19 hours to finalize vanity design - please help

kaysdJune 11, 2013

I am meeting with the cabinet maker tomorrow morning to finalize the design of our vanity so they can build it. We need to get the project finished quickly so we can re-fi our mortgage while the rates are still good. I am re-thinking some of the elements I originally put together with our designer months ago.

Here are my 3 questions:

1. Stick with planned floating vanity (7" above floor) or standard vanity with 4-5" high toekick?

2. The top door on the tower is 42" high x 16" wide. Should I use the top 12" as an open display niche to break up the tall skinny door?

3. What heights should the drawers be? Should I do a mix of doors and drawers or all drawers?

Overall plan: The bathroom is roughly 13' x 6'. There are 2 pocket doors that separate the vanity area from the master bedroom and the toilet and shower area. The vanity is 76" long, and there is a 38" wide "wing" wall on each side. The vanity cabinet will be 26" deep because there is a 4" deep x 12" high x 30" wide tiled ledge behind each sink. In the center, there is a 16" wide x 54" high x 11" deep storage tower sitting on the counter. The tower only projects 5" onto the counter; the rest is in the 6" deep wall cavity. The bottom 12" of the tower will have a lift up door and outlets for small appliances. The upper door of the tower will be a framed mirror. Cabinets will be walnut with slab front drawers and horizontal grain (except tower sides might be vertical grain, not sure which way to go on that one). Overall look should be modern: One watery blue accent wall in shower, blue tiles on vanity ledges, rest of the tile is large format gray, white quartz counter, chrome fixtures.

1. Floating vanity: I love the look of floating vanities. We planned to float it 7" off the ground so we don't lose too much storage space. I am starting to wonder if a floating vanity will look right in this particular bathroom. In most of the pictures I have saved of floating vanities, the cabinet is wider and shorter than what we will have, so there is a stronger horizontal element. The ledges and tall cabinet on the counter also weigh the design down a bit, so I might be losing the look that makes me love floating vanities. A regular vanity would allow an extra 2-3" of height for storage. We already ordered enough floor and baseboard tile to go under the vanity, but we won't be out a lot of $ for the tile if non-floating will look and function better.

2. Tower: Should I leave the top part of the on-counter tower at 42" H x 16" W with a single door for maximum concealed storage, or should I reduce the height of the door to 30" and have a 12" H open display niche at the top (I'm not sure if we can add a light to the niche at this point without significant extra cost). The primary reason for the open niche would be if the 42" H x 16" W door will look too tall. The niche would be the same height as the little flip-up door at the bottom of the tower.

3. Drawer heights: The cabinet will be 36" high, including the 3/4" thick counter, so we have approximately 28" of storage height with a floating vanity and 30-31" with a standard vanity. My designer suggested two 14" high x 29" wide drawers under the sinks on each side, with four 7.5" high x 18" wide drawers in the middle for the 28" high floating vanity. The top drawers under each sink will have to be cut to fit around the plumbing. Her drawer size choices will look really good, but I'm not sure those drawer heights are the most functional for use. The usable interiors of the drawers is about 2" less than the drawer face. Most of our toiletries would be dwarfed by 14" high drawers. The 7.5" high drawers would waste space for small items like cosmetics. Ideally, we need two 5.5-6" H drawers for small items. I have a lot of items that are 4-6" tall (8" drawers) and 6-8" tall (10" drawers). I have a smaller amount of items over 8" tall, and only a couple of items (lotion and mouthwash) that are over 10" tall and thus need something taller than a 12" H drawer. A mix of several different drawer heights would work best, but probably look terrible. If I do drawers everywhere, it is important to me that the horizontal lines between the drawers match up across the whole vanity. I could just do doors under the sinks with pullouts for taller items, and then have shorter drawers in the center. Drawers make for easier access than doors with pullouts, put the pullouts allow for more height variation and give me a place to put a small trash can under 1 sink.

Options I have considered: Floating: (a) two 14" drawers on sides & four 7.5" drawers in center (designer's plan); (b) doors on sides and 6-6-8-8 drawers in center; (c) 18" high door over 10" high drawer on sides and 6-6-6-10 drawers in center. Standard vanity: (d) 6-12-12 drawers on sides and 6-6-6-12 in center; (e) doors on sides and 6-6-9-9 drawers in center; (f) doors on sides and 6-6-8-10 drawers in center; (g) 20" high door over 10" high drawer on sides and 6-6-8-10 drawers in center; (h) 18" high door over 12" high drawer on sides and 6-6-6-12 drawers in center.

Which option would you choose, or do you have another layout I should consider?

Vanity Sketch:

Overview of bathroom:

Inspiration pics:

Storage tower and ledge like this, but with tower down to counter. (Looks nice with floating vanity here, but our vanity would not be this long):

Contemporary Bathroom by Palo Alto Architects & Designers square three design studios

Tower with appliance storage at bottom, probably with lift up door like 2nd photo:

Contemporary Bathroom by Mountain View General Contractors Harrell Remodeling

Modern Bathroom by Portland Interior Designers & Decorators Angela Todd Designs

Picture this with a single open niche at top of storage tower:

Modern Bathroom by San Francisco General Contractors Bill Fry Construction - Wm. H. Fry Const. Co.


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Well, those are all personal preference type things. I'm sold on drawers, much easier access to what you're storing. Personally, I prefer the floating design with no open shelves, for ease of cleaning. I think either choice will look fine, just depends on what functionality you want/need.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Here is the vanity sketch right-side-up:

We will have a wall-mounted "floating" toilet, if that makes a difference to anyone in the choice of floating vs. non-floating vanity.

Williamsem, what size drawers would you use on a floating vanity?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Here is another option: a floating vanity with 2 drawers under each sink, but with the top drawer taller than the bottom drawer.

Modern Bathroom by Cupertino Architects & Designers anat shmariahu

I could do something like a 16.5" drawer over an 11" drawer on the sides, with three 5.5" drawers over an 11" drawer in the center.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:42PM
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I think you're fine sticking with a floating vanity. I've seen a number of shorter floating vanities that look great, so I think it is up to preference. I like the 16.5" and 11" drawer combo that you just mentioned. Will 5.5" for the centre drawers be deep enough for you?

I see your concern about the height of the tower. I'm not certain how useful upper open storage would be though. What do you think you might store there? Do you have the option to put the tower off to the side, rather than centering it on the vanity?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:55PM
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Hi Sochi,

I think 5.5" will be deep enough. I tried to put my cosmetic organizers in the 5" drawers in my kitchen (3" interior height) and those drawers were just a tiny bit too short. I could also go with three 5-5/8" drawers over an 11.25" drawer, which would put me just over 36" total height, which would be OK for us. (I need to talk with the cabinet designer about why 2" of height are lost in each drawer -- the wood file drawers in my office furniture have interiors that are 3/4" less than the drawer face.)

The tower does have to be centered, as the wall has already been finished with a framed-in niche and electrical in the center. If I have an open area at the top, it would be strictly for displaying decorative items that I don't need to be able to reach easily. I have a lovely Lalique scupture that is 10.75" high that would fit, although it may not be shown to its best advantage at that height.

The extra hidden storage for bottles would probably be more useful, I'm just worried it will look awkward.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:33PM
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I would measure what you need to store. I have a stock 36 in vanity with the traditional fake shallow drawer fronts on top and on each side the remaining height is split into two equal drawers. I do have a door in the middle, but had to put a shelf in to help make it useful.

That size drawer holds my shampoo bottles and an 8 pack of soap bars nicely. It's not so great for little stuff. I wish I had some shallow drawers too, but time and price were ruling that decision, and it was pre-GW.

You should figure out where your cleaning products will go. Do you want a drawer deep enough? Would you be better off with doors under the sink, but with an interior adjustable shelf or interior drawer? Do you have room in the upper tower? Linen closet? Those are probably your tallest items, so figure that out first and base the rest on your measurements.

The vanity I have for the powder room is only 24 inches, so it is a door, but it HAD to have a shelf or drawer inside among other things, and this model has a shelf. It needs to store mostly cleaning products and extra TP, so that's fine.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:51PM
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I have measured what I need to store, the problem is that there are a lot of different heights. I have lots of little things that would be best in shallow drawers (I need at least 2 shallow drawers), a lot of 5-8" tall bottles and tubes, and a smaller amount of 8-12" tall items. We do not store any cleaning products in the bathroom -- those go on an upper shelf in the hall closet, where our little ones cannot reach them.

If we go with doors under the sinks, they will have a pullout at the bottom, along with a shelf or another pullout part way up the cabinet.

Bathroom Storage by Seattle Closet & Home Storage Designers ShelfGenie of Seattle

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:08PM
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If you are planning pull outs and don't need very tall storage, I'd go with drawers.

1) one motion to access contents vs open door then pull out, plus pull outs can ding doors over time if not pushed all the way in before closing the door

2) more storage space vs pull outs usually

I am certainly no expert, but what about two drawers under each sink, top one around the sink would be deep, but make the door -look- like one shallow and one drawer matching the bottom one. Top one for tall items, bottom for 8-10 in items. Middle stack would then be easy, 3 equal shallow drawers and one drawer matching the other bottom drawers.

Does that work?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Like this?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Yes, that could work. It would be functionally the same as the design I posted at 17:42, but with a groove routed into the top drawer under the sink to make it look like 2 drawers instead of one.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:00PM
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I also like floating cabinets and loved mine in my MA BA. It looked nice and made clean up easy with a swiffer. This was floated 12" off the ground.

Hard to see here but I had opening cabinets and sliding drawers like a pantry inside my cabs where I stored taller things. The drawers in the middle held toothbrushes, makeup, etc.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:44PM
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You can add removable dividers in your 29" drawers if you want that . I have that in my big Pots and pans drawers in the kitchen and I told my cabinet builder to do it in my vanity 34" drawers under the sinks . You can look at Sofla's bathroom pictures too . She has the floating cabinets with two drawers under the sinks , but she has non removable dividers .
Here is the link to her photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://s1019.photobucket.com/user/jdosdos/media/Master%20Bath%20remodel/DSC_0547.jpg.html?sort=2&o=17

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Firsthouse, your cabinets look beautiful.

Lillo, I am going to talk with the cabinet guy about removable dividers. Sofla's pictures were very helpful.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:24PM
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If you haven't finalized your tower design, I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of mine . They are 42" tall, including crown, and divided into two cabinets. They are 12" wide and 10" deep and have outlets in the bottom.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:01PM
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I am watching this one - BR are next and i want to have a place to store things with charging spots.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 9:16PM
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kaysd I would love to know what you decided and if you have any pics of the final product. We are also contemplating a modern floating vanity, and like yours it's a modest width (62") We are having the countertop in a waterfall design coming down both sides. No couter tower, which we would have loved but could look too busy in our bath. It also looks like you are doing double sinks and we are too and I'm having trouble with light placement. One side of the vanity is flush to the wall and the other side is exposed, so I'm having trouble finding the space for two light fixtures. We could always build out a soffit though for overhead lighting but I thought wall lighting provided the "best" light.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:20AM
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