At the opposite extreme, where space is tight in a master bath, there is some interest in the concept of using only one sink, sometimes oversized and with two faucets. This idea is more prevalent in Europe, so some of the best examples come from that continent’s manufacturers and designs.
In a restaurant in Australia, I once saw a design that included a single sink running under the mirror through the wall so that the men’s and the women’s restrooms shared the sink – an interesting idea. When you ask the average person what his or her priorities are in a vanity area, often counter and storage space top the list, making this a design direction to explore.
To finish these concepts, there are some great design ideas for lighting and mirrors that relate to the furniture-piece vanity or the separation of dual vanities –and, as one client put it, “who doesn’t benefit from more light in the vanity area?”
To coordinate with the antique furniture pieces being used, we are seeing a number of framed mirrors being hung on the wall or suspended from above, and with them, we’re seeing decorative sconces or pendant lights.
With ceiling heights going up, opportunities for additional lighting have expanded to include indirect or cove lighting as well as chandeliers to complement the antique sconces flanking that framed mirror. One of the more unusual ideas was done by a personal friend, a lighting architect, who used Plexiglas panels that were subtly painted to resemble the sky and lighted from above.
When it comes to the split dual vanities of the master bath, trends seem to center on two distinct concepts visually. The first is the framed mirror already discussed. The second is a wall of mirror, which helps to visually expand a smaller space. This is sometimes framed with accent tile. Lighting at eye level with this installation can be done from behind the mirror, or with fixtures designed for mirror mounts. The world of medicine cabinet design has more than kept up with the latest trends, so any of these ideas can incorporate them.
Often the focal point in a bathroom, the vanity area seems to have blossomed lately. It provides a strong style statement that is sometimes subtle, but, more often – particularly in the powder room – it is a place where clients will be bolder in the use of color, features and furnishings.
With such a fun opportunity for creativity, bath and product designers have come up with some great concepts. These concepts and issues regarding the vanity are the subject of this column, which I was writing as I headed to Louisville to join Penny Chin and Ellen Cheever for our annual judging of the Decorá Cabinetry Design Competition. The trip gave me the opportunity to discuss the current trends and “state-of-the-art” with them, adding their thoughts to my own experience regarding two of the current vanity trends.