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Crane’s Art Deco Showroom

Homeowners looking to modernize their lavatories could scope out the latest in sinks, toilets, tubs, and shower booths at Crane’s Hollywood showroom.

Crane Co. on Highland Avenue
Crane Co. at Highland and Romaine (California State Library)

In 1930, the company celebrated its 75th anniversary with a $45,000 Art Deco remodel of its space at the southeast corner of Highland Avenue and Romaine Street by architectural firm Morgan, Walls, and Clements (El Capitan, Pig ’N Whistle, Dr. Beauchamp’s dental office on Cahuenga, and 6363 Hollywood Boulevard). The exterior was exterior re-plastered and ornamented, as was its sidewalk.

Highland and Romaine Hollywood 1930
corner of Highland and Romaine

The main floor thoughtfully displayed Crane’s deluxe plumbing fixtures. Wall panels of Zenitherm—a man-made marble “sawed, nailed, and worked like wood”—alternated in dark ivory and light jade. The color scheme continued onto the silk brocade drapery and seating. Overhead, filigree silver grilles indirectly illuminated the room without shadows.

Behind velvet ropes on the mezzanine were corridors of exhibit rooms showcasing Crane’s signature hues: India Ivory, Citrus Yellow, Sun Tan, Pale Jade, Lucerne Blue, Orchid Pink, Persian Red, Black, and White.

Crane Co. exhibit rooms 1930
Crane exhibit rooms

In one room, regal luxuriousness was on display with Belgian marble, gold-backed mirrors, and Pedara onyx dressing table.

For couples with individual needs and tastes, there was a duplex bathroom. On the man’s side, a cheerful yellow shower booth (with Lucerne blue accents) and convenient mirrored cabinet for shaving creams and hair tonics. The lady was afforded more space, with a pale jade-orchid color harmony and decorative tile wall over the tub.

By 1942, Crane had vacated the 14,000-square-foot building, which became a Hollywood defense plant during World War II and later in the 1950s, an airplane parts factory. In 1965, Dunn-Edwards Paint brought color back to 960 Highland for decades. Today, the building is Wag dog hotel, where canine guest rooms include a bed, television, framed art … but no lavatory.


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