While these solutions address issues on the deck of the furniture, the design details of the furniture legs or base and the relationship of the back of the cabinet to the wall and particularly the baseboard must also be dealt with. Part of the beauty of using a furniture piece is the uninterrupted line of the leg or foot, but it must stand forward of the baseboard, leaving a gap between wall and cabinet. This may be okay for some, but it’s a cleaning challenge for others. When the furniture has a solid base, it can sometimes be notched around the baseboard, eliminating the gap. While designers are coming up with creative applications, these issues really point up the opportunity for our cabinet manufacturers to create best solutions for intended use. In my “study group,” there was a unanimous desire to see our cabinet makers and manufacturers move ahead in the furniture vanity business, bringing solutions to some of the challenges this concept creates. Masterful Design A second trend focuses on the separation of vanities in a master suite. This may be as simple as placing a tall element between two vanities on a single wall, or as extreme as placing one or both in separate dressing zones. Prompted in part by a desire for partners to complete their grooming in separate spaces, this concept also lends itself to varied height in the vanity area. Where one vanity might be taller and include minimum storage, the other might be lower and include space for seated use and storage of all things relating to make-up and dressing areas. In some more generous spaces, the placement of vanity areas back-to-back creates interesting opportunities for mirrors, lighting and visual impact. A current high-end trend, dating from older or grander homes, is the ultimate step of separate bathrooms, perhaps sharing only the shower or tub area. 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. Design Illuminations 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. From powder room to master suite, vanity design opportunities seem limitless. These are just two of the ways that the vanity area has undergone significant change in recent years. Far from covering all there is, this taste will hopefully inspire even more in bath product and space design for the vanity area.