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Design

How We Customized Our Farmhouse Primary Bathroom Vanity

Today y’all are going to see how we customized the vanity in our bathroom to create a pretty unique piece that I’m honestly IN LOVE with. It was kinda piecemealed, likely not the most efficient or economical but the result is awesome (and always fun to show you the process).

render of the vanity with a basic leg added

We knew we didn’t want floating, and there aren’t that many really long vanities on the market. So as we were working with our cabinet company, Unique Kitchen & Baths, we designed the custom vanity with them, knowing that we also really wanted to work with a local maker on the custom legs. I could have just had the entire piece made by a local maker but at the time I was pretty overwhelmed and Unique Kitchen & Baths is so easy to work with. We also hadn’t even started looking for this person and we needed to get the cabinet order in STAT, so we figured we’d lock the cabinet/body part down (8 months ago), then as we got closer we’d figure out the base. Unique Kitchen & Baths was giving us a press discount so I figured I’d just take it and figure the rest out later.

The Inspiration

I knew that I wanted the body of the piece to be pretty simple, with the legs designed with pretty joinery. I found the first image from the internet (sorry! I’m not sure who to credit!) and the image on the bottom is our current dining table’s legs. As you can see it’s constructed, or joined, to look like the wood itself is keeping it all together. I’m VERY into this look, obviously, and was willing to pay a maker to do our version of it.

So 6 weeks ago, I found my person, Nate from Dinihanian Design Build, a local maker here in Portland that was recommended by my friend Max Humphrey. With the inspiration image in hand, as well as these schematics, the ideation began. Then after we triple-checked the measurements he took it from there. Here’s the information we could give him:

drawing by unique kitchen & baths

He came back with a couple of options – both great (and hard to tell apart).

Option #1 has the base flush with the side of the vanity.

Option #2 has the base inset a bit. Honestly, both looked good to me but Brian liked the first one more and right now I’m pro anyone else making a firm decision right now (I’m passed my decision curfew). Besides, there were some more details that needed to be ironed out…

The Shape Of The Dowel…

The inspiration joinery image included a round dowel, but we decided that having a more elongated piece would work more with the design. Nate agreed and tweaked it.

For all those who love to nerd out over the woodworking process…this is for you. It’s pretty incredible to see the craftsmanship.

Nate was awesome to rush it (for a fee, which is normal) and 2 weeks later we had it on-site, ready to be installed.

So pretty, right? It’s so simple and perfect. Unique but nothing too crazy. Super high quality, well made, in the exact wood species (white oak), and the same sealant (clear matte). Nate charged $2100 which included a $300 rush fee and a $325 clear finish (which he subbed out). The vanity itself was probably around $3500 even with our discount so yes, it added up. I am glad to say that both companies, Unique Kitchen & Baths and Dinihanian Design Build, do very good, high-quality work and are small businesses that are growing. I feel good about giving them my business. And unless you DIY things yourself, any custom woodwork will cost you a lot more than readymade, as the overhead to be able to build (equipment, shop space, etc) is a lot.

SO GOOD. Now obviously we are missing the draw fronts and no, those sinks won’t be sitting at the bottom – they were just resting in there.

That white oak is SO PRETTY. Unique Kitchen & Baths did such an amazing job on the body of the vanity and those legs took it really next level.

Ready for some more sneak peeks?? Below is where it’s now FINALLY living (in the actual bathroom)…we finished tiling since I took this photo but I don’t want to show you the ENTIRE bathroom, just a little update…

OKAY, here’s an even more exciting sneak peek:) I can’t stop staring at the tile/grout/vanity mix.

Right now, I think I can safely say that this bathroom is my favorite room in the house (but that’s because it’s the closest to being done). There have been a few hiccups, which of course I’ll tell you about, but the vanity is not one of them. Despite using two makers to pull it off, the end result is exactly what we wanted.

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Vera
5 months ago

“Wow…” I actually said that aloud at the first vanity peak AND the first tile peak. (And I am not usually happy about expensive custom things because I’m a Scrooge – but WOW this cold cheap heart has been melted.)
This vanity is SIMPLE AND SPECIAL at its finest, and the blue tile is perfect with it. I predict this bathroom will be one I come back to many times over the years.

Jessica
5 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Couldn’t agree more!

Lavinia
5 months ago

Creative and stunning. Bravo.

Jenny
5 months ago

Wow, that is a beautiful work of art! Absolutely perfect!!

Kristin
5 months ago

So beautiful with that tile. Really gorgeous!

Annie
5 months ago

Just gorgeous.
I would love it if you could do a budget post; how are you figuring out what’s worth a splurge/how much money did you build into the budget for gorgeous handmade pieces like this and the kitchen stools? I realize that your numbers are probably not most people’s numbers, but even a sense of percentages (x% for the kitchen, x% for labor, or whatever) would be fascinating.

Shannon
5 months ago
Reply to  Annie

My guess is that her budget has been kind of fluid, which is probably true of many wealthy people when undertaking a project like this. But agree a budget post would be so interesting!

KCAD
5 months ago

Beautiful respect for the wood… the alignment of the graining is perfection. It is only disappointing that the sides will not be seen as well.

SARAH
5 months ago

The base finish is a perfect match! Wow what a great idea. And even more rare, the execution is spot on. Thank you for sharing the process!

Elaine
5 months ago

Gosh that’s stunning! Some of your purchases I definitely raise an eyebrow to ($300 broken pop-stick lamp, I’m looking at you!) but this bathroom vanity is a thing of pure beauty, it just oozes craftsmanship. Worth every penny. I think Brian’s decision to go with a flush base was spot on too.

Reply to  Elaine

yes, about the flush base. i like that better. the inset looks more mcm to me. which is fine if you’re going for that feel, but i don’t think they are.

Lane
5 months ago

The vanity is gorgeous. It couldn’t be any better.

Lane
5 months ago
Reply to  Lane

Also well worth the money. My 30″ Kohler vanity was around 1250 6 years ago. So a 90″ at your price seems comparable. I do realize that my vanity is probably 2-3 x as expensive as most, but it’s way more packable with drawers and shelves than anything else I’ve seen then. I couldn’t fit anything else in my bathroom and we don’t regret the choice we made

Cris S.
5 months ago
Reply to  Lane

That sounds about what we would have paid. We did a long (90ish inches) custom double sink vanity in our primary bathroom about 3 1/2 years ago for about $2400 (total but without the cost of the marble countertop and back splash or fixtures – Emily’s figure is just for the base). I couldn’t find anything really any cheaper already made and nothing else would have worked well/easily with the way the area was already plumbed. I like that it looks symmetrical on the outside even though some of the inside is different (again, given the plumbing).

Stacy
5 months ago

WOW that is a good vanity! I didn’t *see it* from the renderings, but the execution is perfect.

And thanks as always for sharing actual cost! I had major sticker shock when I got quotes for my kitchen cabinets. I had no idea how expensive regular, well made cabinets would be. Thinking about a custom vanity next and it’s so helpful to see the ballpark figure.

KD
5 months ago

GAH! That is STUNNING! Bravo to all!

Michelle
5 months ago

Beautiful! Nate is very talented.

Heidi
5 months ago

Be still my heart….this is shaping up to be maybe my favorite internet bathroom ever. You’re nailing it in terms of the gorgeous/quality/understated/approachable/unique mix. I don’t see how you’d ever get sick of these finishes.

🥰 Rusty
5 months ago

I’m glad you went with the base right to the edge. Good choice Brian!🤛
Beautiful, beautiful craftsmanship! Like, seriously good!
And, yes, I like to nerd out on woodwork. In fact, I think I have a ‘thing’ for woodworkers! 🤣
She’s a gorgeous cabinet … and woth those tiles?!?
OoMmGg!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Reply to  🥰 Rusty

i think woodworkers would be a good group to have “a thing” for! i would love to get all kinds of discounted woodworking 😉

🥰 Rusty
5 months ago

🤣🤣

Ingrid
5 months ago

Married to a woodworker/furniture maker here. Yes, very convenient for the wife (and the landlady) indeed! But, sadly, even in Silicon Valley there are too few clients willing to invest in one-of-a-kind furniture like this, so even the occasional $$$$ sale (still coming out to $30/hour or so given the skill and effort required!) barely pays the bills. Hence, the wife needs to be ready to be the breadwinner 😅

5 months ago
Reply to  Ingrid

Hi Ingrid, I’m a designer and always looking for quality custom woodworkers- what is your husband’s company? This vanity has me completely inspired!

Cece
5 months ago

This is so, so pretty, it makes my heart happy to see those thoughtful, but not fancy, details.

Gabrielle
5 months ago

So FREAKING Gorgeous! I love the back end story, it all makes sense now, even thou working with 2 different craftsman…..success…..so good to get these “wins” amongst everything else, I hope it re energizes you…..you have so got this.
So grateful we get to see this detailed commentary on the back part.
It also helps us remember, yes way more steps to custom/personalized.. looks like you nailed it getting people on board who also care about the vision. Well done! Thanks!
PS can’t wait to see the stone/counter you choose.

Roberta Davis
5 months ago

Gorgeous! I love white oak, and I love the entire vanity! Simple but interesting.

Tara Lynch
5 months ago

This is the story of how Emily’s design aesthetic came to life in the most beautiful piece of furniture. Can bathroom vanities become heirlooms? 😉

Cris S.
5 months ago

Love the vanity. Super disappointed with your lack of response (yes, saw the very brief paragraph a week ago) to the Supreme Court ruling. I would recommend this as a guidepost instead: https://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2022/06/a-reckoning.html

Sheila
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Please don’t shame anyone who needs time to recover, to manage their rage and sorrow, to put themselves back together before they feel ready to gather their thoughts into something coherent and complete. This one cuts deep. I admire those who were ready to share eloquent writings right away. I wasn’t up to reading them for days and I won’t fault anyone who still needs more time.

Kristin
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Please stop forcing your timeline onto others. We all react and process differently. Emily is not required to respond immediately just because you want or need validation of your own emotions. I am still processing. So are many others. Stop. The. Shaming.

Sr. Crow
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Thank you for sharing this blog posting – I needed to read that, to feel in solidarity with others who are as enraged as I am within the context of a design community. Unfortunately, it is not this blog right now. However, I do agree we cannot force an agenda on anyone. I will just frequent other places, as I cannot stomach reading anything trivial right now.

liz
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

I neither need nor want a design site to comment on issues. I far prefer a design site to stick to design.

Jenni
5 months ago
Reply to  liz

I agree. I read and follow design sites as an escape. Whether I agree or disagree, I don’t care to read opinions/dialogs on social and political issues from my favorite designers.

Ash
5 months ago
Reply to  Jenni

Agreed. Design sites are somewhere I visit to escape heavy politics.

Nora
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Thank you for sharing that blog post. It’s a great one.

Shannon
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Haven’t followed the link yet but to me all this shaming of how Emily and others have (or have not) responded, only comes across as thinly veiled virtue signaling. Enough.

5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

I’d like to add to the other responses to this comment – Emily isn’t required to have a public opinion on everything that happens in politics. In fact, no designer, artist, content-creator, etc. is. Give people a break and let them have their opinions/feelings when and if they want to.

emily jane
5 months ago

Gorgeous…

holy you know what! this is just stunning. i love that joinery. and i love that vanity with that floor tile. omg. that tile. i’m dead now.

lauren
5 months ago

I WANT!!!!!! Love, love, love!

Tami
5 months ago

I USED TO WORK WITH NATE!!! He’s cool, I didn’t know he started his own business. Such skill! It looks gorge.

Andrea
5 months ago

with apologies for nitpicking, but come the heck on:
it’s PEEK. You PEEK around a corner.

PEAK is the top of a mountain.

grumble grumble grumble

Tarynkay
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea

Pique is also yet another homophone as in “this piqued my interest.”
Example: “The sneak peek of the designer’s cabin perched on the mountain peak definitely piqued my curiosity.”
Perhaps this is all new to you, or perhaps you already knew. Sorry for that. I just really love homophones.

5 months ago

this is, without question, my favorite design detail you’ve shown us so far! SO GREAT!!!

Heather
5 months ago

Emily that base for the vanity is stunning, unique, perfectly fitting for your decor and, yeah, I love it. Great detail and you will notice all the time because you’ll be looking down at that gorg tile.

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