Bathroom transformation: Custom Made Vanity

Last week I took you through a before and after transformation of a master bathroom – a plain, one-dimensional bathroom was transformed into a luxurious modern and chic washroom. What I love about designing bathrooms is that all bathrooms are more or less the same…or at least expected to feature the same things: toilet, sink/vanity, shower/bath, and mirror. Because of this, creating a bathroom that really stands out is no easy feat. Every decision is important, no detail missed, with each element deserving careful intention. Today, I’ll be showing you how much thought goes into each element by taking you through how we custom-made the vanity that featured in the final design.

The Original Vanity

The original vanity in the space was boring. There was nothing special about it – and to me, that is the worst place that a design can fall. I would always rather make bold choices and take risks than play it safe and run the risk of being boring. It was clear that the original vanity was designed to be functional, and that’s exactly what it was. With it’s two sinks, plain cupboards and drawers, and plain white counter, it simply got the job done and nothing more. Other than the silver hardware, it was all the same tone and dimension. It was the perfect example of how, without the detail and creativity that a bathroom craves, it will quickly fade into the background and become a space that serves a specific purpose, rather than a space that creates a feeling and atmosphere as well as serving a specific purpose.

Designing the New Vanity

I always opt for custom-made cabinetry and storage spaces where I can. I feel that it gives me more creative freedom and that’s exactly what I needed when designing this bathroom. I wanted to think outside the box for each detail. Because the overall vibe of the finished bathroom was going to be chic and clean, I didn’t want to use any extravagant colors or patterns. I wanted to keep it classic and timeless, while still having that “oomph.” I knew the perfect way to achieve this was through the woodwork. Woodwork is one of my favorite ways to have texture to a design – you quite literally create ridges and dimensions that the eye finds interesting. 

The whole bathroom design features a lot of geometric shapes and patterns, as seen in the floor tiles. I wanted to incorporate that motif into this vanity, so I decided to have these beautiful diamond shapes designed onto the cabinet doors below the sinks. Placing the diamond shapes below the round sink created lovely contrast, while still matching the floor. For an extra unique detail, we built three sets of drawers with one set of drawers unconventionally running in between the two cabinets. This felt really interesting to look at and is extremely practical. For a clean bathroom look, you need to have a lot of storage, and I find drawers a fantastic option for bathrooms. Additionally, if there are two people using this bathroom, each will have their own set of drawers, with the set in the middle a perfect place to store shared items like toothpaste and extra towels. 

With the framework and basic layout down, we were able to move on to all the finishing details to tie the vanity together.

The Finishing Details

As stated previously, we didn’t want any bold patterns or colors on the vanity, largely because we loved the floor tiles and wanted those to stand out. Because of this, we decided to keep the color scheme neutral, choosing shades and tones that would help those tiles stand out. The base of the vanity was painted with Benjamin Moore’s China White. Of course, we had to use marble for the countertop, so we chose one from Marble Systems Fairfax. We went with a marble that had nice veining but used a light gray against white. This provided something interesting for the eye to dance on, without being too distracting. The grey and white tones really complimented the rest of the color scheme in the bathroom.

Paired with two beautiful silver mirrors from Restoration Hardware, all fittings were done in polished chrome from Rohl. The shiny silver and chrome really helped provide that luxe effect, while still complimenting the color palette we chose. Our vanity lights were also from Restoration hardware, but we custom-made the lampshades in a gorgeous gray silk from Fabricut.

The result

I love the way that the final vanity turned out. I think it is so chic and clean, while still being super interesting. The woodwork really brings it together for me and goes to show that details don’t have to be extravagant or massive in order to have an effect. It was relatively simple changes made from the first vanity to the new vanity, but one blends into the background and provides nothing more than a place to wash up and the other brings its own finesse. Guess which one I prefer!

If you are looking to renovate your bathroom or have cabinetry in need of transformation, let us help you! Among interior designers in Northern Virginia, we are unique because virtually all of our cabinets, upholstery, and window treatments are completely custom-designed. We have ongoing relationships with a range of licensed contractors and skilled craftsmen who work under our supervision on all our projects. Head to our services page to discover how we could collaborate!

Fabulous Find Underneath Wall to Wall Carpeting

Today we are back in Great Falls, Virginia, working with a client to remodel their living room. When I saw the space, I instantly felt that the wall-to-wall carpeting was outdated and needed to go. Wall-to-Wall carpeting can sometimes work, but in most cases, it makes the room seem smaller. Not to mention that wall-to-wall carpeting traps a lot of dust, which is no good for anyone with allergies. The other issue with wall-to-wall carpeting is that it makes it more difficult to split the room up into sections, whereas using rugs allows the floor to be divided up. 

All this to say that the wall-to-wall carpeting needed to go. Keep reading to find out how this first step led to the transformation of this living room floor. 

Tearing Up The Carpeting

My lovely contractors and I got to work tearing up the old carpet. It had been installed in sections, so we began removing each carpet piece, the padding, and the tack strips. And guess what we found?! The most beautiful hardwood floors that I knew would look stunning with a bit of TLC. The wood was in great condition and just needed a little restoration and detail work. I was relieved to see this because when removing the carpet you don’t always know what you’re going to find underneath. Oftentimes, it reveals damaged or molding floorboards. We were all so delighted to find the beautiful woodwork.

Preparing the Design

As soon as my client and I saw the beautiful wood floor, we knew it was going to stay. But I knew some detail work would take this from a nice living room to a stunning living room. The living room is two steps down from a landing that features black marble. There are pillars around this landing that stand on black bases. When set up with furniture, the room had two beautiful black cabinets and a lovely modern black coffee table. I wanted to incorporate this black accent color into the floors for continuity in the design, so I planned on giving the floors a black-painted border. With all that in mind, we could begin the restoration process.

Restoring the Wood

We were happy with the color of the wood and didn’t want to stain it again, so the first step to the restoration process was buffing the floors to prepare them for a wood finish. Buffing is basically where you remove the very thin top layer of wood finish previously laid down, thereby also removing any built-up dust or grime. This process is similar to very fine sanding. My contractors used an industrial floor buffer for the main floor and hand-buffed the stairs. After that, we measured a 4-inch border around the edges of the room, taking our time and being very precise – it wouldn’t work unless it was neat. 

Once the wood was prepped, we laid down a water-based satin wood finish to give the wood that glossy sheen. A water-based satin finish is a great choice for a living space because it is scuff-resistant and easy to clean. The wood is looking really beautiful already!

Finishing Touches

After the wood was restored, the only job left was to paint the black border around the room. Using tape for precision, we took our time with this step ensuring that it was perfect. Once the wood finish and the paint were dry, the floor transformation was complete. We moved all the furniture back into the room, and what an incredible difference the floors have made! The surprise of the beautiful wooden floors below the original carpeting gave way to such a magnificent finished design. The wooden floors make the entire room feel so much warmer. I absolutely love how the black border turned out and more importantly, my client loved it too. All that is missing from this beautiful living room is a nice area rug for the sofas.

Interested in renovating?

If you have outdated wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s time to consider renovating. Changing the floors goes to show that sometimes you don’t need a million changes to transform a room. Oftentimes one key change can make the biggest difference. However, working on floors is always a laborious task because you often need to be on your hands and knees to complete the work. Let me and my team of highly skilled contractors and craftsmen help you! Visit our services page to book your free consultation today.

Installing a Beadboard Ceiling

Interior design is all about the dimensions and texture of a space. Often, it’s the finer details that make the biggest difference to a design. My job is to find where these details can be added to create those dimensions. I am currently working with a client in Reston, Virginia to remodel their living room. It is a beautiful space with loads of potential. One of the most striking aspects of the room is its shape: specifically the cathedral ceilings that reach 20 feet high. I wanted to highlight these beautiful high ceilings without distracting from the living room’s other key features, like the fireplace. 

With that in mind, my client and I agreed on installing a beadboard ceiling: the perfect way to add that extra dimension and texture!

What is beadboard?

Beadboard or beadboard paneling refers to lining up equal-sized planks of wood vertically or horizontally to cover a surface. It is frequently used on walls, covering the bottom half or even the full length. It adds that extra texture for the eye to land on, but it remains subtle. Depending on how you install and style beadboard paneling, it can be elegant, natural, rustic, classy, or all of the above.

We decided to install the paneling to run horizontally. This will help the room appear a bit wider than it actually is. Keep reading to find out how we installed the beadboard ceiling and how it ended up!


Like any design project, the first step was to prep the space and the materials. Because the ceilings are 20 feet high and the panels are so long, we knew that simple ladders would not be enough to install the beadboard. We opted for scaffolding instead. However, that meant that the very first step for our team was to completely remove all the furniture from the living room and into the garage to make space for the scaffolding. Once we cleared the room, we set up our scaffolding and got to work preparing the materials. 

As usual, my team and I measured and cut the boards on site. Thankfully, my client’s garage was large enough for us to prepare the panels. You can see in this photo that it took two people to cut these boards because they were so long! We also had to cut special beadboard panels to fit around the lights in the ceiling. This would’ve been difficult to do if we weren’t able to do it on site. 

The last step we took to prepare for the installation was removing the existing molding around the top of the brick fireplace. Once that was done, we were ready to begin installing the ceiling!

The installation

A project like this requires many hands-on board to ensure that it is done efficiently and more importantly, safely. We were essentially hanging up long heavy wooden planks from 20 feet high. Needless to say, safety was a priority. For this reason, I made sure that a few people on my team were there throughout the installation to help prop the boards up as they were secured into place.

For ease, we decided to use a nail gun to fix the beadboard panels. We started with the outside edge of the wall and moved inwards and upwards to the center. Once one side was done, we repeated the same process on the other side. This was a tedious and laborious task, but my team of contractors are amazing and were able to get the job done very efficiently!

Future plans

I absolutely love how the beadboard ceiling installation turned out. But the design is far from finished. The ceiling boards now need to be caulked and painted, but we won’t be able to do that until we tackle the rest of the room. We are planning to install two built-in bookcases on either side of the fireplace and redo the mantle. The blue tape in the image is where a TV will eventually go up. After that, some fresh coats of paint will bring the design together and my clients will be able to enjoy their new living room.

If you want to stay updated on how the rest of this renovation goes, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest! If you’re interested in renovating your home, visit our services page to book your free consultation today!

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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