Creating from scratch

As part of our post-catch up, I found this draft of a post about the custom cabinet in our master bathroom remodel. I’m embarrassed to say that has lived in draft land for two years now. I’m publishing it now in a post of few words. Because the pictures are awesome.


One of the most rewarding parts of the bathroom remodeling experiences has been a chance to have something special custom made. Seeing our own design realized by a craftsman is a the antidote to our typical mass-market Ikea experience of buy-assemble-repeat.

Above is the workshop of cabinet maker Juan Espinoza. On the bench there is the floating vanity that will be a central feature of our new bathroom. I don’t remember how Kane found this shop, but I do remember him telling me that while walking through it for the first time he saw some table tops being crafted for a local restaurant and basically said, “I want that wood!” It was ash or maple or something.

Then he came back a week or so later with the design drawings for the vanity and totally changed his mind upon encountering a particular piece of walnut in the shop.

With it’s rich color and striking horizontal grain, this material was was so awesome that we had to use it everywhere. For example, we used it to create these simple floating accent shelves to be hung above the finished vanity.

Of course a satin finish helps bring out that beautiful grain and color (unfinished on left, finished on right).

Here is the cabinet installed in pride place, before receiving the sinks, faucets, counter, and hardware. Can you begin to imagine the completed bathroom?

The center drawers open smoothly and closet the last few inches on their own — a  nice touch.

This vanity really brings the bathroom together. It adds warmth, grounding, and a touch of modern luxury.

Remember those shelves? Here they are on the wall between the medicine cabinets.

One more thing. Did you spot the empty tub frame two photos up? We loved this wood so much, we had Juan make us a matching side accent panel for tub.

This cabinet was a splurge, but it transforms this remodel into something other than a bare bones update of a dark and barely functional space. Bonus is we don’t risk running into it’s twin at the next Ikea bathroom we encounter. It’s truly our own design.

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