Vintage Tubs and Bath Fixtures
It’s rather ironic that in the 21st century, some of the most popular decorating trends for new homes and remodeling jobs come from the past. Of course, antique furniture never goes out of style, so I suppose the same is true for vintage bathroom fixtures.
The vintage tub and bath idea is taking the U.S. by storm. Antique clawfoot tubs are going for unheard of prices at auction houses across the country, and major businesses have sprung up that specialize in refinishing these vintage clawfoot tubs.
When it comes to a vintage tub and bath, the Victorian period is perhaps the most popular. This period ended at the beginning of the 20th century. Another popular period for the vintage tub and bath design is the Art Deco period, which began around 1925 and lasted through much of the 1940s.
What Does "Vintage" Mean?
Vintage means old, from a certain era. When you use the word vintage to describe furnishings or décor, the term often denotes a classical period for that specific item or items. For example, the classical periods for bathrooms and bathroom fixtures is usually considered to be 1900 through the 1940s. This includes the end of the Victorian period and the beginning of the post-World War II era.
The Vintage Bath Tub
The vintage bath tub might take many shapes. The original tubs were usually made of cast iron and had an enamel finish. A modern replica of a vintage bath tub might be constructed of cast iron or of acrylic.
One of the most popular types of vintage bath tub is the clawfoot tub. These are generally made of cast iron with an enamel finish. Most of the clawfoot tubs are raised off the floor by “legs” or “feet.” Many have what’s known as “ball and feet.” In other words, the clawed foot, which often resembles the clawed paw of an animal like a lion, is resting on a ball. The balls and claws might be made of bronze, brass, chrome, or nickel. These might also be made of white cast iron to match the rest of the tub. There are several styles of claw foot tubs.
Classic Clawfoot Tub
This vintage bath tub has one squared-off end and one rounded end. The rounded end is made to be comfortable to the bather, while the faucet is placed at the square end. Consumers generally have the most choices of sizes with this type of vintage tub. They range from 48 inches up to 72 inches in overall length.
Double-Ended Clawfoot Tub
This vintage bath tub has two rounded ends, so it’s an elongated oval in shape. The faucet is usually placed midway on the wall side of the vintage tub to allow for two bathers. These bathtubs are usually 60-70 inches in length.
The slipper bathtubs usually have one rounded end and one raised rounded end. A few slipper bathtubs have a square end, along with a raised rounded end. Slipper tubs are steadily gaining in popularity, not only for their visual appeal, but also for their comfort. The raised end makes the perfect backrest for long soaks.
Double Slipper Tub
The double slipper bathtub has two raised rounded ends. This type of slipper tub is usually 71-72 inches in overall length. The faucet is usually placed at the side of the slipper tubs instead of at one end. This makes it possible for two people to bathe comfortably at the same time.
Vintage Pedestal Tub
Pedestal tubs are also popular choices for homeowners who are looking for a vintage bath tub and a vintage tub and bath look. These tubs are basically shaped like the classic clawfoot, the double-ended clawfoot, or the double slipper bathtub. Instead of resting on legs, however, this type of vintage tub rests on a pedestal.
Copper Bath Tub
Another type of vintage tub is the copper bathtub. Most of these are in the shape of slipper bathtubs or double slipper bathtubs. Like the slipper tubs, these copper models usually have one or two rounded raised ends. Some of the copper tubs rest on feet, while others are freestanding like the pedestal tubs. Copper is a wonderful material for tubs and sinks because of its natural antibacterial properties.
Sinks for a vintage bath, like the tubs, might take several shapes. These include pedestal sinks, console sinks, vessel sinks, wall mount sinks, basin sinks, copper sinks, or sinks in vanities.
The pedestal sink sits atop a single pedestal. The shape of the sink can be round, square, oval, or made to fit perfectly in a corner.
The console sink rests on two or four legs. The models with two legs are mounted to the wall at the back edge of the sink unit. The legs can be straight, turned, or Queen Anne in style. The art deco console sinks often have chrome legs.
This sink sits atop of a counter or surface instead of being recessed into it. Vessel sinks can be made of glass, stone, china, or metal.
Wall Mount Sink
Wall mount sinks are mounted directly to a wall and have no legs or supporting cabinet or vanity underneath. They come in square, round, rectangular, and half-moon shapes. There’s also a model that fits into a corner.
A basin sink is dropped into a bathroom counter. They come in several shapes, including ornate ones like scallop shells. Some of the basin sinks may also be painted with a design to match your bathroom décor.
Copper sinks come in several finishes, including smooth and hammered. Many are hand crafted, so no two copper sinks will be exactly alike. As with the copper vintage tub, the copper sink has inherent antibacterial properties.
Sinks in Vanities
Using a vanity in a bathroom is a good way to carry out a vintage look. Simply choose an antique cabinet that complements your décor and use it to hold your sink. The plumbing is hidden inside the vanity cabinet.
The classic vintage toilet is the high tank toilet with the pull chain. If you don’t like this type of toilet but still want to maintain a vintage tub and bath look, you can always add vintage flush levers to more modern toilets. These might have a porcelain handle or a brass handle to continue your vintage bath motif.
Are You Ready?
I hope after reading this article and looking at the photos you now have some ideas for your vintage tub and bath. Remember, everything in the room doesn't have to be vintage to give your décor an old fashioned flair. You might consider adding just a vintage bath tub, like a slipper bathtub, for example. Not only do slipper tubs and other comfy bathtubs of vintage type provide interest, they'll also provide long hot bubble baths and great stress relief!
While you're shopping for your vintage tub and bath, browse the internet to compare prices!