To Brass or Not To Brass In the New Un-Bathroom



Dear Laurel,

I look forward to every post from you. Their beauty has even served as some relief in difficult times, and have inspired many home projects here.

I have to tell you, I am OBSESSED with the “un-bathroom” here – The one with the Sandberg wallpaper. I am working on my bathroom, as a reno is out of the budget, and I’m wondering if you might do a post on the unbathroom, akin to your unkitchen posts?

Perhaps this would be of broad appeal to your readers, so I thought I’d plant the idea. Meantime, a thousand thank you’s for all you’ve shared and all the beauty you add to the world!



Hi Everyone! That is a real dear laurel letter which came in the form of a comment a few days ago. And I thought it would make for a good post.

I also love Tradchap’s (aka: Jack Laver Brister) bathroom. He’s an antiques dealer in Somerset, UK.

You can see another image of his handsome room here.

The wallpaper is Sandberg’s Raphael in green.


I love that un-bathroom!

Like un-kitchen.


So, what is an un-bathroom?


That is a very good question. I’m sure that you’ve seen as I have some bathrooms these days that look more like living rooms. Not all of these do. And then, there’s this post that has a lot of pretty art in the bathrooms.

In fact, remember the post where they (yikes) put the WC and tub out in the open?


For me, an unbathroom is eclectic. It might have furniture pieces instead of a traditional built-in box of a vanity. OR, it might not have a vanity at all. Instead there are pedestal or console sinks.


One thing I very seldom see in bathrooms is something that I think would be immensely practical.


I’m not really that fond of a lot of storage in a vanity, anyway. Stuff gets shoved around. One always has to bend over. It’s awkward.

I would have built, a shallow vertical cabinet. Between the studs could work but if the wall were built out about 3 more inches, it would be perfect. Everything would be in clear sight, too.


something like this or even larger.


What else does an un-bathroom have?


Well, it depends what size it is.


But, if in an old house, it may very well have a fireplace.

Timothy Corrigan

That’s like my fantasy. Not that I would even ever use it. But I might if it was there.

Darryl Carter

An un-bathroom almost always has some antiques, vintage pieces or else really great copies.

Even a modern un-bathroom would look fabulous with an antique or two.

John B Murray Architect

It does not have the expected chrome fixtures.


There is usually gold and brass, and maybe even copper, but there can also be nickel.




Yes, I said brass.


Oh, stop it! You’re going to get wrinkles, like I have!


Of course, I don’t blame you.

It’s very upsetting what they did to our beautiful brass.

Brass is FABULOUS!

And it’s been around for centuries.

However, after WWII, some peeps who have no conscious and/or awareness created something despicable.

Lacquered brass.


And even worse. They put brown crap on it and then lacquered it to make it look so-called antique.

But that’s not all they did. Nosiree.

Undoubtedly these freaks in polyester-Dacron suits got together to come up with the tackiest, horrid– HIDEOUS bathroom sinks, baths and tiles in all shades of putrid.

And they paired that muck with the shiny horribly shaped brass fittings.


However, one cannot find any images of these bathrooms.


This is because all of the photos of such spaces have been incinerated by those who formerly possessed them on penalty of death if found.


Oh wait. I found one.

And it’s perfectly gag-awful. (no worries. The homeowners thought so too before they took a jack hammer to it.)

via This Sorta Old Life


BTW, please do not pin this monstrosity. This is for demo purposes only.

Everything else is fine to pin, and appreciated, of course.


However, this is why you’re understandably afraid of brass.


But, of course, you are not going to do anything even remotely this abominable. It’s quite difficult to make something this ugly.

Still, it’s ingrained in our minds that brass is something to stay FAR, FAR away from. And it’s just a crying shame is all.


If you live in the United States of Conservative American, buyer beware. While you may have fabulous taste, when you go to sell your home, the prospective homeowners may not appreciate it.(for the aforementioned reasons)

But, if you don’t care, that’s also fine.

Certainly if your home is in an urban area, and/or is old and/or rustic, whether urban or rural, I think that it’s safe to do brass.

If it’s a new-build in a place where granite and stainless steel appliances are de rigueur, then I would probably steer clear, unless you absolutely love it and feel comfortable working with it.

You also do not need to do brass in every room that has a faucet.

However, if doing brass, and another metal, I’d use nickel, not chrome.

If you do brass, I generally think that it looks best with bathrooms with a good amount of dark, muted tones.


See how fabulous the natural brass faucet looks with Darryl Carter’s antique vanity?


original source unknown

This is not a bathroom. But every time I see it, I want to post it. Classic Georgian home with a cool wall color!

via Domaine


There’s a source for this cool grisaille paper in the more monochromatic widget below.


Above and below is brass that I saw at last January’s KBIS (kitchen and bath industry show) in Orlando.


Early in my research, I happened across a very handsome un-bathroom and it reminded be a lot of Tradchap’s.


Uh huh. It’s Ben Pentreath’s bathroom from his London home! And I did track down the wallpaper. It is called Richmond Park by Zoffany. (to the trade)

This is the bathroom before he had it papered. The color is Farrow and Ball Mizzle. The paper adds so much and it looks fabulous with the art, too.


Courtnay Daniels Haden in Elle Decor

Love the art over the tub.

original source unknown

via Lifestyle, etc.

awesome un-bathroom!

Love the encaustic cement tiles

via Southern Living

The entire home is worth a look-see. Very pretty. I adore this mirror. It’s unique and makes the room, I think.

Studio McGee via their Instagram

Smokey Rose wallpaper available at Anthropologie


For fun, I made two widgets which if you click on the images, you will get taken to their source.

The first widget is more like Tradchap’s and Ben’s un-bathroom palette.

And then I made another more colorful palette below it.



And the more colorful collection



Well, I hope that gave y’all some good ideas about how to create an un-bathroom.


PS: I used the word “un-bathroom” instead of “unbathroom” because google does not know the word “unbathroom,” but if it’s hyphenated all’s cool. It’s fine to call it an unbathroom too. We have to teach that boy some new words!

PPS: getting very excited about the release of the updated Laurel’s Rolodex on November 1st. Less than two weeks and please don’t forget that the price is going up on November 13th. Everyone who purchases a rolodex is entitled to free life-time updates.

And if interested, please check out the hot sales pages.

full of some of my favorite home furnishings on sale this week!


7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

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