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Design

The Farmhouse Kids’ Bath Deep Dive – Our Vintage Dresser Turned Custom Vanity

One of my favorite (best?) moves is to bring vintage into every room (obviously), but it’s harder to do in bathrooms aside from styling. I’m not sure if this idea was born out of desperation (I don’t have a vanity but I have this dresser, ok!) or if I had planned this from the beginning but I know this much – I intentionally didn’t get a readymade vanity in the hope of using something vintage. I love this English pine antique dresser so much (the keyholes) so when I was asked what our plan was for the vanity I thought, “Uh, would this work?” and we went for it.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house: the kids’ room reveal!!

We originally shot this dresser for the kids’ room reveal at the mountain house (four years ago?? and I’ve been hoarding it ever since (I intentionally moved it from there knowing that it would work so well in this house somewhere). But Jamie (ARCIFORM) had to do some magic on it to turn it into a vanity.

Now, very often when someone takes a vintage piece and turns it into a vanity they use a vessel sink on top – I think it’s just an easier application. I did this in my kids’/guest bath at our Glendale house:

photo by tessa neustadt | from: guest bathroom reveal

This totally worked for this bathroom (more midcentury and graphic) but I not what I was going for in this farmhouse kids’ bath (also pretty darn sure that there wasn’t enough room between the vanity and the toilet per code – but we didn’t use permits on that old bathroom soooooo…).

Jamie had to measure and cut the hole for the sink, then I believe that he reinforced the underside with some wood to make sure it could handle the heavy sink. He secured it from the underside as well.

Of course, he would need to cut a hole in the back for the plumbing, like so…

Jamie did such an expert job at this – although I’m sure it could be DIY’d if you have some carpentry skills.

Wait, So Can You Still Put Storage In The Drawers?

You betcha! You lose all storage on the top drawer – it’s just a dummy drawer that houses the sink. The bottom drawer fully functions with lots of space. But the trick became the middle drawer.

Jamie hacked out space for the plumbing and built a frame into the drawer – thus preserving the storage space on each side.

Wire Baskets

It actually holds a lot now. The drawers are tall enough to put in more vertical things upright (like shampoo, conditioner, etc.). There’s even a decent amount of space in front of the cutout.

Woven Baskets

And then the bottom drawer fully functions, like it did before.

The Countertop

Now this dresser was on the narrower side. We knew for sure that we had to do a wall-mount faucet because we wouldn’t have the space for a deck mount. The first wall-mount faucet we chose came out much farther than this one – technically the water made it into the bowl, but it looked dumb. So I had an extra one of these (long story) and we changed them out which isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but worked in this case…thankfully!!

We drew out the backsplash to be this pretty shape and I just LOVE how it turned out.

There she is. Another vintage dresser turned vanity piece in the books and we LOVE IT. I’m sure we should seal the wood now that it’s in a bathroom which we haven’t done yet, but I also may never 🙂 Come back tomorrow for some bathroom styling (the tub niche curtains) then the full reveal on Monday! xx

*Pretty Photos by Kaitlin Green

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hickenack
9 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous!

I hope the toothbrushes in the cup are just for decoration! Anything that goes in your mouth in a bathroom should be stored under cover bc of e coli floating in the air when you flush the toilet.

Lynn
9 months ago
Reply to  hickenack

Or just train your people to close the toilet. All males in my house close the lid when they flush. If company is coming then we store brushes away.

hickenack
9 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

Yes, my two sons were taught to always put the seat down. Unfortunately, putting the seat down does not keep the bacteria from escaping.

Mary Evers
9 months ago

I have the same dresser I’m in the process of converting. So this was nice to see what my finished product will look like. I ended getting a very small sink to allow for a deck mounted faucet. I didn’t want to have to open up the wall to install a wall mounted faucet. But if I could, I certainly would.

suzanne
9 months ago

Lovely dresser! Wondering how you are planning on protecting the side near the toilet from the urine spray that inevitably comes with boys/men? It’s not even their fault really – spray is simply part of the standing position. Just think about how when you spray with a garden hose, some is always going off to the side. The taller they get, the more that goes outstide the zone of the actual toilet!

Kate
9 months ago
Reply to  suzanne

Mom of a boy here: teach your boys to pee sitting down, it’s not complicated! It’s the house rule over here and I’ve never once had an issue with toilet, floor, or (omg) wall mess because that’s the rule in our house.
I’m not the only one who does this – I’ve got a friend who’s a single Dad of a boy and that’s the rule in their house too – no one wants to deal with that!

Lynn
9 months ago
Reply to  Kate

I’ve tried that in my house so much. So the best I can do is one bathroom is for the males and I don’t clean it. The other bathroom is for me.

MKP
9 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Yes! I feel like this will be the norm in the future. It only took a few months of living with my husband – and me the one cleaning the bathroom – to tell him he had to sit to pee. It’s now been 20+ years and he wouldn’t go back to standing even if he lived alone.

L
9 months ago
Reply to  Kate

I totally agree!! No reason they have to stand.

Stassy
9 months ago
Reply to  suzanne

If men are peeing all over the bathroom…it’s definitely their fault!

Kimberly
9 months ago
Reply to  suzanne

Ewww! 😂 The things you never want to think about. If it were me I’d brush some water-based polyurethane on it (water based so it doesn’t darken the color)—kind of a pain and a few hours to do a few coats, but worth it to protect the life of a custom piece that can’t have been cheap to build.

Alexandre
9 months ago

It was a beautiful dresser, and it turned out a gorgeous vanity!

Katie
9 months ago

Ooh now I understand the wall mount faucet – every time I’ve seen this vanity I wondered why do that here – it almost seems too fancy for the dresser. Still wondering though – can the kids see themselves in the mirror? It seems so tall!

Shannon
9 months ago
Reply to  Katie

I’m guessing a tilting mirror was specifically chosen because of this issue.

Kim
9 months ago

The cap on top of the backsplash is a small detail that goes a long way in adding charm. I love it!

Meg
9 months ago

Just here to say I never knew I could be in love with a bathroom vanity! This piece is so stunning and the way you seamlessly transformed it has me in awe. Bravo!

Melody
9 months ago

Looks gorgeous but question for anyone with a wood vanity like this – how do you stop water damage to the wood long term? Every bathroom I’ve had has eventually had water damage to the front underside of the bench top except when it’s made of laminate.

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago
Reply to  Melody

Wax or estapol it in a matt finish.👍

Kate
9 months ago
Reply to  Melody

I replied upthread – but mineral oil works wonders. I have unsealed butcher block countertops in my kitchen, and every now and then (when they start to look thirsty or dull) I give them a generous coat of mineral oil after dinner, and in the morning buff off the excess with a lint-free cloth (e.g. an old t-shirt) in the morning.
No water marks anywhere, I do this with all my wood cutting boards and wooden bowls as well.

Sari
9 months ago

Wow, Emily! What a cool way to reuse a dresser. This is fabulous, congratulations

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago

love, Love, LOVE IT!!!💓
I suggest waxing the wood to protect it from water. Or you could estapol it, too, in a matt finish (much easier than waxing).
I have a similar dresser where an artist hand-made glazed ceramic monkey faces as the drawer pulls (you stick your finger in the mouth!🤣) and it has little brass-lined keyholes too!
If I ever do another bathroom reno in an historic home, I’m going to do something similar with an old dresser.
I totally love the scalloped back of the splashback. It makes it especially unique. Kudos, Emily!!!🤗

Roberta Davis
9 months ago

I love the backsplash, too! And I really like the idea of using furniture for the vanity. So much more interesting than any standard vanity!

Liza
9 months ago

I highly recommend Odie’s Oil to protect the wood. Easy to use with a matte finish.

9 months ago

Stunning! I love seeing how this all unfolds and LOVE how it looks, but still feel like I could never pull off doing this in my own home. I’ll just ogle from here 🙂

Alie
9 months ago

It is unclear whether the unvarnished look of the dresser, which makes water stains and splashes particularly visible, was intentional, adding to the rustic charm. Or is there a plan to varnish the piece to hide water damage? Why didn’t the designer install this terrific piece in her master suite bathroom, but instead chose brand new vanities?

KS
9 months ago
Reply to  Alie

Probably too small because the primary has a double vanity.

IMG_3124.jpeg
Shannon
9 months ago

I really love how this room is coming together! The tilting brass mirror is the perfect way to address the height issue for the kids, and that brass drinking cup is adorable. The new paint color is perfect and makes the whole design feel fresher and more cohesive. Seems like more than enough storage, especially if you add some sort of shelf over the toilet for extra towels or for pretty woven boxes for extra toiletries/hair tools. Cannot wait to see the rest of the room!!!

Kate
9 months ago

You don’t necessarily need to seal the wood, but you could instead give it a generous coating of mineral oil, let it sit overnight and then buff out any excess that isn’t absorbed by the wood with a lint-free cloth in the morning.
I have unsealed butcher block countertops in my kitchen and that’s how I maintain them (and my wooden cutting boards) in an environment where they need to be wiped down and wet on a regular basis.
Overtime it’s easier to maintain this type of finish over a sealed finish, as it never chips, nor gets watermarks in the way that sealed wood does, nor is it shiny – which looks incongruous with an obviously antique piece.

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Matt finish sealat is not shiny and it doesn’t chip as it’s not varnish.
9nce and done.

9 months ago

Extra cute!!!

J
9 months ago

I love the vanity. I’m a germophobe so the toothbrush holder hovering above near the toilet unsettles me, but it a very cute brass piece.

alex
9 months ago

Emily, I love feed-n-wax to not seal wood but leave a lovely east beeswax layer. Lovely!

9 months ago

This turned out beautifully! I’ve been wanting to do something similar for a bathroom remodel, so I have some really nitty-gritty questions.
1) The dresser looks less deep than a standard vanity. How deep is it, and did you have to find an extra-small sink to compensate?
2) The strip of material between the edge of the dresser and the sink looks really small. I’ve read that there are limits to how narrow strips of marble should be without risking cracking. Is it marble, and how narrow were you able to go?
3) Is it annoying to wash your face in that sink? Maybe it’s the angles, but it looks like it would be difficult to do without the faucet being in the way. (Please don’t take this as criticism, I’m just trying to figure out my own potential logistics and avoid pitfalls!)

Julie S
9 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

I was also thinking I don’t believe I could wash my face at this sink with the faucet like it is.

Shannon
9 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

Was wondering the same about the faucet

Jo
9 months ago

Would love a source for the new (but vintage looking) toilet if you can share! I searched for it with Google Lens but couldn’t find it.

KS
9 months ago
Reply to  Jo

It’s by Kohler and linked at the bottom of this post: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/the-farmhouse-kids-bathroom-update

Jose
9 months ago

Definitely the best part of the bathroom!

Lisa
9 months ago

Dear Emily – Seal that beauty with matte Watco danish oil sealer. It may darken it slightly, but you can reapply it whenever there is water damage. You just wipe in on with a lint-less rag and it smells good. It will keep the piece looking nice and natural and matte, but will protect it from water and steam.

Katrina
9 months ago

What kind of stone is the countertop and backsplash?

KS
9 months ago
Reply to  Katrina

It’s a Carrara from Bedrosians (leftover from the kitchen). https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/the-farmhouse-kids-bathroom-update

Cici Haus
9 months ago

We just used my childhood dresser as a sink for the “tea bar” in my butler’s pantry! I love it so much and it hides the damaged side (from my chinchillas when I was a kid!) while allowing the beautiful front to shine. We did an inset sink like you and my contractors managed to keep all of it functional!

SARAH
9 months ago

LOVE. Such cute little feet.