Converting a washstand to a bathroom vanity can add a touch of grace and nostalgia to a bathroom. It will be necessary to make some modifications to the washstand to accommodate the plumbing, depending on the location of your existing drain and water supply pipes. There are a variety of vessels and faucets widely available at hardware stores for creating a custom bathroom vanity.
Measure the space where you plan to install the converted washstand to ensure it will fit, especially if the unit has to fit between a toilet and a wall. If the washstand is going on an open wall, the width of the unit size is not as important.
Measure where the drain and water supply pipes come into the bathroom. If all the pipes come in from the back wall, measure from the floor up to the pipes. If the pipes come up through the floor, measure from the back wall to the pipes. If the drain comes up through the floor and the water supply pipes come in from the back wall, measure from the floor up to the drain pipe and then from the floor up to the water supply pipes. Draw a square around the pipes, allowing two inches all around the pipes.
Remove the drawer and the doors from the washstand. This will provide easier access for when you are hooking up the plumbing.
If all the pipes come in from the back wall, turn the washstand around. Measure from the floor up to the bottom of the square around the pipes. Measure the same distance up from the floor on the back of the washstand and draw a matching square on the back of the washstand. If there is a middle shelf, check to see where it is located in relation to the square you just drew. You will have to take out the shelf if it interferes with the pipes.
If the pipes come up through the floor, turn the washstand upside down. Measure from the wall to the closest edge of the square around the pipes. Measure the same distance from the back of the washstand and draw a matching square on the bottom. If there is a middle shelf, you will have to cut a corresponding square hole in the shelf as well. If the shelf still interferes with the drain pipe, the shelf will have to come out.
If the drain comes up through the floor and water supply pipes come in from the back wall, draw a square on the back of the washstand for the water pipes and one on the bottom for the drain pipe. If there is a middle shelf, it will have to come out.
Drill a hole inside each corner of the square you drew on the washstand with a 3/4" wood bit. Insert the jigsaw blade in one of the holes and cut along the line to the next hole. Continue this until the square is completely cut out.
Place the vessel and faucet on the top of the washstand and position them in the desired location. Make sure the drain and water pipes line up with the sink drain and the faucet. Draw a line around the base of the vessel and the faucet. Drill a 3/4" hole inside the outline of the shape you drew for the vessel and faucet. Insert the jigsaw blade and cut it out. For bowl shaped vessels with no pedestal, cut an 8-10 inch hole at a 45 degree angle to allow the bowl to sit properly. For vessels with a pedestal, you only have to cut a hole that is the size needed to fit the sink drain. This gives the unit a little more height. To determine where the hole should go, take a pencil and stick it through the sink drain hole in the vessel when it is in place on top of the washstand and draw a circle.
After the holes for the vessel and faucet have all been cut out, apply two coats of marine varnish on the top of the washstand to prevent water from penetrating the wood.
When the varnish has dried, set the washstand into place, fitting the square holes in the washstand around the pipes. To secure the washstand to the wall, drill a pilot hole into the wall and screw the unit to the wall.
Place the vessel into place. For a bowl vessel, apply clear tub and tile silicone around the edge of the hole before you sit the bowl in the hole and apply silicone around the bowl where it meets the top of the washstand. For the pedestal style vessel, apply silicone around the base of the vessel where it meets the top of the washstand. Set the faucet on top of the washstand and hook up the water supply.
For the drawer, measure the distance from the front of the washstand to the drain pipe and cut the depth of the drawer so it is shorter and will slide into position flush with the front of the washstand. Replace the doors on the front of the washstand.
Wear protective eyewear when operating the jigsaw to prevent any sawdust or wood particles from getting into your eyes.