Happy New Year! The trend color for 2011 is “Hyacinth” so like it or not get ready for a lot of pink everywhere! As seen in this Sundays New York Times article.
By KATE MURPHY
photo courtesy of LAUFEN
A hot-pink and white bathroom by the Swiss company Laufen.
“We had the opposite reaction,” said Ms. Burns, who is 37 and a computer technician. “When we saw the expanse of pink, we knew this house was it.”
Pink bathrooms were common in homes built in midcentury America. But by the 1970s they were considered as saccharine as a package of Sweet’N Low. The color scheme in bathrooms then shifted from carnation and Pepto-Bismol pink — not to mention robin’s egg blue and avocado green, also midcentury favorites — to more muted tones like almond and ecru until, more recently, plain old white predominated.
But within the last five years, pink has come back into vogue, with more people like Ms. Burns embracing their vintage pink bathrooms rather than taking a sledgehammer to them. Moreover, interior designers now advocate flattering rosy hues for new or renovated bathrooms. And manufacturers of bathroom tiles and fixtures have been introducing more pink options. Noticing the trend, the color authority Pantone this month decreed that hot pink will be the “it” color of 2011.
“Pink makes you happy,” said Ms. Burns, who plays up her pink bathroom with a pink-poodle shower curtain, ceramic pink poodle figurines, pink towels and even a vintage pink bathroom scale.
While pink bathrooms started appearing as early as the 1930s, many credit Mamie Eisenhower with popularizing them in the 1950s. She decorated the White House with so much pink when her husband took office in 1953 that the staff began referring to it as the “Pink Palace.”
Pastel pink or “Mamie pink” soon became the era’s iconic bathroom color. While it is difficult to find colorful plumbing fixtures today, back then manufacturers like American Standard, Crane and Kohler all carried pink toilets, tubs and sinks (albeit in slightly different hues).
“That color palette languished for years, and now I can’t keep pink toilets in stock,” said John Vienop, operations manager for DEA Bathroom Machineries, a seller of salvaged plumbing fixtures based in Murphys, Calif. “We’re shipping them all over the United States.”
It’s unclear what is driving the recent rethinking of pink, but one factor could be the high visibility of midcentury design due in part to the popularity of “Mad Men” (the Drapers’ downstairs powder room was pink) and Atomic Ranch, the retro architecture magazine.
And since pink bathrooms are associated with a time of prosperity, perhaps there is also an element of nostalgia for rosier times, said Pam Kueber, who started a blog, savethepinkbathrooms.com, in 2007. Of the more than 500 people who have left comments on her blog, many fondly remember a grandmother, great-grandmother or favorite aunt who had a pink bathroom.
“There’s a lot of sentiment tied up in pink bathrooms,” said Ms. Kueber, 51. She lives in a 1951 brick ranch-style house in Lenox, Mass., that would have a pink bathroom if only she had known where to get pink ceramic tiles when she renovated it in 2003. She went with the next closest color she could find — pale peach. “One of the reasons I started the blog was to help people share information on sources” for pink tiles and fixtures, she said.
But some people with vintage pink bathrooms have left them intact, not so much because they are nostalgic or are in love with the color but because it is too costly to redo them. “For a long time, I hated it and planned to gut it, but I was limited by my frugality,” said Michael Heaton, 34, a stockbroker, referring to the pink-tiled bathroom in his 1964 brick ranch-style house in Norman, Okla. “There wasn’t a thing wrong with it except the color.” After painting the walls a darker pink and painting the cabinetry black, however, his opinion changed. “Now it’s the best room in the house,” he said.