Master Bath Phase 4: Updating the Vanity

My original title for this post was “English Chestnut, where have you been all my life?” 🙂 We’ll get to the explanation on that one in a little bit…

We wasted no time getting back to work on our master bath once I returned from Ikea this weekend.  I picked up a new countertop, sink, and faucet while we were there, so it was time for “out with the old, in with the new.”

First up, removing handles and emptying the vanity.

Buh-bye gothic 80s door handles and drawer pulls!  Buh-bye child safety locks that have been on our drawers since 1986.  (Just guessing here, but the previous owners did have fully-grown kids when they moved out.)

Hello fun residue leftover from 30 years of bathroom grossness.

After removing the handles and clearing out all the cubbyholes, here was our empty vanity.

Woah!  Look at all that junk!  I can’t believe how much STUFF we found in there! Mental note: Once this bathroom is done, nothing goes back under the sink unless absolutely necessary.

Once everything was out of the way, Stephen unhooked the plumbing.

We didn’t have a bucket handy, but we DID have an old Christmas popcorn tin to catch all the plumbing gunk.  Whatever works, right?

Turns out the only thing holding this countertop on was the plumbing and some caulk. No brackets, no screws, no anything!

Stephen’s face pretty much sums up the smell in that room once the countertop was removed.

It’s very important that you cap the big pipe coming out of the wall when you’re working with plumbing.  Not only does it let a ton of cold air out (or hot, if it’s summer), but the gasses emitted are toxic and smell disgusting.

After we’d let the exhaust fan run for a few minutes, it was time to bring in the new countertop!

If you’ve been paying really close attention, you might already know we’ve been planning on using butcher block for our vanity top in the master bath.  I’ve been toying with the idea of butcher block for probably a year now, but once I saw the Bowers use it in their master bath, my mind was made up.  Not only is this material inexpensive when purchased from the right place, it’s durable and beautiful!

We searched high and low for an affordable butcher block dealer in our area, but by far the best option was the $39 LAGAN countertop from IKEA.  The smallest piece they had was a few inches too wide and several inches too long, so Stephen got out the circular saw and trimmed it up.

Originally I was going to try to expand the vanity and SQUEEZE two sinks into that space, but instead we opted for a single larger sink with more counter space on each side. The sink we chose?  HOLLVIKEN from, you guessed it, IKEA. 🙂

Before staining and sealing the countertop, we wanted to make all the cuts necessary. Using the template provided with the sink, Stephen traced it in place.

Then he cut along the traced lines, and I followed behind with the palm sander.

While I appreciate the beauty of natural butcher block (and we’re planning on adding some in other areas of our house soon), this particular counter definitely needed some color.  Instead of mixing up a mid-century modern medium tone like the color I created for our entryway credenza, I made a trip to Lowes in the hopes that I could find a perfect pre-mixed stain.

Eureka!  Ohhh English Chestnut, where have you been all my life?  (See, I told ya I’d get around to explaining that title!)

Turns out English Chestnut stain by Minwax was the perfect solution to my stain color dilemma.  I’m literally looking around our house right now for other hunks of wood I can stain this glorious rich color.

A couple coats of poly to prevent water damage in that steamy bathroom, and this countertop will be ready to install!

Are you as excited as I am to see this baby in its new home?!  It’s gonna be SAH-WEET!

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