Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fair Vanity

Warning: This is a long post because yesterday was a long day.  But it has a happy ending.

When we bought our beach cottage almost 2 years ago, it would have been hard to pick the most disgusting thing about the place because it was ALL disgusting, but the bathroom ranked right up there with the kitchen for the top spot in the list.  The toilet was stained, the tub had been painted with latex paint, and the vanity--made of particle board and plastic--was falling apart.  And of course everything was filthy.

It turned out the toilet just needed a good cleaning, I'm still peeling paint out of the tub, and I was able to pull up the linoleum and paint the subfloor with porch paint.

As for the vanity, instead of a compartment with a door, it had two falling-out half drawers, which we removed.  I painted the front of it, strung a little curtain across the opening and called it finished.


A few months after we bought the place, we spotted a bathroom sink--a real one, not a cheap plastic one--on the side of the road.  We stopped and picked it up, and it's been calling to us ever since.

Since we were waiting for our kind neighbor to finish redoing our water system from the street to the house, our plan for this weekend was to build a new vanity here at home on Saturday and have it ready to take down to the beach place when the water was hooked up.

Then, on Friday night, our neighbor emailed us and said the water was done!

We decided to stick with our original plan to build the vanity here (where all of Doug's tools are) and then, if we had enough time left, take it down to Kitts Hummock.  We modified our original plan slightly -- I would paint it down at the beach house rather than here, so that we could get going as soon as the piece was together. Doug warned me that there might not be time to actually install it.

Doug hauled out his scrap wood, some new birch plywood, and an old solid-core door that he had rescued from an on-campus renovation several years ago.

He got to work.  I'm the assistant--kind of like the OR nurse who hands over implements when needed.

By 11:30, we had this, and we loaded Jodie and some tools into the car and headed for Kitts Hummock.

When we got there, I started painting. I knew I had to get it done quickly, or we wouldn't be able to move the finished piece into the bathroom.  It was windy, which was good news and bad news. Good, because it meant the paint would dry quickly, bad because it meant that paint was blowing all over the place, including on my poor dog.  I donned a pair of plastic bags--one each from Lowes and Home Depot--over my Uggs to keep them clean, and of course Doug had to take a picture:

That was the end of the laughs for several hours.  

While I was painting, Doug turned on the water to the house and discovered that a piece of PEX under the kitchen sink had burst, so we had yet another leak to fix. Luckily, we had extra PEX, and Doug had brought the PEX kit so he was able to fix the leak pretty quickly.

More cursing followed.

It turned out that the kitchen faucet, which we had just installed last year, was leaking.  The unbelievable cold we have experienced this winter was hard on the equipment, and Doug was pretty frustrated at this point.

He turned his attention back to the bathroom.  Out came the old vanity. Here it is in all its glory out in the yard. The only part that didn't look too bad was the part that I had painted when we first cleaned up the bathroom:

But the sink was a hideous yellowed plastic:

The particle board was falling apart:

And the bottom was lined with this lovely contact paper:

Fittingly enough, the whole thing broke apart when Doug put it in the car to take it home for the trash.

The new one went in great, although Doug had to make the 20-mile round trip to Lowes for an extender for the trap.

We also had a few scary moments when we got ready to carry the new one in (it was actually a few worried hours).

While the new vanity was still sitting in our garage at home, Doug had noticed that it looked kind of big, but he brushed off his concerns because he knew he had measured multiple times.

But then all of a sudden, I had an awful thought. We might not even be able to get it INTO the bathroom because the trailer hallway is so narrow. We sweated out those thoughts the whole way down.


We had to open the closet door to add some wiggle room in the hall, and we had to pull off the shoe molding in the bathroom to get it to wedge into the space between the wall and the tub.

23 1/2 inches.

24 and it wouldn't have made it.

But we got it in and hooked up, and it looks great. We bought a tension rod and used the same curtain that I had originally tied onto the old vanity using string and screws, and it fit perfectly.

Although the sink we found had a faucet with it, we ended up getting a new one at Home Depot because there were some issues with the drain on the one we found.  I like the one Doug picked out with the hot and cold handles:

Now, we actually have room for a hand soap dispenser:

And for this beautiful fish soap dish that my friend Jenn brought back for me after she and Martin spent January in Florida:

Total cost of the vanity project was about $55 ($15 for wood, $32 for the faucet, and $5 for half a can of primer).  I used a coupon to get a free sample pot of paint from Lowes (Belle Grove sorbet, which came pretty close to matching the Sherwin Williams sea salt on the walls).

While he was Lowe's, Doug bought another kitchen faucet, and he actually managed to get that installed as well.

When we left to come home at 5:30 yesterday, we were pretty sure we had actually solved all of our water problems. But we're almost afraid to give Martin back his PEX kit. That might just jinx everything.

Since this is a beach house post, I had to add a picture from the quick trip I made to the beach with Jodie:

We're hoping that the next trip down is more beach and less B.S.

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