"Which one is the fairest of them all?" It's a question I've been repeatedly asking myself for the last year. In planning for our master bathroom makeover I've long debated what kind of vanity mirror should reside in the space. 

If you've been reading along, you may remember that Alex and I discovered an old buffet in a second hand/antique shop in Del Ray, a neighborhood of Alexandria. This solid walnut piece, scored on clearance for a mere $400, will soon be transformed into a petite double vanity. 

While it looks pretty good now, once we're done painting it white (I know, I know), changing out the hardware, shortening it a bit, and installing a Carrara marble top, she's going to be a beauty. Sounds simple, right? But we'll save that project for another day, because today I'm mirror shopping.

In addition to our soon-to-be-vanity buffet, we've been stockpiling other master bathroom-related hardware and fixtures, including three of the Restoration Hardware Lugarno bathroom sconces. These great looking sconces were obtained during a manic purchase fit brought on by big discounts at RH's summer bath event...circa 2009.

With all of these great pieces, and our decision made on the wood vs tile wainscoting debate, my focus turned to the all important vanity mirror, or mirrors, as they may be. 

I thought long and hard regarding the primary options of one mirror vs. two, medicine cabinets vs. fixed, vintage vs. new. I weighed my options while I researched, pinned, googled, read, snooped, you name it. Nobody can say I didn't do my due diligence when it comes to the element I will rely on to offer me my reflection on a daily basis. 

From my research I can tell that I do truly love the look of two mirrors and three sconces, like this gorgeous bathroom.

Photo Credit: Kayron Brewer, CKD, CBD / Studio K B

And I'm also a fan of the more traditional vintage/cottage look of using a built in medicine cabinet.

Photo Credit: thebuilderdepot.com

But given the small-ish width of our eventual double vanity, I worry that two mirrors and three sconces would make the already petite piece feel even smaller. Again, I've had more than a year to mull this one over, and though it wasn't an easy decision, I ultimately feel that one larger mirror with one sconce on either side is the best choice for our space. 

My goal is to maximize the amount of reflective surface while also offering something very interesting, all while keeping the size small enough to ensure it doesn't overpower the vanity. With these factors in mind, what will be the perfect marriage of form and function? How can I introduce something a bit more sleek to balance out the number of salvaged or repurposed items? How can I ensure this mirror is a valuable addition to the room, not just an afterthought? After all, I want the room to feel like an appropriate space in an 1880s victorian while still offering all of the modern conveniences you'd find in a bathroom of today. 

I'd like to have the charm of an old buffet, the character of a salvaged claw foot tub, the original window sash with wavy glass, heavy period moldings, and other valuable details, like vintage inspired tile that make you know our home has been around the block, and stood the test of time. 

On the other hand, I'm a bit selfish when thinking about modern day comforts, and let's face it, resale value. (Even though they'll have to pry my cold dead hands off that claw foot tub in order to get me out of this house.) I want warm toasty floors underfoot, the sounds of Dave Matthews Band emanating from the wireless whole house audio, elegant lighting, and of course a little bit of glitz. 

I've been slowly amassing a collection of my dream bathrooms on Pinterest, and a common theme has emerged. Isn't it funny that perhaps you don't realize you have a "type," but Pinterest is sure shine a light on your obsessions, crushes, and objects of your fascination...whether it's fashion, food, or decor? In my case, I have it bad for white bathrooms, vintage claw foot tubs, mosaic Carrara tile, pedestal sinks, and chandeliers. And dessert. And cocktails. But those are different vices.

While perusing I stumbled on this pin and I instantly loved the look of the mirror seen in the bathroom below.

Photo Credit: Stephen Karlisch

In fact, that mirror looks nearly identical to the mirror we have hanging above or dining room fireplace. 

With my idea in mind I began searching high and low for a similar look in just the perfect size. For the last year I've trolled the aisles of Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls looking for a deal. I've greatly increased my chances at developing carpal tunnel thanks to all the online scouring I've done on Google, as well as on sites like West Elm, Crate and Barrel, and Z Gallerie. While there were several mirrors I found and liked along the way, either the size or the price wasn't just right. I was beginning to feel like the Goldilocks of vanity mirrors. 

After all of my searching, and having nearly given up hope, last week I finally stumbled upon it. After opening an email from Pottery Barn, I casually started tooling around, half paying attention to what I was seeing. As I perused their mirror selection, I started to think the email was a bust. I didn't see anything that even remotely resembled the size and shape I was looking for. I found two small square mirrors that were the look I was after, but not the size I required. Just as I was about to call it quits, something strange caught my eye about this photo.

Do you see it? Even though two small square mirrors are depicted in the photo, I noticed there was a pretty large range in price. Why would these small mirrors range from $126 to $237? I decided to investigate further and my extra mouse click paid off when I discovered the mirror was, in fact, still available in a larger size.

At this point I began to see stars align and hear angels signing. There it was. The twin to my dining room mirror...in several sizes...and wait for it. ON SALE!!! Thanks to an extra 10% off promo code, the once $279 mirror rang in at a mere $213.30 plus shipping and tax. 

I measured and remeasured the buffet. I calculated sconce clearance. And I knew it was the one. Excited, and with a bit of trepidation, I nervously keyed in my credit card numbers and clicked the small button graphic that became my portal to the world of bathroom dreams realized. 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this mirror will be the perfect fit both in look and size, and will be a wonderful complement to our one-of-a-kind vanity. I'm hopeful this mirror will add a bit more of a modern, sleek balance to the vintage and salvaged aesthetic in the room. And finally, I'm optimistic the angled mirror "frame" won't hinder my ability to look in the mirror as I brush my teeth over "my" sink. (Gosh it will feel so great to claim a sink as my own for the first time in this house!) Unfortunately only time will tell, as we work through the punch list on our project.

After only two business days from my time I clicked my portal button, I arrived home to find a ginormous box protruding from our vestibule. I could barely believe my eyes, but the mirror had arrived in record time. Weighing in at a whopping 55 pounds and wrapped in a box nearly as tall me, with all my might I tugged and pulled until my purchase was safely inside. Think I'm exaggerating about the size? 

Yep, that bad boy has been sitting in my living room for the past 48 hours, and rather than do my happy dance or even tear off the packaging to inspect it for damage, all I can think of is our lack of available storage space and mutter to myself, "Well shit, now we really need to get moving on the bathroom."

Comments 20


8/14/2013 at 11:09 AM
Ha! I know the feeling (re: now we really need to get moving on the bathroom) -- Good luck!
:-) Thanks, and good luck to you too, Enya!
8/14/2013 at 11:27 AM
As I was scrolling through the pictures, I instantly thought, I wonder if she looked at Pottery Barn. Obviously you did and the beveled glass mirror is beautiful! I too have been sitting on bathroom sconces purchased from Pottery Barn a mere 5 years ago... The good news is I still like them! :)
I'm so glad you still like your sconces too, Sara! That's the challenge I face as well -- do you buy it now when you find a deal, and run the risk that you can't use it/don't like it down the road? Luckily I still really like our RH purchases too, but am hoping the room will come together as we envision. :-)
8/14/2013 at 11:33 AM
I wish I had seen this last month. Totally guilty of buying the two square mirrors from Pottery Barn and have had buyers remorse ever since! They look beautiful above my entry way table but $327 ... Ouch :-(
Oh no! So sorry about the buyers remorse, Melissa. :-(
8/14/2013 at 11:42 AM
They are beautiful though...I just wish I had gotten the sale's price :-)
I hear you! If I had a dollar for every time I've uttered that statement...:-)
8/14/2013 at 12:52 PM
Ha, I can totally relate to the "buy it now on sale or wait" issue. I bought fabric in 2004 for curtains I planned to sew in an eventual kitchen renovation. Then in 2007, I bought the pattern and hardware (balloon valance). This year, I finally redid the kitchen ... but the fabric no longer fit with the decor. Ended up buying a $20 tablecloth off eBay to sew the balloon valance. That mirror rocks, by the way. Hubs would love to redo our master bath, and I love the idea of a dresser-->vanity, but our 1965 bathroom is tiny, so we're sticking with Mr. Formica Built-in at present.
That sounds like the curtain fabric I bought for our guest bath. Might I remind everyone that seven years later, we still haven't exposed the old window in the room? :-)
8/14/2013 at 1:51 PM
oh man! That is HUGE! beautiful though!
It's ginormous!! I still haven't opened it. I know I should inspect it but I'm worried I won't get it back in the box! ;-)
8/14/2013 at 11:06 PM
I have a crazy fetish for mirrors and that one is gorgeous!
Thanks, Jessica! I think so too. :-)
8/17/2013 at 12:07 PM
So looking forward to the bathroom reno, Alex and Wendy!

I have a local Alexandria question for you. Do you have a seamstress you can recommend? I need a slipcover made for an ottoman. I think I know which upholsterer you use (Mount Vernon?), but I was hoping you might have a seamstress you could recommend as well. Thanks!
Thanks, Mary! I do have a local seamstress that I use for clothing alterations and simple sewing projects (like curtain panels), although I don't believe she does much in terms of more complex upholstery or slipcovers. If you'd still like her name in number, please email me at [email protected] and I'd be happy to send it to you. :-)
8/17/2013 at 7:15 PM
I don't need to tell you that I'm still crying over that buffet getting painted, however, since it seems as though you guys haven't started working on it just yet, I thought I'd chime-in with a suggestion with what to do with the top 2 drawers (since they'll be in the way once the sinks are installed).

I assume Alex has already ruminated over this, too. I'd suggest one of two options:

1: Modify the drawers to function as U shaped to pass around the sinks. This will depend on how much usable space is left, and requires a bit of extra work.

2: Flip-down hardware brackets with a storage tray. We used these often in front of kitchen sink cabinets. The trays are usually plastic, and can be pulled out to be cleaned.

The last option, of course, is to just chop off the drawer and attach the faces as dummies, but you might appreciate the extra bit of storage space.

I still can't wait to see more progress pics on your bathroom (and the siding job!)

Ha! We included the "I know, I know" remark with you in mind, JC. :-) We've definitely given a lot of thought to how to treat the top two drawers, and we're in favor of option 1, creating a U-shaped pass...or even option 1a, creating a "short" drawer.

Question for you -- where would you recommend we install the sinks? I'm leaning toward centering them over each drawer, but the fact that the drawer isn't centered on the door below has me questioning it a bit.
8/22/2013 at 4:58 PM
Usually it's fairly straightforward to locate sink positions, but I looked at the cabinet layout again, and I see what you mean.

You have several options:
1: centred with the top 2 drawers.
2: centred with the bottom doors (this probably won't work well since I think your sinks will be too big).
3: 1/4 of the top locations (find the centre of your top, then the centre of both halves).
4: Whatever looks good.

Best advice I can give is that once you have your counter top figured out (or cut an exact template of it in cardboard), mark several locations on it (masking tape if it's the finished CT, marker or pencil if it's just a template), and see how it looks with some paper/cardboard templates of the sinks.
Alice C.
8/22/2013 at 11:34 PM
The buffet: You say you're going to shorten it. Checked that baby out carefully and can't see how that's going to be accomplish. Back to front, side to side, up to down? Huh? I've been looking for one also but so far nothing. Send me those pulls after you remove them, I like them, they're one of a kind. Can't wait to see the finish product. Love you guys, AAC
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