Monday, August 20, 2007

St. Louis Pastels

During the late 1950's and 60's St. Louis housing design took a turn, a bad turn, a left turn down a one way street into oncoming traffic, it crashed and exploded and left it's contents all over South County. Sure they were still using the signature bricks and planting beautiful trees and they even continued to install wood floors as a common feature in the homes. But, something bad happened on the way to the bathroom. I don't know if an influential interior designer fell asleep at her desk while drawing the lovely white bathroom and then spilled her can of Orange Crush over her drawings then woke with a start and fled to the meeting with her client and thus was born the PASTEL BATHROOM.

Oh Lord. They're everywhere in every shade. So far, I've lived with blue, salmon/mauve (later to be designated the 80's peach), golden rod (previously known as harvest gold) and blue again. These bathrooms all have the same common features; the floor tile, wall tile, toilette, sink and tub all match. They're all pink, blue, yellow, green. The bad part? They were built to out live multiple generations. I tell you the tubs are solid cast iron, the toilets are indestructible, the tile will not part from the floor or wall. It's there to stay. So, as you visit houses in the county you will see these bathrooms, they will start to grow on you, you will become partial to one of the pastel shades and wish you had the pink and not the yellow, you will wonder why people don't embrace the pastels now, you will mourn the loss of a toilette seat when you try to match your pastel with the new plastic colors that are always a shade or two off and then you'll resort to a wooden seat because it might look better.

Recently, we had lunch with some good friends in their county home. They got the pink bathroom. I went to use the restroom and was thinking fondly of the pink tile and how cute bright white towels set off the pinkness.  I was giddy with the blush colored glow and was thinking about how fun these bathrooms are, but as I turned to flush, my eye caught a glimpse of something not pink. It was this sign;

Posted for all to see right there behind the pink toilette on the pink tile.  I'm so glad they warned me, all that happy pink was clouding my thoughts and I was just about to dive in and swim a few laps.
Long live the pastel bathroom!  Long live the manly man that lives with a pink bathroom and posts warnings for the rest of us.

11 comments:

Vonda said...

Well St. Louis must have rubbed off on Oregon because I have the pastel blue bathroom and had the harvest gold bathroom. You are right when we had to do the double bathroom disaster repair/remodel that cast iron tub made my contractor cry alligator tears it was so heavy. So now we have a gold TURD tub sitting in our driveway along with an old vanity on our bedroom deck. Please send the cleanup fairies!

Crunchy Chicken said...

We have a similar butt-ugly pink tile bathroom in our 1950s home, but I like to lovingly refer to it as 'salmon'.

No sign though.

cndymkr said...

Well, if that were green it could be my bathroom. I cringed as your described it and then laughed when you mentioned the wood seat. I gave up trying to match and went for the wood. It helps if you have a dimmer switch and keep the lights really, really low.

mamabeck said...

...and St. Louis' Pastel Disease has spread to Oklahoma City, where my mother's downstairs half bathroom is literally half aqua and half seafoam green. Dividing line is smack down the main wall, vertically. LOVERLY. NOT.

You make me laugh...LOVE the sign, too! Thanks for the giggle tonight!

Kathy from NJ said...

Those colors were not exclusive to St. Louis, they were country-wide. My parent's house was bought new in 1950 and in the late '50's they added 2 bedrooms & a bath upstairs. They put in the same pink tiles shown in your picture, a pink and white marbelized plastic vanity but fixtures were white as my father had received a used white cast iron tub for free from a plumber friend.

In the late '90's, just out of college, my nephew & a friend moved into an apartment with that same pink bathroom. They decided to "embrace their feminine sides" and bought all Martha Stewart pink accessories.

barlow said...

We've got the yellow version!

I think our bathroom must be identical to that one; same layout - sink, two inches, toilet, two inches, bathtub.

iloveupstate.com said...

Our apartment in NYC is a pinkish-tan. It used to make me insane...till I changed the flooring to a tile with a rosey terracotta in it. Now it's sort of muted. We gave up on trying to find the matching shade for the toilet seat. Now we just slap the $8 white one from WalMart on it and call it a day.

My parent's had the powder blue one.

Jeff Meyers said...

We had the pink kitchen when we moved in 13 years ago. Pink metal cabinets, pink tiles, pink fridg, etc. Now I've got the pink cabinets hanging in the garage for my tools!

Jeff Meyers said...

Oh, and here's the blue version

http://homepage.mac.com/jeffmeyers/.Pictures/Blue/Blueversion.jpg

jennifer said...

I recognize that bathroom!

We also had the pink in our rental house here in South County. Our current bathroom pre-dates the 50s, so believe it or not, it is worse! And smaller!!!!

I had an apartment in south Florida when I was single that had the pink bathroom and, as a bonus, a pink stove in the kitchen. My roommate and I named her Clarice because a pink stove deserves a moniker.

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