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Conquer Your Vanity

October 13, 2010


  1. October 13, 2010 2:38 am

    Okay, I NEED to do this. Need to. As soon as we know we’re signing a lease for another year (can you believe I’ve had the apartment for 10 months already?!), I am ALL over this.

    You did a way better job with this than I would have if I’d gone with my initial plan. Chipboard was involved. Yes, it would have been bad.

  2. October 13, 2010 8:40 am

    I love your complete willingness to blow off any and all form of renter rules. I too, don’t give half a crap about my deposit – I mean, I do, but I knew they’ll make up some bullshit reason to steal it anyway so I may as well paint my place how I like it in the mean time.
    I replaced the hideous beige faux marble countertops in my kitchen for plain white ones two years ago and friends were aghast but dude. it cost me less than a hundred bucks, took less than a day and it looks a zillion percent better.

    Anyway, thanks and you’re awesome for sharing this tutorial. I may just have to copy you x6 for my kitchen cabinets.

    • October 13, 2010 2:44 pm

      Oh man! I feel like I’ve accidentally vilified my landlords– they actually seem like nice, honest people and they did give us permission to paint… but I doubt they meant, like, cabinets and stuff. I WISH I could replace the sink, too (and slowly breaking faucet that I’m a little afraid to ask to get fixed now…) but I don’t think that’s in the cards.

      I think we have the same countertops. I HATE them, but the other stuff in the kitchen is starting to become distracting enough that they’re not as noticeable anymore. I really want to add stainless steel edging, but unless I find some or it’s less than, oh, $10 it’s not happening. Gotta choose your battles in these places! A lot of ugly to combat.

  3. Maddie permalink
    October 13, 2010 1:56 pm

    How did you get to the side of the vanity where the heating pole was? Our vanity has a nice 8 in gap between it and the wall but there’s the darn awkward heating pole in the way!

    • October 13, 2010 2:31 pm

      oh, I didn’t! There’s only about two inches between the wall and the vanity, so you really can’t see the side (or retrieve all the things I’ve now dropped in that tiny gap! argh!). Maybe approach yours from the top with a roller + an extension rod?

  4. October 13, 2010 2:48 pm

    Wow, it looks great.
    I too admire your complete disregard for being a renter.
    We rent I I look at wall and moulding and cabinets every day thinking of how I’d love to rip them all out. They always keep deposits, regardless of what you do or don’t do!

  5. Heather permalink
    October 13, 2010 2:49 pm

    I’ve been renovating my house for about a year and a half now, got turned onto your blog from D16. I can’t even tell you how many ideas I’ve gotten from you and Anna, you guys are amazing. Anyways, keep posting, I absolutely LOVE reading your blog.

    I have the UGLIEST dark brown fake wood grain kitchen cabinets (and they’re formica to top it off)- do you think something like this would work on them? I desperately want to paint them, but I’m afraid they’d come out even worse than they already are. Would it be way too much work? I have about 37 doors and drawers. It’s a little ridiculous.

    • October 13, 2010 3:00 pm

      Well thanks! I think you could definitely do something like this, although instead of using the individual planks, I’d probably get a big 4×8 sheet of luan or maybe even masonite cut down to strips. Since you have SO many to paint, you might think about renting one of those big professional paint-sprayers (I think you can rent them at Home Depot) for a day and getting it done that way. Definitely prime with oil-based first, it’s really nice and durable for kitchens and baths.

  6. alice permalink
    October 13, 2010 2:52 pm

    Wow. I love you.

  7. TheElefanta permalink
    October 13, 2010 4:02 pm

    This is absolutely great, I too am a renter who had a nasty/tiny bathroom. Upon deciding to re-do it, I simply wrote an email to my landlord stating, whatever I am doing to this bathroom will certainly up the value of your property, you should be paying ME to live here. Hahah. SO, I love where you’re coming from.

  8. October 13, 2010 5:40 pm

    How the hell do you think of this stuff? Most of the time I see ugly and I think “ugly”. You see ugly and think “I’m going to kick this ugly thing’s ass until it’s pretty”. Amazing, sir.

  9. Kyle permalink
    October 13, 2010 5:48 pm

    This is really impressive for sure, but I feel like the door pulls are slightly off scale for the doors…maybe they don’t seem as off in person. I really love the tile.

    • October 13, 2010 9:18 pm

      Totally fair. I do think they look better in person, but something about them still seems a little off… I’m usually not a fan of those style of pulls (they’re just everywhere, ya know?), but mostly I didn’t want to change the unit TOO much, so sticking with 3-inch pulls seemed like a smart move. I think they’re placed a little funny, but that’s just because it’s where the old screw holes were in the back of the doors. Also, trying to stay cheap with a home depot selection and needing stainless– since the knobs were already bought– they were definitely the best option. I’m considering them a gift to the apartment, since I can’t bear to put the old ones back, even if I don’t have to live with them!

  10. Nicole permalink
    October 13, 2010 8:19 pm

    I wish I wasn’t too 1. poor and 2. scared to do this. Good thing I’m moving soon! I wish you could see my countertop–it’s beige with swirls of gold craft glitter in it. I’m not even kidding. It’s actually so ugly it’s sort of charming and lovable.

    Actually no that’s a lie, it’s really ugly.

    I nearly had a panic attack just replacing the shower head in my apartment (MY DEPOSITTTTT) even though I kept the original–which I think has been in there since the 70s!–so I can’t even imagine.

    The whole place looks epic and amazing since you got your hands on it, bathroom included. Wandered over from Uber Chic for Cheap a few weeks ago and have been checking back in since 😀

  11. October 14, 2010 12:00 am

    looks awesome! Very clever idea. Sometimes I make my own handles out of small popular molding. I’m working on some for my closet – I’ll have to show you. It’s cheap and super easy but is a really great look.

    I had an apartment years ago where I just went balls to the wall and painted and fixed things up. When my landlord came to inspect on move out his girlfriend gushed “It looks better this way!” and we got our full deposit back and many thank yous.

    I think if you do nice changes, it will be fine. I mean really – you are helping them out in the long run while paying them to do it.

    • October 14, 2010 12:16 am

      Wait, they aren’t the same ones as on your cabinets in the living room, are they? Because I really love those. Either way, I’ll look forward to seeing them!

  12. October 15, 2010 3:02 pm

    Totally badass! I wish I had the courage to shurg off my landlord like that! Beautiful redo, I love your site!

  13. laura permalink
    October 16, 2010 6:50 pm

    Love what you did to the cabinet doors. What do the inside of the cabinet doors look like? Is it shaker style? A lot of cabinets with that sort of detail on the front are plain old shaker style on the back, so you can just turn the cabinet doors inside out, fill the old hinge holes and redrill new holes on the old outside/new inside. You’d still have to paint and sand…….. the floor tiles are pretty.

    • October 16, 2010 7:25 pm

      No, unfortunately they’re just a slightly cheaper looking version of what’s on the front– same shape as the routing except it’s a quarter-inch(ish) thick panel in that shape slapped over an otherwise flat face. It’s obnoxious.

  14. October 17, 2010 4:15 pm

    le pant, le heave. le love!

  15. October 17, 2010 11:43 pm

    Very nice and creative cabinet refacing.

  16. Jen permalink
    October 18, 2010 2:32 pm

    The updated vanity looks great! As I was staring at my own unsightly vanity, a question popped up though. How to the doors look in comparison to the fake “drawer” above them, since they are different thicknesses now? Would you recommend adding a board to the drawer as well to unify the front, or do you even notice the difference between the cabinet doors and the drawer?

    • October 18, 2010 5:14 pm

      It’s a REALLY subtle difference– totally sounds like something that would bug me, too, but I don’t even notice it.

  17. October 18, 2010 11:50 pm

    WOW. These are fantastic!
    Great job, Dan!

  18. October 19, 2010 3:39 am

    Singing “You’re the meaning in my life, You’re the inspiration” in a strictly DIY kinda way. I started my bathroom fix-up weeks ago, and it’s still not looking half way as cool as yours, even though it started off 10x better.

  19. Yenz permalink
    October 25, 2010 8:02 pm

    This is an amazing job. I have long pondered how to bring my renter’s-nightmare-of-a-cabinet into the 21st century and this just might do it. Have you considered investing in a T50PBN Staple and Brad Nailer. It is a great alternative to the expensive nail guns, especially for smaller projects. The The brads are 5/8″ long and would definitely have reduced spackling and sanding time considerably.

    • October 25, 2010 9:11 pm

      Actually, my electric staple gun (Powershot something, I don’t know the exact model) is also made for brad nails, although I don’t know the length and whatnot. This was such a small project that the manual route seemed just as easy and I already had the finishing nails on hand, but for bigger stuff I’d definitely go ahead and buy the nails made for my electric gun.

  20. October 31, 2010 2:09 am

    Dude! You are a God of small spaces!!!

    I just moved into my first ever, completely alone, apt. My nest was empty so I got a new one. I thought mine was small, but that bathroom of yours would jack up my claustrophobia to a “10”.

    You are a genius, I will most assuredly be subscribing. I especially love your sarcasm, reminds me why I am too, keeps me from getting mad, lol.

    I was blessed with my father’s genetics when it comes to doing almost anything with my hands. This covers everything from knitting to mechanics, which the Air Force just reinforced 😀

    Thanks for the blogging, I’ll be “learning” something new.

  21. November 19, 2010 10:57 am

    Ha, I’m a renter too and I don’t ask permission for ANYTHING either! I’m def. about to paint my kitchen cabinets with chalk board paint. Love it, glad I stumbled over here!


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