Dilemma for above vanity tower & lighting

Marie-JoeMarch 3, 2014

I thought I had resolved my lighting dilemma for my new bathroom but now that my cabinet & granite are installed & that we put the tower on the counter I realize I need to make some changes.

First once we had the granite installed (Saturnia) we fell in love & we didn't want to put the tower on the counter anymore. In addition the tower seemed so big. It's 12"W x 15"D x 40"H. As you will notice the tower has a door on each side (so we can both access common items, electric toothbrush, water pick, hair dryer, ...) opening towards the mirrors. We also ran into the problem that the doors would hit the mirrors but we resolved that rapidly by finding door restraints so we can set the doors to only open 80% :-)

So we don't hide the granite we decided to mount the tower on the wall. We rapidly realized that we would have to change the lighting. The pictures I have attached are computer generated. In reality my cabinet & granite are installed, but the mirrors, the faucets, other accessories & the lighting are not done yet. I also have 3 outlets lined up vertically to be behind the tower & I have the electrical rough in done for wall sconces above each sinks about 6" down from the ceiling on the wall. These could be easily adapted for lighting in a valance or can lighting on the ceiling.

I know can lighting is not the best but it's too late for me to change & there's no room on each side of the mirror because having 2 doors on the tower that open from each side is a must for us. My vanity is 91.5" W & 34.5" H.

I put 4 options:

1-no valance no frame around the mirrors & cans on the ceiling
2-no valance w frames around the mirrors & cans on the ceiling
3-valance w lights inside no frame on the mirrors
4- valance w lights inside w frames around the mirrors

All options have a light under the tower.

Here are my questions:

Which option would be best?
If I do a valance, what type of light should I use?
Should I change my tower dimensions? I already have this one & I can't return it but I could order another one for about $300. My options would be the same 40"H but either 12"W x 12"D or 12"W x 9"D. I'm concerned that the 9"D would be too small for my needs but that the 15"D is too bulky. So maybe I should take the $300 loss & order the 12"D???

I appreciate any input you can give me.

Here's option 1 - no valence no frames w can lights

This post was edited by Marie-Joe on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 13:15

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Here's option 2 no valence w frame

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:07PM
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Option 3 - Valance no frame

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Option 4 - valance w frame

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:09PM
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Here's a side view of the 15"D tower

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Any chance for a no-tower option?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:43PM
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Put some lights on the side walls at face level. The best way to see your face for makeup and other hygiene activities is to have lights on the sides of your face. I have pot lights and side lights. To me lighting will be an issue.

To be honest I don't like the tower at all.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:49PM
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Hmm. the suspended tower looks off to me. If you really want to keep it I would go with a framed mirror as (at least in the pictures) it makes it a little less noticeable that the tower is floating. And agree with debrak2008 to put lights on the side walls.

Are you planning on using the tower for more than just product storage? If not, try checking out some of the amazing medicine cabinets out there. I saw one in a plumbing supply store the other day that was so nice... Wide enough for a large double vanity, mirrored on the inside and it opened by sliding the outer mirror up. It was expensive but maybe not more than the cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:30PM
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I prefer this..

Farmhouse Bathroom by Chicago Architects & Designers Northworks Architects and Planners

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 16:01

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:48PM
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I do not like the look of the tower suspended like it is now. If It where me I would order some drawers for under it and configure it like the photo below. The last photo of the white bathroom is the configuration I am planning for my master bath design with sconces each side of the mirrors for lighting.


Traditional Bathroom by Tyrone Kitchen & Bath Designers Turan Designs, Inc.

Traditional Bathroom by Nashville Interior Designers & Decorators cke interior design llc

Traditional Bathroom by Seattle Kitchen & Bath Designers Kayron Brewer, CKD, CBD / Studio K B

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Get rid of the tower entirely. It closes in the bath and looks really strange hanging on the wall.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Thanks for all your input. I really appreciate your time. I'm sorry that most of you don't like the tower :-(

I got my cabinet from a local kitchen cabinet fabricator.

They are pre-fabricated & modified to fit my design but I have to stay within certain parameters. I saved a lot of $ going that way. Everything came out beautiful except the tower. The tower is actually a kitchen cabinet that is why I have only a certain choice in dimensions. They don't come with drawers under so it's not an option for me. In any case we don't want the tower to sit on the granite now. The tower itself looks nice but it just doesn't look right on the counter & it hides our beautiful granite.

I need the storage to be bigger than that of a medicine cabinet shelves. Just our water pick is deeper than most medicine cabinet I've seen. In addition, we have electric toothbrushes, hair dryer, my husband has an electric razor & an electric trimmer. That's why I went with a tower.

I really don't want anything on the counter. My husband has facial hair that he trims a weekly. When the counter has all sorts of things on it, then the hair gets into everything. It's really a pain to clean. With a minimum amount of things on the counter it can be wiped off with one sweep, et voila!

I do want something that looks good but practical & functional is even more important to me. That's another reason why I went with the tower for storage.

Now my remodel is far along. There are some things I cannot change but there are still things I can change. I need to make the most of what I have without adding too much cost. I know some of those things should have been figured out ahead of time but I did the best I could & now I have to make some adjustments.

BTW, I don't wear make up & my husband either ;-) so lighting without shadows is not a big priority for us.

So I have to decide which of the 4 options would be the best for us or come up with another option that will provide adequate above counter storage for us.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:57PM
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Oh the shadows are not just for makeup. What about dealing with facial hair, on both of you? Trust me, it is so much easier to clearly see your face if you have side lighting.

Looks like you will have a ton of storage in the base cabinets. Do you REALLY need the tower?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:03PM
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If I had to pick between the four, I would pick option 2 - no valence with frame.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Your bathroom is really lovely and I think it would look even better without the tower.

I admit that I have a higher tolerance of items on counters than most people at GW. For me, it's not just a pretty pristine surface; it's there to work for me.

Honestly, I think an electric toothbrush sitting over in the corner would look a lot neater and less obtrusive than the tower. Won't your hairdryer fit under the sink or in one of the larger drawers? I could sure store a lot of stuff in a vanity the size of yours.

Maybe you could use the tower somewhere else?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Thanks for letting me know the option you would pick Anna.

I noticed you posted a picture earlier. You said "I prefer this". Were you referring to the smaller mirrors or smaller tower opening in the front or both or something else?

I saw that picture before. I asked the manufacturer of my vanity & unfortunately this was not an option that was available.

I had quotes from $4000 - $7000 to custom make my vanity. All were with real wood for the front & particle board for the rest. By choosing the manufacturer I did, I was limited in my options BUT the front is cherry wood & the rest is plywood & I only paid $1600 for the whole vanity including the tower. With all the other expenses for the remodel I could not justify paying $2400+++ more & for particle board just to have the exact design.

In addition this is on an outside wall so I could not really recess anything.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:06PM
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Options 3 & 4 that have a valence just seem out of date to me - very 70's/80's. When you see a valence today, there are usually cabinets on both sides or wood paneled sides. The valence also makes it look top heavy and seems to emphasis the empty space under the cabinet.

I don't care for the mirror underneath the vanity tower.

The reason why I like the picture that I posted is that the smaller framed mirrors seem to balance out the floating tower - the tower doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. So you end up with 3 things hanging on the wall instead of one lone cabinet. To my eye, it just looks better - and you can use pot lights too, if you don't care for the vanity lights.

Options 1, 3 & 4 just have a first impression of a large mirror with the vanity tower just plunked dab in the middle. Just my opine. Option 2 breaks up the mirror.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 21:33

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:24PM
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I understand linelle but I really need some above the counter storage. As I mentioned, electric toothbrush, water pick, 2 razor/trimmer, hairdryer & many other things (mouthwash, shaving cream, powder, ...) I had a lot of under the counter storage before & everything would always end up on the counter. Especially on my husband's side :-).

Also my sinks are already centered between the tower & the side wall. If I don't do the tower what will I do in the center? I think that empty space (34") would look strange. I need to make the best of what I have now. I'm seriously considering a more shallow tower though.

If I can't add lights on the side wall do you think this could work for me if I go with no valance, no frame & can lights on the ceiling? http://www.houzz.com/photos/100681/Modern-classic-contemporary-bathroom-san-francisco. The lights are on the mirrors but near the outside wall

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:36PM
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Here are 2 pictures with wall mounted upper cabinets



I could definitely not do a piece of mirror under the tower. I will try to get my friend to do a computer rendering with smaller mirrors. As for the lights above the mirrors, it's not that I don't like them, it's just that when I open the doors it would hit the lights because I really want a door on each side so we can both access easily everything in the cabinet

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Sorry duplicate posting

This post was edited by Marie-Joe on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 22:06

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Here's one of my earlier rendering with smaller mirrors & sconces. The problem now is that I don't want the tower on the counter but mounted on the wall & the doors would hit the sconces. So I need to change the lighting. I thought that bigger mirrors would be better if I go with can lighting or some other lighting. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I could find shorter sconces that would still look good but not be in the way of the door

I also think that the rendering with the tower mounted w/lights under it looks a lot better than the tower just sitting on the counter.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:02PM
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If you go with 2 separate mirrors, you really need to work on their proportions in comparison to the tower. I think they are too big in option 2 and the picture above. Also, I don't like the mirrors higher than the tower in the picture above.

But these are just my opinions.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 23:20

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:16PM
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I like #3 the best. We are also doing a tower and I considered framing in the mirrors but felt it was too busy especially with a 4" backsplash matching the countertop material. We opted instead for mirrors down to the counter and lights above, with the tower on the counter and to the ceiling with crown. Lights at face height on each side of mirror is best, but in our case I didn't really care for the added expense of electrical, lights..... As we have another separate makeup area in our dressing room and my husband is only home a week a month. Building a home here in Alberta is extremely expensive and everything adds up very quickly.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:05AM
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I keep looking at your photos trying to figure out what I don't like about the tower. I actually like towers but something about yours doesn't look right.

I think its the floating above the counter which looks odd plus the blank front. Maybe if the doors were in front, with some glass doors it might look better.

I just looked again, I don't like the blank front which faces into the room. Can the doors face the room? It might look less odd.

The cabinet RTWilliams shows looks very nice because it seems balanced. Even if you kept it floating, nice doors would help distract from the space underneath. I don't like the crown, it sticks out too much and doesn't look right.

Can you move the doors to the front of the tower? Would that be something you'd be comfortable with?

I get your idea about a clear counter. I like that also and it was the first thing I thought of when I saw your pictures. But, the tower just seems so distracting and spoils your beautiful bathroom. I absolutely love everything else you did and the vanity is gorgeous! The tower just seems to dominate everything.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 12:03AM
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Hi Marie Joe,
First to deal with the tower...I think if it looks fine to you then go for it. Honestly, it's not awful and if it does start to bother you then you could tuck a basket under it just like the picture Anna posted. That sort of anchors the tower and lessens the look that it's floating. And maybe put a matching door pull on the front to create the illusion that it's a door.

But it sounds like your real question is around the lighting. I think the can lights are fine and if you want lighting from the side can you use pendant lights?

Rustic Bathroom by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Here's an update:

We went with #2, no valance & large framed mirrors. I kept my 12"w x 15"d tower. It's mounted on the wall all the way to the ceiling. The valance was complicated & costly. We were concerned too many things could go wrong. So we went with the simple solution of having can lights on the ceiling.

It looks beautiful!!! What a relief!

It's not all done yet as I haven't received the mirrors but the frames are installed. That's what my mirror guy wanted. He wanted to take the measurements with the frames in place. He will instal the mirrors inside the frames. He said he does it all the time & that's the way it comes out the best.

At least now with the tower up & the frames installed it gives us a really good idea & we love it so far. I'm not sure yet if it's going to be enough light but we'll figure something out if it's not.

I think computer renderings can be helpful but in this case it does not give it justice.

Tuesday the plumber is coming to install all the hardware for sinks, shower & the toilet. I should have my mirrors by the end of the week.

I'll post the real pictures when it's all done.

Anna in Tx, thanks for your input. Since these are custom mirror frames made with material provided by the cabinet maker, we played with the different dimensions & really once the tower was mounted the obvious choice was to go all the way to the walls, back splash & ceiling. The other dimensions didn't look as good.

xc60, I know what you mean about the cost of light fixtures. I totally got sticker shock also :-). Like you I know other types of lighting is recommended but can lights will do for now. Like you I didn't care for all the additional cost to get the "perfect" lighting. Once I have the magnifying mirrors installed I think it will work great.

Jane ny, the renderings don't show it well but I do have a false door in front of the tower. The cabinet is in Cherry wood in a nice American cherry color (almost red wine). I've had 2 different contractors commenting now how beautiful the tower looks. The front looks very rich & nice. The rendering really does not give it justice.

I really wanted a door on each side so we can both have easy access inside. So we made it work. We installed door restraints so the doors don't open more than 85%. I will have a light strip under the tower & under the vanity near the floor. I will have a sensor so those light up whenever someone walks in.

Thanks for accompanying me in this process. I'm finding my bathroom remodel much more stressful than when I did my kitchen last year. It's coming to an end soon & so far I'm very happy with the results :-)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Glad you went with option 2 - I like it the best. I also did a hanging tower for many of the same reasons that you did. Mine is only 9inch deep which makes it a bit less intrusive but I LOVE the counter space and no worries about water splashing or damage. I think once you "anchor" it all together they can look very nice. I used oval mirrors on each side with lighting above (I too didn't have room for side lights). One solution that I saw and liked for placing the tower on the countertop is to build a base out of matching granite.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:13PM
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Interesting using a hanging tower - I never thought of doing that - but just like a kitchen - it gives more counter space.
Can't wait to see the final pictures.
BTW - what is the length of your vanity?

Pin54 (and betting you might be the same age as I am..)
Do you have a picture of your hanging tower?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:23PM
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a2gemini my vanity is 91 1/2" long. So far I have no regrets at all about keeping the bigger tower & mounting it to the wall. The true test will be once it's all done & I use it for a few weeks. I will post pictures when it's all finished.

We gave up the idea of putting a light under the tower because there was too much glare & you could see the light in the granite. We did put an LED light strip at the base of the vanity near the floor though. It has a motion sensor & every time we walk into the bathroom the light turns on. We love that!!!!!!

I got a new Toto Legato toilet installed & it's great so far.

They came to installed the mirrors today but the mirrors were not cut right & they were too short (rolling eyes). It's interesting that even on Angie's List a lot of the glass/mirror places had reviews that mentioned that the glass or mirrors where wrong on the first try. I picked this one because he had lots of reviews & mostly good ones. Hopefully my glass enclosure will be right on the first try (crossing my fingers).

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Marie-joe, I have a toe kick LED in my bathroom too. I have mine on a switch with a dimmer and turn it on at night so we can find our way down the hall to the bathroom :) Even though the strip is supposed to be dim, it is too bright for the night light function I intended, hence the dimmer. I love the look of the toe kick lighting.

Looking forward to finished pictures.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:55PM
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Waiting for pictures!

A friend used a granite contractor off of Angies's List for a countertop in her kitchen last year. The pieces were fabricated correctly but the installers flexed the sink piece and cracked it. They completely misaligned the angled corner pieces. They left a huge gap next to the wall on another piece, plus damaged the sheetrock. We were appalled. It was pretty expensive golden Brazilian type granite with double ogee. Contractor had to buy 2 new slabs to redo the work.

So my friend got a bad contractor off of Angies's List but the fact that he was listed on Angies's list made him correct the problem with only a few "discussions".

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 11:12

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 11:08AM
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I know you didn't want to sit the tower on the counter, but IMHO you have eliminated almost all the countertop under it (which is a huge chunk of your countertop storage). If your DH didn't put things away before the reno, what makes you think he won't slip back into old habits again? But now, getting at the things he doesn't put away that's been pushed to the back under the tower, will be awkward to retrieve.

I think your cabinet colors and countertops are beautiful though. I wish you good things on the rest of your reno.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 10:32PM
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It's true the LED strip is a little bit brighter than we would like at night so we might try to find a way to diffuse it a bit. But we love the fact it goes on everytime we walk in & turns off after 5 minutes of no movements in the bathroom.

That's a great thing about Angie's list. I always tell providers that I found them through Angie's list & I'm not shy about telling them that I always post reviews there. For the most part, they make sure I'm really happy ;-)

canuckplayer, I know from the rendering it's hard to tell but my tower is 15" above the counter. It's really easy to access the space under. Just like it's easy to access the counter under kitchen cabinets.

My DH didn't put things away before because he had no where to put things other than on the counter. Now he will have lots of storage over & under the counter. Everything will be very easily accessible.

Hopefully I will get the wallpaper delivered & installed by the end of this week & the mirrors also. Once the wallpaper is up then we can installed the towel bars & magnifying mirrors next to each sinks.

Pictures coming soon :-)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 3:10AM
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Everything is done now & we love it!!!

It's like a 5 star hotel experience every day! Here are some before & after pictures

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:42AM
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Approximately the same angle after the remodel. We brought the wall down. Here's the new 2 sinks vanity & our tower in all its glory :-). We had so much drama going around whether or not to modify this tower and even maybe get rid of it. We ended it up keeping it the original size we had designed it & after using it for 10 days we love it!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:49AM
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Here it is with both doors open. We have 2 outlets inside. We can access most things from either sides. Everything fits perfectly without being too crowded. The door restraints work perfectly so the doors don't bang at all into the mirrors but open wide enough for easy access :-)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:52AM
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Here's the view of my previous single sink tiny vanity & a small peak at the entrance of where my toilet was & shower/tub combo. This was on the opposite wall of the 2 closets

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:55AM
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Here's the same area. We took the wall down. Build a new 1/2 wall a few inches to the right w a beautiful decorative glass to give more privacy to our new Toto Legato.

We put a subtly textured vinyl wallpaper (can see the texture on the picture).

I still need to put some sort of art on the walls but I haven't decided what yet

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 2:04AM
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Here's the shower area with my 2 giant niches. I had read that one of the biggest regrets after a bathroom remodel was not to have gotten enough space for shampoos, soaps,... So I went all out :-) My husband thought I was going overboard when I made the drawings & the tiler looked at me funny. But they came out perfect & my husband loves them.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 2:15AM
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Looks very nice. Congratulations!

What you did with the partial wall and decorative glass by the toilet is super.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:24AM
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Woah. It's stunning. I love the tile work. Nice job!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:50AM
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