Antique Dresser turned Vanity

When my husband was a child, he kept his clothes in an old dresser that belonged to his great-aunt.  It had taken a beating, so when we got married and had children of our own, I stripped and re-stained it for my daughter to use in her bedroom.  It took another beating.  Years went by, and my daughter was married, but I hung onto the antique dresser.  I wasn't sure how or where I would use it, but I love antiques, and I really love turning trash into treasure.

Our bathroom was from the '70's era and since I wanted to renovate it to suit my country decorating style, I got the idea to convert the dresser into a vanity. I wasn't sure how my husband would feel about cutting a hole in the top of his great-aunt's old dresser, but it turned out that he loved the idea!  Our thinking was that we could stick the dresser in the basement and use it for storage, or we could put it to use in the bathroom where we could appreciate it every day. So the renovations began.

This is a photo of the old vanity that we removed.  Notice that the sink is a 70's blue, but the toilet had been replaced and was more like a 90's periwinkle.  It looked purple next to the sink.


When we pulled the old vanity out, we discovered that there was no tile on the floor or the wall where the vanity had been placed.  We went to a demolition salvage place, but we couldn't match the tiles.  I really liked the ones we had and didn't want to replace them.  There's always a solution!  We stained a piece of oak veneer to match the dresser and installed it on the floor, and we found some plain ivory wall tiles that matched in color (but not in texture) to the old ones.  They are mostly hidden by the new vanity, so we are the only ones who would ever notice the difference.


On to the dresser! I stripped and re-strained again, a repeat from 25 years earlier.  My husband cut a hole in the top using the template that came with the bathroom sink we had purchased. Ooh, was that scary!


Any time I have seen a dresser converted to a sink vanity, the top drawers are usually eliminated, and the drawer fronts are permanently attached as false drawers.  My husband had a very clever idea.  He removed the sides of the drawers toward the center and cut the bottoms of the drawer to fit around the oval shape of the sink bowl. He replaced the inner sides with strips of luan that he scored at 1/4" intervals using a table saw so that he could bend it to shape around the sink bowl.


He cut holes inside the bottom two drawers so that the plumbing fixtures could be fitted down through. Then he built center compartments around the holes so that the drawers would be more functional for storing toiletries and bathroom supplies.


This is a view looking down through the top of the dresser after the holes were cut in and the compartments were built. You can see the open spaces in bottom drawers for the plumbing and the curved sides of the top drawers.


We were so excited when we saw how nice the dresser looked with the porcelain sink and nickel fixtures in place.


This photo shows the two top drawers with their new curved sides that surround the sink bowl.  The drawers are still fully functional.


This photo shows the piece of oak veneer that was laid under the dresser to cover the floor where the tiles were missing after the vanity was removed.  We used flat trim to hide the edges of the board and the tiles. You really don't notice it when you walk into the room.  Even when you do see it, it doesn't look bad at all.


In this photo you can see the oak board on the floor and the replaced tiles in the corner.  They are shinier than the old tiles, but the color matches almost exactly.  Because it's low and in a corner, you never even notice the difference.  It just goes to show that things don't always have to be perfect but can still look very nice.


Here are some before and after photos of the make-over.

Before - the 70's sink and vanity
We replaced the pendant lights and added a wall shelf just above the vanity.  We cut the long wall mirror into smaller pieces and used them in some wooden frames and medicine cabinet that we made from some scrap wood and painted with a distressed finish. We love the way it all turned out!

After - the vintage country look


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24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Charlotte. We are so glad we converted this dresser to a vanity. We get to enjoy its beauty everyday!

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  2. This is so homey. My husband and I have been looking for a small chest or old drysink to use in our bathroom re-do. Now I can show him your tutorial. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Becky! I hope you can use the ideas! It does make the bathroom more inviting! hehe ~Katie

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  3. This is so pretty! Great job! My bathroom is also stuck in a previous era, more like the late 50's early 60's..and it's SUPER small! I've wanted to do something like this as well but with a night stand or side table since they are not too big. What your husband did with the drawers is awesome! That's such a great idea!
    Thanks for the great idea! From one SW PA gal to another :)

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    Replies
    1. Kristina, I'm so glad you like the idea, and I hope you get to do this. I just love using the antique dresser every day! I'm also happy to "meet" another SW PA gal on the blog! Thanks for commenting! ~Katie

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  4. What a great way to use that dresser :) I love it! I would love to have you share this on The HomeAcre Hop tonight!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-7.html

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  5. Love that new vanity! Great shots.

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  6. Beautiful redo on this treasured old dresser! Much better to put it to good use than let it sit unused and forgotten. Visiting from Madge's. xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Karen. I enjoy looking at it and using it every day! Thanks for coming by and commenting! ~Katie

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  7. Thank you for joining in 'Rurality Blog Hop #3' Hope to see you next Wednesday for #4...

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  8. Katie,
    You and your husband made a great team turning this dresser into a vanity! It's gorgeous and the bathroom re-do looks so great.

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much Kirsten. We love re-purposing old things. Thanks for coming by and commenting! ~Katie

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  9. Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop!!! Can't wait to see what you share this coming Thursday :) Here's the super easy link to the next hop!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-8.html

    If you haven't checked out Wildcrafing Wednesday yet, please do! :) It's a hop I co-host for herbal remedies, natural living, real food recipes, and self sufficient living. Here's the link for tomorrow's hop:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/wildcrafting-wednesday-10.html

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  10. What a great idea! What did you use on the top of the dresser to prevent water stains/damage from regular use with the sink?

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  11. What type of top coat did you use on the wood

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    Replies
    1. Barbara, Did you ever get an answer for "what kind of topcoat was used?

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  12. What did you use to finish the dresser? How has that held up in the humidity and water situation of a bathroom? Have mine almost done but want a good finish.

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