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A symmetrically balanced arrangement of sinks, mirrors, and raised-panel cabinetry is graceful and elegant, formal but not fussy. The carved base, or skirt, masking the toe-kick on the vanities gives them the appearance of furniture. The vanity construction, with a square center door flanked by rectangular ones, allows easy access to the plumbing in the center and to storage on each side. The central storage unit features an arrangement of shallow and deep drawers to hold hair dryers, tall bottles, and toiletries.
Minimalism may not work well for people with a lot of stuff, but it's clean and serene, and with the right materials, it's even tactile and warm. This bathroom is about simple geometry, with the tiled wall and tub surround offering a textural counterpoint to the walls of windows. The cabinetry is reduced to a straight line of flat-front wooden drawers that depend on the wood grain and centrally placed knobs to make their decorative statement. Floating the drawers above the floor emphasizes the gravity-defying vanity as a focal point.
The piano-style legs on this built-in vanity trace their roots to the Federal Era (1780-1820), when square, tapered legs ending in spade feet were a favorite form for chairs and tables. Crown molding and raised-panel doors define the tall vanity cabinets as traditional, while recessed-panel door fronts and beaded-edge drawers in the lower portion are less formal and could even work for a cottage look. Painting the entire unit white unifies the top and bottom and gives the cabinetry an informal feeling. If the piece were finished in mahogany veneer, the effect would be dressy and formal.
A broadly arched mirror and wooden cabinetry, tub deck, and built-in medicine chest stained a medium brown evoke the warm oak furniture made popular by the Arts and Crafts movement at the end of the 19th century. On this vanity and medicine chest, slender molding outlines doors and drawers punctuated by round wooden knobs, creating subtle surface variations. Furniture-style bracket feet on the vanity suggest the look of an old dresser. Arts and Crafts cabinetry works especially well in bungalow-style homes or those where the decorating emphasizes natural materials, stained wood, and almost rustic simplicity.
Even if you don't have 12-inch-thick stone walls, a wood-beamed ceiling, and arched windows, you can bring the flavor of country French style to the bathroom with twin vanities decorated with painted figures and decorative motifs. Ring-style drawer pulls and vintage-inspired bronze-finish faucets give vanities a country French accent. Gathered skirts of red-print fabric hide the plumbing in the kneehole area. To reinforce the unfitted-furniture look of a country bath, bring in a small side table to fit between the vanities.
Inspired by the idea of converting an old dresser into a bathroom vanity, this lavatory combines a stone countertop and integrated sink with stacks of drawers that recall metal office desks. The result is a sophisticated, urban look. The stone continues up the wall as a backsplash with a wall-mount faucet. The combination of natural and industrial materials in a warm neutral palette makes this bathroom an exciting and inviting blend of creative recycling and high-style design.
The straightforward design of Mission-style furniture perfectly suits a vintage bathroom, but it also lends itself to more modern interiors. The style debuted around the turn of the 20th century, when furniture makers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, began manufacturing suites of sturdy oak furniture supposedly inspired by the California missions. Actually a product of the Arts and Crafts movement, the style featured simple plank construction, exposed joinery, and a fumed -- or aged -- oak finish. Rectangular wrought-iron drawer pulls and a turned door pull like those on this vanity put a Spanish spin on the furniture to reinforce the Mission connection.
The days are long gone when contemporary meant cold. Flat-panel door and drawer fronts and sleek brushed-nickel handles and pulls define this cabinetry as contemporary, but the traditional cherrywood finish and dark granite countertop and backsplash add comforting warmth. Undermount sinks reinforce the contemporary look because they don't interrupt the smooth plane of the countertop.
Furniture design after World War II sought to apply a new aesthetic -- geometric shapes, clean lines, and flat surfaces stripped of ornament -- to new industrial materials such as metals, plywood, and laminate. The results ranged from fun and funky to restrained and elegant. This bathroom cabinetry occupies the elegant end of the spectrum, with brushed-metal pulls and handles making a graphic pattern of lines and dots on the smooth ebony surfaces. A freestanding armoire raised on tapered metal legs provides extra linen storage. To play up the dark cabinetry as the focal point, the countertops, walls, and floor are shades of light gray, putty, and white.
The peeling-paint look became popular precisely because it brought a look of authentic age and a sense of history to new homes that lacked both. Provided the paint isn't actually peeling, old painted furniture still brings warm country style to the bath. Here a sturdy dresser fitted with a sink and plumbing lines serves as a vanity, and a painted door cut down to size serves as the tub skirt. Outfitting your bathroom with recycled and repurposed components makes sense environmentally (keeping them out of landfills), and it allows you to create a look uniquely yours.
Mixing white lavatory cabinets and black storage pieces is a no-fail formula for creating a bathroom that feels familiar yet fresh. The scheme arises from the vintage-style black-and-white tile floor. The lavatory cabinets, with bracket feet in front of the toe-kick, recall old washstands. The armoire and tall cabinet, topped with traditional-style crown molding, stop well short of the ceiling, emphasizing the unfitted look of the bathroom.
Industrial materials bring a surprisingly tactile quality to this bathroom, complementing the natural texture and color of the slate walls and floors. The minimalist drawers and cabinets are made from sandblasted and blackened steel, some of it salvaged and some purchased from a local foundry. The pitted surfaces have been allowed to rust, enhancing the contrast between their rough texture and the smooth, wenge-finish wood countertop. The gravity-defying installation elevates the cabinetry to the level of an art object.
A love of Asian art guided the design of this remodeled bathroom, which features a wall of Japanese-style mahogany cabinets topped by shoji partitions. Who would guess that behind those doors there hides an abundance of storage, with drawers, shelves, and four flip-out hampers? The focal point, a freestanding double-sided limestone sink, emphasizes the Asian design inspiration with its gently shaped legs and mirror frame.
As in the kitchen, providing a mix of open and closed storage in the bathroom provides more decorative options. Drawers offer accessible storage for toiletries and medicines, while cleaning supplies are best stashed out of sight under the sink. Open cubbies put towels in easy reach and make a decorative asset of their fluffy textures and clean colors. The cubbies also break up the wall of cabinetry, adding a sense of depth and preventing monotony.
This traditional, raised-panel cabinetry acquires a French accent with the addition of applied ornaments between the sets of doors. Inspired by the ornately carved 19th-century closet doors, which came from a French chateau, the cabinetry sports a decorative paint treatment that mimics the original mustard-taupe finish and blue highlights of the antique doors. The 13-foot-long vanity counter incorporates a dressing table, a sink, and storage space along one wall.
Like the unfitted kitchen, a bath outfitted with individual pieces of furniture rather than with built-in cabinetry avoids a cookie-cutter look and stakes a claim to individuality. In this spacious bathroom, an antique French bibliotheque has been painted glossy white and stores toiletries, linens, and extra supplies. A freestanding dressing table beside it serves as a grooming station. Furnishing the bathroom with furniture and artwork lifts the space above its utilitarian function to the level of a room for living in.
The unfitted look isn't necessarily traditional or cottage style. This vintage steel hospital cabinet brings a funky industrial look to the bath. It was purchased from a prop supply house that serves the movie industry; check flea markets and salvage shops to find something similar. The sinks complete the look with a contemporary interpretation of cabinetry. Zero Domino 75 basins from Hastings Tile & Bath (hastingstilebath.com) are wall-hung with a metal frame support that includes a bar for towels and a heavy-duty glass shelves for storage.
Sleek, dark-stained lavatory cabinets raised on tapered metal legs add a whiff of Hollywood glamour to contemporary style. A dressing table with a slim line of drawers connects the two. With modern-style cabinetry, beauty comes from the grain and finish of the wood and the relationships between functional parts -- drawers to doors, pulls to handles -- rather than from carving, paneling, or applied ornament. To emphasize the dressing table as the centerpiece of the cabinetry wall, its mirror is taller than the flanking mirrors and is set off by a flat-face frame.
Custom-designed cabinetry allows you to solve problems specific to your home. The only place to put a vanity in this reconfigured bathroom would have covered up the window. To avoid permanently blocking the light and views, the top part of the dresser-style piece was designed so that the center mirror opens to reveal the window. The gently bowed center section of the cabinet accommodates an oval sink.
The combination of recessed flat-panel doors, which convey traditional style, and slab or flat-panel drawers, which reflect contemporary or Euro style, gives this bank of cabinetry a transitional look. Simple round knobs lend themselves to both traditional and contemporary styles, reinforcing the blended effect. Brown marble for the countertop, backsplash, tub decking, and floors put the emphasis on elegance.
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