How to protect if we make a bathroom vanity
tracytraylor24
February 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are redoing our bathrooms and want to go for a farmhouse chic look thru the house. I found this buffet I'd like to use as a vannity. Anyone have recommendations on keeping the top protected?? I've seen granite-but not sure how the process would go...do you take to a granite store your measurements, cuttings etc? Or if you have ideas on other vannities, please let me know. I'll attach a few I've found I like. Do you think they look farm house chic?
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Horrigan O'Malley Architects
You need to add a piece of stone- I think calcutta gold marble would work well.
February 1, 2013 at 7:05am     
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tracytraylor24
Thank you. Where do you get these and how do they know the cuts to make?? Sorry, this is very unknown and new to me!
February 1, 2013 at 7:17am   
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Stoneshop
You would take a trip to your local granite and marble slab gallery to view their inventory. When you go, bring the measurements of your vanity as well as a door (if they can be removed) to match up to the piece of stone that you like. When you select your piece of stone, the company should send out a templater to your home to make a template of the vanity top. This will let the stone guys know exactly where to make their cuts so that the countertop fits perfectly.

I agree with Horrigan O'Malley Architects and think that a piece of Calacatta Gold marble would look great on that vanity! It would really enhance your French Country style, too.
February 1, 2013 at 7:23am     
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Michael Kilpatrick Design
I wouldn't advise proceeding with your first choice. It looks like a Regency reproduction and not particularly well adapted to a "farm house chic" look. The legs are just too delicate to have ever been on a farm.

The magenta unit however, with the great turned legs, could work quite well. If it is a true antique and has value in its current state then try and work with the color. (tough one there) If not then paint it using a distressing technique. I would apply a coat of sea foam green over the red. Let it crack and then sand some areas as well to reveal the original red. Then paint the whole thing again using a distressing technique in a creamy white - Benjamin Moore OC-130 Cloud White. When the white cracks the underlying colors will show through and give the piece a more authentic appearance.

You can seal the top using a couple of coats of SPAR varnish, which is a marine grade varnish. You need to use a raised bowl sink for this however. If you want to use an undermount sink then you will need to use a solid surface top. I would suggest a stone such as honed Vermont slate or a bluestone or soapstone. Use a 3/4" slab with a pencil edge to keep it real.

Here is a picture of a unit that we just had installed. The underlying blues are emerging through the cracks in the top coat of buttery yellow. The cherry top will darken in about a years time to make the piece look even more authentic.

Good luck.
February 1, 2013 at 7:37am     
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tracytraylor24
Awesome advise! I hadn't thought about the legs not being farm house like/too petite!! I live your suggestions!
February 1, 2013 at 9:19am   
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Michael Kilpatrick Design
Here is a close-up of the kitchen unit I was showing you. You can see the distressing better. And the distressing is controllable so that you can get more or less cracking and bigger cracks too.
February 1, 2013 at 9:32am     
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bubblyjock
Any slab of marble (or slate) you like will look good on that buffet - shlep around the local dealers until you find something pleasing to you! But Michael's right - do consider painting it, and use spar varnish to seal it wherever it might get wet.

Marble or slate are more correct than granite. Traditional wash-stands usually had fairly plain white marble (like Carrera), fairly plain black marble, or a slightly disturbing dried-blood-red marble on them. They didn't have any other "top" though (the slab of marble is heavy enough that it won't budge), so remember that you'll be raising the height of the surface on your piece by an inch or so, which may compromise the carved decoration along the back.

I'd go with marble vs granite, just because imo it's more attractive, and whichever you go with, do NOT go with the super-shiny finish - traditionally they had more of a satin finish.

I agree with Michael - I'd consider painting it; it's a charming piece, with pretty lines, but if it were super-valuable it would already be in a museum or on the front cover of Architectural Digest. ;)
February 1, 2013 at 9:49am   
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tracytraylor24
Something like this fit better??
February 1, 2013 at 9:52am   
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Eagledzines
Whether you go with an undermount or top mount sink may be determined by the height of the piece. 36" inches total from the floor to the top of the sink is the maximum I would go. If the piece of furniture is lower, certainly a top mount may be desirable.
Crackle finish is beautiful in the right context but doesn't hold up all that well unless it is sealed I would seal it all over, not just on the top to protect the crackle finish.
The Regency period from 1795-1837 is an era that an immigrant could have brought over a piece from England but it would not be considered a classic American farmhouse piece. If it matches the rest of the furniture and architecture of your house it could work.
February 1, 2013 at 9:56am   
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Eagledzines
Another concern is the depth of the cabinet and whether it would be generous enough for both a sink and a faucet/handles without cutting into the structural integrity of the cabinet. If not, the handles and faucet would have to come out of the wall which is fine and may even contribute to the look you are looking for. The decorative back piece in the first picture though, might not survive the water splash or if the bowl was above the counter, wouldn't show.
February 1, 2013 at 10:04am   
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bubblyjock
It's not so much Regency (revival, even) style as Queen Anne - those ballerina's legs ("cabriole") are a give-away. They're surprisingly strong, though!

Just search google images for "cabriole legs buffet painted," or similar, to see some pretty creative paint jobs.

Are you going to sink a bowl into the top, or sit one on top of it?
February 1, 2013 at 10:14am   
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