I’ve talked a bit lately about designing period style bathrooms. Historical authenticity can be difficult to come by, and creating a Victorian or Edwardian bathroom that stands up to scrutiny takes more than a little care. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a historian to pull off a classical look, you just have to know where to shop. Herbeau specializes in authentic vintage bathroom fixtures and accessories, and coordinates them to make it easier than ever to build an authentic antique bathroom. Better still, if you’re not sure you want to commit to a full scale remodel in your master bath, Herbeau’s wall mount sinks and accessories are perfectly sized for a petite, old fashioned powder room or guest bath.
Herbeau’s hand crafted, hand painted vitreous china sinks are the heart of their antique bathroom collection, based on the shapes, colors, and designs found in 19th century French fixtures. In fact, each one is artisan-made using traditional techniques and materials – and Herbeau knows, since their family has been in the business of making bathroom fixtures by hand since 1857. In fact, many of their sinks come in unique shapes you won’t find in contemporary design – like this lovely slightly scalloped Valse Handbasin. And because many of Herbeau’s powder room fixtures can be customized, it’s easy to pair any of their sinks with something like this Charly towel ring/soap dish combination to add functionality and charm to a small space.
With almost every item in Herbeau’s historical powder room collection, you can choose from several different historical colors and patterns, and in some cases even choose the color of the decorative hardware or color of the china itself. This Colquille is even available in 13 different patterns and colors, with a variety of faucet configurations. Where some authentically antique designs are rather inflexible, Herbeau actually offers a broader than usual variety of customization options to get exactly the look and color scheme you want, both in the sinks themselves and in the add-ons, like this matching Colquille Shelf and Tumbler.
Browse Herbeau Period-Inspired Wall Sinks:
One of the distinct advantages of having these hand-painted, customizable finishes is that it’s incredibly easy for Herbeau to match their antique bathroom fixtures, from their wall mounted sinks all the way down to their soap dishes. This Sophie Mirror Frame can be finished with exactly the same designs, making it not only a perfect match for any of their sinks, but also establishing a built in, classical, slightly feminine color scheme.
But Herbeau doesn’t stop there – they offer a whole line of powder room accessories, like the Jar Set and Pitcher above. Not only is this a great way to continue repeating the delicate floral pattern, but it’s also these small details that help add authenticity to a historical design. The water pitcher and canisters especially hearken back to a much older bathroom, and while the pitcher will probably be more decorative than functional, it will give anyone that uses the bathroom the visual cue to think of your sink as an old fashioned washbasin.
While modern bathrooms are trending toward industrial materials – concrete, chrome, and glass – for a more traditional bathroom you want to stick with classic vitreous china and fireclay. Anywhere you can sneak in the material you should, especially if it’s hand painted in the same or similar patterns as the rest of your vintage pieces. That’s actually one reason that I particularly like the powder room collection from Herbeau – they get the details right. This Neptune Collection comes with everything you need to equip a petite powder room – from the Neptune Sink to matching Towel Ring, Soap Dish, and even a petite Corner Shelf. Heck, Herbeau even offers vitreous china toilet paper holders. They really leave no detail unattended, essentially creating for you an entire, coordinated, easy-to-assemble period style bathroom that’s complete from top to bottom.
Really, though, while their toothbrush holders and matching trash can are undeniably lovely and perfectly coordinated, ultimately the choice is yours for how far you want to go with the matching accessories. Done right, this same Colquille Sink is really all you need to get a personalized, period-inspired bathroom. But on the other hand, if you’re looking for something that’s a little easier to change out later, you might want to opt more for the easier to install accessories – like the matching Soap Dish and Towel Ring – to help draw the eye throughout your bathroom, and stick with a more neutral traditional sink.
What sort of period designs are you interested in? Do you like the all-out period design that Herbeau’s powder room collection offers, or do you prefer to accessorize more subtly? Does the availability of this type of bathroom design make you more likely to use it in your own bathroom? Let me know in the comments!