Gilded Bathrooms: Gorgeous or Gaudy?

gold tile bath by Michael S. Smith - Michael S. Smith Kitchens and Baths via AtticmagI can’t resist giving my opinion of these ‘jewelry’ baths. What’s yours?

This second decade of the 21st Century has become something of a gilded age, at least where bathrooms are concerned. Gilded walls – so very Klimt  – are gaining acceptance, particularly in powder rooms where a little goes a long way. Until now, price has been an obstacle, with a few exceptions, but that’s about to change — as you’ll soon see. Perhaps the golden diva of all bathrooms is the “hers” by designer Michael S. Smith for a Fifth Avenue apartment in New York [top].  Inspired by Armand-Albert Rateau’s iconic 1920s bath for couturier Jean Lavin, Smith calls it a “bath as a piece of jewelry” concept. Around the tub he used a mix of gold, white-gold, and rose-gold Davlin tiles by Ann Sacks. The mirror dates from the 1940s and once belonged to the American decorator Rose Cumming.  My opinion: It fines down to gold-on-gold-on-gold. Gorgeous but gaudy in a strictly 1-percent way.

renovated bath with silver and gold-leaf wall mural - HouseandHome via AtticmagIn a full bath renovation, a hand-painted mural by Peter Costello depicts cherry blossoms on a silver- and gold-leafed accent wall. The graceful branches soften the otherwise hard-edge modern spa with its freestanding egg-shape tub and popular marble-mosaic floor. Using a tall brass tub-filler faucet, sculptural in its own right, is a nod to the golden theme.  My opinion:  Tasteful and elegant use of  gold leaf and gorgeous in its restraint.

Miles Redd gold powder room with peacock feather collage - House Beautiful via AtticmagLet’s talk over the top as only Miles Redd can do it. True, it’s custom peacock-feather wallpaper in a small Brooklyn townhouse powder room with an antique Georgian mirror hung diagonally in the corner over the tiny Waterworks Henry sink. But, brace yourself. This isn’t wallpaper. It’s a collage of actual peacock feathers on a gold background with a door painted in Benny Moore Gulf Shores to pick up the turquoise. My opinion: Super chic as long as the glue holds.

Gold Asuka wallpaper bath - Jennifer Lagrange via AtticmagThe gold colorway of Osborne and Little’s Asuka wallpaper casts a tranquil mood  in this bath by Jessica Lagrange.  The sink is vintage and towel bars were sourced at Decorator Hardware & Bath in Lincolnwood, Ill.  My opinion: So delicate and feminine it almost begs the issue of being gold.

gold and cream geometric bath - Roberto Bricchi via AtticmagThe buzzy geometry of the pattern in this Italian powder room by designer Roberto Bricchi belies the material. While it looks like wallpaper it’s said to be lacquer over gold laminate  (smalto su lamina d’oro). The gold vessel sink, vanity and mirror heighten the overall effect. My opinion: I love this look though I cannot imagine gold laminate and find the thought just a little bit Dubai.

Ikea gold mirror tile concept bath - decorhappy via AtticmagShut the front door. This concept bath by IKEA – so glitzy it’s difficult to even see – won a prize at a recent home show in Canada. The budget retailer’s Vanity Mosaic Gold Mirror tiles (1/2 x 1-1/2 inches”) priced at $9.50 per sheet (1.2 square feet) is dizzyingly affordable and pretty much redefines the phrase “bang for the buck.” My opinion: This tile risks turning everything it graces into Liberace’s house. If you can stand a golden reflection every morning go for it. But my biggest fear would be a living room wall.

(Source: Michael S. Smith, houseandhome, hb, JessicaLagrange, RobertoBricchi, decorhappy)

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One Response to Gilded Bathrooms: Gorgeous or Gaudy?

  1. Silver Magpies February 5, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Wow…a bit OTT for me. And I’m stunned by the IKEA tile, so not-scandi-neutral it boggles the mind.

    Thanks for the eye opening round-up Jane.


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