Home & Family

Bath Report: Shades of White and Color

In just 20 years, the bathroom has transformed from a purely functional afterthought to a luxurious refuge. We have Barbara Sallick to thank for that. Along with her husband Robert, she is responsible for redefining how people view their bathrooms through her company Waterworks. Founded in 1978, when bathrooms were, well, ugly, Waterworks was inspired by the beautiful bath experiences of Europe. Barbara has continued to be at the cutting-edge of all things bath decor. She gave us some inspired ideas for brightening up the bathroom in 2016. 

Photo Credit: George Ross; Barbara Sallick’s Home

In my 30-plus years as an expert in bath design and decoration, I have learned that color is an incredibly powerful form of communication. Similar to how your wardrobe reflects your personal style and mood on any given day, the hues you choose for your home speak volumes.

For decades, I have been an advocate of the white bathroom. This was not the case when we founded Waterworks in 1978. Most baths were tiny spaces outfitted in the colors of the moment: Avocado, Harvest Gold, Colonial Blue and Bahamas Beige. These somewhat limited options were typically selected for the homeowner by the plumber from his trusty catalog.

My personal inability to track our inventory of colored sinks, water closets, and tubs led to my husband’s dramatic suggestion that to simplify our business strategy we needed to sell only white—quite a departure from the trends of the early ‘80s. Our client base of homeowners, architects and designers immediately recognized the elegance and sophistication of an all-white bathroom, with its references to English Edwardian bath style. Thus, I crowned myself the Queen of White, with all its nuanced shades and tones.

Much like the reliable little black dress, a white bath just works in any situation. While it’s still my favorite color, I have since expanded my horizons.

Photo Credit: Barbara Sallick

There are great opportunities to express your sense of style in the smallest, most private room of the house by using patterns, bold color, texture and graphic design. There are many places I look for color inspiration. Your closet is a great place to start, as are favorite travel photos (mine, above, are from markets in Venice). The decorations in your house are wonderful clues to determine where you fall on the color spectrum, as is art that catches your eye. A few weeks ago I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute to see the creations by and for French fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes. The exhibit’s bright colors, richly embroidered, shimmering fabrics and classic black and white were completely inspiring, and led me back to the Waterworks collection of tile and remarkable natural stone.

Get more inspiration from Barbara by following her blog, The Perfect Bath, and her instagram

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