Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Bathroom Vanity: Glamour & Function

In researching today's blog on bathroom vanities, we happened to come across this line from the popular home remodeling site, Houzz:

"It's not always the most glamorous part of a bathroom remodel, but choosing the right vanity can make or break your bathroom's design."

We agree with part of this statement: the choice of a vanity can certainly make or break your bathroom's design. However, we have to respectively disagree with the second part of the statement: the bathroom vanity is often the most glamorous part of a bathroom remodel.

After all, if not the vanity, what is the most glamorous part of the bathroom remodel? The toilet? The bathtub? We vote for the glamour of the vanity--and we have the pictures to prove it! Just take a look below.

You want glamour? In this MKBD project, the luxurious double sink vanity proves the point: a vanity can be glamorous.
Big or Small: Choosing the Best Vanity for Your Bathroom Design

As we noted above, Houzz is certainly correct in saying that the choice of vanity can make or break your bathroom design. The vanity is often the central point of a bathroom's design. This is why we usually advise our clients to choose a vanity first--and then to design the bathroom around the vanity.

But first things first: don't go too big. In our experience, many bathrooms suffer from over-sized vanities. If your vanity is too big, it will impede traffic and crowd other important design elements. An over-sized vanity will also make your bathroom feel smaller.

For vanities, then, remember Goldilocks Principle (which is actually an astronomical term that we're appropriating for our own use): not too big, not too small, but just right.

This vanity proves that a smaller unit need not skimp on glamour. With solid wood maple cabinets, a glazed granite counter, and Moen Brantford faucets in gleaming chrome, this vanity's beauty is apparent from first glance. 

Cracking the Code: What is "Just Right"? 

We understand: "Choose the right one" can be a frustrating piece of advice, easier said than done. Remember, however, we're speaking strictly about size--not style. A competent remodeling company (like MKBD!) can easily help you choose a perfect fit for your bathroom size. But it might be helpful for you to know that much of a bathroom's design is dictated by code--the International Residence Code (IRC), to be exact.

The code mandates that a toilet’s centerline lie at least 15-inches from walls or other fixtures--like the vanity! The code also mandates “clear floor space” in front of a toilet or tub (at least 18-inches), and in front of a shower (at least 24-inches). These are minimum requirements.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends even more space: at least 18-inches from a toilet’s centerline and 30-inches in front of the shower.

To accommodate the code, many bathroom designs place the vanity and toilet side-by-side. In this MKBD project, the beautiful cherry vanity complements the granite countertop and brushed nickel faucets. Did somebody say, "Glamorous?"

Glamour and Function: Why the Vanity is Not All About Vanity

When most people hear the word vanity, they might think of, say, the "vanity" of Narcissus, the ancient Greek hunter renown for his beauty--a beauty that even he could not resist. You might know that Narcissus, upon seeing his reflection in a pool, fell in love, and drowned in pursuit of, well, himself. Talk about vanity!

Caravaggio's famous image of Narcissus

Following this definition of vanity, the bathroom vanity is indeed, the spot for grooming and preening. However, in the remodeling industry, when we refer to the "vanity" we mean, simply, a sink and basin with accompanying storage. And this, in fact, is the key to the vanity's function: bathroom storage is crucial!

When space is a premium, the vanity can provide essential storage space. In this MKBD project, we're especially fond of the cabinet between the dual sinks. This is an inventive use of space for the tight quarters.

FREE In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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