James Martin Furniture is one of the most popular bathroom manufacturers on the market, in part due to their commitment to evolving – to expanding and re-imagining their product lines and staying at the cutting edge of the latest design trends. Their first update of 2016 is a major one, too, with the introduction of three entirely new vanity collections: Chicago, Vancouver, and Metropolitan. The styles range from sleek and modern to elegant and transitional, and are available in a wide variety of sizes and finishes that make them easy to tailor to just about any bathroom.
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In many ways, James Martin’s new Chicago collection is a successor to their Providence collection – one of their most popular and longest-running product lines. The Providence Collection features simple raised panel cabinet doors and natural, unfinished or weathered wood construction, and emphasizes a very homey traditional style that’s ideally suited for a cottage, farmhouse, or seaside bathroom. But the Chicago collection is a design destined for a more contemporary space. It replaces the raised panel cabinets with trendy shaker style ones, which have a more modern, streamlined feel. Rather than the ornate antique hardware of the Providence collection, James Martin’s Chicago vanities have simple, square, brushed nickel door and drawer pulls, which add to the collection’s more modern feel.
Maybe most significantly, the Chicago collection replaces Providence’s very rustic, natural finishes with a look that’s just a little bit more polished. Raw, unfinished wood surfaces are a bit less popular now than in years past, but the “natural” look is still in. The Chicago collection accounts for this shift with a simple, thin coat of whitewash, which gives the walnut cabinets a more consistent color and even texture while still letting the wood underneath show through. The vanities in the Providence collection were intentionally designed with a very rustic, rugged feel, but the Chicago collection has a smooth finish that gives it a much more modern look.
The Chicago collection also offers a more symmetrical design than the Providence collection, which uses offset drawers to maximize storage. The Chicago vanities make up for the loss of drawer space on the smaller models by incorporating hideaway shelves or drawers. That is, instead of having a faux drawer along the top edge of the cabinet, the panel pulls forward to reveal a small storage shelf or drawer, depending on the size of the vanity. The result is a little bit less total storage, but a more streamlined appearance, and small item storage that’s actually more accessible, because you don’t have to bend or reach to get to it.
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Of the new Spring 2016 vanities from James Martin, the Vancouver collection is easily the one with the most traditional look and feel, with a sophisticated dark wood finish, decorative apothecary style drawer fronts, and subtle but elegant wood detailing. The look is still more transitional than antique inspired, and streamlined enough for a relatively contemporary space, but the furniture-like design details give it that subtly more traditional edge that will make a bathroom feel just that little extra bit more formal – buttoned up rather than laid back.
The Vancouver collection expands on this slightly more sophisticated transitional feel by cleverly combining two similar but distinctive elements: a traditional chest or dresser style cabinet and a more modern, spa-inspired open shelf vanity. The open shelf look has skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years, partly because it’s an easy way to make a bathroom look and feel more open without sacrificing too much storage space, but using dresser-style drawer fronts gives the vanity a more furniture-like feel. The combination makes for a look that subtly evokes old fashioned dressing rooms, but in a way that has the clean, streamlined feel of a modern spa bath.
Maybe the most unique feature of the Vancouver vanities, though, is the storage. Most vanities that have apothecary style faces are either made with entirely false, decorative panels that hide a single large cabinet, or are actually made up of many very small drawers. Neither design is really optimal for a bathroom – large cabinets are fine but inefficient, and while drawers are convenient, too many of them that are too small aren’t particularly useful. But the Vancouver vanities do something a little different: the drawer fronts are all the same size and shape, but they conceal drawers with vastly different dimensions, for optimized storage with the same classic style. They even have hideaway drawers instead of a faux panel beneath the sink, so absolutely no space is wasted.
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In the summer of 2014, James Martin Furniture discontinued many of their most modern bathroom vanities when they changed manufacturing facilities. The shift resulted in higher quality products, a better production volume, and more consistent delivery services, but also meant many of their collections inevitably fell by the wayside, and most of the ones that did were modern in style. The new Metropolitan collection, though, represents the company’s return to a more modern look. The vanities are simple and streamlined, with slab style cabinet doors and simple steel hardware that gives them an overall seamless appearance – perfect for a minimalist modern style.
The Metropolitan collection is also far and away the largest and most diverse new collection for 2016, with vanities in an impressive seven different widths and three different finishes – American walnut, Mcassar Ebony, and silver oak. Each of the three finishes have a very different feel (warm wood, tiger striped, and nearly-solid gray) and the simplicity of the design means that changing the finish can make the vanities fit with wildly different bathroom styles. Combined with nearly a dozen stone vanity tops to choose from, the Metropolitan collection is now one of the most customizable in James Martin’s repertoire.
The new Metropolitan vanities also introduce one very fun modern feature: detachable legs. All the vanities in the collection are mounted on simple, square, chrome-finished legs, but these legs are designed to be removable, meaning that the vanities can be mounted to the wall instead. Wall mounted vanities are an iconic feature of a modern bathroom design, with a built-in interplay of simple lines and ample white space; making the vanity legs optional makes this collection even more flexible in terms of getting the style you want. Even the largest vanities can go without for a more modern look, but the legs are included with all the vanities if you want a more grounded, transitional style.
Quality and Variety
All of James Martin’s vanities, regardless of the collection they belong to, are made to the highest quality standards and are designed to be durable, beautiful, and easy to customize to the needs of your space. Nearly all their vanities are made of solid, kiln-dried wood that’s treated to prevent the growth of mold and mildew and finished by hand for a consistently high quality appearance. James Martin’s vanity cabinets are also made with soft closing doors and drawers, for smooth, silent operation with no sticking or slamming.
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Moreover, all of James Martin’s collections come in a variety of sizes, from petite single vanities as little as 24 inches wide all the way up to sprawling 72 inch wide double vanities, meaning if you like the look, it can almost definitely be sized to fit the scale of your bathroom. All the collections come with matching mirrors (and some also have optional add-on storage cabinets), so it’s easy to coordinate your style. James Martin also optionally bundles their vanities with pre-cut bathroom vanity tops in nearly a dozen different types of Grade-A natural stone and quartz, meaning that they can be additionally customized to fit the color scheme of your space – all for less than you’d pay to have stone countertops custom cut.
So if you’re looking for a vanity that will help get your bathroom on trend (but still look good five or ten years down the road), check out the new Spring 2016 collections from James Martin Furniture.