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Versatile, stylish vanity sinks offer memorable touch

DEAR DESIGNER: I would like to remodel my powder room. I saw a sink cabinet that looked like a piece of furniture while walking through a model home. In order to do this in my bathroom, should I purchase a chest and make one myself? — Lenore.

DEAR LENORE: Purchasing a furniture vanity for your bathroom is a charming way to spice up your room. I once read that guests will judge a home by the décor of its powder room and living room. Whether that is a fact or not, it’s quite fun to surprise your guests with a trendy and unique guest bathroom.

Furniture vanities are becoming more and more popular. Gratefully, new fads in the home-design industry tend to stay in vogue for several years. Vanities are coming of age as they become refined and resemble exquisite pieces of furniture and/or creative pieces of art. Once considered a traditional or antique application, these vanities are now available in almost every style you can imagine.

Certainly you can make a sink cabinet out of a normal vanity. However, I will caution you about some of the obstacles you might encounter.

If the vanity you purchase has drawers, you will need to make alterations for the plumbing under the sink. It’s not a hard task if you have a cabinet builder handy. Depending on the sink you choose, you may want to remove the wood top and replace it with granite or stone.

What will you do for a backsplash? If your wall is tiled to 36 inches high, that will act as the splash. But if not, you will need to do something so that water splashed from the sink will not ruin your drywall. For do-it-yourselfers, a fun little project like this could result in a very memorable piece.

Although it can be wonderfully unique, I rarely have fine furniture vanities made into bathroom vanities as it is generally not cost effective for my clients. By the time the top is replaced with granite, the back is cut for the plumbing, the door or drawers are remade to accommodate access to the plumbing and a comparable sink is purchased and installed, the cost is greater than purchasing a well-made vanity sink made specifically for this purpose.

When purchasing a vanity sink, be sure it is made well. Although you might see fancy sink vanities at building-supply stores and various locations around town, be sure to check out the construction before you buy. I like to purchase quality items that will last a long time. If there is a thin veneer on the outside or the walls of the vanity are made of particle board, chances are it will not hold up well in a wet environment. And be sure the sink shown with the vanity you choose will match your toilet and other fixtures. If your fixtures are another color, you might want to purchase a vanity that will allow you to choose your own sink.

Companies like Cole & Co. (www.vanitybath.com) have done all the work for you for a reasonable price. As you can see in the accompanying pictures, there are various styles, quality and price points available. These vanities, along with many other brands, are available locally through Ferguson Bath and Kitchen Gallery in Las Vegas (368-2284).

DEAR DESIGNER: I recently moved into a new home and I changed the appliances from white to stainless. My sink is the problem. It is still white and is installed under the granite countertop. Can my sink be changed? — Sue.

DEAR SUE: An undermount sink is difficult to take out without breaking the granite. I won’t say it can’t be done, but it is rarely done without great cost. Personally, I wouldn’t risk it unless I was willing to replace the granite, should the process go badly.

Although it won’t help you with this project, if you are installing a new sink and countertop in the future, it is helpful to know that Kohler has a new bracket for its undermount kitchen sinks. Kohler now recommends using this nifty bracket in all its under-counter installations. The installation brackets came about when Kohler, which guarantees its sinks for life, had complaints about the sink removal process, many times costing its customers more than a new sink. The manufacturer has alleviated that problem with this new undermount sink bracket. What a nifty idea!


Cindy Payne is a certified interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, as well as a licensed contractor. E-mail questions to her at deardesigner@project designinteriors.com or send them to her at Project Design Interiors, 2620 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 189, Las Vegas, NV 89109. She can be reached online at www.projectdesigninteriors.com.

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