Thinking about… Bathroom Vanities

Now that we’ve settled on the layout for the master bath, it’s time to get serious about the vanity situation. Until a couple of weeks ago, the plan was to have one large double vanity, so that’s what I’ve been thinking about and looking at pictures of for the past, oh, two years. But now we’ve decided to go with two single vanities so the inspiration search begins anew! I must say, having spent a few hours combing my “inspiration” links (mostly to architect and designer web sites) I am beginning to feel even more convinced that the single vanity decision is the right one. All the double vanities I see in photos seem so bulky in comparison.

When choosing a bathroom vanity, there are a number of factors to consider: storage needs, sink placement (under or above counter), material (wood, glass, laminate), color (infinite!), installation (wall mounted or free-standing)… Sadly, there don’t seem to be too many manufacturers of stock vanities that aren’t completely hideous, so unless we get very lucky we are looking at custom cabinets. (OK, this isn’t entirely true. I think Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware vanities are nice looking, but are too country/French Provincial for our 1956 “box” of a house.) This could get expensive, though we are motivated to keep costs down by creating a simple design and not going too crazy with materials.

For some context, this is what our renovated master bath looked like in our last house:

Last house master bath

There was a whole lot to love about this bathroom; namely, it was huge! All the woodwork was custom and absolutely incredible. We loved the vanity as well as the built-in medicine cabinets that look like framed mirrors. What you can see of the vanity in this photo was just one side – there is a second bank of drawers and under sink cabinet doors to the right of the photo frame. A real marriage-saver storage fantasy. And how could you not love a paint color called “Texas Leather?” I suppose I must have had this in mind when thinking about the design for our current master bath. But this house is not that house, so it’s time for some fresh thinking.

Right now I’m looking for basic “shape” inspiration, trying to settle on a general aesthetic, and leaving materials and color for later. Storage is important as there will be no other place to put bathroom stuff other than medicine cabinets. I don’t have the rough dimensions either, so this right now is very preliminary.

This vanity is from a bathroom featured in House Beautiful a couple months ago:

House Beautiful

(OK – can we just pause for a minute to admire that gorgeous band of aqua tile running around the top of the wall? Waterworks – crazy expensive.) This is a lovely piece: clean lines, good storage, lovely wood grain, nice wide counter top. The choice of the thick creamy counter top surface is a good one – makes the piece look more serious, without being stuffy. The one open segment is a nice touch – otherwise the piece would have looked very blocky. I’m not sure I would put rolled-up towels in there, though; I’m partial to 3 Heath Ceramics bud vases, personally. I also really dig the mirror, and that it’s a little bit of an aesthetic departure from the boxy piece below.

Here’s a similar piece, though smaller.

Gray sink vanity

I am really on the fence about the trend towards sinks installed on top of the vanity – and this gray is a drag (and I love gray, as you’ll see in later posts). Again, very simple, clean, pretty wood cabinet – this one appear to be wall-mounted. I like the combination of small drawers on the right and single cabinet door on the left. Very usable as you stand at the sink. The faucet installed on the mirror is not my thing – feels like a gimmick.

This is one that IS a stock piece, but at a custom price.

Sonia Vanity

I’m not sold on the thing. Maybe the white throws me off; I seem to be leaning more towards wood at this point. And while I do like the frosted doors, the whole thing feels a bit more antiseptic than I’m comfortable with.

Dark wood option

This feels a little bit like what we had in our old place, in that it’s a massive double vanity with a lot of storage and complimented by the framed mirrors above. This wood is gorgeous, and looks especially lovely contrasting with the white marble and blue mosaic tile. I also really like the cut-outs instead of drawer pulls. Very sophisticated.

Cute floater

OK, so the lace effect is not so awesome, but if you can eliminate that distraction there’s a lot to like here. Again, the off-center drawer/cabinet function is a good one – you can stand at the sink and still open the drawers without knocking your knees. And look – the cut-outs again! There’s also something really charming about the cabinet – unexpected, interesting, and functional. I would under mount the sink – that overhanging bit harbors way too much bathroom ick for my liking. Or choose more of a statement sink, like the one in this photo:

A real statement

There’s something so stunning about this, yet incredibly simple, too. Plenty of counter space to put your toothpaste while you brush, but good storage space to put it away when you’re done, too. I love how the negative space gives the eye a chance to relax and avoids the heavy, chunky, effect that so many vanities have.

Wow. I had no idea I’d found so many wonderful designs. Taking the time to write some thoughts about them has been a huge help, too. There is a whole lot to love in these photos, you think? Jot me a note in the comments box – what’s your favorite?

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This entry was posted in Inspiration, Interior Finishes, Renovation. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thinking about… Bathroom Vanities

  1. ginger says:

    I like the last one! Not much storage though. Love seeing all the renovation pictures…

  2. ellen lingar says:

    I really like “dark wood option”, although I think it would be interesting if you could split it in two – separate it into two vanities instead of one huge piece, maybe angled into a corner for a his-n-hers effect? You might be able to capture some of the eye-resting-but-visually-challenging and clean geometric effect of “a real statement” that way…
    I just adore creamy marble in bathrooms, especially when contrasted with earth woodgrain. Yum!!! Plus if I recall you’ve got a pretty massive space to work with, don’t you?

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