Vintage Bath at a Budget Price
Save up to $3,394 with these affordable alternatives to luxury products
We all love the look of marble floors and polished faucets. It's the top-dollar price we can live without. Which is why TOH editors scoured the marketplace for money-saving replicas of the high-end goods found in this tony retreat. The results? Products that are proof positive you don't have to take a bath to make a bath.
Two takes on the classic trick-of-the-eye mosaic: pale marble with hints of gold and green and crisp black-and-white porcelain.
Splurge: Shades of Light
Italian Calacatta gold rectangles and dots made of pale green give the Parramore Basketweave marble tile its luminous palette. Its polished, light-reflecting finish requires sealing.
About $90 per square foot; Waterworks
Contrasting colors and finishes—matte white rectangles and glossy black dots—give this pattern its updated look. Interlocking mesh-mounted squares make this tile extra-DIY-friendly to install.
About $10 per square foot; Nemo Tile
Savings: about $80 per square foot
Multispoke handles and flared spouts were staples of early spigots. New versions do wonders for a plain sink.
Splurge: In Fine Detail
The hand-polished nickel finish on this widespread faucet gives it a vintage patina, and the porcelain buttons and wide spout are authentic period details. Its French-made, all-brass construction comes with a long-wearing ceramic disc valve and lifetime warranty.
Julia faucet, about $847; Waterworks
This chrome-finished centerset faucet, suitable for a sink top with holes 4 inches apart, gets its charm from a curvaceous spout and handles. Made in Taiwan, its all-brass construction has a 10-year warranty, which doesn't cover a washerless cartridge valve that may need replacing every five or so years.
Model 32184, about $72; Plumb USA
Savings: about $775
Painted or not, early mirrored cabinets typically hung on the wall above the sink with framed inset doors and nickel knobs.
Splurge: Well Framed
This painted, 33-inch-high solid-wood cabinet has a vintage-style inset door with a beveled mirror, three adjustable glass shelves, and satin-nickel knob. Finished with a decorative wood frame, it can be recessed or wall hung.
Devon cabinet, about $660; Afina Corporation
With its wood-framed overlay door, laminated box, and single fixed shelf, this no-knob cabinet is a trim 19 by 15 inches. It's meant to hang on the wall.
Sheridan cabinet, about $74; NuTone for store locations
Savings: about $586
Decorative subway tiles with floral or leaf patterns were popular in the 1890s. Today's versions may serve as both border and cap rail or just as an inset.
Splurge: Cream-Colored Leaves
Its warm white color, crackle glaze, and detailed acanthus leaf motif give this border tile—which doubles as a wainscot cap—a Victorian-era feel. Each 3¾-by-6-inch tile is hand-pressed and hand-glazed in California; purposeful pooling of the glaze adds dimension.
Archtectonics Collection bay-leaf tile, about $28 each; Waterworks
A semitranslucent 4½-by-8-inch snow-white-glazed tile is meant to give its factory-made consistency a hand-crafted look.
Acanthus tile, about $14 each; Daltile
Savings: about $35 per linear foot
Baths of yore were softly lighted with chandeliers and sconces—a look that's making a comeback. Here, two candle-style fixtures, each a foot tall, in polished nickel.
Splurge: Fully Fashioned
Its designer provenance (it's credited to Bill Blass), linen shade, and concealed fasteners give this fixture a flawless traditional look.
Single French sconce, about $126; Circa Lighting
The taller shade, made of synthetic silk shantung, on this slightly simpler version has a more contemporary look, as does its all-metal candlestick. It attaches with two screws that have decorative caps.
Butler sconce, about $59; Murray Feiss Lighting
Savings: about $67
Sinks with exposed metal console supports (and pipes) span the 1880s to the present, keeping baths open and airy and towels right at hand.
Splurge: Like the Console of Old
Its marble top—in this case Italian Calacatta gold—with a graceful ogee edge, vitreous-china basin, and nickel-finished tubular frame, replicates console sinks of an earlier era. It fastens securely to the wall and is poised on ball feet.
Danby console with Savoy, about $1,890; Waterworks
This vitreous-china sink gets old-fashioned flair from a built-in washstand-style backsplash that secures to the wall. Chrome front legs attach to the floor, and optional towel bars snap onto the sides.
Essex sink, about $530; Cheviot Products
Savings: about $1,360
These two versions of the statuesque Victorian tub filler feature cross-handle faucets and a cradle for a hand shower.
Splurge: Stand-alone Sculpture
This large-scale Edwardian-style floor-mounted tub filler, made in England, stands on exposed legs and rises nearly a foot above the tub's rim. It has a polished-nickel finish over all-brass construction, a 5-foot hose, and porcelain trim on its diverter lever and cross handles. A generous ceramic disc valve is designed for fast tub filling. Comes with a lifetime warranty.
Model U.3521X, by Perrin & Rowe, about $4,292; Rohl
Chrome-over-brass construction and porcelain trim give this smaller set its retro look. It is shown as a wall mount but can be deck- or floor-mounted with additional parts. Made in India, it has a 5-foot hose, ceramic cartridge, and lifetime warranty.
Besco Chrome Tub Filler, about $299 (wall mount) or about $695 (floor mount); Baths From the Past
Savings: about $3,597
Credit railway cars and hotel baths with popularizing storage racks that can hold a stack of terry cloth.
Splurge: Euro-style Flair
This solid-brass rack is 28 inches wide and 11 inches deep, with a hand-polished nickel finish, hidden screws, and four beefy hooks.
Lugarno towel rack, about $329; Restoration Hardware
This lighter-weight, chrome-over-hollow-brass rack is 22½ inches wide and 9 inches deep, with curved top and bottom rails, and semiexposed screwheads.
Hotel towel rack, about $69; Dynasty Hardware
Savings: about $260
Like the earlier tubs they echo, these centerpiece soakers are made of cast iron to hold the heat.
Splurge: Right Curves and Complexion
This 68-inch-long, 13½-inch-deep, two-piece tub has a porcelain enamel finish with a tough titanium glaze guaranteed not to peel or corrode for two years. It weighs 383 pounds and costs about $100 to about $350 to ship.
Dual model 806, about $2,650; Sunrise Specialty
This two-piece cast-iron tub, 66 inches long and 13½ inches deep, has a porcelain enamel finish with a glaze guaranteed not to peel for one year. It weighs 552 pounds but shipping is free; just be sure to check your floor supports.
Double-ended pedestal tub, about $1,400; Vintage Tub & Bath
Savings: about $1,250
The Victorians cleaned up under rainhead "roses" atop exposed nickel risers with attached hand showers.
Splurge: High-rise Profile
Porcelain levers, an exposed mixer, and a hand-polished nickel finish give this single-stem French-made unit its true vintage style. The 8-inch rose, fed by a large valve, is designed to drench; the handheld shower has a porcelain handle and 60-inch hose.
Easton Exposed Shower System, about $3,677; Waterworks
This octagonal 9-inch rainhead is a simple retrofit for an existing wall shower. A separate chrome hand spray, with four shower settings, has a 69-inch hose and can be positioned anywhere along its 30-inch bar for hanging.
Inspire showerhead, about $68, and four-function hand shower, about $215; Moen for store locations
Savings: about $3,394