Bathrooms, Before and After, Interiors

Tips for turning a Craigslist “Antique” into a Vanity

I’ve been working on a kitchen and bath renovation for an old, classic Denver home for quite a while and it’s coming to a close this month.  It’s exciting to see everything come to fruition and, as always for me, slightly surreal when it looks almost exactly like the imagined photo I’ve been carrying around in my head for the past 9 months or so.

Creating vanities from vintage pieces is a fantastic way to get a unique look.  At first glance you might think is a budget alternative to a vanity from a place like Pottery Barn, but it’s actually similar in price to having a new vanity custom made.  Be realistic about the costs and budget for it if it’s something you want.  Re-purposed furniture adds a lot of character to a bathroom!

sideboard repurposed bathroom vanity
The Craigslist piece newly purchased!  It’s pretty as is and I could see leaving the wood un-painted but for this particular bathroom we chose to paint it.

We started with a beautiful, and well-priced Craigslist sideboard.  My client wanted something unique for her double vanity and we have a linen cabinet in the room, so storage was not a high priority.   When you look for something like this to use, look for a piece that is at least 34″ tall.  This piece was about 41″ in height and to get it down to 36″ (including the stone top), we had a carpenter cut the legs down.  In addition to the piece being at least 34″ in height, look for a minimum depth of 18″ for your sink – you could go a little less deep if you’re okay with a vessel sink and faucets that are either wall-mounted or off to the side.

vintage bathroom vanity
Here’s the piece, newly carried up the stairs and installed!  I also love how the tile floor turned out!

When you re-purpose a vintage piece for a vanity – you’ll need to look for smaller overmount sink or even a vessel sink in order to fit in the plumbing and faucets.  This particular bathroom will be used every day by the family and vessel sinks just aren’t practical for that type of use.  Wall mounting the faucets also was out of the question because the ceiling is sloped here and we have limited room for the mirror and sconces.  After a lot of looking for something that would fit, we chose this petite sink – the  Bryant White Drop-In Oval Sink by Kohler.  We both liked the way the oval looked with the vanity.  The carpenter was able to fit these two sinks in and keep some storage intact in the piece.  The vintage-style faucets were an easy choice – they’re the Weymouth faucet from Moen.

The client fell in love with an entire slab of quartz for the top – but the cost was almost twice what you would even want to pay for an entire vanity, so that was scrapped.  She and I spent a while looking at stone yards and finally found a white quartz remnant that was perfect in look and in size.  I frequently shop remnants for bathroom vanities as buying an entire new slab is typically cost prohibitive.  We wanted a 2cm thickness (rather than the very common 3cm) to go with the delicate looks of the vanity.  We had the back piece shaped to look similar to the original wooden piece on the server.  When you do this – it adds style to the piece, but it also takes up your labor cost on the fabrication – just keep this in mind.  We had a brief “oh no” moment when the fabricator accidentally broke the backsplash into 3 pieces, but they were able to salvage it!

The vanity was painted a low gloss Black 2132-10, by Benjamin Moore, carefully carried up the turning flight of stairs and installed!  It’s a beautiful, vintage piece that adds character to the new bathroom and to the older home.  Here’s my word of caution:   a Craigslist find may seem like something that would be a budget solution for a bathroom, but it’s just not.  If you do this, just be prepared to spend quite a bit more than you would on a pre-made vanity.  The double sinks, the double faucets, the carpenter to retro-fit the sinks into the piece and fit in working storage, the painter for a nice cabinet finish that will hold up, the cost of the top and the labor to make it, then – the plumber to install it!  I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing this because I think you should!  I think it’s important to be realistic about costs.

Here’s a Before and After gif of the piece:

before and after bathroom remodel


Vintage isn’t always cheaper, but the style and character it adds is absolutely worth it.

“I spent my first paycheck on a vintage Mercedes.” Jennifer Aniston



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