Should I put a ledge or shelf above my vanity?

kaysdApril 25, 2012

We have a 1960 California ranch. The look I am trying to achieve in the master bath is clean and modern, but also tranquil and spa like. I know I want part of the tile to be a watery blue, probably mixed with white and maybe some gray. The vanity cabinet will be either walnut with horizontal grain or grey stained rift cut oak with horizontal grain.

We have room for a 6 foot vanity, sandwiched between 2 walls (1 wall has a pocket door leading to the bedroom and the other wall has a pocket door leading to the compartment with the toilet and steam shower). I am thinking about eliminating the toe kick so the vanity floats between the walls. I plan to put a large horizontal sheet of mirror above the vanity. There will be a sconce mounted on the mirror at each side to put some light at face level, plus 2 recessed lights above the vanity (all on dimmers). There will be 2 undermount sinks.

I am thinking about putting a tiled ledge above and behind the vanity, with wall mounted faucets mounted on that ledge. Alternatively, I could do a wood shelf between the tile BS and the mirror. Either option reinforces the horizontal line of the vanity and provides a little display space. (I would like to put out a few perfume bottles, maybe a candle, but I want to avoid creating a drop spot for clutter.) Option 3 is just to mount the mirror above the tile BS with no shelf or ledge and either wall mounted or deck mounted faucets. Which option do you think would be best and why?

Option 1 - tiled ledge:

modern bathroom design by seattle architect Bosworth Hoedemaker

Option 2 - wood shelf:

modern bathroom design by san francisco interior designer Sullivan Design Studio

Option 3 - just tile and mirror:

modern bathroom design by san francisco architect Feldman Architecture, Inc.

modern bathroom design by houston architect C O N T E N T Architecture

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the 2nd photo has a lot of the things you say you want to put in your bathroom. I like the wood shelf going straight across under the mirror.

I have a small strip of marble (about 3 x 19) that I put up under my mirror. I really like it there. sometimes it gets cluttered. I usually put my comb/hair brush on it, a scrungie, sometimes a pill bottle or ?. In my new place the mirror goes down to the top of the vanity so until I change it I won't be able to put it up there. there is space on the wall to the right of the mirror tho - so for now it'll go there. I really like my shelf!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:52AM
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Very nice inspiration pics... here are my thoughts:

Option 1 - Definitely my favorite. I think this works because it is inset all around and the color/material are very harmonious... it flows well. I don't think I'd like it as much if it was just a tile ledge/shelf on its own.

Option 2 - 2nd favorite. I like it but I'm not a fan of the way it would make the faucets feel like they are under a shelf (which they are!). It would also mean the mirror would have to be installed higher and I personally like a lower mirror for checking my outfit in the morning.

Option 3 - Least favorite. It doesn't have the same visual interest and doesn't give you the display area you were looking for.

Looking forward to seeing pics as your room comes together!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 6:33AM
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I definitely prefer #1 because it gives you the display space you want. #2 does too, but it intrudes into the sink space (would you bump your head when leaning over the basin?) and would be more likely to collect clutter.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:37AM
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Thank you all for your comments.

Desertsteph, yes, the 2nd photo looks a lot like the layout we will have as far as wall, door and light placement, floating vanity, etc. (but we will have 2 recessed sinks). Mostly I am trying to figure out whether to do that layout with the wood shelf as shown in #2 or the tile ledge from #1, but with the rest like #2.

Treasuretheday, I see what you mean about #1 being harmonious because the ledge is the same depth and color as the side cabinets next to the ledge and same color as the ceiling. Would you still like the ledge best if it were added to bath #2 (with the walls coming all the way out on the sides of the vanity and the walls a different color than the tile ledge)? I am considering stopping the mirror at 7' tall and putting 1' of tile that will match the ledge above the mirror to the ceiling -- will that help tie in the ledge better? You have the same concern about #2 that I do -- the feeling that the faucets are under a shelf. I found some really pretty deck mounted faucets to use if I go that way, and I would not want them to be hidden (why I am considering #3, plus less cost).

Weedyacres, I hadn't even considered potentially hitting my head when I lean over to brush my teeth. I don't like that the shelf would protrude into my sink space, but otherwise like the look.

I have 4' between the vanity and the opposite wall, so I could pull the vanity cabinet forward 3-4" (or just make it deeper for more storage), so that the shelf is behind rather than directly over the faucets. Does anyone think that would be a good idea?

Here is another bathroom that has a tiled ledge (taller this time) that is just next to a wall like mine would be, rather than next to cabinets the same depth as the ledge. Does this change any opinions?

modern bathroom design by toronto interior designer NathalieTremblay - ARCH DESIGN

modern bathroom design by toronto interior designer NathalieTremblay - ARCH DESIGN

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Just to confuse things by adding another thought. I've been fantasizing about a similar arrangement to #2, but with a shallow cabinet with a long sliding door under the shelf (and on top of the counter), which would give the ledge effect of #1. It would be a great medicine cabinet alternative. I do think I've seen something similar on this forum (my best ideas seem to have actually come from here). I vaguely recall that the sliding doors were faced with mirror, which made the shelf appear to float. You would have to use deck mounted faucets with that arrangement.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:00PM
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