I am real happy to be able to share this wonderful creative how to from David! David, was able to convert an old sewing machine table into a vanity for his sink. Big big thanks goes out to him for sharing his project with us. It is pretty wonderful.
How did you get into mid-century modern?
Growing up, my great-grandparents had some mid-century modern furnishings. I can distinctly remember being mesmerized by their lava lamp. However, like most people when they’re children, I didn’t appreciate fully just what beauty lay before me.
It wasn’t until recently that I became reacquainted with mid-century modern and specifically Danish mid-century modern. My friend had just moved into a new place and it came partially furnished and among the furnishings was a recliner with an ottoman by Lied Møblerr.
I fell in love with it! And thus were rekindled memories from my childhood and a new found passion for Mid-Century Modern.
Whatcha got to show us David?
I’d like to show you and your readers how I converted an old 1960’s Singer sewing machine cabinet into a vanity for a vessel sink.
What inspired you to create this piece?
I recently bought my first house and I wanted to make it my own and express my style . I didn’t want to do anything monumental like a kitchen remodel, so I thought I’d start small and do something fun with the bathroom. The bathroom in its found state had a mundane, blonde vanity and a granite countertop (shiver). Basically, it was unremarkable.
Though some think vessel sinks trendy, I’m drawn to the design aspect of them. I could have gone with a commercial vanity, but I found they lacked character and could be expensive. I needed a cost effective solution. I had thought about building something with reclaimed wood, but I was browsing Goodwill and saw a sewing machine table that got the cogs in my noggin’ turning. “It’s a table with a hole already built in”, I thought to myself (or I may have said it out loud. I can never be sure). The table I saw that day was not quite right, so I sought wisdom from craigslist that turned out to be quite helpful. I think what I liked most about the idea was the juxtaposition of the contemporary with the vintage.
List of materials:
Vintage Sewing Machine Table
Vessel Sink and Faucet
Hole Saw (drill bit)
Waterlox wood sealer
Various grades of sandpaper (60 grit – 320 grit)
Steps you took to create it:
I started by measuring the existing vanity and sink, while making note of where the plumbing was located. I had also measured the opening of some of the sewing cabinets that I had come across at thrift stores to get an idea of the footprint of the sink I needed to get. I had already been searching the net for vessel sinks and found fixtureuniverse.com to be most useful.
Once I found a vessel sink that met my requirements, then I started searching craigslist for the sewing cabinet. I made sure to ask for measurements (length, depth, height and opening size). The first few candidates for the vanity were too long for my space or the drawers were on the wrong side. So this is where it pays to be patient and persistent.
This is the payoff:
Next, I had to prepare the top for the Waterlox sealer. Waterlox is used for wooden kitchen counters to seal and protect the wood from water damage. I figured if it works in kitchens, it would work just as well for bathrooms. For the Waterlox to work properly it needs to soak into the pores of the wood, so I had to remove the finish from the table top. One could use chemical strippers, but I prefer the less toxic method of old fashioned sandpaper. I say less toxic, because the dust created from sanding can be toxic as well, so always wear a dust mask.
The worst part is getting past the polyurethane finish, so I started out with 60 grit sandpaper. This process takes quite a bit of time even with an electric sander. Once I got to the raw wood, I switched to hand sanding and 150 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. To get the surface smoother, I hand sanded using 220 grit and then 320 grit.
Once sanding was complete, I just followed the directions on the Waterlox can. I applied four coats over as many days. The top of the cabinet ended up with a nice satiny sheen over the natural wood tones.
Next, be sure to dry fit the components so you know where everything needs to go.
I then used a hole saw with my drill to cut the opening (per the manufacturer’s specifications) for the faucet and installed the faucet. In order to make sure no water gets between the sink and vanity top, use a liberal amount of 100% silicone sealer around the base of the sink and then set the sink on top of the vanity. It’s okay if some of the sealer squishes out. Just use a rag or paper towel to wipe up the excess. It’s better to have too much than not enough. The sealer needs to cure overnight, but that’s okay because you still need to tear out the old vanity.
Before tearing things up, be sure to turn off the hot and cold water supplies coming out of the wall under the sink to prevent flooding when you disconnect the water lines. My bathroom looked like this:
After I patched the drywall and painted, I was ready to install the old improved vanity! I moved the vanity into place and made sure to level it front to back and side to side so that the water will drain properly. When I got it level, I used 3 inch screws to secure it to the wall making sure to hit studs.
Hook up the drain and reconnect the water lines. I gradually turned the water supply back on to make sure there were no leaks. If you spot a leak, turn the supply back off and address the problem area. Repeat until dry.
All that’s left to do is stand back and bask in the glow of the satisfaction of doing something yourself. Now wash your face, brush your teeth and go to bed.
Biggest challenge to this project:
Finding the right piece of furniture to fit the space I had to work with. You knew you had made what you wanted when:
I knew I had what I wanted when I first placed the sink on top of the sewing table. It was seeing the gleaming white porcelain sitting next to the rich warmth of the wood.
In your opinion what are the 5 essential tools a person needs to git’r done/create things:
Well, I can only think of two: A belief in yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to and Imagination. Oh, and one other thing. An internet connection. Is there any advice you would give to our readers who would like to create their own stuff
I would just refer them to my two essential tools above.