Repurposing a kitchen cart as a vanity
August 20, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Can this kitchen cart be repurposed as a bathroom vanity by people who aren't very handy? We want to use it for a vessel sink and can't find any vanities in our price range in this finish/color of wood.

Obviously we'd have to drill two holes in the top for the drain and faucet, and we couldn't use the drawer. Could we just put something like polyurethane on the top to make it waterproof or should we add a granite or marble top? We would not attached the wheels to the bottom. Any other things we should consider?
posted by FormerMermaid to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
For a vessel sink, it should work pretty well with the stock top. I don't know what the original finish is, so I can't comment on how well it will hold up in a bathroom.

I'm a little concerned about the slab doors, which will get wider in a humid environment. The clearance between them looks very tight in the pictures, so there's not much room for them to expand before they won't close anymore. You'd be able to trim them if that happened, but then you'd have to re-round the corners and refinsh the edges.
posted by jon1270 at 8:40 AM on August 20, 2010

We would not attached the wheels to the bottom. Any other things we should consider?

Without the wheels, the vanity is going to sit a couple of inches lower than normal; unless you are quite short it will probably not be at a comfortable height. It's probably an easy fix (just build a frame or stand for the base) but the more little things like that you have to do, the less it is an easy and fast project.
posted by Forktine at 8:57 AM on August 20, 2010

Regarding the lack of wheels issue Forktine just brought up: IKEA sells cabinet bottom legs that should work well for that purpose so you don't have to build any kind of stand/frame. These would probably work, and are available in a few lengths. Keeping it up off the ground would stop any moisture issues around the base of the cabinet from splashes/leaks/etc.
posted by kpht at 9:11 AM on August 20, 2010

The wood top would be subject to water damage pretty easily, in a really wet environment like that.

You could try two things: if you like the wood, get some marine epoxy paint, at a boating supply store. It's designed for wet environments. The other would be replacing the top, as you suggested. If it's glued down, that makes it harder to remove. My contractor has this great tool which might work for that.

I believe it's an oscillating tool. I may have to get one myself. I see that a lot of companies make them, and they are less than $50. Oh, I love tools!
posted by annsunny at 9:58 AM on August 20, 2010

Where are you? Ikea has some great cabinets of roughly that size, for roughly that price. This single-door cabinet even has the sink already installed. Comes in a double-door option too. Check out their kitchen cabinets - lots of single free-standing options.
posted by barnone at 10:07 AM on August 20, 2010

Thanks for all the help, keep it coming, please. Annsunny, I really like the marine epoxy idea. Barnone, I am in Pittsburgh, and I spent most of yesterday morning searching the Ikea site. This lillangen is exactly the right size but I don't need the actual sink bowl that comes with that as I want a glass vessel sink. If I could get just the base cabinet and not the sink it would be perfect. Among kitchen cabinets I found this on their site which is nearly perfect too except it isn't in stock in my local store in the Nexus birch finish and shipping adds another $76 to the cost. I am actually trying to find a vanity that coordinates with an Ikea Aneboda chest in birch, but so far without much luck.
posted by FormerMermaid at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2010

We very nearly but did not end up doing the same thing re: IKEA. We needed a very shallow bathroom vanity, and wanted a vessel sink, and the one we wanted was the same style as the lillangen. If you talk to one of the IKEA salespeople in the bathroom department, they'll say "go talk to Kitchens, they can custom-cut you a countertop for that vanity" and they have a pretty decent selection. However, since we ended up doing something completely different, I don't know about prices and how the final product ends up and whatnot. Just as an FYI!
posted by kpht at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2010

Do you already have the glass vessel sink? We have one in our downstairs bathroom, installed by the previous owners, and it kind of drives me nuts. Water and gunk get trapped around the base of the sink and it never looks quite clean. If you have a different vessel sink and it's not a high-use area, it might be a better look than ours, but just wanted to offer my unsolicited experience!

Have you actually been to the Ikea store to look at the cabinets? I don't think they have everything on the website. If you can wait, the cabinet will likely come back into stock - you can call and ask for an estimated timeframe.

Either way, you definitely want legs. Wood or particleboard in a bathroom tends to soak up water from the floor. If it's just a powder room, your chances of warping are reduced.

I don't have time to search this but Overstock often has some nice vanities. There are always 20-40% off coupons floating around and shipping is usually $2.
posted by barnone at 11:20 AM on August 20, 2010

Here is a cabinet from $299 with vessel sink in 'cherry' (it doesn't look that cherry to me!). Different options for the cabinet arrangement - click on the different names like column, 2 door, etc.
posted by barnone at 11:33 AM on August 20, 2010

Thank you barnone, that would be perfect except I really want the wood to look like the Nexus birch effect from Ikea, and this cabinet in cherry seems too dark to me. The piece I'm trying to coordinate with is really light, almost like an unfinished natural shade. I have been to Overstock as well as the site you referenced but nothing suits me...too picky, I guess! Color and stylewise this is close, but obviously the price is prohibitive
And no, I haven't purchased the vessel sink yet, and it will be our only bathroom sink. They are so gorgeous looking I hadn't considered the "gunk" factor..thanks for mentioning that. Maybe I should do more research before committing to this plan.
And kpht, that's very helpful, I haven't actually gone to Ikea yet, just looking on line. The idea that they might sell me the lillangen base without the included sink and cut me a piece of countertop to fit never occurred to me. I think I will stop in there tonight in fact.
posted by FormerMermaid at 12:21 PM on August 20, 2010

Yeah, go to Ikea with your measurements in mind. You'll get a kitchen or bathroom cabinet of some kind. A raw wood top, like the one in your original photograph, really isn't ideal for a primary bathroom. There's just way too much water, splatters, toothpaste, contact cleaner, etc., for a butcher block top.

And I personally think the vessel sinks aren't as popular as they once were because of the annoyance! But I know the look is so right to some people, so go for it if you love it! I think the Ikea integrated sinks are nice - it's a nice compromise between more dated sinks and vessel sinks.
posted by barnone at 8:17 PM on August 20, 2010

« Older Searching for anniversary Dr. Pepper in Chicago   |   What happened to my water supply line? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.