Transitional bathroom vanities are a sort of bridge between traditional and contemporary bathroom design. As our culture becomes less formal, antique inspired furniture has begun to feel overly opulent, but we haven’t quite lost our love of old fashioned elegance. Compromising between the two usually means simplifying and streamlining antique designs, but lately a different option has started gaining popularity: restoring antique pieces rather than recreating or re-imagining traditional designs. These restoration bathroom vanities are rustic rather than refined, making their old world style better suited for a contemporary space.
Restoration bathroom vanities combine the tactile simplicity of turn of the century American designs with just a hint of humble French country elegance. Where most traditional bathroom vanities place an emphasis on elaborate carved wood detailing, restoration bathroom vanities showcase a simpler style, like shaker cabinets, Cape Cod inspired shuttered cabinets, or even a simple, open shelf design.
Shop Restoration Style Bathroom Vanities by James Martin Furniture:
In fact, in most cases there isn’t much woodwork to speak of at all for the simple reason that it’s the wood itself that’s the real star of these vanities. While antique bathroom vanities are polished to a high shine, restoration bathroom vanities use wood with a natural, weathered finish, distinctive grain, and prominent texture. The result is a vanity that feels much more natural and inviting. Because the wood intentionally shows a little wear and tear, it lacks the pristine, sometimes off-putting perfection of a more conventional antique design.
Shop Restoration Bath Vanities by Sagehill Designs:
Unlike a lot of restoration furniture, restoration bathroom vanities are rarely actually reclaimed, rebuilt, or upcycled from actual antique parts or pieces. But this is really for the same reason you wouldn’t put any authentic antique in a bathroom: the heat and humidity would quickly wreak havoc on even the most carefully restored piece. So most vanities you’ll find in this style are made of kiln dried wood that’s intentionally weathered, then very thoroughly sealed, rather than actual reclaimed wood.
Shop Restoration Bath Vanities by Infurniture:
That said, restoration bathroom vanities can be quite heavily weathered, and are designed to have the same unique depth of character that you’d find in a genuinely reclaimed piece. This, too, is part of the charm of the style; while antique bathroom vanities are eye-catching for their ornate designs, the visual appeal of restoration bathroom vanities lies in the simple quirks and flaws of their finishes. Small chips and scuffs, knots, and other inconsistencies in the wood give these vanities a more down-to-earth, practical look and feel than you get from more traditional antique designs, which again makes them a bit better suited for a contemporary space.
Though the design of the vanities themselves are quite subtle compared to traditional vanities as a whole, the use of aged wood gives them a sense of weight and history that most contemporary and even transitional vanities lack. While most transitional vanities are polished, streamlined cabinets that merely nod toward their historical inspirations, restoration bathroom vanities genuinely feel weathered and old. At the same time, though, they certainly aren’t run-down or overly rugged; the simple, clean lines keep restoration bathroom vanities from feeling beat up, and instead make them feel natural and earthy, which meshes well with the trend toward spa inspired bathroom spaces.
Restoration bathroom vanities also often feature unique or unusual hardware. While the hardware isn’t conventionally antique in style, it tends to be similarly ornate and eye-catching, using aged reclaimed metal parts rather than traditional cabinet pulls to add a little flair to the design. While contemporary or even most transitional vanities err on the side of fairly minimalist hardware, the hardware used on restoration bathroom vanities is often the most ornate part of the design, and lends an antique air even to a relatively simple cabinet design.
What do you think of the trend toward reclaimed and restored furniture? Do you like the look of these restoration bathroom vanities? Let me know in the comments!