Using an antique chest to create a vanity/washstand?

farmhousegirlMarch 1, 2012

I am considering this. I was thinking about a wall mounted faucet with a bowl type sink on top of the chest. I'm not sure where all the pipes/drains go though. Will the drawers become inoperable?

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It all depends on the dresser, the ability of the carpenter retro fitting it. Some can make the drawers more shallow so they still work..First you have to pick the dresser then ask your carpenter.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Thanks arcy! Good idea on making the drawers shallow!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I'm considering this. I have an old washstand (with towel rack) I have had in the PR for years waiting for a sink and supply lines (builder only put in drain). Now I finally have a sink that even has a curved front like the washstand

but the washstand is too low (29") and also needs to have the top extended and towel bar moved back about 3". I put it up on 4x4s to get an idea (raised to 33", perfect height, same as main bath vanity) and it seems to be LOOMING over me as I sit on the throne. Bath is only 3' x 6'4". I think I just got used to having the piece at 29" but that's too low for dropin sink.

Old pix - will take new tomorrow:

Wondering if it would make the room look bigger if I just built a "farmhouse table" console to drop this into - I even bought the ORB trap with the sink thinking I would do this (see page 139 of newest BH&G, it's not online yet).

Maybe I should take the back off the washstand, slide it back over the drain, lay some spare floor tile in the open part, and see how it would look "opened up" before deciding to get custom-turned (32") legs and build a table?


Sorry for the hijack, here is the best "how to" link I've found, though I really don't know why they didn't just remove the wood top if they were going to put quartz on anyway:

Here is a link that might be useful: Ron Hazelton dresser vanity conversion

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:53PM
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We bought a small dresser to make into a bathroom vanity. The main issue is the depth. Most drop-in sinks are too deep to fit into the top of a 19" dresser, so undermount is the way to go, since they come much smaller. You also have to squeeze in the faucet, so don't get one with big old bell-shaped bottoms that will not fit. Many people just attach the top drawer to the dresser permanently to make room for the sink and plumbing then reconstruct the remaining drawers into a "U" shape to make room for the drain pipe.

Finally, I don't recommend using a dresser with an ornately shaped top, since it is much more expensive to have your marble or granite shaped into lots of whoop-de-doos. Be sure to leave a half-inch for a backsplash if you are going to glue it onto the vanity top.

Ajs momma- I'm having the same conversation with myself right now- build a rustic farm-style console or use an old piece of furniture that's too small? Ugh.

Or just buy a cheap vanity already built in the farmhouse style? Lowe's has one for 372 bucks...


Here is a link that might be useful: Farmhouse sink vanity at Lowe's

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 10:36PM
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Well, modifying the washstand isn't that hard to do - the curve of the sink fits the curve of the washstand perfectly, the top drawer is deep enough and I can even save about 5" of drawer space on each side, the center "wall" inside the vanity will have to be reduced in height for the trap but the bottom drawers don't have to be modified. I can add a 1x to the back of the top to extend the top past the sink, then attach the towel bat to that if I want and maybe add another small strip to keep it away from the wall (or just get a new top cut slightly deeper and don't use the towel bar). Add 1x4's to the sides like in the Ron H. video. Block up the feet to get it to the right height.

The question is whether a piece of furniture with drawers (and a door, if I make one to replace the missing one) will overwhelm the small PR, or if I should sacrifice storage to go with a more open look?

What's the piece you have you say is too small?

I've already bought the sink, own the washstand, even if I buy legs and oak 1x4s it will cost less to build my own than to buy the one from Lowes (and it will be solid oak, not MDF/plywood who knows what).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:02AM
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To the OP ;-) if you use a vessel sink you will have more room inside, won't have depth of sink to deal with but will still have P trap and shutoff valves. I had considered that, but I already have the faucet, would have to buy a taller one, couldn't find a vessel I liked for less than $300, and couldn't figure out how to get a drain into the bowl I show in the pic (flat on bottom, water would pool around the drain, sinks are made with a slope or a depression around the drain). Also be aware that vessels don't have overflows.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:05AM
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Here are pictures of ours -- sorry the photo is so poor, but it's hard to get a good shot. The original washstand is about 30" tall (not counting upper deck), so we used a vessel sink. with the vessel sink, very little space in the drawers was lost.

Here is a link that might be useful: Powder room vanity

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:50AM
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Wow, I would have thought you would have lost another inch out of each drawer for the drain (3" total?)! How much space did you lose in the bottom due to the trap and shut off valves? Maybe you meant to put that photo in, looks like last 2 photos are the same.

And if you don't mind me asking, where did you buy the sink and how much did you pay?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 10:03AM
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How deep is the vanity, and how large is your powder room? Do you think a 23" deep 32" high (w/o towel bar) washstand in my 6'4" long x 3' wide PR would be overwhelming? I've got 76"-29" = 47" from front of toilet bowl (which sticks out in front of the pocket door) to the far wall, so would have 47-23= 24" from front of bowl to front edge of vanity top, which is higher, actually would have 25" at knee-level while sitting (sink would be at eye level depending on how tall you are) since the top drawer sticks out 1" from the bottom drawers/door/face.

I'm starting to get used to it blocked up to 33" height (whether added 3.5" to the legs will ruin the proportions of the chest is another issue), and believe the depth will be fine since I got used to it sitting there pulled out from the wall (due to drain pipe sticking out) for the past 4+ years. Two feet is probably plenty of space b/t the toilet and vanity as far as access, it's just whether the room would look crowded, and whether it's worth giving up storage space to make it look less crowded by using something that would have almost 2ft long legs underneath a wide apron.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:00AM
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ajsmama, we lost nothing out of the bottom drawer at all. The trap fits between the two top drawers. There's a hole behind the upper drawers that the trap goes through into the wall and that allows access to the cutoffs. The hole is about 6" high by 10" wide and you can't see it unless the drawers are taken out.

I found the vessel sink on eBay and think I paid about $100 for it. I needed a smaller one, because the upper deck limits the depth of useful space on the countertop. I also wanted blue-and-white. These two things meant I had to pay more than I might have, because there are some very inexpensive vessel sinks on eBay. This one is not perfect -- the water does not drain completely out of it because the drain hardware sits a fraction higher than the bowl bottom-- but it works well enough.

Our vanity is 30" high to the countertop and it works fine in a powder room, since all it is really used for is washing hands. It is 20 1/2" deep and 41" wide.

Our powder room is just under 4' wide by 7' long -- the door is halfway down one 7 side. Your room is about the same as ours. I don't think your vanity will overwhelm your room by any means. I'm also not sure you need to raise it. Ours actually has casters on the bottom (which obviously aren't used!) that add an inch or two in height. I really don't think you need a full-height vanity for a powder room, especially if it's going to spoil the look of the piece.

And sorry about the double pic! It's my first time posting for Photobucket, so I'm still learning the ropes.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Sorry ... in the first paragraph I meant to say, "There's a hole behind the upper drawers that the DRAIN PIPE goes through ..." The trap is between the drawers.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Wow, your trap must be turned the skinny way, lined up exactly in the middle of the vanity if you didn't lose any room out of the bottom drawer (I can see you didn't need to cut it, but thought you might not have much storage space in there). The top drawers must also be fairly deep, and the waste pipe high. Our waste pipe isn't centered on the wall, comes out at an angle (so no pedestal sink), and is 20" off the floor and of course the trap hangs below that.

I looked on eBay for years and never found a small (12" round) vessel I liked for anywhere near $100! Oh well, I like the drop-in sink I bought, I will lose some storage but if I use the washstand I will still have a good bit.

There's a lot of difference between 6ft and 7ft, 18sf and 28sf but I lost 4" to the plumbing wall on one side and 7" on the toilet side so interior sf is a lot less than it looks like from the foyer. Another ft in each direction and DD wouldn't get her butt against the wall when she turns around to flush, and the toilet wouldn't be in front of the door (builder gave us elongated toilet, I sold it and bought a round front).

It's only been a few days since I put the washstand up on 4x4's and I'm already getting used to it. I really do have to block it up with a drop-in sink, otherwise everyone but my 8-yr old will have to bend over to use the sink - and I'm only 5'2"!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Oh, and I have to add that your vanity is perfect! Not only do I love the upper deck and mirror, but you've got storage AND those lovely long legs!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Thanks, ajsmama! The trap is turned the skinny way, and since this was a total remodel, the plumbing was configured to the vanity. We bought the sink about 5 years ago.

Sorry, I misread the measurements on your bath. The extra 8" is significant. It might be better to have the "farmhouse table" console built, because it could be shallower. Or possibly you could modify the washstand to a shallower depth, say 18" or even less. The faucet could be put to one side instead of behind the sink. If you're rebuilding the drawers anyway, it might be possible to do this.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:53AM
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Check out the link to Overstock to see the sink - it's 18" deep with faucet holes drilled so they have to go in back. But if I only leave 3/4" wood showing front and back (and 4.25" on each side), I can get it down to 19.5" deep. I'd love to keep the towel bar, that adds another 3/4", and with a 1/2" spacer behind it (I hope that's enough to hang a towel and not just my doily) it comes to 20.75" - call it 21". I don't think the 1.25 - 1.5" difference b/t the washstand (I'd still want some wood showing in front and behind in a console) due to the towel bar is that significant - do you? IIRC says 21" from front of bowl to any obstruction, even with 21" deep washstand I have 26".

But I am thinking of opening up the wall to move the drain pipe up and over to fit in the space better (and come out square to the wall instead of at an angle), since we have to run the supply lines anyway. We could just drill 1" diameter holes in the drywall for the water lines and poke around til they go down the holes we'll drill up from the basement, but if it's going to be hidden behind a vanity I don't mind cutting out some drywall to move the waste pipe.

Now I've totally hijacked the thread, I'm going to have to take some pix and start a new thread - sorry.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 11:56AM
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I am also thinking of doing this. Love the look. I was thinking i could reuse the dresser's drawer fronts but replace the actual drawers with shallower ones to avoid hitting the plumbing. One issue I was thinking about was maybe the dresser needs to have a better coat of varnish to withstand the bath humidity? Would love to hear what experienced people say about this..

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 7:55PM
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I have a small cabinet converted into a vanity. The hammered copper sink adds height and its oval shape works well with the shallow cabinet.

DH modified the top drawer to accommodate the plumbing.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 2:00AM
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Looks like you've got a tight space there too. How wide is the room, and how wide is the dresser?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Here are two pictures of sideboards turned into vanities. I love the first one!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sideboard Turned Vanity

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:20AM
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ajsmama - I just saw your question after posting on the other thread. My PR is 36.5" wide and the vanity is 32.5" wide. We actually built the room around the vanity, since this room was part of an addition.

The cabinet is shallow and the vessel is tall so I used a wall mount faucet.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:11AM
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I love the wall-mount faucet, but I've already got a sink with 8" holes, and an ORB faucet. At 21" deep, DD would not be able to reach a wall-mount faucet.

I've decided to stay with the casters and sink height of 30.5", since DD and I are short, my parents are shrinking, and I've got an attached towel bar and mirror to hang over it. We'll do taller in the master (I saw a 50" wide double serpentine sideboard yesterday, a bit tall for me - 35"? - and we'd only be able to fit a single sink but it was very nice!).

I'm glad to see that the vanity looks in proportion to your room, and it's an inch wider than my washstand. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:57AM
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I think you'll be fine at 35" for your master.

My vanity w/vessel sink is 36" tall total and I'm only 5'2". I thought it would be too tall for me to use comfortably but it's fine, even with the wall mounted faucet. DD has no trouble using it either.

I did remove the casters, which would have added another inch or two.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:31PM
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Went back today, they want $375 for the sideboard, I said I'd have to get a better look at it (it's in the workshop with stuff piled up on top and around it) before I decided. That was a rough guess at height, wasn't able to measure it. I'd still really like double sinks (since we've got the rough-ins for it). 35" is OK for me (I'm 5'2" as well), won't have to bend over at all to spit toothpaste out, it's just a little high for washing hands but I probably won't be doing that too much in the master. I have a bad back and doing dishes in the kitchen sink (maybe b/c it's deeper than a lav?) bothers me, I have to lift my arms over the edge and then put my hands down in, so washing hands (or delicates) is easier for me in a 33-34" countertop sink, but again I decided I could live with 30.5" in the powder room so I don't have to modify the legs of the washstand, just add casters. DD has trouble reaching the big lever handle on the kitchen sink with 24" deep x 36" high cabinet, so I figured 22" deep and 33" might be a stretch for her right now too (and she'd splash/drip all the way down the wall with a wall mount faucet!).

I guess I have to measure the height of the rim on my utility sink - even though it's deep, I don't have any problems with that, even when I was washing out dozens of old canning jars that had been stored in cellars.

I did get the mirror for the powder room! $35 plus tax. Just needs the glass cleaned (don't appear to be any scratches, just smears), and a finish on the frame since it's very dull, looks like it maybe was stripped and stained but not finished. Has holes (filled) in the sides where you can see it attached to a harp on a dresser, right now just has a wire wrapped around a couple of screws in the back to hang from. Going to have to see if I have any D rings, or go buy some. At least this mirror isn't as heavy as the 2x3 one!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:29PM
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