Traditional Bathroom Design

Do you enjoy the classic appeal of a porcelain free standing bath? Do you like architecture that tells a story? Do you prefer natural materials like stone, marble, and wood? Well, then, you just might be a fan of the traditional bathroom design.

A traditional bathroom design offers an elegant, yet simple, template for a bathroom remodeling project. Although the design is often based upon Victorian themes from the nineteenth century (traditional bathroom designs sometimes also employ early and mid-twentieth century themes), the relative oldness does not necessarily translate to stodgy. Instead, think vintage and eclectic - two keywords that will help you refine your search for your preferred design elements and bathroom fixtures.

Read below for a brief history as well as preferred design elements and materials for this, most classical of all bathroom designs, the traditional bathroom.

Traditional Bathroom Design: A Brief History

Today, a traditional bathroom design offers effortless style, but Victorian bathrooms were built first for utility. Indeed, in the early nineteenth century, most homes did not even have bathrooms; instead, a free standing wash stand and wash basin were often placed in the bedroom for washing the hands, arms, and face. Although wealthier homeowners enjoyed more elaborate fixtures, the simple design we know today prevailed in most homes. After all, without a dedicated bathroom, the wash stand and wash basin were simply meant to be unobtrusive elements of the bedroom.

Before the nineteenth century, only the wealthiest homeowners owned free standing tubs. Thankfully, the Victorian Era saw a bathtub renaissance with more and more middle class homeowners installing tubs in the bedroom. These tubs rarely enjoyed the benefit of plumbing; instead, hot water was supplied by the bucket from the kitchen range. The middle class homes enjoyed roll top baths with ball and claw cast iron feet and tap holes at one end. For ultimate utility, lower class homes often simply put a tin tub in front of the fire in the kitchen. Of course, for both utility and style, it's the roll top tubs that remain popular today.

For most of the Victorian era, the toilet's ancestor, the outhouse, was located outside. The first modern flush toilet was invented in 1885, by Thomas Twyford (and not Thomas Crapper, as is often assumed). Uniquely, Twyford's toilet was ceramic, and not the more common metal or wood. Crucially, too, Twyford's toilet was a single piece - a design that remains today.

It wasn't until the early twentieth century, when scientists discovered the role of bacteria in human health, that the bathroom become a permanent fixture of most houses. By then, the crucial design elements were already in place: simplicity, free standing fixtures like a wash stand, wash basin, and claw foot tub, and the ceramic toilet.

Smooth Lines and Curls: Key Elements of the Traditional Bathroom Design

One essential fixture of the traditional bathroom offers a clue to the keys element of the design: the claw foot tub. Although claw foot tubs quite often employ claw feet, the design of the foot is often based upon smooth curling lines.

Today the curling aesthetic dominates traditional bathroom renovations. Why curls? Well, homes of the Victorian era often included arched doorways and sloping walls. Homeowners also often placed layers of crown molding on the top of wall cabinets, and sometimes even around doors. To carry the smooth, arched shape through the bathroom, most homeowners chose bathroom furniture with curls supported by substantial, heavy legs. Sometimes even the legs themselves employed a curly design. Indeed, the curly design could be found in most bathroom accessories. Faucet handles and door handles, for example, often displayed curls.

To create the eclectic ambiance of a traditional bathroom, then, focus on smooth lines and curls. Leave the angular fixtures with straight lines for those who prefer a modern bathroom makeover.

Natural Materials: The Hallmark of Traditional Bathroom Design
For a timeless feel, a traditional bathroom renovation should employ sturdy natural materials. Think porcelain and ceramic for your tub and toilet. Think marble or natural stone for your wash stand and wash basin. We often see wood trim and fixtures in traditional bathroom renovation projects, too. For a traditional bathroom upgrade, when in doubt, think natural.

To schedule a FREE bathroom remodeling consultation, please call us at: (215) 355-4747

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