1927-1949

vintage lavender bathroomsPam here. Since Jan. 1, I’ve been tenaciously focused on doing a lot of technical clean up of the blog. This has included going through stories in draft form. And ack! How did I not publish this one? It wasn’t a draft — it was finished and waiting for me! Kate completed it more than two years ago as part of our series about the history of various colors used in bathroom sinks, toilets and tubs. Hence, Kate gets the byline all these many months later! So let’s see her take us through the color lavender in bathroom sinks, bath tubs and toilets in the 20th Century. – Pam >>

The color purple in 20th Century bathroom fixtures

Purple is one of those hues that is either loved or loathed when it comes to home decor — a color even more polarizing than pink. So it should be no surprise that it’s not easy to find a lot of examples of pastel lavender bathroom fixtures in the historical resources we tap. Diving in, I found evidence of lilac / lavender / light purple sinks, tubs and toilets in catalogs spanning 1927 to 1949. But then, we also have some reader and other examples of 1960s bathrooms with lilac bathroom fixtures — so they must have endured to some degree beyond. 

Let’s take a look at what we find in the catalogs:

Kohler — 1927 Lavender

Kohler lavendar bathroom fixtures 1927

A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. “Lavender” was in the new palette — but is it pink or purple? You be the judge.Kohler lavendar sink color

Above: Lavender fixtures from a 1928 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

1936 Kohler bathroom colors

Above: We see Kohler’s color lineup 1936 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org which offered a both a distinct pink and Lavender. Lavender appears to have been a focus color as indicated by the larger swatch size above.

1948 Kohler colors bathroom

Above: In this 1948 Kohler catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org, we see the whole palette for the year, which includes Lavender. However, by 1949 Peachblow’s popularity overtook that of Lavender and I no longer saw it in Kohler’s color lineup.

You can see by this extensive color timeline on Kohler’s website, that once Lavender was dropped from the color lineup in the 1940’s it was out for good, even while other colors such as pink, blue and green ducked in and out of their color history.

American Standard Lavender — Orchid of Vincennes spotted in 1930

Orchid of Vincennes color vintage lavendar bathroom American Standard

Above images: 1930 American-Standard Orchid of Vincennes bathroom fixtures from the MBJ collection/archive.org

Eljer — Royal Orchid spotted in 1939

colors for a 1940s bathroom

Pam spotted this 1939 Eljer catalog in the MBJ Collection on archive.org that lists ‘Royal Orchid’ as one of their offerings.

Crane — Lavender spotted in 1940

vintage Crane bathroom colors 1940In 1940, Crane offered a Lavender along with Orchid Pink, India Ivory, Citrus Yellow, Pale Jade, and Sun Tan as part of their lineup. Images above from: 1940 Crane catalog from the MBJ collection/archive.org.

But… I spy a 1970s Kohler purple tub:

1970s bathroom colors

But wait! We DID see a lavender or purple or lilac by any other name would be so sweet among the new old stock featured in this story! But but but it’s not on their timeline! Unless… is that really the Pink Champagne” as also seen in the back of the photo but with the color doing funny things on camera? 

Lavender bathrooms in readers’ houses

lavendar-bathroomAbove: Sarah has a lavendar bathroom in her Gilbert Spindel ‘Round House’

lavendar bathroom tile

Okay, it’s tile not fixtures, but it’s lavendar in Alexa’s father’s 1951 apartment.

lilac bathroomAnd here’s another vintage Lavender bathroom sighting was featured on the blog: This 1960s bathroom that was discovered because the owner was doing some remodeling in their kitchen and bathrooms and was willing to sell these vintage parts on Craigslist.

For those hoping to recreate their own purple potty palace, remember: Because Lavender is such a rare midcentury bathroom color, if you do happen to spot a grouping of fixtures and accessories out in the wild at your local ReStore or salvage yard, it is best not to think about it too long, because who knows when another lavender fixture — let alone a set — will show up.

vintage burgundy bathroomSee our other stories about vintage bathroom colors:

 

  1. Jana says:

    Hi there. Just got a new house with the most spectacular bathroom. It has pink and blue tile with the tub, sink, and toilet are a purple color. I think it is a periwinkle color. Do you know if there was another color or could this be the elusive lavender?

    1. Ellie says:

      The early (1930s/40s) lavender skews pinker. A more periwinkle color is likely postwar. Rheem did a bluer lavender in the 50s & 60s that crops up on Craigslist pretty regularly

  2. Angela says:

    I recently purchased a vintage bathtub, toilet and sink set from Rheem. The line is called ‘Richmond’ and the color is Misty Lilac. Perhaps that’s your color?

  3. Jessica says:

    Kohler just released a lavender color this year for sinks and tubs. I just got my sample in and its pretty fabulous. It’s called lavender gray if anyone is interested.

        1. Petie says:

          Paula, I suggest eBay and Etsy. The problem is most people will be hundreds or thousands of miles from where you are. If you can offer a shipping option (either freight or uShip) that will dramatically increase your chances of selling

  4. Ellie says:

    Have been meaning to send you all pictures, but I bought a 1929 Kohler sink and toilet in lavender a couple of years ago. Just redid the full bath in my 1920 house with lavender and aqua tile. I am so very very happy with it!

    Now on the lookout for a 1931 Kohler ming green toilet to go with the wall-mounted sink I found for the half-bath…

  5. Elaine Suriano says:

    Hello Retrorenovation –

    I am trying to find escutcheons that fit a 1962 Amer. Standard 3 hole shower/bath faucet. Do you know of a source of replacements for fixtures that fit this configuration. I have spent hours looking at various places on the internet and and I am sorry I didn’t know about you 3 months ago.

    Regards, Elaine

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Alas, deabath.com makes five colors but not lavendar. I’d give them a try anyway, maybe they have salvage. If not, I think you’ll have to hunt vintage. Good luck!

          1. Cherie Salmon says:

            I got them from a place called fixture-fix.com three years ago. Because there are various shades of ‘lavender’, I sent them one of my broken ones and they matched them EXACTLY!

            Now I’m looking for a replacement top for my lavender (actually Orchid of Vincencia) pedestal sink. It has chips around the drain and though I’ve gotten the Porc-A-Fix in the perfect color, it’s a tough part of the sink to fix permanently…

            1. Pam Kueber says:

              Thanks for the tip, Cherie. Just to clarify: You’re pointing to fixture-fix.com for paint colors to match, right?

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