Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 6 - Reconstructing a Drawer Around Plumbing Tutorial

This is the tutorial on how to change a drawer to fit around plumbing when changing a commode or dresser to a vanity.  The Bathroom Renovation series starts here.

When choosing a piece of furniture that will become a vanity you need to check for two important things.  What is the height of your piece and what is the depth of it? The height you need will depend on your sink choice.  I am not a fan of vessel sinks.  Those are the type that sit on top of the counter and usually require a 3" diameter hole cut into the top for plumbing.  I don't like the distance between the top of the sink and the counter top, I prefer the sink to be closer to the top. If you go with a vessel sink, your dresser would need to be a bit shorter in height to allow for the height of the sink.

 Of course a regular type sink sits completely inset into the counter top, so that requires a much larger hole for the sink and a standard height for the dresser, similar to a store bought vanity.

The sink we found is half into the counter and half (about 3") sits up above the counter top.  It was perfect for what we had in mind for our bathroom. Our commode has little wheels on it that add to the character, but could have been removed if we needed the sink to sit lower.


You also need the depth of your piece to fit the sink.  The diameter of our new sink was 18" at the top and so it had to fit front to back on the commode and still allow an overhang for the top as well as a bit of room at the back.  It just fit exactly to the top without much room to spare.  

Your sink will come with a template of what size to cut the hole.  I used painters masking tape (after stripping and clear-coating the top) and marked the center, as well as the hole size, which was 13", with pencil.


This was cut out with a jigsaw after making a large pilot hole with my drill.

Our plumbing came up through the floor.  It was ideal for this type of vanity, and may not be best for one that has all drawers because it would mean that each drawer would need to be altered. 



 Because we have one drawer and two doors, I just reconstructed the one drawer.  We fit the commode over the fittings that came up through the floor and I made a new plywood bottom for the vanity with cut outs where the cold and hot water and the drain pipe came up. This way the back of the vanity was not cut nor changed in any way.


Although my husband does not like plumbing, he is good at it and hooked up our new faucet and sink.

So this leaves us with a spot for the drawer to fit into.  You can see that the drawer will not run into any plumbing on each side after I push the one flexible water pipe in behind the drain.


This is the drawer from the top, it has dovetails where the front meets the sides and has grooves where the back fits into the sides.






From the bottom you can see that the drawer bottom fits into grooves around the front and sides of the drawer. (This is the proper way to construct a drawer, the drawer bottom is not screwed nor nailed onto the bottom of the sides, it fits into the sides with the grooves there and does not need any glue nor fasteners to hold it in place.)

 In order to have a drawer that will fit around the plumbing I needed to find exactly where the plumbing was.  I measured from the front of the cabinet to where the drain pipe came up through where the drawer would sit. I also measured the width of the drain pipe and added a little for extra movement.

Then the first step was to cut a slot into the drawer bottom.



My drawer was already coming un-glued so that helped me to be able to take off the front piece and slide the drawer into where it would sit in the vanity.

Here I show the drawer sitting back in place with the slot cut out.






The next step was to see where the slant of the sink came toward the front of the drawer. While it sat there I took a thin piece of card board and drew on the shape of the sink bottom. 


I then had to cut three pieces to reconstruct the sink.  (Actually since I don't have a workshop, nor most of my tools, I had a kind neighbour cut these pieces for me)  The sides for the slot will be the same height as the outer sides of the drawer.  They have a dado (groove) cut into the bottom so that the drawer bottom will fit into them.  They also have a groove at the back so that the drawer back fits into them. And they have a rabbet at the front that the front piece is glued into (This might be more obvious in the photo after this one) 

The small front piece (which is cut from the leftover piece I cut out of the back of the drawer when making the slot cut) has a half circle cut out of it to fit under the sink.  If this were square across the top the drawer would not sit completely into the vanity.







Here are the pieces dry-fitted together, and the following photo is a close-up which, hopefully, will make my descriptions more clear.




Close-up:



I stained the new pieces to match the old and glued the front piece to sides as well as the sides to the two original back pieces and glued the front back on:


It fits! And this allows us to still use the drawer as there is a lot of room on both sides of the slot for the plumbing.





I hope this helps some of you who are converting a commode or dresser into a vanity.  Please don't hesitate to ask questions if you have any!


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 5 - The Commode Turned into a Vanity

This is a continuation of our bathroom renovation that started with me needing an outlet to plug in my hair dryer.  You can read Part 1 here.



Of course we needed a vanity and I wanted to make my own from scratch.  Unfortunately I still don't have a workshop so I decided to buy an old commode and strip it.  We found one just the right size at a local antiques store.  At first we were going to get a dresser but then I realized there would be three or more drawers that would have to be altered to allow room for the sink's plumbing.  It's much better to use a piece with one drawer which has two doors below.  (I will do my next post on how I changed the commode to fit around the plumbing).

This is the commode we chose.  It is done in a tiger oak faux finish probably from about the 1920s or 30s.

My first thought was to strip the finish off and then put a nice clear coat on the wood. 

Here's the drawer front:












Here's one side:





And the top:














A close up of the top:

As you can see, the commode was not in very good condition.

While we were completing work in the bathroom, I began to strip the top of the commode first. And because I had no other place to work, this was done in our bedroom!

It became apparent that this was a very time-consuming task and I was not sure that I wanted the whole piece to be stained wood, so I decided just to strip the top.

This is what I ended up with after multiple layers of removal and at least seven coats of wipe-on polyurethane:























As I said earlier I will detail the sink and the drawer reconfiguring in my next post.

I painted the rest of the cabinet with chalk paint without stripping nor any primer.





As you can see, it is really quite a difference from the original piece.



We found a mirror that just fit into the space under the light fixture.  The upper right corner actually touches the slanted wall, so we could not fit anything larger there. We are quite pleased with how it all turned out.  I also have the shutter cupboard that I made (which has matching paint) in the bathroom to hold toiletries.


Please stay tuned for the next post where I will show how I altered the drawer to fit the sink's plumbing. You can read that here.



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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 4 - Beadboard, Painted Trim and a Surprise Find

Before I get to the mouldings and beadboard, I'll show you what we chose for colours and decor.  Since we are keeping the rose wallpaper, we needed something to go with that and chose a light pink for the upper walls.  The lower walls are beadboard and painted white as is all the door trim, mouldings, baseboards and baseboard heater.  The shower curtain is in a grey tone with a white design.



Here's the cottage pink on the upper walls before the door trim was painted. I'm wishing a previous owner hadn't shortened the left trim piece where it meets the tub's tiles.  We left it like that but really should have removed the flat wood piece and either found or made some trim to match.


The beige/sand colour door trim was not something I liked at all.  I prefer a nice clean white for trims.





























The window had the same sandy colour painted around it, as did the ceiling moulding around the ceiling tiles.  On the slant of the window wall, which is just over the toilet, there was a plastic rose vine that I removed along with the wallpaper border. (Photo taken this past winter)

I love and respect the old mouldings and can't believe anyone would put so many holes in them, here's just a small sample of what we found.


So the trim was all painted white, I matched the white with the vinyl windows in the house.  That way the trim is continuous from the window mouldings.  Thankfully almost all the windows in this old house were new, from 2013. I also put up the lace curtain that was here and added some new wide horizontal blinds.  Before I show that, it's...

On to the beadboard, here's a photo of the side wall before I put the board on.


I love beadboard and have made my own, but for this application I'm using the pre-made beadboard sheets that you can buy at the lumber stores.
Here is the side wall with beadboard and wood trim cap (chair rail?) installed and painted white.


The end wall beside the toilet was made of some type of wall board.  We left it, and painted the top pink, with it's poor seam intact (don't ask!) The toilet paper holder is the type that insets into the wall, thus the big hole.


I just painted the toilet paper holder white and stuck in back in the hole I cut out from the beadboard.
The framed rose prints are off my printer, from The Graphics Fairy



Here's the finished end wall, with the window and a much prettier view:


Of course I also had to add beadboard behind the sink. I caulked the corner, where the two sheets meet, after taking this photo.

The light fixture and switch and outlet were installed.  You can see how the light we chose had to fit under the slanted roof and also allow for a mirror.  As well, it had to be centered over the sink, so not too far to the left.

I still need to add a moulding along the slanted wall, between the wallpaper and the pink wall. (This was taken before I added both the horizontal trim across the top of the beadboard and the baseboard)



We used wide baseboards to correspond with the look of the home.  (We have original large baseboards on the main floor of the house.)  This is the side wall between the sink and toilet, with the beadboard, baseboards and flooring all completed.



Before putting the beadboard on this wall I was vacuuming out where the new floor met the old wall and saw that something metal was stuck down there.  I had to get a screwdriver and a magnet to pry the object out of the tight corner.  Here's both sides of what I found:



It's about 3" long and you can just barely make out the writing that says "Frontenac Export Ale" on one side.  I found it online... it's a beer bottle opener from the 30s, which is when about this house would have been built.  I wonder if it's been there all that time?

See part 5 here



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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 3 - New Flooring

Back to the bathroom renovation... apologies again for the thousands of you patiently waiting for an update (LOL)

The new wiring is in for lights and my hair dryer outlet and now to do the floor.  This is what we had, it was a sheet of flooring that we found to be glued down very tightly to some type of sub-floor.


We did think about ripping that out and perhaps painting the wood floor that may be underneath, similar to what we did in the guest bedroom here.  But because it was so firmly attached we thought we would just cover it with another flooring.

After considering another sheet flooring product and deciding that would not be so easy to get around the toilet (which we were leaving in place), we began to look for something else.  We found a really nice plank floor which appears to be vinyl and has sticky edges that you use to stick one piece to the next.  I had read about "allure" floors in other blogs and this seemed like the perfect thing for us.  It is easy to lay down and can be used in bathrooms.  I laid it myself and we are very pleased with the outcome.



The next job to tackle was the bottom half of the walls.  Previously they were covered with a sheet material that looks like square tiles.  You can see it here on the side wall which slants upwards and has the rose wallpaper on the top half.


This I am going to cover with beadboard.  I love beadboard...  stay tuned!

See part 4 here