Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sherle-y You Jest!

I'm steeling myself for the comments on this post because a lot of you might think I've lost my marbles. Actually, I have lost my marbles over marble...Sherle Wagner marble and onyx that is. One of my secret likes- and it's not so secret anymore- are those old Sherle Wagner shell pedestal sinks. They bring to mind the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the 1980s. But to me, they also are evocative of the 1930s; in fact, they look like something Cedric Gibbons might have used in a wildly glamorous film set.

If I bought a home with one of these sinks in it, I wouldn't dare get rid of it. Oh, no, no, no. I would embrace the Sherle Wagner shell and incorporate it into a really slick design scheme. The only catch is that you'd have to be careful about how you decorate the rest of the bathroom lest it end up looking like something out of the Carrington mansion. (You know, the Carringtons of Dynasty.)

A Sherle Wagner onyx shell pedestal sink with 24K gold plated hardware.

An ad from a September 1977 issue of Architectural Digest.

I found this black marble version on Ebay. This one just might be the best of the bunch.

A 1988 ad that I found on Ebay. And you know, nothing accompanies a Sherle Wagner shell sink better than marabou and Stubbs & Wootton.


  1. Sherle-ly you cant be serious?? LOLI agree that they could be beautiful in a very pared down bath or powder room.


  2. I love these sinks .I'm an OLD decorator and remember when they were a real statis symbol...I've only sold one in my career but there was a glamour about the seldom found today...

  3. Don't call me Sherle-y. Actually, the model that is just the shell without the platform is classic and could work for a powder room. I would recommend that you resist the temptation to also have the matching onyx toilet cover, however.

  4. Anonymous10:45 AM

    OH MY GOODNESS! i am cracking up right now, because my parents have this very sink in their entry bath. I know it was quite the point of contention between my mom and dad- she wanted to keep it and he didn't.

  5. Marble, yes; especially the black one with the squared edge and the shell inset into it. Onyx, no; it looks cheap and "greasy".

    Saw a black one in a design mag years ago in a powder room lined with antiqued mirror squares, the intersections of the squares held by small antigued gilt bronze buttons. I know it sounds all too, but it was actually very understated and elegant, the antiqued mirror softening the impact of the marble and adding illusory space in which such a grand fixture seemed appropriate, even in the small powder room.

  6. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Love these sinks, they are beautiful and evocative of the 30s as you say. I appreciate all of your various design obsessions, I'm the same way!
    keep it up!!! xo Diana

  7. Isn't it just the best-we all have different taste,thank god!
    Any type of pedestal sink leaves me cold-but then that is just my taste speaking. Great

  8. I love those! We had them in our bathrooms in the house I grew up in (in the 80s) but I always loved them. That green one in the Architectural Digest is fab!

  9. Some things are beyond taste - especially the pink quartz toilet pot with gold seat and lid I came across a few years back. Truly a throne!

  10. brilliant! that company has the most ionic sink in our industry! and to date is still the best! thanks for brining them and the shell pedestal back into focus!
    Jamie Herzlinger

  11. Well, they are unique and if you did have one in your home, it would be a great talking point and your guests would love using it! they are so kitsch!

  12. Dear Jennifer,

    Your taste is so interesting. I like it. I like that you are not afraid of opulent expressions. I see this sink in a grotto-coquillage bath, done by Judith Auclair or Christa Wilm...did you see my post showing the Lapis Lazuli S W faucet and hardware under "Sculpture as an Accessory"? I hope so! XX Dean

  13. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I actually scored an original marble pedestal from the 1930s on Craigslist for $300, complete with Sherle Wagner Ribbon & Reed faucet in platinum! A contractor salvaged it from a mansion renovation in Palm Beach. It’s for our powder room and I could not be more excited! Now the only question is which wallpaper?? I’m thinking Osborne and Little Volte Face for an Art Deco look. Thoughts?