Remodeling Technique #1 - Use Antique or Custom Vanities.


This antique harbin table has been adapted as a double sink vanity.


This giant pipe doubles as an elegant towel rack.

The vast majority of bathrooms have standard built in cabinets. These are dull, tedious and not worthy of your inner creative genius, especially when there are plenty of delicious options out there.

Before you dash off to "Ye Olde Antiquites Emporium", keep in mind whatever piece you choose will have to accommodate a washing vessel. The curvy and seductive Bowl Sinks you see in bathrooms at all those trendy restaurants tend to be 16" - 18" in diameter. Bitty bowls on giant cabinets are very wrong, so govern yourself accordingly.

Height is the other important factor. These sexy sinks are often about 6" high, so unless Grandpa had overactive pituitary glands and your family has to duck under doorways, keep the vanity under 34" high. If you have chosen an under mount sink you can, just this once, ignore my above wisdom.

A faucet is the last necessity. It can be installed behind the sink and centered, placed toward the back off to either side, or....... wait for it........ spring delightfully from the wall above the sink! This last option will absolutely thrill all who are permitted to enter and will gain you valuable counter space. One drawback to this method is that the mirror will now have to be mounted higher to accommodate the taps. But hey, that might work for Grandpa.

Remodeling Technique #2 - Use Architectural Elements


Sliding Shoji Screens, a step, and a tatami textured wall all contribute to this powder room's elegance.

Now that you've gone to all that trouble, think carefully and cleverly how you can add other objets d'art to enhance your look or theme. Try replacing your conventional door with an antique door. Do not replace it with strings of colored glass beads. "That 70's Show" is just that. It's a show. You will not be cool. You will be ostracized. Panels with frosted glass or Shoji-style doors can be quite stylish and diffuse the outside light. This allows you to avoid harsh lighting and makes everyone look like they just stepped off the pages of Vogue.

Ceilings are often overlooked as a place to add architectural interest. Luckily you have me to remind you. With a high ceiling you can hang a beautiful antique light fixture or perhaps a flying wooden cherub that looks like it just popped out of a Reubens painting. Whatever you choose, just picture your friend walking out and saying, in his best "Lebowski" imitation, "That flying cherub really tied the room together, did it not?"

With a lower ceiling, you can add extra visual height by painting it a lighter shade than the walls, or using something glossy or shiny. We are not dealing with a completely practical, high traffic bathroom. That's the messy one upstairs. So let whimsy have free reign and do something outrageous for once.

Remodeling Technique #3 - The Latest Trends


An antique demilune is combined with modern wall and floor tile to great effect.

Nothing drops jaws and draws amused titters like the new and exciting. As in fashion, this often means the return of the old and familiar. Everyone and their Chocolate Lab had stainless steel or chrome faucets during the last decade.

The metals you should look for are ones that were popular yonks ago and have slyly snuck back into the design world. Bronze and hammered copper for example, are subtle and reflect light gorgeously. Gib Tip: Dark colors are the partners for these earthy metals. You're welcome. Sinks made of non-standard materials like smoked glass are also impressive and not crazy expensive.

Be even more eccentric and purchase a hand carved wooden bowl or artisan crafted ceramic sink in a unique organic shape. The kidney shaped swimming pool of old has been reincarnated as a sink!

Combining old and new; contemporary with aged, is what works best. If you have an antique vanity and wall panel, install an ultra-modern faucet and sink. If you have an antique faucet, sink and towel racks, combine them with a sleek vanity, mirror and wall decoration.

Your choice of bathroom tile should follow the same principles. Dark and shiny metallic tiles will make your bathroom a sumptuous feast for the eyes by bringing out the best of rich wood grain and bright ceramics. Natural wood and iron love each other to death.

I leave you with this last nugget. The privacy afforded when using the bathroom allows guests the opportunity for close examination. Make no mistake - you will be judged. So get out there and together let's put the "vain" back in vanity.

*** The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not endorsed by Greentea Design. There is however some darn useful information if you can get through the sauciness. Please send any comments or opinions to gib.dreffel@gmail.com and who knows - Mr. Dreffel might even deign to read them.

Gib Bathroom Design
Greentea Design - Japanese Furniture, Asian Furniture, and Asian-inspired Kitchen Cabinets.
1 888 222 0195
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