Installing the new Bathroom Vanity

My Dad is quite a handyman. He agreed to build us a new master bathroom vanity. Our old vanity was just plain ugly. It looked like something that was slopily painted by an old blind man. It was also very non-functional. It had to go. This begins the rather comedic tale of “The Bathroom Vanity…”


Step 1: Demolition. We wanted to tear out the old wooden vanity without cracking, chipping, or ruining the bathroom countertop. This step was succesful, but not without its issues. The vanity was definitely in there for good! The limestone top is really, really heavy, so we ended up with 2 by 4s holding up the counter for months.

Step 2: Design. Dad measured the underneath of the cabinet to determine how much space we had, what would work etc. We designed a new vanity with three large drawers down the center and two doors on either side. He designed some cool looking feet for the bottom too. We have some closet doors in the bathroom that we wanted to match (wood stain and color), so Dad made us several samples to choose from. We picked one we liked, and on to Step 3.

Step 3: Build. Dad built the cabinet at his house. He made it out of birch, a wood he had never worked with before. He visited a few times to check on measurements. We checked out the cabinet – all looked good!

Step 4: Sanding, staining, more sanding, staining again, trial and error staining. Turns out, the vanity stained a very different color than the samples we originally liked. In fact, the cabinet was a bright orange! Not good! Dad sanded some of the color out and tried a variety of ‘cover ups’ of different color stains to get the orange color out. In the end, the color was perfect, and matched the closet doors quite well.

Step 5: Cabinet installation! This was the biggie. Dad hauled the cabinet over (79″ long by waist height and cabinet depth!). Our neighbor helped us carry it around the back of the house and in the back door. It was all going to be easy at this point, right? Hah!

Step 6: Sanding, trimming, slicing, dicing. The first problem was….we hadn’t factored in the closet door molding. Turns out, this stuck out about 1.5 inches from the wall, making it impossible to slide the cabinet in under the counter top. So, we sliced .5″ off either side of the cabinet. Still too big. Sliced another .25″ off the left side. Now we could slide it in and out without completely destroying the walls and molding. The second problem was…..the reinforcements of the cabinet were hitting the fronts of the sinks. We got out the saw and stripped some chunks out. The fourth problem was….the cabinet was hitting some pieces of wood at the back near the wall. We took a saw and ripped them out. (Hope they weren’t important!) Fifth problem was….it was just a bit too tall. So, we pulled the whole thing out again and sliced 1/8″ off the top. (The unit was getting lighter by this time!!) Sixth problem was….the kick plate was too tall. We sawed some off of that too. And finally, the the feet were a bit too tall, so we sawed them off too!

Step 7: Finale! Finally, the cabinet was in, the color was right, everything fit, and we love it! We are still waiting for the doors to be sprayed (waiting for warm weather to do that part), which explains why they are missing.


The whole process was a comedy of errors. I guess that’s what you get trying to custom-fit a cabinet, while keeping the countertop!

Thanks Dad! It looks fantastic!

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