The Bathroom Vanity Makeover
It’s Week 6 of the One Room Challenge, and the Bathroom Vanity Makeover is a success! Last week, I focused on gathering the materials and design elements. This week, I’m showing the process and the results! Buckle Up–I’m taking you through the entire process…
This vanity was in need of a makeover. The color would have worked out okay with the design of the bathroom, but it felt a little dark in this small, windowless room. In addition to lightening it up, I wanted to add some details to the piece so it didn’t feel so…”builder-grade,” for lack of a better phrase. This piece was never the highest quality, but it’s still got life left in it.
- Sandpaper, various grits
- Bamboo Mats
- 1×6″ pine board, (1 board at 6 foot length)
- .25″ x 3″ lattice boards, (2 boards at 8 foot lengths)
- Wood Filler
- E-6000 Glue
- Liquid Nails
- Mineral Spirits + Clean Dry Rag
- Soft Close Hinges
- Shims/Spacers for Hinges
- Finishing Nails
- 3 Brushed Brass Cabinet Pulls (1 set of extra long bolts)
- Brushed Gold Faucet
- Chop Saw
- Pry Bar
- Rubber Mallet
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Small Screwdriver
- Palm Sander
- “C” Clamps
- Caulking Gun
- Nail Gun
- Box Cutter
- Paint Sprayer
- Upholstery Staple Remover
Prepping the Drawer
I started by removing the drawer from the cabinet, leaving the drawer slides attached to the drawer. Since the drawer piece itself wasn’t going to get painted, that hardware could easily stay attached.
Using a screwdriver, I removed the existing hardware.
Since the bamboo design element was going to be attached to the drawer front, I could have left the entire drawer assembled. But, the front edges were slightly rounded, so I decided to remove it and flip it over. I removed the drawer front from the drawer (gently) using a chisel, pry bar and rubber mallet.
The drawer front was attached with a type of staple–similar to the size of finishing nails. I used my technique with needle nose pliers, grabbing the staples with any part sticking up. I pulled and twisted in a circle carefully. I wasn’t super concerned about what the front of the drawer would look like, since it was going to be covered anyway. I just didn’t want the staples sticking out.
I sanded the inside of the drawer front–soon to be the outside. I wanted a sanded surface so the glue would have a better chance of adhering itself. I used my palm sander with 220 grit sandpaper.
Prepping the Doors
I went through a similar process of prepping the doors.
- Removed the doors from the cabinet that were connected with standard hinges
- Set aside old hinges for sizing/comparison
- Removed the existing pulls
- Sanded both sides & edges with palm sander and 220 grit sandpaper
- Filled only the bottom hole of the pull/handle with wood filler
Adding the Bamboo Details
I ordered a set of two bamboo rugs to have enough to work with for this bathroom vanity makeover. The drawer front was 24″ wide. The doors both needed a large piece to insert–roughly 9″ x 18″ size. The idea was for the drawer front to be completely covered with the bamboo. The doors already had trim edging where the bamboo could be inserted.
I started by measuring out the piece that would cover the drawer front. I used a square to mark a straight line across. Next, I marked the edges with a pencil. *I marked measurements slightly larger than needed so I could sand down to fit exactly.
I used a box cutter to cut along the lines. I went over them 2-3 times before finally using scissors to make the cuts.
Warning: The next step was a failure. I added a layer of liquid nails, and it did not adhere AT ALL.
What Actually Worked: I used E-6000 glue in small sections, like 3-4 inches at a time. Then I would clamp that section and let it dry for a few hours/overnight.
*You’ll notice in the photo above, I had left the gray-ish backing on the rug here. It will actually peel off, but I didn’t realize this until I did the doors. I would recommend peeling off–it’s just an extra layer you don’t need for this type of project.
Once the entire piece was dry, the edges were sanded. It worked best to use the palm sander and a low grit sandpaper. I used 100 grit. Once the edges were flush with the drawer front, I finished sanding with 200 grit.
I also sanded the front of the bamboo with sandpaper, in an effort to rough it up a bit to prep for priming and painting.
The door bamboo was a very similar process to prep. However, the order of the steps was different. I cut the size of the insert just slightly larger to insert into the door.
It was important to dry fit it, and then sand it slightly. I would check it again, and then sand again as needed. The process was tedious, but vital to the overall look. I started with the top and bottom edges.
Once the top and bottom edges seemed to fit nicely, I had to slice the sides a bit. Using a box cutter, I shaved off the edges until the sideways measurement fit.
Once the sizing fit, I was ready to glue. I used the E-6000 again.
It was important to apply pressure to the bamboo once the glue was in place and the bamboo was inserted. I grabbed a couple of full beverage boxes to make this happen.
*Be careful how long you leave this–and how heavy they are. Just a couple hours should do the trick.
*It’s also important to sand the bamboo inserts prior to gluing and inserting, so you don’t end up like me…
I did the first one right. Then, after I glued the second one, I just stared at it, thinking…”Why do they look different?” (face palm)
The “Soft Close” Hinges
The plan was to replace the standard hinges with soft-close hinges. If you have standard hinges, you know the “bang” that happens every time to door is closed. I got a video of it just so I never forget. If you find yourself questioning whether or not soft-close is worth it…it absolutely is. The trouble is, they can get pricey. I found some hinges on amazon that were great quality and a fraction of the cost of the ones in store. I’m no hinge expert, so I just ordered some that I thought would work.
In the photo above, you’ll see the new hinge on top, with the old hinge on the bottom. The part that inserts into the door–with the rounded insert piece–is the same shape as the old ones. The part that installs into the side of the cabinet was different. However, that only meant that the hinges would install into different holes, (new ones that I would be creating). It wouldn’t detract from the function.
One problem that I had to solve for was the “cup” depth–on the door. The diameter size was correct, but the depth was too shallow for the new hinge. The new hinges are standard sized, and I didn’t realize these doors were “low profile.” You can actually order cup spacers for this specific issue, but I decided on a DIY design. I used shims to add the support I needed. In this particular case, I cut leftover pieces of the bamboo mat. I dry fit them with the hinge in place, then added E-6000 glue, letting them dry slightly before drilling the hardware in. In a couple instances, there was a little bit of splitting, but it didn’t take away from the height I needed, so it didn’t concern me.
One thing I did like about the new hinges is the “stop” they have for edge of the cabinet. There’s no question about the correct horizontal placement–the new hinge has little hardware pieces that fit perfectly against the cabinet. So, all you have to think about is the vertical placement.
In an effort to ensure the doors were installed at the correct height, I used the bamboo shims again–placing them at the bottom, where the door would rest in a slightly elevated position. Once installed, the doors would close with a slight gap, without the fear of rubbing.
Creating the Custom Trim Details
I knew I wanted to trim out the bottom–where originally there was an opening. I can’t tell you how many little “bits” we’ve lost track of over the years. And, obviously, it’s a magnet for dog hair to collect. I removed it with my upholstery staple remover.
After that front piece was removed, I used a 6″ wide pine board, with mitered edges to surround the base of the cabinet, across the front and on each side. I attached them with Liquid Nails and carefully placed finishing nails.
The side trim was more tricky. The original countertop was staying, therefore, I had to choose trim pieces that would fit that overhang. The overhang? It was .25″ which is really slim. I searched high and low for material that would fit in those parameters. Finally I discovered these lattice boards with a .25″ depth. The pieces would have to be sanded quite a bit to lose the rough surface. But, it was my answer. I did mitered cuts in the corners, created a frame to trim out the sides.
The process was the same as the base trim. Cut, dry fit, sand, apply Liquid Nails and nail in place.
Priming & Painting
I primed this vanity with 1 coat of primer, using my Graco Paint Sprayer. I went back over it after it had dried to spot check it for any additional spots needed. I did two coats of brushed on primer for the doors, since the coverage wasn’t as good as with the sprayer. I would have done them all at the same time if I was more prepared.
The paint I chose, Wild Truffle from Behr, ended up being perfect. This time, I did have my act together, and I was able to do the doors at the same time that I did the cabinet.
My initial decision to go with gold hardware ended up being the right choice–my second would have been bronze or black. The gold works so well with the delicate detail of the bamboo + the combo of the gold faucet is dynamite. In order to install the hardware, I had to drill through the original drawer front to ensure the measurements were level and correct by using a cabinet hardware template.
I decided to use a very small drill bit to make the pilot holes all the way through to the bamboo on the drawer front, since I was sweating for fear that the bamboo would crack.
It worked. The tiny bit did not crack the bamboo. Once the small pilot holes were in place, I went in from the front, using a larger bit that would accommodate the bolt size for the hardware.
Having the hardware holes in place before painting was smart–I’m not usually that prepared, but it definitely paid off this time.
This gold faucet is so pretty. I love the sleek look and how well it goes with the hardware. I had to remove the old faucet–and it wasn’t easy. There is very little room for a wrench, so I had to do everything vertical.
If you’ve ever had to use a wrench vertical on a horizontal nut, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But, I did it. Everything was removed, I cleaned all of the old junk off, and prepped the area to install the new faucet.
The Bathroom Vanity Makeover
Yesss…the bathroom vanity is sitting in the dining room right now. But, shortly, it will be installed in the almost finished powder room. Two weeks left! Head on over to Instagram to see video clips in my story highlights.
See the Progress:
Week Five: Bathroom Vanity Details
Week Seven: The Floral Wallpaper Accent
Week Eight: The Bathroom Reveal!