Realtors will always tell you that “kitchen and bathrooms sell houses”. I guess it must have been something else entirely that sold us on our houses because Nette and I both started our DIY life with both a mega kitchen and a bathroom remodel (among many other things).
When Nette started planning her bathroom remodel, she initially had her heart set on refurbishing a vintage dresser to a vanity (read about it here). Guess who was bouncing up and down over here, squealing “Me too! Me too!”? Yep, that’d have been yours truly. I’m a proud member of “Antiques Anonymous” and living in an almost 100 year old house in a a nationally registered Historic District is truly enabling. From the start we knew that the new master bathroom in our little old house would need some lovely vintage touches: a clawfoot tub, some darling mosaic tile and a special vanity to match.
Here are some fabulous, vintage inspired bathrooms to give you an idea!
Just like Nette, the idea of a vintage dresser turned vanity sent my heart all a-flutter. And just like Nette, I learned that the hardest part of making this project come true was finding the right kind of dresser for this kind of project. You see, there are a number of things you need to take into account when searching for the right kind of dresser
- the maximum height depending on the style of sink you want to install (about 30 inches for a vessel sink and up to 36 inches for an under-mount or regular sink)
- the minimum depth of your dresser to provide enough room to install sink -and- faucet
- room for plumbing (drain and supply lines to the faucet) especially in regard to drawer use. Will there be any functioning drawers left for storage after you’ve run all of your plumbing line?
In my experience, your best bet (for installing a vessel sink) are … ta-daaa: vintage writing desks. These are also called knee-hole desks because they feature this cut-out aka ‘hole’ for you to put your knees. The height is right (usually around 29-30 inches), there’s enough depth for a sink and generally there are still drawers left on either side of the knee hole when you’re running the plumbing parts through the drawer in the center.
We were lucky, and after searching on and off for several months, we scored our vintage knee-hole desk for less than $50 at one of our local thrift stores not too long ago. I showed it off for the first time here. Look at those cute feet! Ohh, and those ring pulls! Just lovely! The carved detail on the center drawer and the curved front sent us over the edge and once more we loaded the roof rack of my trusted old Jeep with a great find.
Yours truly took care of refinishing and especially sealing the wooden top with Varathane to keep it safe from future spills and drops ,and then the husband went to work installing it in its rightful place: the master bath.
Here’s now my dilemma. The husband installed it and I wasn’t around to give a proper first hand report of the process. And while the husband is a writer by professional trade, he’s also busy and keeps weird office hours which hardly coincide with my waking hours on week days. Not wanting to wait another week before sharing this adventure with you, here’s what I know from love notes and quick questions.
Installing the necessary hardware for the plumbing ie cold and hot water line shut-offs wasn’t hard at all, thanks to the updated plumbing here at the little old house. Husband was very grateful that there were no issues with mismatched plumbing pieces and ill-fitting substitutes. That made things a lot easier.
The process itself, installing a bowl sink and faucet on a desk, was just as straightforward and simple as it sounds (it’s finding the right desk/dresser/buffet that’s the hard part):
- drill holes for lines (faucet and drain)
- install drain and supply lines
- fasten sink and faucet
- check for leaks
Not all that hard and a lot less intimidating that we at first thought. That is, until husband started drilling the holes.
Husband had asked me to position the vessel sink on the vanity/desk the way I liked it to mark the position for the following drilling for the drain. Then we had to repeat the same for the faucet’s supply lines and fastening mechanism (a small metal plate and screws). Easy-peasy – I first eyeballed the position of the sink to where it felt right and then measured to make sure it was really centered.
Then husband started drilling.
And he drilled.
And kept on drilling.
He was drilling as if our desk’s top were 10 inches thick instead of 3/4.
Ahh, the craftsmanship of bygone times!
The magnificent strength of aged mature wood!
The hardened wood of our vintage desk gave our drill and my husband quite a work-out. You might or might not have heard a few choice words. And smelled smoke.
But in the end the wood gave, the drill bit broke through and we had a hole just about big enough for the drain to sit nice and tight.
Voila! A vintage desk turned vanity! We love how it turned out and how it adds a homey, yet classy touch to our vintage style master bathroom without overwhelming the space like one of those chunky massive modern vanities. I’m proud of husband how he handled this plumbing challenge and I’m ecstatic that we’re another step closer to an actual master bathroom.
[Gorgeous, isn’t it? Make sure you pop on over to A Little Old House to visit Micha, her family, and of course her house! Thanks for guest posting with us today, Micha! I can’t wait to see how the rest of that bathroom turns out!