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The old-fashioned write up for this Retro Design Dilemma also is featured, below.
Reader Kathy has a serious retro design dilemma. Her narrow retro bathroom was originally fitted with a too large vanity — making the room feel cramped. Kathy was living with the vanity as best she could until a pipe broke in the wall and it had to be removed. She took this opportunity to find a more narrow vanity which will help make the room feel bigger, but she has a problem — there is a gaping hole in the tile where the vanity used to be. What can Kathy do to fill the tileless void? Read on for our solutions.
Hello!! I am asking for some help on my 60’s bathroom remodel! We needed to change the vanity in the bathroom because it is a VERY small bathroom that had a huge vanity in it. Well, we ended up having to fast forward the remodel because a pipe was cracked and the vanity needed to be removed. We found that there was nothing ever done behind the vanity…just a gaping hole! Not really what we were expecting for sure! We cracked some tiles removing the old vanity and broke the soap dish! We are not sure what to do…I had to order a special mortar for the floors since we are tiling over bare terrazzo (that is not in good shape) and it will take 3 weeks to come in! So, we have time to get ideas of what to do!!! I really don’t want to knock all the tile down since it wraps around the entire bathroom!
The sink base in the picture is the new one I bought from IKEA…our intention was to eventually redo the bathroom and use smaller stuff because it is really small…its 4 feet wide……my husband could barely turn around with the old vanity in there! The vanity had a big cabinet that came up from the floor angling outward with a marble top that stuck out… We have another bathroom that butts up against this one….its wider and uses the same size vanity….like they got a bulk deal!! Thanks for taking the time to look at our mess!The measurements are: Floor to tile 30.5 inches. Door jam to tile wall 21 inches. Length of dry wall hole 61 inches. Total length of bath room to tub 89 inches.
Any ideas would be really awesome and helpful! Thanks so much!
Instead of suggesting that Kathy try to match the grey tiles and patch the wall up (which can be very difficult to do), Pam and I brainstormed to try and think of a way to fill the void left by the missing too-large vanity with a narrow solution that is also big on storage space.
The first solution — the most retro styled of the three — involves having some cabinetry specially made to fit the space. A small and narrow vanity would be positioned next to the toilet — providing enough counter space to drop in a retro appropriate bathroom sink, such as the Kohler Tahoe sink with metal trim that Pam says is the go-to sink for retro bathroom renovations. To fill the rest of the wall space, narrow shelves (only about 8 inches deep) could be constructed. This would maximize the available floor space, retain some storage lost by the vanity and fill the entire area that is missing tile. Pam suggests getting louvered doors — like this set on Etsy — to cover the shelving. Louvered doors are a great door style choice for a retro bathroom. To top off the design, using a Cararra laminate countertop — with curved corners — would blend well with the grey tiles and allow for more counter space than only a small vanity top would provide.
The second solution is similar to the first — using the same Cararra laminate countertop — but this version mixes more modern into the bathroom. Using a floating vanity — like the GODMORGON bath vanity cabinet from Ikea — provides storage and also makes the bathroom look streamlined. Care would have to be used to choose the right sink with plumbing that would only take up the space of the top drawer, leaving the bottom one for storage. To fill the rest of the under counter area — building a sliding door cabinet to span the rest of the width of the missing tile would allow for more storage and continue the streamlined look. The area under the floating cabinets would then be tiled with the closest match of grey tile Kathy is able to locate. The separation caused by the countertop will help hide the possibility that the tiles will not be an exact match.
The final solution works with what Kathy has already purchased — The FULLEN bath vanity from Ikea. By purchasing a few other key pieces also from Ikea, Kathy could add more storage, fill the rest of the void and create a finished look. Using a LILLÅNGEN wall cabinet from Ikea — installed with the door handle at the top corner instead of the bottom — adds more storage with minimal effort. To help fill the rest of the space, Kathy could put in additional open shelving by installing two LILLÅNGEN end units on either side of the cabinets — providing extra spaces to stash toilet paper and other necessities. This set up would also be topped with the Cararra laminate countertop — this time in a slightly different configuration to accommodate the new set up. The remaining wall space around the cabinets could then be painted the same shade of grey as the tile.
Hopefully one of these solutions will prove to be a winner in Kathy’s book — allowing her to save the fabulous retro grey tiles in the rest of the bathroom.