Tips

Vintage Glam on a Budget

Get the look of this contemporary Victorian-style bathroom! Plus - build your own marble vanity shelf in 3 easy steps for under $45!

by Jennifer Gibeau and Lindsay Mens Craig,

Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom

Old School Charm

When it comes to renovating on a budget, sometimes the best place to start is to identify an existing feature in your space that you love and work with it! We all have a long wish list of upgrades, but zeroing in on features that you like or can live with, will put your renovation into perspective and help save some money along the way. The design inspiration for my bathroom came from the existing claw foot tub with brass shower system and curtain rails that are original to the house circa 1914. Although a bathroom update was imminent, I chose to embrace the original charm and character of the vintage brass hardware and made that my design focus. By bringing attention to your favourite features, you set a clearer picture in your mind about what needs to go, stay or be improved. And a clear mind will lead to smart decisions and with a little luck, money well spent!

Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom

Gilded Glamour

Vintage glamour is all about polish and sophistication. To achieve this look, it’s best to embrace an overall muted colour scheme in order to bring out the polish and let the gilded accents shine! In this space, I painted the beadboard and moldings white and the walls an ultra pale blue to complement the brass accents. To play up the glamour, I added touches of gold and brass throughout the space by way of decorative accessories. The mirror, vintage candle sconces from Green's Antiques, vase and apothecary tray all help pull the look together and achieve that unmistakable glam look, but the real showstoppers are the gold faucet, towel bar and tissue paper holder (not pictured) from The Rubinet Faucet Company. I finished the look with a few monochromatic patterns by installing a custom roman blind created from a traditional floral fabric in a more current black and white colourway and hung a shower curtain that features a striking black awning stripe in a luxe linen fabric. When you know what needs to stand out, you can invest wisely in those pieces and save on other items you know you’ll be able to find easily at a discounted price – like most things white! The white pedestal and toilet are budget friendly purchases from Lowe’s.

 

Brilliant Beadboard

Beadboard or “tongue-and-groove” paneling is a durable, water resistant surface that just makes sense installed in bathrooms – especially busy bathrooms! It’s definitely practical, but it also provides texture and visual interest. In this space, the beadboard and lower chair rail are original, but I gave it a fresh coat of white paint and kicked it up a notch and created a more dynamic look by adding a panel of mosaic tiles from Saltillo with a top chair rail for a truly custom look and feel. This traditional beadboard went from basic to beautiful and adds a new dimension of sophistication to the overall look.

Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom
Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom

The Frame Game

Perhaps the most unconventional decorative element in my bathroom is the framed Eiffel Tower print that hangs on the wall above the claw foot tub. I chose this picture in keeping with the monochromatic theme but I dared to dress up an empty wall next to the tub and hung it in a typically ‘wet’ area. Granted, this bathroom is not a high-traffic area for my family, we frequent a second bathroom for showering, so moisture damage is not much of a concern in this space. If you have or are considering installing a claw foot tub – I encourage you to make full use of the wall space around the tub. It’s yet another opportunity to infuse glamour into your décor.

 

The Straight and Narrow

When expanding your bathroom is simply not within your realm of possibility, you have to make the best of being short on space. This means your storage and shelving solutions need to be slim and strategic. Most of us could use a good bathroom purge to ensure we’re only using what we need on a daily basis. I needed an open shelf by the sink with easy access to my everyday toiletries, but I had trouble finding a narrow shelf that was high on style. I originally thought to get a piece cut from a remnant marble counter top, but it dawned on me that marble thresholds are the ideal ‘shelf size’ for a narrow bathroom, they come ready-made and are widely available at any local hardware and building supplies store. So I decided to make it myself! This vanity shelf is super easy to build and cost under $45 to make! Keep reading for the 3-step how-to.

Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom
Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom
Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom
Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom

 

DIY Marble Vanity Shelf

 

Step 1:

Head to your local hardware and buildings supplies store and locate their in-stock, ready-to-go marble threshold tiles used for flooring and walls. Prefabricated treshold tiles are typically  4"-6" in width, approximately 3/4" thick and about 36" in length. These dimmensions are ideal for a decorative shelf that sits below a statement mirror, framed print or art canvas - especially in narrow bathrooms where space is limited. 

Buy: Home Depot Threshold Marble Tiles

Step 2:

Purchase a set of adjustable metal brackets used for floating shelves. The adjustable brackets will ensure a snug fit with a shelf 1/4" to 3/4" thick, and are available in a set of 2 with all necessary mounting hardware included for an easy-breezy install.

Buy: Home Depot Cuadro Adjustable Shelf Support

Step 3:

Mount the shelf with the hardware provided and accessorize your new marble vanity shelf with vintage apothecary finds such as jars for cotton swabs and pads, a narrow tray for quick-grab beauty essentials and a vase for fresh flowers. Now that's what I call shelf appeal!

 

Lindsay Mens Craig Bathroom

GET THE LOOK

Get The Look

(1) Mirror, LuxeDecor, $372, (2) Brackets, Home Depot, $9, (3) Marble Threshold, Home Depot, $5 - $34, (4) Gold Vase, Burke Decor, $233, (5) 3pc. Jars, One Kings Lane, $39, (6) Tray, Layla Grayce, $98, (7) Towel Bar, The Rubinet Faucet Company, (8) Faucet Set, The Rubinet Faucet Company, (9) Kohler Devonshire Bathroom Collection (Pedestal, Sink, Toilet), Lowe's, (10) Hand Towel, Donna Karan, $15, (11) Stripe Fabric (custom shower curtain), Diane Von Furstenberg, Kravet, (12) Floral Fabric (custom roman blinds), Kravet, (13) Beadboard, Home Depot, $25, (14) Chair Rail, Home Depot, $21, (15) Marble Mosaic Tile, Saltillo.

Photography by Tiffany Piotrowski