“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall!”

- Thursday, January 03, 2013

“I think I have bathroom envy!” Brandi Glanville declared as she toured Lisa Vanderpump’s glamorous new master suite on the season premiere of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. For those of you familiar with the show (come on, you can admit you watch it, I do), you know Lisa is the queen bee of the program and has a penchant for remodeling and decorating houses. Although her new "villa" is “downsized” to a mere 10,000 square feet from her former rambling Beverly Hills chateau, it is nothing short of Vanderfabulous as cast-mate Camille Grammer often refers to her.

The vanity cabinet in her humongous bathroom boasts padded, upholstered door and drawer fronts (pale pink, of course, her signature color) framed by mirrored strips and set-off with crystal knobs. The giant beveled mirror above the generously expansive white marble countertop is punctuated by three crystal be-jeweled sconces just dripping with glamour. Lisa has often boasted about the fact that she does her own hair and make-up and with an over-the-top setting like this in which to do it, who wouldn't? It is a vanity fit for royalty, and well, like I said before, she is the queen of the show.

Granted, while most of us do not have such sprawling bathrooms in our own homes, we can pick up a few design ideas from these fantasy rooms. Master bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms in a house in which to splurge and indulge. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling, have a little fun with this space. The vanity cabinet is perhaps the most important and central element of master bathroom design.

If there are two of you sharing the bath, and space allows, consider providing two separate vanities. These can be placed side-by-side, or even on opposite sides of the room, say flanking a free-standing tub or a shower stall. This set-up will provide the convenience and ease of use when busy schedules require two people getting ready at the same time. Keeping the peace during the morning grooming ritual is a good thing.

Who says a vanity has to be in the shape of the standard, heavy looking, rectangular block of cabinetry of which we have come to expect? Why not make it look like a piece of furniture, with legs or feet for an elevated and lighter look? Let it stand on its own. If your tastes lean toward a more contemporary vibe, a cantilevered or "floating" vanity can be stunning and sleek. Instead of solid doors, choose frosted or ribbed glass inserts to lighten things up. In the same vein, an insert of glasscloth wallcovering or, as Lisa did, padded upholstery, will add an unexpected and luxurious element.

As with kitchen cabinets, there are myriad organizational components available for the drawers to help keep all your personal grooming items neat and tidy. Dividers for cosmetics, medicines, and the like help make the task of getting ready easier. Recently I have been providing electrical outlets in vanity drawers for clients so that hair-dryers can be stored conveniently and at-the-ready. Also, built-in pull-out clothes-hampers are becoming more popular.

Style-wise, I am seeing a trend for a more clean-lined aesthetic, with lighter colors for finishes. White still predominates, but grays, sage greens, and khakis are showing up as well as lighter stains on wood. The general look my be more simple but unique design details still prevail such as chamfered corners and unusual hardware for drawer pulls and door knobs.

 So, remember, whether you are the queen of your castle or just a humble "worker bee" like me, with a little planning you too can reign supreme in your master bath.

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