Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Turning vintage furniture into a bathroom vanity

Have you ever thought of recycling an old piece of furniture into your bathroom vanity?

Perhaps an old desk?

via
an old sideboard?
I've lost the source

via
...or a chest of drawers, vintage wash stand, buffet or cupboard?

When we were planning our bathroom renovations, one thing I was sure of, was that I wasn't going to be buying a modern vanity unit. Not only are the extremely expensive in Australia, but I just don't like the look, especially as our bathroom is at the end of our hallway and when you stand at the front door you look straight into the bathroom.

the view from the front door
 A few years before we did our renovations, I found an old french style cupboard on eBay. I paid around $150 for it and used it in our kitchen storing my platters until we were ready to renovate. I knew it would be the perfect size for the bathroom which is just tiny.


I painted the cupboard in white acrylic enamel paint (water based, as an oil based paint in white will yellow with age and I didn't want this to happen). I made sure I painted the underneath of the feet and legs also so if water flooded in the bathroom the feet of the vanity would be sealed.


You can see the drainage pipe coming from underneath the cupboard to the floor. When you select your piece of furniture it is important to remember you will need to make space for the pipes inside the cupboard. You will also need to cut an additional hole in the back of the vanity where plumbing fixtures and water lines connect. You can use flexible water pipes to the taps so that helps with space but your drainage pipes is what will take up the most room. Sorry but I didn't clean up inside the cupboard for the photos. Keeping it real, baby.


You will also need to decide if you can live with a timber top or change over the top. I knew we wouldn't take care of a timber topped vanity so I removed the top of the cupboard and replaced the top with Caesarstone. I chose the colour Snow as this is what we were using in the kitchen that we renovated at the same time. I had the stone mason cut a whole in the top for the Caroma Liano Above Counter Basin. I chose an above counter basin because it took less internal space up in the cupboard. Any extra storage space I could get is important in our tiny little bathroom.  The mirror also fronts a storage medicine cabinet.


You can see in the photo below that the doors aren't perfectly aligned. This can often happen with old furniture but it doesn't matter to me. These small imperfections add to the charm. But aren't the mouldings beautiful.


I decided to not centre the basin. This was for two reasons. The cupboard I used has a central piece of wood that separates the two sides. I didn't want to have to cut it to put the basin in. The other reason is the main reason and that is if the vanity was placed centrally I would have about 25 cm each side of the basin for storage - this is pretty useless. Having it to one side means I have a good bench top surface on which to place essential items and pretty accessories.


One thing I didn't scrimp on was tapware. These are from Brodware, one of the best tapware manufacturers in Australia. I love them and I am confident they will not rust. I have had friends buy cheap imported tapware and they have rusted and discoloured within a year. There are heaps of other ways to save money but tapware shouldn't be one of them!


It was important to me to have some space down each side of the vanity as I wanted to be able to clean the glass shower screen as well as the sides of the vanity. Make sure you know your measurements before you choose your vanity.


These beautiful soaps and bath oils are both functional and beautiful.


One other feature I love in our bathroom is this metal shelf. I didn't want a soap dish in our bath/shower as I hate how grungy they can get and also we mainly use liquid soap rather than a cake so a soap holder is unnecessary. Instead we have this shelf at the end of our shower/bath (it's above the toilet) and in easy reach when we are showering. It's where we store all our shampoo etc.


Just to show you what a difference a renovation can make - here's what the bathroom looked like when we bought this house.  You can see why I wanted something pretty!

Hideous in all respects
So there you have it. How to save a fortune on a new vanity and get something unique and pretty as well.  What do you think? Do you think you would do this or do you prefer a modern vanity with soft close drawers?


cheers

Fiona


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24 comments:

  1. i absolutely love yours- the off center sink is my favorite part- i love it like that! also loving the header with the chickens! :)

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    1. thanks Cassie - Did you not see the chickens before?

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  2. I hate modern vanities too and hope to repurpose a cabinet or set of drawers for ours (might be a while though...we have three bathrooms in this house and they are all butt ugly...don't know where to start really!) I love that you off-centred the handbasin too, such a great idea.

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    1. hi Karen - but you are in the perfect profession to find great furniture for vanities -you'll have to start keeping an eye out for special pieces!

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  3. Great renovation just shows you what you can do with a little imagination and hard word. "Love it"

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    1. thanks so much Karen. it's a big improvement isnt it!

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  4. It looks so lovely Fiona. How expensive was getting the counter made and installed? Did it turn out that much cheaper in the end? \

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    1. hi Ruth - I made it over myself in as far as removing the top and painting it. my builder cut the pipe holes for me (no extra charge) and I paid a couple of hundred dollars for the cesaerstone top - i was getting the whole kitchen and bathroom done so the installation was included in the price and it would have been the same for a new vanity or an old one. so in the end it was a heap cheaper. really the only additional cost was the outlay for the stone but i think it got it pretty discounted as i was using the same stone for my kitchen benchtop anyway and you buy it per huge sheet.

      cheers
      Fiona

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  5. Wow - I love your vanity! And that cupboard is the perfect fit, what a find!

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    1. thanks Catherine. much better than before isnt it!

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  6. I LOVE the piece! I've been looking for something similar for my main floor bath. I haven't found it yet and I'm not a patient person! What a great find :)

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    1. thanks Lisa -I'd suggest going to auctions. are you in Sydney? i could keep an eye out for you?

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  7. Oh you did good Fiona... love the way the whole sink area looks. The molding on the doors is fantastic! And very smart of you to off center the sink...more space for toiletries and adds even more interest to the sink and cabinet. Bravo!!!

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    1. thanks Barbara - much appreciated. I've had the bathroom like this for a year and I still am so happy with everything!

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  8. Hiya Fiona
    I'm so glad you're sharing this! It's something I've been mulling over for our bathroom reno too. You've done an amazing job!
    Cas x

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    1. thanks Cas, good luck with your bathroom renovation. I did so much research when planning this renovation so if you've got any questions about yours just ask.
      cheers Fiona

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  9. great upcycling!!!! Love this idea of reusing the oldies in this way. Do come link it up with us at our linky party at http://www.finecraftguild.com . We would love to share this with readers!

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  10. Fiona - I LOVE it. I so want to do this at our place. Great job - well done.

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  11. I love it when actual pieces of furniture are used as vanity. Yours is so pretty and charming!
    Mary Alice

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  12. It's beautiful! I love the legs and I also like how you didn't center the sink. It's really great!

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  13. Wonderful transformation! Much more functional with the sink to the side, too!

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  14. That is a seriously lovely upgrade.

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  15. I love the dresser sink look that's been going around the internet. Yours is simply beautiful!! The white and all the detail in the wood is so pretty. I like that you describe the kind of paint to use and what you did to the top as far as water getting on it. I've wondered how that part works. I'm loving your blog and I'm now following! ~ Jamie

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  16. Love the vintage French bathroom look, great article Fiona

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! (Sorry if you have trouble commenting, I'm trying to sort it out)