There's a hole in the countertop, dear Liza, dear Liza
September 26, 2012 2:36 PM   Subscribe

What should we do with this big 1'x2.5' hole in the top of a bathroom countertop?

We're doing a little fixing up of our 1978-built family home. Our goal right now is to rent it out for a few years, then sell at some point. We're not interested in any big or costly fixes for the time being.

The bathroom is mostly navy blue and beige. When we moved into the house in the mid 1980's, the hole had a galvanized tin container that fit over the hole, and was meant for plants and some other greenery. The container has since been thrown up, after it was found in the garage with some super gross stuff in it.

The question is, what do we do now with the hole? What can we build? We don't have any more of those tiles, so closing it up seamlessly isn't an option. What would look the least weird as possible?

As for what's around it - to the upper right, is a bathtub. Opposite that, is a wall with a big mirror. The countertop continues with two beige sinks. I don't have exact measurements, but it's approximately 1 foot by 2.5 feet, and the hole continues to the floor.
posted by raztaj to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could, with some practice, make a box to fit that space with galvanized flashing. Better yet, you could make something with a curved bottom so you wouldn't have to learn the corner technique.

You might also find a plastic planter box that would fit that hole with a little searching. I would not put plants back in it but it could hold rolled up hand towels, shampoo etc.

Or depending on what's under the hole, leave it open, trim out the edges with trim mould and use it as a laundry chute with a basket underneath.
posted by jaimystery at 2:42 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh damn, if you could wizard a way to make a little inset box and heat it: WARM TOWELS.
posted by phunniemee at 2:48 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could seal it up with tiles in a contrasting color, or ones with artwork on them. That would make it into a functional counter.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:49 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd find a handyman (Craigslist, maybe?) to construct a box that would sit right in there, and you could put toiletries and maybe a pretty towel there or something.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:50 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

What about one of those cool, modern trough-like sinks with a flat bottom?

Or a laundry bin?

Or a swivel-up mirror/vanity cupboard?
posted by iamkimiam at 2:50 PM on September 26, 2012

Just make a fancy tile inlay that matches and cover the hole up for more counter space.
posted by cmm at 2:51 PM on September 26, 2012

Can you access the area beneath it in such a way that this could be an inset garbage can, or a laundry hamper?

Otherwise, I'd be thinking beer taps.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:54 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

That's about the right size and shape for an inset laundry tub. You could maybe just use an inset inset sink with a drainer and call it a laundry tub.
posted by RichardP at 2:59 PM on September 26, 2012

Looks like a small counter--couldn't you just tear up the tiles and retile it?
posted by LarryC at 3:34 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hang a picture or mirror over it.
posted by JayRwv at 4:02 PM on September 26, 2012

Response by poster: Oh good fancy pants creative awesomeness, these are some really great ideas!! Thank you! I'm particularly fond of a hamper or towel (ZOMG) warmer wizardry, but have to convince the other siblings to get on board with the plan.

The full length of the counter is pretty long - maybe 8-9 feet with double overmount sinks, so it would be a pain in the butt to re-tile. It also covers the side edges, so it seems like far too much work than we're looking for right now.

I'm open to putting a different tile over the hole - but I feel like it'll look like a stuck on cutting board, and stand out in a big way. But it's a possibility...

My brother wants to keep the plumbing accessible (for the bathtub, on the right side), but I don't see the point as long as things work ok. Hmm....
posted by raztaj at 4:46 PM on September 26, 2012

You're not keeping the plumbing accessible so you can admire it while it's working ok. You keep it accessible so you don't have to tear out a tiled countertop when it springs a leak or stops working ok in some other way.
posted by chazlarson at 6:58 PM on September 26, 2012

If this hole is indeed the only way to access the plumbing without cutting new holes in parts of the house, I would definitely not go in for any kind of permanent hole-blocking solution. Some kind of removable cover would be in order, and something like a basin or other container which can sit in the hole and be semi-useful and then be lifted out of the way when necessary would seem best.
posted by Scientist at 11:19 PM on September 26, 2012

A lift out box or basket would be perfect there (I really like the tile.) Paint the box the cream color of the tile and leave it empty. Trust me, as a prospective tenant I can figure out what I might want to put in it.

If under the counter is accessable, make a little lid that can be removed and use it for a garbage or laundry hamper as mentioned above.

You could also do spindles across the width of the hole and then hang towels on them. I don't think it would look as neat, but it's practical for drying hand-towels. Or, do the spindles length-wise and hang magazines in there.

Measure the hole and check a restaurant supply store to see if you can get another stainless steel container that could slide in there. Maybe even one with a lid, (like for a steam-table) then your tenant can keep makup in it!

Oh, the possibilities!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:52 AM on September 27, 2012

Just leaving my vote for a DIY removable box with lid, or maybe baskets like these (which would require a centre support) or these.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 7:02 AM on September 27, 2012

Since it was built to hold a box, a new box can be built. Bath towels seem to be 16 - 32" wide. I'd make it @ 18" deep, to hold bath towels folded in half & rolled. Is there electricity nearby? You should be able to put in a warming pad, preferably on a timer, as it would be really wasteful to heat towels all day long. A plexiglass lid with a handle would keep in the heat, and make the towels visible. 2.5 feet would be a lot of towels, so it could be partitioned for hand towels and facecloths that don't need to be warm.
posted by theora55 at 5:29 AM on September 29, 2012

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