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!
Belinda was a nasty middle-aged woman, but her behaviours were characteristic of someone older.
She was mentally and physically sound; however, the pucker of her frown never left her face. Wrinkles indented themselves deeply into her forehead, around her eyes, and around her mouth; her skin was pasty white.
She pretended to walk feebly; but when a neighbourhood child or dog was near her property she ran out screaming, wearing stodgy Victorian gowns, no skin showing but her face and hands. Her hair was always severely pulled back in a tight bun.
Besides a cat or four, she disliked everyone. She made known she had cut her family out of her will. All her money would go to a stern Catholic congeragation she had terrorized since she was four.
An old trailer and burned-out truck from a cousin who had lived with her, remained on her lawn, even after the cousin disappeared. No one who entered Belinda’s house came back out, only her cats.
The neighbours thought this had been occurring for some three-hundred years, having heard the same stories from their great-grandparents and before.
Was Belinda a ghost? A banchee? A witch? No one knew. But every now and then someone disappeared inside her doorway and everyone knew that person wouldn’t be returning.
Marvin couldn’t believe this place he’d woken up in. He was eight-years-old in this world, but he wore a space suit. Not the fake dress-up clothes space suit, but an authentic one as the astronauts who flew to the space station wore.
He was on a planet which wasn’t earth. It was night and the blue-grey sky was alight with stars which lit Martin’s path on dark-green grass like terrafirma.
Marvin wanted to feel the grass but he knew if he did, he wouldn’t be able to breathe on this planet.
The most fascinating feature of this environment was that the sea was one with the sky. Marvin wasn’t sure how this was possible, but earth-like sea creatures floated above him. He laughed as a blue whale swam past, stars glittering around the creature.
Marvin was amused to see starfish stuck in the sky, as if they were actual stars. Marvin reached for a starfish and the world he was in dissolved around him.
When he awoke, Marvin was thirty-eight-years-old and lying in a hospital bed. His wife Lorna sat by his bed, grasping his hand:
“Marvin you’re back. It’s been a scary forty-eight hours.”He couldn’t speak, it hurt to move.
In truth, Marvin was disappointed to see Lorna, to be alive. What kind of accident was he in which he was hurt so awfully? He was painfully drowsy and Martin allowed his mind to slip back into his dream world.
He was a boy once again and in his astronaut suited hand, he was holding a starfish glowing bright orange and wriggling. He felt such hope and peace in this dream world.
Marvin did not struggle with his drowsiness, to stay in the real world, where Lorna and severe pain waited.
As he drifted off to explore his dreamscape, he heard the beeps of his heart rate go flat.
“Kasia, are you finished packing?” Jolene asked her daughter.
“Yeah, I’m good Mom, but I had to get another suitcase. I did more shopping then I thought.” Kasia was huffing and puffing as she dealt with her suitcases, bringing them outside Chateau Blanc for Luc to load in an SUV.
“I’m not ready to leave Mom. I’ve had such a fantastic time here, seeing Auntie Cathy and hanging out with Damon.” Kasia sighed. ” I can’t believe I didn’t meet him until a month and a half ago . . .and you’re leaving Luc behind too?” Kasia exclaimed with surprise.
“Kasia,” Jolene said. “We have to go back to Ottawa for awhile at least. Auntie Cathy will be moving into a condo close to where we live soon. She only has to finish training her replacement event planner and do a bit of packing.” Jolene cleared her throat reaching for a bottle of water in her purse.
” Luc owns Chateau Blanc but he’s found an experienced caretaker to keep the place running. Luc’s a trained architectural Engineer and he’s taking a job at an Engineering Firm in Ottawa. He’ll have a great deal of input on projects and doing them to LEED standards around the world. You know he is passionate about the environment…” Jolene said shrugging with a smile.
“What about Damon? How will I see him. If I’m supposed to travel around with you and have a tutor for high school, when will I see Damon?” Kasia asked worriedly. “I’ve been saving money to travel. You know, the money I made modelling for La Petite Mademoiselle and a few other shoots, Simon, your agent, could find for plus-sized models in Nice… How will you see Luc if we’re always travelling?” Kasia asked. Jolene smiled as Kasia peppered her with questions. They’d both been extremely occupied the last few weeks.
“There is going to be some changes, Kasia. I’m not going to model anymore. I will have business trips with La Petite Mademoiselle in Europe. I have hired a couple of Presidents for the Canadian and United States chains. Judy thought it was a great idea, she wants to travel more with her husband.” Jolene explained.
” Judy and I will be dealing with our expansion into France and into other select European cities. You will have occasions where you will be able to come to France with me or Luc and see Damon, while you work on Grade Ten material with your tutor. Damon maybe in Grade Twelve, but he also has his last year of high school to get through in Nice.” Jolene reminded Kasia.
“I think, it’s best to keep most of your modelling work for La Petite Mademoiselle, until you are eighteen. I don’t want to overwhelm you when you need to focus on school. Not to mention, I would like for you to still put a shift in every week in our flagship store in Ottawa when we are home. It will help you to know how our company works on the ground level.” Jolene added. Kasia sighed, not completely happy with her Mom’s solution for Kasia’s schooling and work. Would she get to see Damon enough between work and school? What if Damon forgot about Kasia for some other girl?
“So, if you’re busy overseeing things in Europe, how will you organize your schedule with Luc’s” Kasia asked Jolene.
Jolene’s face lit with a smile. “I have something to tell you… I’m getting married to Luc! He asked me last week. It was so hard for me not to tell you. I wanted to wait for the perfect time, I suppose that’s now.” General shrieking ensued and the details of the proposal were shared.
” Luc will be doing some projects in Europe as well, so all three of us will often be back at the Chateau Blanc and Auntie Cathy is welcome, whenever she wants to come along.” Kasia was taken aback. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Kasia was overjoyed Luc would be her step-dad. Her only Dad, as far as Kasia was concerned. She missed Damon alread, even though he was chatting with Luc. He had come to the Chateau to see Kasia before she went back to Canada. “Damon,” Kasia called. . .
An iPhone began ringing and Jolene felt her pocket buzz. Her face went pale when she saw the number on the phone. It was Scott’s work number. Jolene felt sick. She hadn’t heard from Scott since she left Nice over five-years-ago. Jolene wasn’t ready to talk to Scott. But perhaps, she should accept his call and tell Scott once and for all, to leave her alone.
“Hello” Jolene said quietly, walking away from Kasia.
“Hello Jolene,” Scott said.”Nice of you to get in touch with me when you were here.” Jolene said nothing at first.
“Why would I want anything to do with you Scott. I don’t love you anymore and I’m not attracted to you. Our time together is a lifetime away, I’m getting married.” Scott laughed
” So, I heard. It took you a long time. It was difficult getting over me, huh?” Scott said.
” And why is that?” Jolene questioned Scott.
“Because you will always have me in our daughter, Kasia. She looks a lot like me you know. You should have told me about her.” Scott said sounding wounded.
” How did you find out about Kasia? You can’t have her. She’s mine, my daughter — not yours. You wanted me to abort her.” Jolene said furiously.
“Kasia came to visit me a couple months ago. She wanted to meet me. I can’t blame her. She’s a smart girl and tracked me down.” Scott remarked.
“Damn it,” Jolene said, “Auntie Cathy told her everything. I knew we should have kept our mouths shut about you, Scott. You stay away from Kasia, I mean it! I can afford a great lawyer these days so don’t try anything. You are not allowed to see Kasia until she’s eighteen. Then, it is her choice, unfortunately.”Jolene yelled into her phone.
“Relax, Jolene. I don’t want anything from you or Kasia. Kasia wanted to meet me but she doesn’t want a relationship with me. She also told me to stay away from her and you.” Scott said hushing Jolene.
” I don’t need Katrina finding out I have an illegitimate daughter, who might be a threat to the money Katrina brought to our marriage. She wouldn’t like it if Kasia inherited anything. Additionally, having somewhat a relationship with my own daughter Sara and my boys is hard enough.” Scott told Jolene, tiredly.
“So, what are you calling about then?” Jolene seethed.
“I need to apologize,” Scott admitted to Jolene.”It was wrong of me to tell you to get rid of Kasia when she was barely a person. I saw her at my office and I’m so thankful you never got the abortion. She’s a beautiful girl and I have no doubt she will be as successful in life as you Jolene.” Jolene couldn’t believe Scott was apologizing.
“Kasia hates me for trying to have her aborted and that bothers me. I couldn’t stand it if my daughter Sara was as mad at me, as Kasia is mad at me,” Scott admitted. “Kasia is also upset because of what I did to you. I can’t change myself Jolene. I am who I am.” Scott said.
“But, I regret cheating on you the entire time we were together, when you were off modelling. I was never your ‘one,’ and only guy. I’m no women’s ‘one.’ I’m my own guy. I like to be in control and be with whoever I desire. Katrina understands this, she has had a long-time affair with another man. Kasia believes that guy provides for Katrina, what I should be providing for her, love and attention.” Scott said, his voice scratchy. Admitting his faults was hard for him, Kasia had made him think.
” I’m sorry I met so much to you Jolene. I wish I hadn’t met much to you. I would have broken it off sooner, but I had plans…”
“You are and were selfish Scott,” Jolene shouted.” You never cared about my feelings or what I thought about something. You even tried to tell me I was pretending I wanted a baby — which is why I never told you about Kasia.”
” It wouldn’t have mattered had you told me you had had our baby. My Dad said Katrina was the right wife for me. She is in a sense. . . What I wanted to tell you though is for Kasia: Do not let her end up with a guy like me. I told Kasia ‘boys will be boys’ and that men naturally cheat. She called me on it and I thought about it and she’s right, not all men cheat. My half-brother for instance, is faithful to his wife. He works at the company with me.” Scott said.
” Kasia needs to find a guy like my half-brother. Not like me or her Grandpa. And tell her Scott said he will do his utmost to ensure someone like him does not marry her half-sister Sara.” Jolene pressed the phone to her ear. She was amazed at what Scott told her.
“For real, that’s all you want?” Jolene stuttered. “You want Kasia to end up with a kind and faithful partner? You aren’t trying to get me to sleep with you or have an affair with you? You promise to leave Kasia alone, even though I never told you she was your daughter?” Jolene could barely say anything she was so surprised by Scott’s reason for calling. She heard him sigh on the phone.
” As far as I’m concerned Jolene, you and I are done. I have my life and you have yours. We may be connected by Kasia but I promise, I won’t interfere in your lives. If Kasia in the future, wants to contact me so I can help her get into a prestigious university, I can help her, it’s the least I can do.But I have one request Jolene. . . ” Scott’s voice sounded sad to Jolene. She didn’t remember Scott ever sounding emotional.
“Please send, me a picture of Kasia once in awhile on your phone. Not often, just so I know she’s okay.” Jolene couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She kept her voice neutral.
” I can do that, if Kasia doesn’t mind. I will tell her what you said,” Jolene remarked. “I’ll mention you can get her into a prestigious university, no strings attached. And I will definitely make sure she never falls for a man like you.”
“Great. . . gotta go Jolene. My 3:00 pm is here. Good Luck.” Scott said distractedly. Jolene heard the phone click and knew, Scott had moved on. She couldn’t blame Scott for that. It was time for Jolene and Kasia to move on in life as well.
I watch my niece as she finishes walking down the aisle. Beneath her veil, her face is glowing. Her eyes are fixed lovingly on her fiancé, Luc Devereaux.
Luc has a giant grin on his handsome face. He told me earlier, “Aunt Cathy, I can’t believe I get to marry Jolene. I always thought and dreamed about her. She’ll be my wife, and I get a beautiful step-daughter too.”
I carefully patted my new nephews arm. He used to be my boss but now, I am his cherished Auntie.”You’re perfect for Jolene and Kasia. You’re all exactly what the three of you needed, ” I tell Luc.
I see Luc take Jolene’s hand and slide on her wedding band. Jolene does the same for Luc. Beautiful Kasia is her Mom’s maid of honour in a couture pink gown.
But Jolene is simply stunning, channeling Grace Kelly. She is the perfect vintage leading lady in her bridal gown, except for one thing. Jolene’s back reveals a tattoo I never knew she had until I helped her change into her dress this morning.
Jolene’s tattoo is a quote that reads: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is all you have to be.”
Jolene’s tattoo demonstrates all that she has come through in life to be at the the altar with her ‘one,’ Luc. It tells me Jolene will be strong whatever she faces in life. But she isn’t alone. She has Kasia, Luc, and as always, her Auntie Cathy who had the pleasure of walking her cherished niece, down the aisle.