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 


I also like the idea of painting the vanity a shade of gray since I have dreams of a marble mosaic backsplash and this is a design truth: gray painted vanities are delish.

gray floating vanity

austin architect

gray vanity

style at home

gray painted bathroom vanity

am dolce vita

So let’s talk backsplash because I’m thinking a gorgeous geometric and taking it up to the ceiling like the #2 inspiration photo. The big dream is to install a marble geometric mosaic but they are the priciest and well wouldn’t you know I have super expensive taste in tile and fixate on ones that I cannot afford.

These beauties are from the Talya collection by Sara Baldwin and I get breathless just looking at them. This tile is so expensive per template it would make your jaw drop (\$150+) but hey a girl can drool dream.

talya collection tile

new ravenna 1

I’m also drawn to this Duomo by Artistic Tile which is \$64 a square foot and never in my life have I spent half that on tile but I just can’t get it out of my head.

duomo tile

I’ll save on tile by avoiding installation on the wall space where mirrors will hang but I’m still trying to keep the tile cost below \$25 a square foot so unless the Tile Fairy pays me a visit with a very generous gift I don’t think the Duomo will happen. Finally, as much as love bold pattern I do have to consider future resale someday and a tamer pattern of pretty glass might be more appropriate so there’s that to think about.

I’m meeting with a cabinet refacing specialist to see if refacing makes any sense for new cabinet doors and drawers. I’ve priced refacing before and it can be more expensive than replacement of new cabinets so I’m also getting a bid on just new doors and drawer fronts from a separate company too.

I’ll still have to find great lighting and fixtures and a countertop too. It will definitely be solid surface, something white or perhaps marble. You can get lucky with remnant leftovers in fabricator stockrooms so that’s where I’ll start because I really don’t want to pony up the cash for a full slab. But then there’s always engineered quartz like Ceaserstone or Siletone, much to consider! Wish me luck….

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