Works in Progress

Master Bathroom: Vanity Makeover Plans

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

I’m headed back to Las Vegas this week to work on the fixer house and the next project I’m starting is a remodel of the master bathroom vanity. Right now it’s one of those builder grade specials that has been there since 1989 and a refresh is so happening. This is the kind of project that’s manageable to update with a reasonable amount of money if I don’t let my starry eyed dreams of pricey marble mosaic tile send me over budget (see below and you’ll see how I’m in danger).

Someday we plan to sell this place so the goal is to not over improve it but at the same time we want to make it stand out with all of its modern upgrades when compared to similar properties. Here is the space right now, as you can see it’s that golden oak and ceramic tile combo that’s not awful but definitely dated. Everything will go except the vanity and flooring.

master vanity before

I had dreams of purchasing a new contemporary floating vanity for this space but I think it makes more sense to salvage this one because the base is solid wood and fits the space so I save a bundle by repurposing the vanity which also means I can spend more on a solid surface countertop and gorgeous tile on the wall which is really where I want to spend my cash.

A few months ago, I experimented with liming wax on a similar door from the kitchen to see if I could pull of a Restoration Hardware style gray/whitewashed look and at first it looked promising but when complete leaned too pink for my taste (dangerously close to 1980s pickled oak, yikes) but I believe that was due to the yellow undertones present in this kind of oak or perhaps first time error and not the liming process itself so I live to lime another day.

So now I’ve turned my thoughts to either a restaining process (dark of course) but I’m not crazy about the way oak takes stain, it’s very grainy so I’m thinking of having new cabinet doors made in a full overlay shaker style and staining the base and frame to match which could prove tricky but I think it could be done.

vanity cabinet

This door style is traditional which is fine so I could paint it and add new hardware but there is that lingering “oak is grainy” fact and even after two coats of primer and two coats of paint you can still see the grain which okay but in my head I have an intense desire to see a smoother finish so again I’m back to the idea of having new paint grade doors and drawer fronts made to accommodate hidden hinges.

I could live with it as is and patch the holes where the external hinges are and instead install hidden Euro hinges which doesn’t look too difficult. All of these things I’m considering. And perhaps overthinking.

bathroom vanity side view

And did you notice the floor tile? Of course you didn’t because it’s the definition of plain in the dictionary but here’s what happened with that. When we bought the house we found a few leftover boxes of this tile in the garage. This little vanity area used to have stained icky carpet and truth be told I think it’s a major crime to have carpet under a vanity so when we replaced all the carpet upstairs in August and installed the new tile downstairs, I had the installers add carpet back inside the closet and bedroom but not the vanity and we used the remaining 12 x 12” plain porcelain tile we found in the garage to fill in underneath because it matches the adjacent shower and toilet area (not shown) so now it all flows together and makes sense.

And let’s face it when you throw down a plush bathroom rug who’s really looking at the plain white floor tile, not me. As much as I adore a patterned tile floor I’m not about to rip this out for something fancier and expensive so it stays. Because again I plan to spend my cash on the countertop and wall tile and light fixtures, so let’s discuss.

First, the inspiration. These sink vanities I just love because of their dark stain on the vanity cabinet and paired with a white or marble countertop. Divine!

sarah richardson bathroom vanity

sarah richardson

warm wood gray tile bathroom vanity

vinci hamp architects 

dark stained bathroom vanity

mcgill design 

 

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Downstairs Bathroom: Progress + Plans

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

When we left Las Vegas a few weeks ago we had made some changes to the downstairs bathroom in the house. Here’s a picture of the space from when we bought the house back in June and before we started any improvements. So.Very.Blah.

original bathroom

There have been several changes since then, first we removed the vanity, countertop, and mirror and donated them to ReStore. I’ve written about the new tile floors and smooth textured white walls, both made a huge difference. The addition of a new vanity and toilet have also transformed the space, but we’re far from done! 

This Madeline vanity we chose with a plain white solid surface top is from Home Depot. It’s taller and only 48” wide instead of the 60” builder grade vanity that was there before, so the proportions are so much better, allowing space on both sides for a trash can and more leg room around the toilet. I shopped everywhere for a new vanity and settled on this one because the price was right and I liked the curvature of the front of the cabinet, also the legs sitting on top of the tile feel fresh and modern. 

downstairs bathroom progress

We also replaced the old toilet with a thinner taller one, more comfortable and more contemporary, also from Home Depot. The sides are sleek and don’t have that ceramic pipe shape along the sides that you see with other toilets. Little details like that make me smile, even if it is a toilet I’m admiring. :)

One thing I’m happy we thought ahead about was ripping the top of baseboards with a table saw before installation so they have a flat top since I plan to do a board and batten wall treatment in here. (Baseboards with a curved lip on top don’t match up to flat bottom battens, see this post from 2011 on installing board and batten wall treatment). I’ve ordered a pretty wallpaper to install above add color and pattern to the space.

I’m feeling the color green in here, so the plan is to do a mix of soothing monochromatic shades of that hue mixed with white painted board and batten below and featuring touches of brass with oil rubbed bronze hardware/lighting. These are some of the products I’m considering …

downstairs bathroom plan

I already bought this Franco wallpaper by York and this Chinoiserie style mirror from Ballard Designs for the space. I’m thinking of painting the vanity and I’m leaning toward a favorite: Kennebunkport Green by Benjamin Moore. Or perhaps a semi gloss black. Or I might leave it stained dark wood, I’m not sure yet, I want to reevaluate when the wallpaper goes up on the walls.

I’ll share all the sources in the final reveal. I’m headed back in a few weeks to continue working on this space and others, it will be so pretty when complete!

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