Saturday, 23 May 2020

Colour schemes for the bathroom

have definitely changed over the years.
Yesterday I had cause to go into the bathroom of one of the older residents of the district.
    "It's in the shaving cabinet Cat," he told me. I picked up the said item (and took it with me to try and get a replacement) and I said nothing about the orange and green colour scheme. How long ago did people decorate their bathrooms with colours like that?
Our bathrooms were always cream. It was the colour the Public Buildings Department had decided on. Indeed internally our house was almost always cream. You can tell departmental housing by the colours used. The colours are neutral I suppose.
The present bathroom is cream too, apart from the tiles on the floor. They are brown. My mother chose them for their non-slip quality. The tiles are small and hard to clean. Forty years on they make bigger  non-slip tiles.
Our house would never make it into something like "House and Garden" - except perhaps as an example of what not to do.
My paternal grandparents' bathroom was as old as the house. It had one of those old claw footed bath tubs. The only thing which had been added over the years was the shower over the bath tub. It was all neutral too. In summer my grandfather would often shower outside in cold water in an enclosure of hessian. He would empty a bucket of water over himself and then vigorously soap himself down before turning on what was was basically the garden hose.  The water would then run into the garden as well. Cold water did not seem to bother him. (He was also a year round almost daily swimmer until the last couple of years of his life.)
My maternal grandparents' bathroom however was a different story. I remember them "upgrading" it from a "lean to" at the back of the house. They did it at the same time as they "did" the extension for the kitchen. The old facilities were the same as those throughout the district at the time. Nobody thought of spending money on kitchens and bathrooms when the houses were first built - even in what was considered quite a "posh" area.
My maternal grandparents however upgraded - to pink. My maternal grandfather knew someone who had a new pink bath that could not be put in somewhere else because it has a tiny chip in it. My grandfather bought it at a greatly reduced price, repaired the chip so well it could not be seen, and had their bathroom upgraded. It was not just the bath which was pink but the shower cubicle and the wash basin and the tiles.
I do not like the colour pink and I liked it even less after that. My mother thought it was "too much pink". We later lived in the house. Nothing was done about the bathroom but I know my mother longed to do something about the pinkness of it all. Perhaps that is why we have that neutral cream now.
But the orange and green bathroom was something else. It is of course in keeping with the rest of the house. Orange must have been the colour the year it was built. The lounge room has brown carpet and deep orange upholstery. The curtains are brown and orange and cream. The wall paper is bamboo patterned. In the kitchen there is other wall paper - brown and orange and onion patterned. Nothing has changed and nothing will change because "that's the way my wife liked it". I didn't say anything of course but I suppose he guessed anyway because he smiled and said,
    "Didn't care for it myself."
I think I may stay with neutral throughout - and decorate with pictures and books.


Anonymous said...

In the 1970s, I was looking for a house to buy. Many, at that time, were decorated in various combinations of orange, brown, purple, etc, all strong bold colours. Many also had shag-pile carpet. It was not a high point of interior decoration, in my opinion.

This post brought back memories!


jeanfromcornwall said...

Yes I remember that orange "period"!
I also remember a dangerously long bath - I could have drowned in it. In 1946, when everything was hard to get, my parents were trying to revive a very badly negected house that they had just bought. They needed a new bath and heard of this one that had been ordered by a hotel, using the wrong measurements. It was too big for their room, but would fit in our bathroom, so we had it. It was big enough to bath a family of four or five children all together.When they later had the house remodelled, the new baathroom was designed around the monster bath, and it may still be there now, for all I know!

catdownunder said...

Oh yes, shag pile carpets - the dirt they must have collected!
That must have been a very long bath Jean - I am trying not to think of the water and heating bills attached to using it!

Jodiebodie said...

Orange and green and brown - I think of 1973-1975! Especially orange paired with that olive green.
My grandmother's 1950s bathroom was pink, white and black, with a pink bath and basin. I always think of her when I think of those colours.
Thanks for the time warp, Kat!

jeanfromcornwall said...

Must come back on the cost of filling that bath - the watr suply in the town at that tme was pumped, untreated, from the bottom of a 300 ft mineshaft (tin mine). They even used a method of pumping that only needed a quick burst of energy to get started, and was then self-powering. A Pelton Wheel. The heat was from the Esse cooker, which was the heart of the house - and certain wind directions meant that it drew so well that the water boiled in the tank, and we all had to have a bath wheher we wanted to or not.