Revisiting David Hicks

As our Designers We Love column proves, we absolutely love learning what today’s leading professionals have to say about kitchen and bath design. But what about some of the leading designers of yesterday, what were their thoughts on kitchen and bath design? More often than not, the advice of the world’s most celebrated designers some 30 or even 60 years ago still holds true, even though styles change and technology advances...

Here, we revisit a few of legendary English designer David Hicks’ insightful tips from his 1970 book, David Hicks on Bathrooms. His knack for mixing contemporary color schemes and bold new patterns with fine art and antiques didn’t stop with the main living rooms of his projects , but continued right to his luxurious loos.

“A bathroom is a room, not just a plain tiled cubicle.”

“Most of today’s bathrooms still look too clinical. It is simply not necessary for them to have the stark hospitalized appearance that many builder and manufacturers seem to imagine. A bathroom needs to be not only functionally efficient, but as attractive, soothing or invorgating as any other room. Without being chi-chi it can have character, colour and luxury—even in the smallest space.”

“For me the essentials of a really congenial bathroom are simplicity, style and utter cleanliness.”

“I am constantly amazed, as I sit in my studio pondering new design solutions, to realize just how difficult it is to hit upon something original and, in a curious way, how fortunate we are to live at the present time. We are able to gain immeasurably from the past, which is more accessible to us that it has ever been. Again and again one sees how right early decisions were.”

“Don’t be afraid to flout convention and to experiment with the positioning of your units.”

“Remember that the most super bathroom stands or falls by the way it is maintained. In the end really good planning and imaginative decoration, as historical examples show, will be lastingly worthwhile. Wall colours, wallpapers, carpet, counter tops, lighting, towels, bathroom chairs, pictures, etc. are what give style to bathrooms.”

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