When I started my master bathroom makeover, I decided that I was going to build my own DIY bathroom vanity from scratch.
I hadn’t ever done it before.
But after removing my old vanity, I saw just how easy it was.
A bathroom vanity, for the most part, is nothing more than a shell upon which a sink sits.
When you think of it in terms of that, well, how difficult could it be??
I’m down to only 3 days left of my Room Makeover Challenge that my readers and I are doing together.
I still have much more to do, as it’s Day 37, but right now, building a DIY bathroom vanity has become my #1 priority.
And I don’t even have any stone to put on top yet! YIKES!
I Found DIY Bathroom Vanity Legs!
We’ve got an awesome salvage shop here in Maryland called Community Forklift.
Think of it as a junkyard for your home.
They’re a tad expensive on certain things, but within all that junk, there are definitely some affordable gems.
Which is exactly what I found last month.
One of my favorite sections has lots of legs and spindles.
They’ve got tons of the stuff over there.
But wait–what do I see….??!!
I saw the perfect legs for my vanity!
I went through and gathered up all the “good” ones that had enough of a block at the top and bottom in order to attach supports to them!
The only catch is that each leg was–gulp–$13 each.
I really didn’t want to spend over $50 on legs.
But I liked them enough to at least lug them up to the front check-out to see if there were any sales that day.
After all, it was just days away from Thanksgiving. That time of year, stores are teaming with sales!
Plus, surely they’d see my excitement and want to offer me a discount, right? LOL
My Lucky Day!
Imagine how my mouth dropped when I got to the front and was told that all legs in that section were 50% off!
So instead of just getting four, I went ahead and bought eight.
If I’m going to spend $50, I may as well get eight, right?
The extra solid oak legs could be very useful.
I laid down an old blanket in my van because they were unbelievably dusty and dirty.
Let’s Back Up a Moment…
Before I show you what I’m doing with the vanity legs, let me back up to earlier in that day.
Before I stopped at the salvage shop, I went to a bathroom remodeling showroom.
I wanted to get some ideas for what kind of vanity I even liked.
The truth is that I don’t spend a lot of time ogling over design the way some home/DIY bloggers do.
My design interest is simple: Is it clean? Is it functional? Does it make me smile?
If it does all that, I don’t need much else. 🙂
But if I were going to build a vanity from scratch, I needed to go look at some and get close-up inspections. 🙂
The Beauty of Weathered Oak
I loved the weathered oak vanities where I could see the grain of the wood highlighted.
It reminded me of a painting technique that I learned last year when I attended an Amy Howard painting workshop, where you add a light coat of watered-down paint followed by liming wax to highlight the grain of wood.
I’m typically not a “wood grain” kind of chick, but there’s something special about oak and the way its grain creates a nice textured look.
I also loved this style, which was up off the floor about 10 inches, leaving a pretty little decorative leg exposed at the bottom.
I left the showroom that morning, deciding: “Yep, I’ll make my DIY bathroom vanity out of oak!”
And I knew that I wanted my vanity to have something decorative at the bottom.
That’s when I headed to the salvage shop and found those beautiful oak scraps that would make perfect legs!
See how to universe conspires the perfect project….?! 🙂
Cleaning and Stripping The Upcycled Vanity Legs
If you remember, the legs were super dirty, plus covered with paint.
I had no idea how old they were and if the paint was lead-free.
Whenever you’re working with furniture or things that have old paint, be sure to test them for lead before sanding or stripping.
All you do is squeeze and crush the A part and do the same for the B part, then rub the tip on the paint you’re testing.
It starts to release some fluid while you’re testing.
If it’s red, it means there is lead!
If it’s red, you should not sand, cut, strip, or disturb that paint.
In my case, we’re safe!
It wasn’t red. WHEW!
I could proceed…. 🙂
Next, I had to give them a bath with some hot, soapy water.
Once they were all clean, I was ready to slice and dice with my little miter saw.
I cut the tops to be straight, as well as shortened them.
Not as fancy and decorative as some of the other legs from the showroom, but definitely still cute and sturdy!
And for only $6.50 each!
I placed them in the bathroom to check the height. I have to make sure there is enough clearance for the pipes, so the legs were perfect around 11.5″ in height!
Next, I slathered on some stripper to strip the legs (I prefer to use Citristrip stripping gel). I wasn’t looking forward to this part because it’s a messy job.
And have you ever tried to strip legs and wood with nooks and crannies?
It’s hard. LOL
The satisfying part is when you see the old paint starting to come off, exposing the lovely oak underneath!
As of yesterday, this is where I left off: with (mostly) clean oak legs that will be ready for their second cleaning-off today.
They’re still a bit gunky.
They need sanding down a bit, too.
Sooooo……you’ll have to wait to see how this DIY bathroom vanity saga continues!
Seriously, cross your fingers for me!
I’m pretty sure I won’t finish this in time for the challenge, but you know–that’s DIY life sometimes. 🙂
Catch up on this master bathroom makeover series!