Must Make: An India-Inspired Carved Wood Bathroom Vanity

It’s still just a vision right now. A vision for the master bathroom vanity in our Chennai, India apartment that was inspired by these photos …

Via Houzz:

Via Monica Bach:

In Cher’s India-inspired Hollywood penthouse, designed by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard:

Via Rinfret Ltd.:

And another one found on Houzz:

Many more inspiration photos are on a Pinterest board. You’ll see most are smaller vanities that take little floor space. The bathroom is small, so the vanity must do its job in a compact way.

I do not want to buy a vanity.

Because I got an idea and must make it happen. That’s just how I am. My idea is to find a long piece of pretty carved wood, and create a wall-mounted “vanity” under a marble counter, like the photo above.

At Chicago’s Randolph Street Market a few weeks ago, I spotted carved wood that Eileen of Mayseek Global Treasures found during her recent trip to India. They inspired me to start planning for the bathroom again. Aren’t these beautiful. I love the wood piece on the far right:

While visiting India last year, we found this carved wood piece at Crafters in Cochin:

A major goal of that visit was to find pieces to complete the bathrooms. I was so excited, I thought this wood piece was The One. However because this was an entirely intact, intricate and looooooong piece, it was more costly than we wanted to spend.

We also explored iron grates as a possibility. The India shopping adventure was like Goldilocks, looking for what was just right. We’re still looking, so this story isn’t done yet.

Metal lattice pieces like these from Parasoliel in copper and aluminum would also bring the look:

They have a lot of designs, like these:

I like this option because there will be copper accents throughout the apartment. The kitchen has a hand-hammered copper farmhouse sink.

I love this blog post Parasoleil wrote about the question, are you designing your home to be topos or chora? I am totally going for chora in the Chennai apartment! That’s why there’s all this thought and care into creating something different and meaningful.

The hardest part — beyond deciding what to use — will be getting this made properly. So far I’ve had a hard time communicating the vision to our contractors. They haven’t done or even seen anything like this before. I’m not feelin’ the trust. I have the urge to get my hands on decent tools during our next trip to Chennai, and make this myself. Or make it here in the U.S. and take the pieces to Chennai to assemble there. The vanity has to be so compact, the pieces could fit in our bigger suitcase!

My mom said that when I was two years old, I put together my first sentence. She was trying to feed me with a spoon. I must have become impatient. I grabbed the spoon and said, “do itself.” Some personality traits never leave us!

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3 Replies to “Must Make: An India-Inspired Carved Wood Bathroom Vanity”

  1. Love this! I am on the hunt for a bathroom vanity that has Indian inspired feel. I cant find anything that is below $3000 and that is the right size. So I read your blog and you inspired me to make my own! I am hiring a cabinet guy and buying a nightstand from El Paso Import Company (only $275 but solid wood) to start with and hope to use some of the metal work you posted from Parasoleli to make accent pieces for the door. So excited!! Thanks for your help!

    Nesli Chandler

    1. That so wonderful Nesli! I’m glad you got the idea here! :) I think it costs far less and it’s more personal and original to find your own pieces for a bathroom vanity, and put them together. We’re doing that for our India apartment – I found a piece of carved wood from India for $100 and we’ll add a marble countertop to it, a sink and faucet, and we’re good to go for a great price. Send pics if you want when you’re done – I’d love to do a post about your bathroom re-do! :)


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