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Vanity Fair, How We Built Our Bathroom Vanity

23 January 2010

We were asked recently how we built our master bathroom vanity from the Downing house, pictured below:

I have to admit this is one of my favorite projects ever, and I regretted selling this house mostly because of leaving this bathroom behind. One of the best features, in my mind, was that we raised the obnoxious 30" sink height to an adult scale of 36". Now, if you are not a tall person, by all means leave it at 30, but it felt SO luxurious to not have to bend over 15 feet just to brush my teeth or wash my hands.

I thought we would try our hand at a little tutorial, please go easy on us, this is harder than it seems, especially since everyone is at a different level of understanding when it comes to building. Please ask questions if you need help!

This is more of an intermediate project, mostly because of the tools required, BUT if you have a friend with a table saw, (bribe them to use it... cookies, babysitting) OR if you forgo the mitered edges and just butt the edges together OR use a 4 x 4, this could be a less daunting project.

There is one tool that will be necessary that you may not have, but is ideal for furniture building, and that is a pocket jig. I just looked it up at Home Depot online and it was on sale for $20.98 usually $30.00. !

The plans are made for a 5' x 22" double sink vanity top, available at most building supply stores. You can customize it as you choose, I am sorry I won't be able to do that for you.

Supply check lists:

16 pieces 3" wide by 3' long wood of choice (legs)
2 pieces 4" wide x 53" long wood of choice (front and back of bottom shelf support)
2 pieces 4" wide x 14" long wood of choice (ends under bottom shelf supports)
2 pieces 4" wide x 18 1/2" long wood of choice, (center support bracing)
2 pieces 6" + wide x 53" long, wood of choice (front and back of tabletop skirt)
2 pieces 6" wide x 14" long wood of choice (ends under bottom of table top skirt)

Bottom shelf 19 3/4" x 58 1/2"

Tools etc.:
Table saw, for mitering legs
Miter saw or Hand saw and miter box, for cutting wood to length
Nail gun or nails and hammer (for putting legs together)
Wood glue (use on joints for strength)
Pocket screw jig (to attach skirt and supports to legs)
Drill (to drill holes and install screws)
Pocket screws (to attach skirts to legs

Instruction sheet:
You may copy this image only for personal use,
it may not be reproduced or posted on any other blog
without author's written consent before use. Thank you.

Construction Steps :

1. Cut (16) leg boards to length and width.
Miter both long edges @ 45 degrees on table saw. (See image for the correct angle direction.)

**If you don't have a table saw, you could use a 4 x 4 (which is actually 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" FYI) but you will have to re-figure the dimensions, cause I need some sleep!! just cut to length and move on to step 4, the look will be more rustic this way.

2. Nail and glue (4) leg boards together to make (4) square legs.

3. Start making cuts for the table skirts.

Cut (4 total) bottom 4" skirt boards to length
2 long, 53" for the front and back
2 short, 14" for the two sides

Cut (4 total) top 6" or more skirt boards to length
2 long, 53" for the front and back
2 short, 14" for the two sides

Cut 2- 18 1/2" center brace boards to length and width.

4. Drill (3) pocket holes per end of the total of (8) top, and bottom skirt boards, to be able to fasten to legs. Make sure that all the holes are on the same side of the board. The holes will need to be on the inside of the vanity table to hide from view.

I found this little page on how to use a pocket screw jig if you are totally wondering what it is, it seems though that they are a little overzealous with the clamps, in my opinion!! Also here are two images of what the screw look like installed and how they show on one side but not the other.

5. Fasten the 8 skirt pieces to the 4 legs with pocket screws. Do one skirt at a time, it may be easiest to lay it down to secure it, just be sure you are laying it on a flat surface, and see plans for set backs.

6. Set in place the support brace flush with the top of each respective skirt, glue and nail in place.

7. Cut corners out of bottom shelf as per instruction sheet, (double check your actual measurements to be sure!!) Install bottom shelf.

Patch, sand, stain and seal or paint! Now, you are ready to install!

Did I miss anything?
I bet you have some questions, feel free to ask.
I will respond via a comment here on the blog,
and not send personal responses like I usually try to,
so that everyone can see the answer!


Dawn January 23, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

Well, I think that is a perfect tutorial! Although the step by step is so well done that it makes it look easy enough for me to try - and that is scary enough in and of itself!! But I did print it out for hubby, maybe we can make our own vanity rather than spend too much on a poorly constructed piece from the box store! Thank you for sharing - big time!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards January 23, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

I love this. I love the open look, and just never thought about making it ourselves. *Smacking my forehead*

What type of wood did you use? Pine?

Remodelaholic January 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM  

Hey Kim-

We used left over wood from several projects, so we had poplar legs, pine skirts and an MDF shelf. But since it all got painted you couldn't tell.

So, you can definitely use pine, I would probably choose the "Select Pine", a tiny bit more expensive, but it doesn't have any flaws which makes it ideal! Hope you do something like it! Good luck!... Any other questions let us know, and if you try it send us a link or a picture!


Frugal Home Design January 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

That is great. I am going to have to try to get the guts up to try this, although I will only need one sink. Thats for the tutorial.

Lianna Knight January 26, 2010 at 8:43 AM  

Gorgeous!!! And GREAT idea :)

You can see mine here...

Jamielouwho January 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

Absolutely incredible!! I would have never even thought to do such a thing, I love it!!

Shannon January 26, 2010 at 11:58 AM  

So beautiful! I love how this turned out. Thanks for sharing this as well. We are planning on redoing our bathroom this year.

Kimm at Reinvented January 26, 2010 at 7:17 PM  

Wow, you two are like real furniture builders!! I'm impressed, love the vanity. Thanks for linking up!

Kim @ Starshine Chic January 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM  

I would have been sad to leave it too. Great job. Thanks for sharing how to make one.

jennifer January 27, 2010 at 9:03 PM  

I am so impressed. That would give an updated look to any bathroom. I could picture using basket under the sinks too.

Thanks for all the information!

Andy Porter January 29, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

What a gorgeous vanity. I'm going to have the hubs take a look at this when he gets home. Vanities can be so expensive. I love the openness, although I will have to buy some cute matching towels...I think I could handle that:) Thanks so much for sharing your plan! Love it!!

Poppies at Play

Ms. Bake-it January 29, 2010 at 1:32 PM  

Looks great! Thanks for the tutorial. I will save it in my plan book for when I tackle the master bathroom. I definitely like the openness of it.

Thank you for sharing it with us today.

~ Tracy

Lissa @ MyThriftyTreasures January 30, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

I love it thanks for sharing! My only problem is that I would have to keep the under the sink organized. I love the plans!

Maggie February 1, 2010 at 6:14 PM  

wowzer I am amazed!

Miss Mustard Seed February 3, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

This is a very cool project. I don't blame you at all for being sad about leaving it behind. I love the idea of building a vanity that is the right height, first of all, but one that is a bit more unique and has open storage. Much more interesting than stock cabinetry.

signs of heart attack May 18, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

Hi guys the work you are doing with this site is excellent,it caught my eye,I think the site is full of good and interesting notes about Remodelaholic

Luke_croll July 16, 2011 at 3:54 PM  

Hello, I just wanted to say that I built this vanity and absolutely loved the simplicity and creativity of it! I added a second shelf and raised it a little too. We have a tall family! :-)
Is there a way to upload my finished picture so others can be helped too?
Chesapeake, VA

Remodelaholic July 17, 2011 at 7:38 PM  

Luke, I have been thinking about this and I don't have the option yet. But if you want to send me some pictures and maybe a project description I would love to feature it! Let me know!


Luke_croll July 20, 2011 at 6:27 PM  

Sure thing Cassity,
I just thought that I could give back. I am a peruser of blogs and DIY sites myself :)
Just let me know how to get them to you.
Chesapeake, VA

Remodelaholic July 20, 2011 at 7:22 PM  


Please just send me an email at

remodelaholic @ gmail dot com

minus spaces etc. Can't wait to see it!

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