Bathroom Vanity Upgrade

March 6, 2012

So the hall bathroom remodel continues, and one of the projects we needed to tackle was reworking the existing vanity.  As much as I wanted to buy a new one, it didn’t make financial sense since the vanity was in really good condition. It would have been easy to simply paint it, but I had a slightly different plan.

I was eyeballing this turned leg console over at Pottery Barn with its fabulous furniture feet and came up with the idea to rework our existing vanity by building a new base different from the builder grade base we already had – one that shared this modern style lifted up off the floor and with those fantastic furniture feet.

pb turned leg console


Last weekend that’s just what we did.  After we pulled out the vanity, we brought it downstairs into the garage and built a new base to raise it up and add those furniture feet so that it looked more like the inspiration image above.

vanity before and after cg

It’s only a “semi-after” since it’s just been primed, and I haven’t painted it yet, plus it still needs a solid surface countertop, but we think that little change from a standard builder grade base with a toe kick to the new look with furniture style feet gives the vanity a more modern vibe.

How’d we do it?  Well I’ll show ya!


My friend Ana White (you’ve heard of her right? Of course you have!) is a carpenter extraordinaire! I emailed her and asked her if she could think of a way my idea would work and not only did she tell me it would but she worked up a quick plan for the new base.  Thank you Ana !!

ana white base

The first thing we did was demolish the existing base.

demolish base


Next, we cut the 2 x 4’s to the exact width and depth of the underside of the cabinet with a compound miter saw.

dewalt compound miter saw


Rather than building the base separate from the vanity, we flipped it upside down and cut the wood to the exact measurements of the width and depth of the cabinet, then attached the 2 x 4 cuts with screws to form the base.

screw 2 x 4s to base


For the middle supports we used pieces of 2 x4 and cut them to the same height as the furniture feet.

middle supports


Note, if you’re reworking an existing vanity that’s smaller like this one below, then you really don’t need the middle supports, but since ours was 70” long and needs to support the weight of a countertop too, we added the middle supports for stability.

pb sink console


For the middle stabilizers we used a tool called a Kreg Jig, which allows you to drill pocket holes to make stronger joints for your wood building projects, it’s really cool.

kreg jig

This is what your pocket holes will look like after using the clamp and guides on a Kreg Jig and quickly drilling them with a bit.

kreg jig pocket holes

This tool makes it easy to attach the middle stabilizers after the 2 x 4 frame is attached to the vanity. If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, and need to add stabilizers, then you’ll have to screw them in from the side which isn’t as stable or build the frame completely separate from the vanity and screw the stabilizing feet to the frame from the top before you attach it to the vanity.  A Kreg Jig just makes the job quicker and easier.

kreg jig screws into stabilizers

Next it’s time to attach the furniture feet which are available at various home improvement stores.  These ones came from Home Depot and cost $8 each – they also come with their own hanger screws.

furniture feet

But we bought longer ones (5/16” x 3”) for $2 for even greater stabilization.

hanger bolts


Just remember to turn them around so the pointy end is the one you actually screw into the new frame.  Decide where the feet will go by carefully measuring its location, but be sure you have clearance on all sides so that when you turn your vanity right side up, the curve of the new feet will not prevent the vanity from being flush with the wall.

screw feet into base


There was a slight difference in elevation in the front of the cabinet between the new base and the front edge so I covered it up with a piece of quarter round glued on and then secured with small brad nails.

wood glue for trim

trim on ledge

Just about any imperfection can be hidden with the right piece of trim!

Adding the new base added another 1 ½ inches to the height of the vanity which is what we wanted, but if duplicating the project pay attention to all your measurements that will add up to your final countertop height .  Bathroom countertop heights range from 29” (standard) to up to 35” for taller individuals, so consider all the measurements that will add up on top of your new vanity, including the plywood base required for many solid surface countertops, and whether your sink will be overmount, undermount, or a bowl or vessel sink.

Here’s what the new base looks like from underneath.

bottom of new vanity base


As a last step, I primed the doors and the vanity with my favorite spray primer.

spray primer


The vanity sits in our garage waiting to be painted and installed in the upstairs bathroom.

frame and furniture feet vanity


Now comes time to choose the right paint color and countertop and install it, but I’m so glad we were able to save some cash by reworking the vanity in the about-to-be remodeled bathroom space.

Next up, a bureau before and after that I think you’ll really love!  And if you would pretty please, vote for CG in The Homies for Best DIY Blog and/or Best Home Design Blog – but be sure to sign in with Apartment Therapy first through email, FB or Twitter. Thanks so much!


kate signature image


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