Antique washstand in PR?

2ajsmamaMarch 5, 2012

I bought this sink on Overstock- the curve fits the curve of my washstand, chest isn't quite deep enough so I will have to take off the towel bar, add 2.5" to the back of the "countertop" (I plan on just using the wood top), attach the (3/4" thick) towel bar and then probably put a strip or some blocks (1/2" thick) on the back to hold it away from the wall so I can hang towels on it and not just a doily.

The "vanity" would then be about 20.75" - 21" deep (allowing for 18" deep sink, 3/4" of wood showing in front and 3/4" behind plus the 3/4" towel bar and 1/2" spacers). The room is only 76" long and 36" wide, with the smallest toilet I could find installed the front of the bowl is 29" from back wall (where I took pix from) so 76-29-21 = 26" clearance from bowl to edge of countertop (which is 1" in front of the bottom drawers/missing door/face frame). So this is tight, but meets code.

I'm getting used to the blocked-up (33" to countertop) height now, and I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything shallower with this sink (too much $$ to mail back to Overstock plus I love it!), so the only question is, am I good to go with this washstand, or if I add 3" to the legs (blocked up 3.5" now but I could give up 1/2" in height), would it destroy the proportions of the piece? Does it make the room look too small?

Though I love to have the storage (since there is NO room for storage anywhere else in this tiny room), would it be better to build a simple "farmhouse table" type console with long legs and a deep apron to make the room look bigger (if possible)? I'd have to store some extra TP and feminine supplies in a box or basket under the table (Lysol wipes could go in laundry room, the box under there has a ORB P trap in it).

Here is a link that might be useful: Londonville sink

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Does this help? I don't know whether I can completely remove the center support, the back, and the sides without compromising structural integrity, but if you can visualize the piece with the simple tapered oak legs, the oak top, that sink, and a curved apron, I'd build a "console table" like this (I can maybe even get my cousin to make me a drawer when/if he makes the legs and routes the countertop for me). Don't know if I'd do a towel bar in that case or just hang the antique oak-framed mirror I have a little lower than planned.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 2:39PM
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ajsmama, we just installed a dresser and buffet modified to function as vanities in two baths in our new build. I personally don't think you can replicate the unique look these pieces add to a bath and think your original washstand looks great. The height on our vanities is also lower than standard, but for the occasional hand washing, it doesn't bother me. I wouldn't necessarily want it in the master however.

My only hestiation is that you said it would be in a powder room and you didn't intend to replace the wood top. One of our wood pieces is in 5 year old DD's bath and she is obsessive about wiping the surface down every time she uses the sink. Our other dresser is in a very rarely used guest bath. If I had a lot of guests using the vanity (that are not always great about wiping up water drips), I would be inclined to put marble on the top instead. My parents had a similar wood top in their main floor bath and the area around the sink had severe damage after just a few years.

Also, I don't know if I would raise the towel bar on your washstand. My opinion is that it would take away from the piece by doing so. Instead, I would leave it where it is, and display some vintage embroidered fingertip towels. Then place a towel rink on the side wall for a more practical towel.

Here are pictures of our two unfinished baths. It is hard to get a decent shot of the vanities due to the light!

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    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Thanks for the pix - maybe you can take a better one of the first (which bath is that?) by standing in the shower? I can't get any better pix in the room (could move the chest out) b/c literally I was holding the camera against the wall over the toilet and took 10 shots to get 1 I could use!

How tall are your countertops/sinks? 30"? I would have a lot less wood showing with that big dropin sink, but my 8yr old is NOT good about wiping up drips off the Formica counter, I would have to leave the soap pump ON the porcelain and tell her all the time to wipe b/c I know she would drip on the wood. I just planned on sealing it well with polyurethane (thinking of Sikkens Cetol for outdoor use, I've used it on my front door which is sheltered by the porch but still gets rain against it, plus UV, and it hasn't needed any maintenance in almost 5 yrs).

I could also look for a granite remnant, but I really am trying to do this for as little $ as possible since I also have to finish the master bath this year (at least I have all the fixtures).

Oh, and I wasn't going to raise the towel bar, was going to raise the whole cabinet by adding 3" to the legs, and was just going to put 1/2" "spacers" b/t the back of the towel bar (sides that hold the rod) and the wall b/c I didn't want it pushed right up against the wall, wanted room for towels. Here's a better view of the top:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Our cabinets are 32" high for the one with the attached mirror and 35" high for the buffet piece. DD's bath actually has the buffet and it is much too high for her. I think the 32" is a better overall height for kids and adults both.

I also treated the tops with multiple coats of varnish. We did have to completely strip/sand the tops for the varnish to adhere properly. My thought is that we will try to care for the wood the best we can and make it last as long as possible. If it deteriorates in the future, I will remove just the top and replace it with marble at that point.

Here is a better picture of the buffet piece and and interior shot of our modified drawers on the dresser. The buffet didn't need any modification because we carefully planned and placed the plumbing to fit in the door space under the sink.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Ah, see, my little washstand is only 29" high so I do have to block it up (and would help to have levelers on the legs too since I'm sure the tile isn't level).

Great job on the drawers! I figured the same thing re: the top. If a couple coats of shellac (to make it easy to strip in the future) and Cetol don't protect the wood enough, I'll just have to replace the top later - with something the same thickness, or add an extension if the tailpiece isn't long enough going down to the P trap. I planned on stripping a little bit of paint left in the pores, making the modifications, then finishing everything including the raw edge of the cutout before dropping in the sink (with caulk of course).

I think anything stone-like is going to be easily $500 with the fancy shape and edge, I can't afford that for this bathroom when I still have to finish the master bath (tub deck, heated floor, countertop, maybe wainscot, and lots of labor since I'm not sure I'm up to the job).

Love both pieces! Wish I could find something that nice around here. I did find a really nice oak buffet today but it was 84" long and I only have 74 from corner to door in my master bath (it was also only 16" deep, and I already have a 60" maple vanity in there, that I will replace as soon as I find the right sideboard.)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 7:13PM
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It sounds like you have a great plan! My family and DH all thought I was a little crazy when I said I wanted to do this in our new build, but I actually convinced DH with how much more affordable this option was for us. The buffet was $125 at a local antique store and the next week at the same store, I found the dresser for $200. We couldn't have purchased a new vanity, mirror and laminate countertop at a big box store for anywhere close to those prices!

I agree that the stone top would add significantly to the cost and can always be modified later when you aren't in the midst of a large project. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:18PM
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Wow, great prices. You must live in the Midwest or South. Surely not New England or the west coast with those prices! I like how the vanities tie in with the doors and trim - are you going to put wainscoting in the bathrooms, or tall baseboards?

But vanity prices are crazy. I don't even want to know what we paid for the ones the builder installed in our house (modular house, package deal, no breakouts given, just "upgrade" costs when I picked better than their basic, and I don't even remember what those costs were). But I was looking for 24" vanities online, I can't believe $500 - $800! Don't look like anything special (those did include stone or quartz countertops at the high end). I know the big box stores here have some on special for $200-$300 with a china sink, but I'm just really suspicious of MDF. I know it's more stable than solid wood in high humidity, so it's fine for the general bath with DS taking steamy showers, but after seeing the junk that was in our old houses (this is number 3) and apartments I tried to pick better for this house, and a PR should be fine with a nice solid piece of wood furniture (though the top and the top drawer's curved front look to be veneer).

The vanities in the 2.5 baths in our last house were literally falling apart - even the tiny PR vanity, and the house wasn't that old. I think it was built in 1988, we bought in '94 and after fixing the roof, putting in a driveway, and bringing in loam and reseeding the lawn, we immediately gutted the master bath and remodeled it (I think it was 1997). Forget what we paid for the 60" vanity (solid oak face frame and doors) then but it probably wasn't over $500, put a laminate countertop on it. The custom oak tub surround my step-uncle built was much less expensive, but the unfinished raised panel doors I bought to put on it (providing access to plumbing) were pretty expensive. I wanted to do the same (but with maple - cherry is too expensive) in this house but I'm sure the doors would be out of my budget.

Oh, and the best thing - this washstand was free! My mom gave it to us for a dresser when DD was born, she doesn't want it back. It's been (sort of) refinished, the door is missing and so is original hardware, but that's why I don't mind cutting into it. The left front corner of the top looks like someone sanded through the veneer, but the veneer isn't lifting. It's still full of dark old scratches and gouges and the top is blotchy, but the worst of it will be cut out and I figure the rest just gives it "character". Need a little of that in a brand-new fake farmhouse Colonial with bright shiny cabinetry in the other rooms. I don't like painted wood or white kitchens, so went with oak, but maybe when DD is out of college (in 14 yrs) we can update the kitchen and the main bath - they might need it after 19 yrs!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Right front corner is where the veneer looks sanded through.

As far as prices, I splurged on the sink just b/c I had bought an oval one last year from HD (online), didn't like the quality, they replaced it, still not good, and it was still over $100, so when I saw this curved front one on Overstock for $147 less 10% and $1 shipping I took a chance. I already have the faucet (Pegasus ORB, might not be a great brand but it was $83 clearance at HD), the sinks I bought for my master are Kohler and I got 1 clearance HD the other from eBay 5 years ago, less than $150 for BOTH (not each). Same thing (clearance and eBay, all brand new though some open boxes) for the Delta Victorian faucets, towel bars, mirrors, etc. for the master. I just hope ORB isn't "out" before I get done, though I don't care b/c I like the look - did the chrome in the last house.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:00PM
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I am in the midwest, central Iowa, so that does help with the antique prices. Both the pieces are solid oak, but the buffet did have a chip in the bottom drawer that I haven't gotten around to fixing yet. I'm so tired of staining and waterloxing all of the other woodwork in the house, I need a break!

For the walls, we are going to put up subway tile to approximately light switch height. The tile will go down and meet the floor with a sanitary base matching tile. The tile was another find at Menards, on sale for 15 cents per tile!

My sinks and faucets were also cheapos, the sink was $19 and the faucet was in the $45 range, both at Lowes. Because we are doing a lot of the work ourselves on our build, I have been able to put in cheaper materials where it doesn't matter to me and then splurge on other items. Our crystal emtek door knobs almost gave DH a heart attack!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Oh yeah, I can imagine! I looked at some Emtek ORB knobs to replace the brass Yale ones (actually not that bad - I've seen worse - but boy our hinges are cheap!). Decided to pass, Overstock had some decent ones for $15 (closet) and $20 (BR). Hard to find cheap ORB *square* pocket door pulls. But the builder cut them out, didn't bore holes and put round pulls in.

I did really splurge when we were building - they never put in a railing(!) so I ordered fluted "contemporary" (but I thought they looked Mission-ary) oak newels, my cousin routed some trim for them, and he put up stock oak railing and rosettes but I bought solid brass railing supports. (Kind of Victorian but I figured WTH, things probably got mixed 100 years ago, nothing in a farmhouse got updated all the same time.) I want to trim out the gap where the stairs meet the wall on foyer side, stain that part and touch up the wall paint, then I'll install the "boxes" on the bottoms of the newels and he'll cut and join the trim to hide the lag bolts, but here's a pic when it was in progress (years ago - lots of half-completed projects around here - then again there has been a lot of re-work due to poor craftsmanship in original build).

Too bad gas is so $ - I'd go to your antique shop to look for a buffet to put in my master!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Your stairs are very pretty! It is so hard when you are trying to get everything you want on a budget, especially when your taste runs to the unique side of things. I always tell myself that we can just put something in for now and change it out later, but that seems like such a waste as well. So I keep trying to bargain hunt and make choices that I am happy with, but still cheap and balance those out with the splurges.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:31PM
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Well, I would have put a cheap vanity with cultured marble top in the PR when we moved in if

1) I had known it was going to take us 5 yrs to finish and
2) they had run the supply lines

Though I don't think it wouldn't have taken me 5 yrs to find a sink to fit this washstand, I would have been looking much harder if the supply lines had been there to begin with!

It's also hard to finish things when you are working with some pretty strange mixtures of materials (when I ordered oak treads, I never dreamed that the stringers and risers would be pine!) and miscommunications that require work-arounds (I did tell the builder I wanted a bullnose step on the bottom, 2 oak newels and an oak handrail like the staircase he had in his house).

But I'm happy with the newels I used on the 4th (half) step up, my cousin was able to customize them for me, and I love the brass brackets. I just have to find someone willing to cut the treads to install the starting newels and balusters for me (we'll have to tear out drywall in the basement to secure the starting newels b/c they finished the underside of the stairs - don't know why, it's not a finished basement.).

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:00AM
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