Design Notes Archive

Tiny Tots Revisited

Tiny Tots Revisited

In April 2011, we wrote a post on decorating children’s bathrooms after being inspired by one in the catalogue of American retailer Pottery Barn Kids. Three years later they’ve piqued our interest once again. This time by fitting a Jack-and-Jill en suite with a vintage trough sink. It’s a pretty clever idea when little ones are sharing space – picture rubber ducky races and fuss free washing up before bed. When mounted as a freestanding unit like this, painting the bottom is half the fun. Follow their lead with wall-mounted medicine cabinets to make up for lost under-counter storage and add industrial-style bulkhead lights to play off the vintage feel without feeling thematic.

In another example, British designer Ilse Crawford used the same style of sink with a thoroughly modern twist. Located on the third floor of a chic London townhouse, the children’s bath needed to feel as fresh and modern as the rest of the home. A vintage trough basin might not seem like the solution but by opting for a deck-mounted approach and covering every surface with Domus’ glossy black penny tiles, Crawford achieved an almost space age effect. The curvaceous white porcelain also helps soften the modern design and mimics the lines of the freestanding tub (painted with black exterior).

It takes a bit of sleuthing to find the vintage variety but where there’s a will, there’s a way! Scour the online inventory of architectural salvage yards and in Google, try pairing sink or basin with search terms like vintage, trough, industrial, utility and schoolhouse. Or go the opposite route and commission a bespoke basin to your exact specifications. That’s just what American architecture firm Delson Or Sherman installed in the children’s bathroom of a classic Manhattan loft. The long, lean, tough-as-nails stainless steel design was the perfect solution for standing up to a family of five. A worthy investment indeed!

Photographs © Pottery Barn Kids, Ilse Crawford, Catherine Tighe