“Castles, fairy godmothers, glass slippers, and enchanted roses. When you hear the words “once upon a time” these items might be what it brings to mind. Say those four words aloud and it might make you anticipate something magical, something ethereal, something beyond the ordinary. When was the last time you experienced a once upon a time moment?”
If you could choose your favorite place to get ready in the morning or when you’re going out to a party or special event, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a vanity area? Yes, I know for many women (and some men) this seems like a dream.
I would adore haveing a dressing table area where I could have all my makeup and hair tools, have everything organized well, and have my vanity area designed exactly the way I would like it to be designed to my unique preferences.
While modern vanity tables for women and shaving tables for men developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,beauty items such as cosmetic boxes, ointment jars, and perfume jars, were found in 1910, in “inlaid cedar cosmetic box[s]” in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.
Madam Pompadour of France, however, was one of the first women of the aristocracy to perform elaborategroomingrituals. The french aristocracy had boxes called ‘Neccessaires’ which held perfumes, combs, nail files, and tiny scissors. Madam Pompadour (mistress of King Louis XIV (1638 to 1715)) aided the French king in developing the ‘toilette’ or beauty regime for both men and women in the royal court.
One fantastic example of an early vanity table was used by Marie Antoinette who had a dressing table specifically made to fit makeup items, writing implements, and a mirror. The piece was commissioned as she was due to give birth to her son and the vanity served multiple purposes also being used for eating and receiving visitors.
In the twentieth century, the vanity table developed significantly in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Glamorous Hollywood films made popularskyscrapers with luxuriouspenthouses and “femme fatale [movie] heroines.”
These starlets sat elegantly at their dressing tables which were streamlined in form compared to vanity tables of the past. Many women wanted to emulate these actresses and the vanity table became an essential piece of furniture for the modern woman.
Considering my dreamvanity andhow I would design it and the area around my vanity, I realized there are many vital factors to consider. What I ended up with was a mood board of decor items I would adore in a vanity area. You can find my mood board at the beginning of this post.
There are many aspects I considered when I thought about designing a vanity area. The first being what styleof vanity (the dressing table) I wanted. There is such a variety of styles of vanities to choose from but many are actually writing desks used as vanity tables, not the actual vanities which for instance, my great-grandmother Ida owned.
I tend to love antique vanities which have been repurposed.There is something curvilinear, ornate, and luxurious about the carving and details in the design of some antique vanities. What I love about repurposing old furniture, is that much of it is made from quality hardwoods, not cheap soft wood. Much furniture today is made of wood which easily breaks or splits.
Also, I would choose to paint my repurposed (or designed to appear antique) vanity my favorite color of light-blue. I would make it a feature piece of furniture in my bedroom and would paint the walls a neutral beige or gray with the same warm or cool hue found in the color blue used on the vanity. Below are three examples of vanities which caught my eye would be similar to my dream dressing table. I wouldn’t want such a roughed up quality to the paint but a nice sheen or solid color.
Another choice for my dream vanity would be to paint it with a pearlescent paint in a light sheen of bronze, gold, or silver. These dressing tables are more glamorous than the blue ones but would also retain a unique but more modern design such as the opulent vanities of the 1930’s.
A significant reason I chose antique vanities versus modern streamlined ones, has to do with my personal aesthetics and especially, drawer space. I think a vanity should have significant drawer space for you to put your makeup, hair tools, lingerie, or whatever else you would like to store in your drawers. My favorite vanities have both slimmerdrawers up top and larger deeper drawers on the sides. Storage is a major issue when choosing a vanity for yourself.
Many of the vanities pictured above have attached mirrors. I would be happy to have one of these mirrors refinished, but I also felt you could remove the mirror and hang a mirror with an interesting frame on the wall, behind your vanity. The mirror might be a little farther away from where you would sit, on the wall, but I don’t think this would be a problem if a person had enough natural and artificial lighting in their vanity area.
Another important detail to consider is the chair you sit on in front of your vanity. Whether you purchase a vanity that’s antique which you refinish yourself, or you find you like already refinished, you can replace what is often a small stool or bench, with a fancy and comfortable chair.
Especially if it’s for a special occasion, I prefer to have back support, personally, and be comfortable while I’m doing my makeup and hair. I want a cozy place to sit and a chair with a cushioned back and seat. Here are a few examples of chairs I like below, the gray one is my favorite chair; however, you can also find yourself a fancy dining chair, or some other kind of comfortable chair which matches your vanity and decor scheme.
Another aspect I would consider for a vanity area, if you have space, would be a soft but stylish chaise lounge near your dressing table. I would include this in a dream vanity area because a chaise lounge or sofa, would make you feel more at home and enjoy being in this space, even when you’re not preparing yourself for the day or an event.
A chaise lounge or a couch could be somewhere your significant other sits and talks to you while you’re getting ready, or your kids. It would also be a comfy and plush hideaway to read a book when you have the time, especially if you have a space with excellent natural light or a floor lamp nearby, as I would in my dream vanity area.
As well, it makes sense to have a plush chair of some kind here because a vanity area would be close to my closet as well, so I’d probably need something to throw clothes on as I try on several outfits or change out of my work clothes after arriving home.It’s also a place to sit on while you put on your shoes and zip up your tall boots.
I talked briefly about lighting but it’s one of the most significant aspects of all to consider, not only for aesthetics but because women require fantastic lighting when putting on makeup and doing their hair.
There is no substitute for natural light and in my dream vanity area, I would have many windows nearby. You never want to walk outside and see you’ve put on your makeup too thick for daytime or used the wrong color of foundation for the season so your foundation ends up appearing orange in the daylight.
In addition, having a chandelier or some kind of pendant light above your dressing table makes it the area appear more opulent as well as making it easier for a woman to see what she is doing at her vanity. A small chandelier, for me, makes the area all the more appealing. It aids in creating a space where would enjoy spending more time and I would probably be spending alot of time there, so I want a beautiful light fixture.
I had trouble choosing between three different light fixtures. On the Restoration Hardware website, I found this lovely light made of “tiers of translucent white capizshells” and I love the movement created when light shimmers through these iridescent shells.
Another especially favorite pendant light of mine is the flower pendant light from Arhaus. This light is gorgeous, unique, and sculptural. I think the “Italian glass” crystals hanging down would be perfect for a vanity area. This light fixture is superbly classy with this flower having “dark silver clay finish;” the artist in me adores it.
Lastly, I was drawn to another indoor/outdoor chandelier made from recycled glass andwrought iron from Pottery Barn. The glass circles made me think of bubbles and/or a pair of pretty dangling, bronze and glass earrings. I think for me interior design and fashion often overlap.
A third issue to consider with lighting is actual lighting where you sit at your vanity, on top your table. Here is the place where you or I would apply our makeup or remove it, perhaps along with our jewelry. I’m not a fan of those big bulbs that go around vanity mirrors, to me they’re a bit tacky (my opinion).
I think I would browse for some trendy table lamps which went with my decor scheme and weren’t too large. My thoughts are that they would appear classier and provide morenatural lighting as you can put light bulbs in lamps with more of a warm glow. One lamp might be enough, or you might prefer two, depending on how much space you have. There are a couple of different ones I liked and you can see them below. They’re both from Arhaus, here and here.
One final issue to consider with lighting and mirrors, is a having a magnifying mirror. Yep, the kind where you feel scared when you can see every mark or wrinkle on our face. While I hate that aspect of these mirrors, they can be helpful. They’re especially great when you’re plucking your eyebrows, getting rid of a few stray hairs, or when you’re trying to apply liquid eyeliner or any eyeliner for that matter.
I would buy one of these magnifying mirrors which lights up. It could sit on my dressing table top or be attached to the wall behind my vanity. I prefer one not on the top of the vanity since I need the space for other items.
Certain mirrors with LED lights can be moved closer or a farther away, whichever way you need. There are also various degrees of magnification. You can check out this magnifyingmirror below, from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Lastly, ensuring my vanity area is near plugins where I could easily plug in a power bar with more plugins for curling irons, a blow dryer, and my table lamps would be a must for my vanity area.
Now to tackle one the largest issues in my vanity area, having the best kind of storage for makeup, makeup brushes, hair devices, and any other products I store in and around my dressing table. A wonderful place for these organizational items is Bed, Bath, and Beyond because they have a ton of well-priced organizational items, many of which are also attractive for certain decor schemes. Home Sense is another excellent place for this.
A third place you might consider buying storage for on top of your vanity is an office supply store, as many of their lines for storing stationary work well for storing makeup and skincare products. You can also use decorated or lovely colored trays and special storage from any home store, these products are easy enough to find.
Hanging a few decorative shelves nearby to house some of your personal items, is also an option I would consider for my vanity area, along with this neat holder I found on Pinterest, which is specifically designed to hold your blower dryer, hair straightener, and curling irons and can be found at Home Depot and mounted on the wall. For specifically made to hold makeup organizers on top of your vanity, Amazon is an excellent place to search for these holders at a great price.
For makeup brushes my favorite storage solution is to find a pretty container, it could be a pencil holder a candle holder (whatever fits your brushes) or a couple of each, and fill them half-full with little rocks/beads or a similar vase filler. Stand your brush handles in these containers along with your mascara and eyeliners. Your brushes and makeup products will stay upright and it works superbly well. I would use the same method on my dream vanity table; however, any pretty container which stores your brushes upright along with eyeliners and mascara, works well as long as they suit your design scheme.
For makeup, you can also find some beautiful trays to put your makeup and skincare products on. Sometimes even trays with divided off sections, so it makes it easier to store certain items such as blush or lipstick. I prefer stylish storage for on top of your vanity, such as silver or gold trays, decorated or colored candle holders, and mirrored makeup supply/brush holders. Below are some photographs of these ideas I liked for my own vanity space.
It’s also helpful to find some see-through jars or containers to hold items such as Q-tips and cotton rounds, used for toner and taking off makeup (etc). For haircare products, a shelf that can fit hairspray, mousse, dry shampoo, and other taller hair products is useful with a shelf on top which leaves you with storage for smaller bottles of hair care products.
The last and hardest part of storage is finding containers which will fit in shallow top drawers and in deeper side drawers for a dream dressing table. Since I would like my vanity area to not look so cluttered, I would like it if most of my makeup could be organized in the top drawers at least.
It is possible to purchase makeup dividers which fit inside draws or find your own little baskets or boxes, which will fit different kinds of makeup. Makeup storage also depends on how much makeup you own and should still be keeping. Amazon is an affordable and easy place to find this type of storage.
Makeup storage also depends on if you want to store your makeup visibly on the wall or hidden (such as I do) in the drawers of your vanity. I prefer drawers, they appear so much neater than makeup storage in wall-mounted containers or on a magnetic board. I can close messy drawers if they need cleaning and if my makeup has dirty cases.
I believe in keeping a vanity top clean and clutter free as possible because it makes it easier for me to find what I need each morning before working or if I was Mom, for instance, before dealing with my children.
For me, I would only keep the makeup I use the most out and put everything else away. I would like the top to be clutter free so I have space to work and to display some of my prettier pieces of jewelry and perhaps perfume.
It would also like to personalize my vanity space with authentic artwork to my taste, which matches my decor in my vanity area. I have chosen some of my favorite watercolor paintings off of Etsy which work into the blue vanity scheme and have this Chanel, posh and classy feel about them. Also, I like how this spice wrack became the perfect place to store perfume and display bracelets.
I enjoy purchasing my artwork prints on Etsy because the prints you buy are less expensive and they are from local artists and small businesses. The prints are more unique than art you would find in most home decor stores. I would order the prints I’ve chosen off of Etsy and then visit Winners/Home Sense or the Craft store to find frames to put my art in.
I could choose to search for frames which are all the same style of frame or look for frames which are the same color. I believe what I would do is mix up frame colors and styles, have frames in black, gold, and silver, as long as they fit in with the vanity area them I’ve created and its ambiance.
For me, this would be my perfect dream vanity area; however, as you can tell, it’s difficult to choose precisely what pieces fit and what pieces don’t. Thanks for reading!
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last week’s Tale Weaver Prompt. The prompt is to have a character visit this centre of relaxation and cover and recount their experiences. I will use it as continuation of my Teegan’s Potion story. This is Part 4. Here are the links to the other parts of the story. I apologize for taking so long with this last part.
Teegan couldn’t recall ever being at a spa before or a place of retreat. But he hadn’t been given a choice. He was a thief, a crookster. He conned people out of their money, he had been doing so for a couple of hundred-years.
He was almost nomadic, roaming the forests and the woods. He could not help when his curse took over him. He was learning to control it, but even to control it a little was difficult for the first one-hundred-years he lived as this ‘thing.’ Whatever you would term him.
Teegan wasn’t sure himself what he was. But he knew when he was upset, he was still prone to rages where darkness, the shadow of the beast hiding inside him took over. He was in a little town when it happened this time. He’d been in a lodge having a bath, cleaning himself up, shaving his beard when his room was suddenly filled with men. They had come to collect him and in turn the bounty on his head for his years of murderous deeds.
“Teegan of the Forest, we’ve been after you a while. My Father spent his life chasing you and my Grandfather, half his life too. I’m ending it here and bringing you in. You’re a plague on society. I don’t care you can control your wickedness at times. I only care when you’re angry you cannot,” a man named Henry Barger said. He was the brother to a son of the local earl, who had come across Teegan on a bad night.
He vaguely recalled Henry’s father and grandfather, both had been named Henry and hunted him. It wasn’t Teegan’s fault they’d died. They kept pushing him, attacking him, refusing to leave him in peace.
Presently, the men surrounding Teegan tried to rough him up, so he’d be easier to take the Earl of the land. But this wasn’t going to happen so he let his anger grow and consume him. In moments, Teegan’s bedroom had become a bloody battle field. Not one of those men had stood a chance. He hadn’t wanted to kill them, but what choice had they left him? Why in God’s name had the wretched wizard cursed him in the first place? He hadn’t been that evil had he?
He sighed getting back in his still warm bath among the carnage, bathing himself clean of blood before changing his clothes. Teegan snuck out the window and with his wits about him, entered into the forest he knew well.
Hours later, he found himself surrounded again by monks from the local monastery. He laughed, but at the same time, definitely did not want to kill men of the cloth.
“Please let me go,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt any of you. Especially since you’re holy men. Leave me in peace and you’ll never see me again.”
A priest appeared from among the monks. His face lined but his stature regal. “Teegan of the forest, I know a greatdeal about you. I’m Father Matthews. I know you were cursed to live a long life, to suffer. I know what you initially did to invoke your curse. I’m not here to turn you in for coins to the Earl, I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me, why?”
“Because Teegan,” Father Matthew’s replied, ” More killing or trying to kill you, only results in more death. Also, I have a bit of insight into the souls of men and I can see, yours is shredded from your deeds. You will never be able to stop the monster inside alone. But I know someone, a woman of blessed magic who can.”
Teegan rolled his eyes but Father Matthews continued talking.”I have spoken with Hazal and we both feel, she can help you. As long as you drink her potion twice a year withher, she says you will not turn evil when your temper ignites, when you’re unable to harness the beast inside you. We can help Teegan, please let us.”
“I don’t want, I don’t need some witches help,” Teegan sputtered indignantly.
“She’s not any witch and not pureevil as the Wizard who cursed you. He was a ‘Wizard Demon,’ and know one wants to find him after dealing with the fall-out of the curse he gave you. You don’t have much choice Teegan. You need to retreat with Hazal and her clan, they will help you.”
“But if you don’t,” Father Matthews said ominously, “We will end your life right now and we know how to do it. If you choose to meet Hazel, I will bring you to her and once you’ve worked with her for a while, you can go about your life. As long as you always find Hazel and her femaledescendants, to take your potion twice a year, you’re a free man.”
Teegan nodded his understanding at Father Matthews. He gazed around him at the monks in their sack clothe, with torches lit. He peered confused at the priest who instead of trying to hurt him, wanted to help Teegan with his curse. No one was kind to Teegan, not since he’d been human.
He felt the priest was a good man in his heart, trying to help Teegan for Teegan’s sake and everyone Teegan came upon, so he didn’t hurt them unknowingly. Father Matthews promised him what he had always wanted to be able to do, to live his life without the darkness, the shadowy curse which made him a monster.
“Alright Father,” Teegan said. “I will come with you. But promise me this woman Hazel, she will not harm me? Or kill me, herself?”
“I promise and she will say the same.”
Teegan followed Father Matthews back to the monastery. He hoped no one found him before he saw Hazal. He would have to start over in the new world he thought, perhaps, convince this Hazel to come with him if she was pretty? But for now, the monestary was the safest place for Teegan to rest. As he fell asleep, he wondered about this witch, could her potion actuallycontrol his curse?
Sighing he dreamt of a woman with hazel eyes and a soft touch. When he awoke he found himself not in the monestsry, but asleep in a tranquil room in a comfortable bed as those of nobility slept on. The room was ornately decorated and sighing, thinking it was all a dream, Teegan faded back into sleep.
When he awoke again, and the sunlight was pouring into the lavish room, Teegan arose from the softest bed he’d ever slept on. It was plush with furs and woven sheets. He longingly gazed back, wishing he could sleep forever away, but he realized he was here to receive help from the gifted witch of blessed magic named Hazel.
Her family lived well, he thought to himself. He wondered again why, the priest would save someone as terrible as him. Teegan had murdered and hurt so many people when the beast overtook him, especially in the beginning of his cursed life, when he had no control at all. The priest knew what Teegan had initially done to be cursed. Teegan thought back to that day ages ago, almost two-hundred-years.
Back then, he’d only been around twenty-five winters, he wasn’t exactly sure. He’d grown up spoiled, a son of the aristocracy. A future Lord and Vassal, yet he hadn’t known enough to value his position. He hadn’t cared much but for mead, women, and fun.
No women ever caught his attention long. He imagined he had a few bastards here and there among the village lasses and the barmaids. Then there were the maids and courtesans.
There had been a lovely one with dark black hair and blue-eyes. Eyes such a stormy blue, he felt he was drowning in them the first time he saw Eleanor’s eyes. But everyone knew Eleanor was off-limits. She was the Earl’s personal and most current favourite mistress.
But Eleanor had beguiled Teegan as a young man. She was a seasoned suductress and she drew him in.
“Such a handsome man as yourself, all alone in the Earl’s court? I’ve noticed you’ve stopped bringing the servant girls and other courtesans to your bed? The Earl prefers his vassals to be properly taken care of, is something the matter?” Eleanor had asked him, fluttering her lashes and rubbing his arm.
“No Madam, nothing is wrong. But I’m not interested in those women because they’re all the same after a while. I have in my eyes the picture of the most elegant and graceful women in the land and no other woman compares with her beauty or kind manner,” Teegan told Eleanor, who laughed.
“Ah, so is the son, of the Lord of the Forests, in love then?”
“He thinks perhaps, but he is waiting to see what the woman he longs for says to his request. He cannot touch her, but desperately wants to be with her. He would defy all authority to have her. Do you know who she is Eleanor?”
Teegan must have shown he was a tad nervous. He’d never had to proposition a woman before. He’d known what a dangerous situation he was getting himself and his family into, but the price was more than he’d ever dreamed.
Eleanor laughed again,”You play a complicated and deadly game young Teegan. You wouldn’t be the only person defying an Earl or the wretched wizard who follows him around. You’d best consider some other courtesan. Then you will not be killed or worse for touching me. Then again, I like a guy who lives a bit dangerously. Shall we go for a walk in plane sight, so no one thinks we’re doing anything wrong?”
Teegan had agreed and Eleanor had been a wonderfully skilled storyteller, entertaining him, but never touching him, making it seem as if they were keeping each other company, while she waited for the Earl to call for her.
Then, Eleanor had pretended to fall and while Teegan aided Eleanor in righting herself, she whispered: “Meet me at the gamekeepers cottage, tomorrow night.”
Teegan had agreed and they had made love madly there for hours when the Earl and his consort, walked in on Teegan and Eleanor. Eleanor pleaded and was instantly forgiven, the Earl adored her so much. She did nothing to try and save Teegan, saying the whole idea was his fault.
“I’m only a woman, how could I resist him, he charms all the women where ever he goes,” she told the Earl.
He kissed Eleanor, “I forgive you, my love. You couldn’t help yourself. My Wizard will deal with this scoundrel. He’ll make Lord Teegan sorry.”
Then the Earl and Eleanor left the cottage and it was only half-naked Teegan and the evil Wizard. The old man cracked his fingers, his dark eyes eating into Teegan’s soul. Teegan was terrified . . .
Then someone was shaking him awake.
“Teegan,” a melodic and gentle voice said. “Teegan wake-up, we need to have your potion now.”
He mumbled something than yelled. When he was finally awake, a woman with auburn hair, milky skin, and vibrant green eyes was staring at Teegan appearing worried. She brushed the hair back from his face and rocked him as the edges of his nightmare faded.