Help me design a bathroom around this vanity! Stuck on tile/motif

ljalterMay 24, 2009

Hi all -

I would really LOVE some help! I know this vanity is not everyone's cup of tea, but I would so LOVE some help on what you might do if you had free creativity to build a master bath around it!

This vanity is been purchased for a year, but it sits and sits because I really don't know what to do with the rest of the bath.

What tile? A travertine look tile (either stone or a good porcelain)? Or is there a way to make classic white subway tiles with some fancy accents work? Glass tile accents to match the glass top in the vanity? What tile pattern? (OMG, don't get me started on all of the choices there!) What wall color? What about the shower tile? SO LOST! There are just entirely too many choices. We have a stall shower and a soaking tub. The tub will be a standard jetted tub in white. It's not a huge bathroom, if that matters - about 11' by 8'. Here is the vanity:

I have searched high and low to find inspiration pictures of a bath with black cabinetry, but I can't find many. I choose a pretty contemporary vanity, but I would consider my style more 'classic contemporary' - I love the clean lines, but I like to balance with more classic touches. I can't do the full contemporary thing.

My main concerns:

- I want it to be brighter versus darker (the tile in the pic looks like slate - that won't work.)

- I want to make sure it doesn't look too manly (this probably goes with the comment above.)

- I want to make sure we aren't hurting resale value too much. I think if this one piece is modern, and the rest is more classic, we will be fine. (Hopefully!)

ANY advice would be fantastic. I am due in September with our 4th, and it's my goal the have the bath done by then so I can enjoy my homebirth in there!



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The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the pictures was a glass, lightly tinted aqua colored subway tile. That's a beautiful vanity, but IMHO it's very contemporary and I can't see travertine working with it very well. If stone is your preference, you may want to consider one of the lighter slates which can work well with that style, but that may still be too dark for you. If you're not into the aqua & chocolate color scheme, than any of the cooler colors like pale green, blue or gray would look really pretty. Chrome fixtures would give it some pop too. I hope that helps, Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:55AM
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I had the same thoughts on glass tile as I read your post. A beautiful shimmery blue-green glass subway tile would be great. The flooring choices are endless but it seems like it would be easier to start with choosing a tile that is a little "softer" as you are worried about the room feeling to masculine then choosing flooring to coordinate. Sometimes it is easier to move forward in your decision making process when you choose one area to focus on and let the other decisions follow from there.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:18AM
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I'd agree with travertine not being right --
If you're set on natural stone, what about Limestone? Something simple, large-format?

What about sinks? Are you using the ones shown? That could go a long way toward making your space look either more or less modern.

And if you're concerned about going too modern, try looking for Asian-inspired bathrooms.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 1:04PM
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I have a similar vanity (single and not double like yours) in mind for my son's bathroom. After going through all the options, we finally narrowed it down to porcelain tile. There are several good brands out there like porcelanosa, walker zanger etc which you can use for inspiration and ideas. We are going with a charcoal or chocolate floor and a light "linen" colored rectangular tile (also textured like linen) for the wall. All chrome fixtures, geometric lighting. hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Oh you are so right Sweeby, I always forget about limestone but it would definately be a great match with that vanity!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 5:10PM
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You can use ming green marble and glass tile. See this link.

Or something like this behind the vanity as a splash and going into the shower as a decorative band:

If you want to use porcelain, this would be stunning with it mixed with some green glass.

Also carrara would work with it mixed with green glass and gray slate.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 6:28PM
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Thank you all SO much! This does give me some direction to go with. I am going to do some digging on these leads and see where this takes me. I want to make some decisions and get started!

I really, really appreciate the help!


    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 3:49PM
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That's Great! Hope you post pics when it's done so we can see what you decided on! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I like the idea of a slate or gray/silver glass tile. But I am sure whatever you pick will look great with that cabinet! I absolutely love it!

Good luck with your decisions!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 10:32PM
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I love the idea of a travertine (or travertine-looking porcelain tile) on the floor and as a wainscoting. Then pick up on the midrange colors of the travetine with a coffee au lait colored paint. Then further highlight your dark wood by picking up tan & aqua in accents, linens, and art. (The paint could be changed to beige if needed for resale and the staging would still work. )

Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:45PM
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With the contemporary cabinet my thoughts go in two directions for the walls:

1) large format tile, which to me is more masculine
2) glass tile, which is more feminine

For the floor, I'd want a large format tile.

For the room colors, earthy pigemented colors would be more masculine, if you trend towards less pigment (towards pastels) then you'd be more feminine.

Within those colors, darker shades would be masculine, lighter shades more feminine.

Consider undercabinet lighting for that cabinet. Low cost but big wow.

All that "masculine/feminine" stuff is how I see things. A real designer or artist might have other ideas.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 3:34PM
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Just finished tiling my bathroom and I too will be installing a contemporary dark cabinet (American standard studio.. but instead it will a have squared sink also sitting on top of a glass counter top. I wanted to somehow tie in the color of the glass tiles and counter top and this is the combo I came up with. my wife and just about anybody who has seen the bathroom absolutely loved it. Ill try and post some pics. Trying to explain how these tiles look together just does not do them any justice

glass tiles from: (have more green to them than the pic shows)

subway tiles from:

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:11AM
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Yes, please post pictures! That would be really great of you!

I am really unsure still at this point, but I am leaning towards a 20x20 $1.49 sq ft rectified porcelain in a creamy light tan color - super neutral and subtle. That would keep the tile costs way, way down, which leaves room for fun glass accents and a fantastic install job.

This thread definitely gave me a ton to think about, so thank you so much for sharing your thoughts everyone. It's much appreciated! I can't wait to return with some decisions!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 10:20AM
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Here are the tiles that i mentioned. Bathroom is still a ways from being finished as you can see.. my current work in progress

Here is a link that might be useful: photobucket bathroom

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 4:31AM
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