...because home doesn't happen overnight.

In an effort to come up with finishes and an overall aesthetic for our master bathroom, I’ve been pouring over bathroom images online for weeks.  Originally, I liked the idea of hunting for a petite antique table or dresser, adding a sink to the top and converting it into a bathroom vanity.

Unfortunately, my antiquing and secondhand shopping haven’t turned up a suitable option.  The dressers I find are too large…too deep and too wide.  The tables that look like they’ll work are too ornate for our simple style.  Boo.

It just wasn’t working.  I wasn’t getting anywhere and I finally came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t supposed to work.  So, I dropped the salvaged dresser/table idea and moved on.  I still like the idea of incorporating antique furniture into our home, but I don’t think our small bathroom is going to be the place to do it.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that a floating vanity might work well in our small master bathroom.

They take up less space visually and physically.  They’re simple, usually with clean lines.

The options are endless, too.  An open wooden rectangular box with open storage in plain sight, two chunky concrete shelves hung parallel with textured baskets for hidden storage, or even a sink with a closed floating cabinet just beneath it are all variations of the floating vanity that could work.

Even a floating chunky wood countertop with a simple sink installed on top would provide space underneath for open or closed storage in the form of baskets or ottomans.  When I mentioned the floating vanity idea to Handy Hubby we was all ears.  He says it would be relatively easy to DIY. Plus, it would cost a whole heck of a lot less than the $400 sink/vanity combos I’ve seen at the home improvement stores.  And if we DIY a floating vanity, we have the freedom to customize it to our bathroom and its dimensions.  Just check out this DIY’d plywood floating vanity I came across and nearly fainted over…

Seriously?!  Isn’t that amazing?

The contrast of the sleek metal sink bowls against the warm plywood is spot on.  And by DIYing the project themselves, these homeowners created a totally custom piece that fits their bathroom and aesthetic to a T.

I like it.  I think we should do it.  Now, I just have to come up with a design.  I plan on adding hidden and concealed storage elsewhere in the bathroom to house toiletries.  It will also give us a good excuse to edit our already small arsenal of bathroom things.  But I think we can make it work.

What do you think?  Do you like the idea of a floating vanity in a small bathroom?  Maybe you have one yourself.  Or possibly you think it’s a horrible idea and I should ditch it right away.  I’d love to hear what you think.

images:  1) Rate My Space  2) Mirrors Mirrorsss  3) Bohemian Stoneworks  4) Rate My Space  5 & 6) Dwelement

77 Comments

29.September.2011

I love floating vanities, especially the first (although I wonder where they hide the plumbing –in the walls…? Seems like that could be complicated. Hmm). The plywood one is really clever, but not something I could live with at all. Alas, we’re a long way from doing the bathrooms in our own Underdog.

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29.September.2011

I love the idea of a floating vanity, and I think all of those are gorgeous… except the plywood one. TO ME, it looks like it belongs in the bathroom at the fairgrounds! :)

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29.September.2011

I like the idea but am another one who thinks the plywood one looks…like it needs paint or to be made out of a different material. Something so that it doesn’t scream Plywood! But that is just my opinion. I think the floating vanity is a cool idea:)

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29.September.2011

All those bathroom pics are gorgeous! I’m struggling with what to do with our main bathroom as well. I’m leaning towards repurposing an antique dresser but having space issues. I love the open concept but actually came across this blog entry yesterday – they got an awesome vanity but couldn’t hide the plumbing: http://www.tenjuneblog.com/2011/07/vanity-files.html

(Hope they don’t mind me sharing their link!)

Judging by all of the other spaces you’ve done, your bathroom will turn out amazing no matter what you choose!

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29.September.2011

I love the floating vanities! They are so clean and simple. I considered them for my own remodel, but my hubby has so much stuff stored in our current vanity that I know we need one in our new bath to hide it all. My favorite picture you posted was of the chunky wood with the white, dual sink above. The contrast between the warm, dark wood and the crisp white sink looks amazing!

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29.September.2011

how do these mount to the wall! i already have an open vainity area and we are looking to redo and turn into a double sink. i would love to do a floating one, but how would you DIY the mounting without seeing the supports??

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29.September.2011

We went with an Ikea vanity, the GODMORGON collection. They are pretty shallow at 18.5″ deep and have a lot of storage underneath. It’s not for everyone, but is really great for us.

In terms of smaller storage, I’m all for purging and buying only the absolute necessary things. We even got rid of our medicine cabinet to give us a more streamlined look.

If you’re curious, you can check our progress out at the link below. We’re not done yet, but getting there slowly and surely.

http://styleingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2011/09/bathroom-progress-its-all-about-little.html

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29.September.2011

I like the idea! Just keep the sink drain in mind. Open vanities always look great in ads or pictures that are carefully angled to hide the drain but sometimes in real life it looks weird. There isn’t a drain at all in the first picture, that must be what the towels are for :) The idea of plywood and stainless sinks sounds like it could be really unique and customized. I don’t really like all the particles in that picture though. What about a stained plywood that’s more along these lines? http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2700/4362280567_8de865a56c.jpg

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29.September.2011

I love the floating chunky wood vanity with the simple sink..so many possibilities there!

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29.September.2011

Great idea!! A floating vanity will totally open up the space in a small bath, even with things under it.

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29.September.2011

Found you all from YHL and spent some time yesterday reading all the history on your Underdog House. (getting a 1960s flashback ‘it’s not a plane or a bird or even a frog…..’)

I don’t like the OBS (strandboard) one – the shape is wonderful, but I think the surface of the strandboard/plywood would take many (or thick) coats of an acrylic sealer to be even and smooth enough to clean and I would also worry about off gassing. My favorite is the chunky one with the square sink. But in general, I don’t care for exposed plumbing at all unless your entire look is industrial. Have you considered a pedestal sink? You still get the ‘lighter’ visual but the plumbing is all tucked behind the vertical element.

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replied on October 4th, 2011

threadbndr – I love the look of pedestal sinks but would like the option of some storage beneath the sink…whether it’s closed or open. We had a pedestal sink in a powder room of our previous home and it was perfect in there. We didn’t need to put a bunch of toiletries {toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, razor, etc.} in the powder so it worked great in there!

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29.September.2011

Love the idea of a floating vanity and wish I’d thought of it before our bathroom reno 2 years ago. :(

Speaking of other hidden storage in the bathroom, I spied a pic on Pinterest recently that was a full length mirror attached to the wall on a hinge that hid built-in storage in the wall behind it. Again, something I wish we’d thought of years ago. I hope what I described makes sense. Can’t seem to find the pic right now.

I’ve said it before, but I love your site. I literally get excited when I see that there’s a new post. I loved your aesthetic in your old house and I can’t wait to see what you do with Underdog.

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I love the idea of a floating vanity! It seems very… boutique hotel?

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29.September.2011

A floating vanity looks clean and I always love pieces of furniture I can sweep under. Not that I sweep very much, but you… if I did… I could do it easily.

Not that you’re asking about bathroom flooring right now, but we have friends with white tile floors in their bathroom and, well, if I had their bathroom I would sweep a whole lot more. You see every hair. Ick.

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29.September.2011

Love the one with the chunky wood slab! Be aware that vessel sinks are not extremely practical for little ones–they tend not to drain as quickly, plus they are higher up, and thus harder for washing hands/brushing teeth…but that shouldn’t be a huge problem in the master bathroom, if the boys use their own sink.

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replied on October 4th, 2011

Carole – We’re thinking of using a floating vanity in the master {HH and mine’s} bathroom. I don’t think the kids will really be in it unless their bathroom is occupied. We’re going with a more kid-friendly vanity in the kids’ bathroom.

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29.September.2011

I don’t really love floating vanities but I admit they can look AMAZING. I just prefer more storage in my bathroom then a floating vanity allows for. The images you chose look amazing though… except the plywood one. To me that one looks really unfinished. It just isn’t my style.

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29.September.2011

All of those floating vanities look really clean and modern, I just know that i need plenty of storage in the bathroom, and love having drawers in a vanity to store everything. I agree with Amanda that the plywood vanity looks unfinished, like it needs something more.

Love reading your blog! I like how you post about everything, the new house, old house, rental, and your family.

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29.September.2011

I love the idea of the floating vanity, but ACK! that ‘natural’ partical board/plywood look is horribly unfinished. I looks like something straight off of Extreme Home Makeover when the budget and time was limited. Just one opinion…

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29.September.2011

I love the floating vanities! I think it will make your bathroom seem so much bigger, brighter and airier. But I agree, don’t like the plain plywood, I think it needs to be dressed up with paint or some other finish because it looks, well too plywood-y!

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29.September.2011

I’m all about a floating vanity, but the plywood… you lost me there! I do not AT ALL like the plywood look so I’m not a fan of the idea. Sorry! I do love, love, love the big chunky dark wood and white sink. That I would have ANYDAY in my house!

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29.September.2011

I love it! I can’t believe those are the same IKEA bowls I have at home! We’re looking at DIY-ing the sink/vanity combos in our house project too. I love the look of a rustic reclaimed wood farmhouse-table-style base (Ana White style) with galvanized steel bowls (cb2 has a cool pic on their site of something similar – like drink buckets – with their go cart console as a base). But I like concrete too!

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29.September.2011

So – if you’re thinking of DIYing a floating vanity, why not just DIY a faux-antique table or dresser like you originally wanted? It’d be just as easy to build as a floating vanity (and maybe easier, given the “attaching to the wall” and “hiding the plumbing” issues mentioned above). And there are plenty of how-to’s about faking antique finishes online. As long as you’re painting it, lumber cost isn’t even a concern (and you can use something budget-friendly but moisture resistant so that shower steam won’t affect it).

Look at the vanity in the first picture you posted – it’s a three-sided box with one drawer at the top and two doors on the bottom, with a bit of molding on the top edge to dress it up. Really simple to build, especially if you didn’t need that top drawer. Might even be plans somewhere like Ana White (http://ana-white.com/search?keys=vanity).

Look at it this way – the space under the sink is dead space anyway. If it were me I would build closed storage there initially just in case. No harm done if you don’t use it!

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replied on October 4th, 2011

Monica – A DIY’d antique vanity? I like it! Great idea! HH says it would be easy to do too. Jury is still out on a final design…

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29.September.2011

The unfinished plywood looks just that–unfinished! I think if it were made out of another kind of wood it could be very nice.

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29.September.2011

Yes yes yes! I had a similar attachment to the dresser+sink combo and, like you, failed at finding a suitable dresser. I wonder, if I had stumbled upon this idea, if I would have had a similar change of mind? My big thing with vanities though is hideability. We’re not neat people and I’ve long given up trying in the bathroom, so I need a vanity with space to hide the clutter when necessary.

I love it though. I will agree with Mike… that first picture must be fake (though extremely gorgeous!) what with the no drain thing. Use pretty piping though, and be careful to get it right so you don’t need too many bends and I think you’re ok.

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29.September.2011

De-lurking :) I love your blog and I love getting to play along in these renos on the underdog! I love the floating vanity idea! Just one question…where would HH’s electric razor hide?! :)

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replied on October 4th, 2011

Ashley – That will definitely be a little challenge to consider! HH can’t live without his electric razor. But I like finding storage solutions for everyday items. We’ll see…

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29.September.2011

My thought is that it is very 5 years from now, which I love. I always seem to do the trend stuff well before it actually becomes a requirement (minus the skinny jean craze, I hated them, but I dig them now). So, install now….enjoy the newness and uniqueness…and in 5 years it will still be awesome to your eye. And in ten years it will just begin to feel somewhat boring. I have a very similar style as yours and I would go with a more modern feel.

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29.September.2011

I love a floating vanity – the chunky wood + white sink = sublime. Not sure about the plywood – those bowls look like the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer. I’d want to beat eggs in them, not brush my teeth!

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29.September.2011

Just my opinion, but I definitely do NOT like the plywood vanity…reminds me of an airplane bathroom toilet for some reason. Not to mention, I am a bit of a clean freak and keeping the sinks clean on both the inside and outside of those bowls would drive me bananas. I loved the chunky wood with white rectangular sink. I hope it all comes together for you soon!

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29.September.2011

Like the third one down – floating wood shelf with the double fauceted trough-tyope sink. Also really like the ship lap-board paneling behind it (I think that is what it is called). Are you planning on that also?
Have to agree – like the plywood vanity style but not the finish. I would like to see that in some really nice finished wood (either stained or painted) with marble or back painted glass on the horizontal surfaces. Sigh. Probably too expensive for my budget.

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29.September.2011

Love your style, Love the third floating double white sink pick with rich warm walnut wood, as for the plywood- NOT a fan at all. As for the white bathroom tile, I have had it in my bath and LOVED it, you can see where the hair is and get it, not a problem at all. Have you seen the Life in Grace blog? She just did the white hexagon with a darker grout, beautiful. Thanks for sharing your progress. I look forward to reading your blog updates.

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29.September.2011

I think the floating vanity will work for your style…the plywood vanity is YUCK…I’m sorry I have to be honest! I think you should hold out and get what you really want. Sometimes when you least expect it the right thing just comes along. Good luck…can’t wait to see the progress on the Underdog.

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29.September.2011

I like the first and fourth photos. I believe the one referred to as the “plywood vanity” is not made of plywood, but of particle board or OSB. My experience with these boards is that they swell when wet, so you would have to have a very thick coat of marine varnish on them or all the hard work making the vanity will be for naught. I think I would prefer the “plywood vanity” made of actual plywood, and then painted, distressed, and varnished. (But not sure that would work with the sinks shown; maybe if painted black?) I like the storage drawers and that the P-trap is hidden. We always want more storage everywhere, especially in the bathroom, so maybe you could put a drop-down door and make a cupboard where the P-trap is. But you will have boys in this bathroom, and they may not have as stuff as my teenage girls.

My favorite is the fourth photo. It is simple, sleek and beautiful.

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replied on October 4th, 2011

Karen – You’re right!!! OSB it is {sorry for the confusion} and it would have to be properly sealed to be used in a bathroom. The floating vanity will be in our {master} bathroom so I think mainly just HH and myself will be using this vanity. I think HH has more toiletries than me!

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29.September.2011

I like the idea of a floating vanity and the plywood vanity is cool but… I just don’t think it offers enough storage space and may not appeal to future buyers. I know you are planning on staying in this house for many, many years, but you just never know what might happen. It took me over 3 months to find the furniture piece I wanted for my half bath, but I love it!

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29.September.2011

@Karen… I had to google it, because I am curious like that and what i found out is that “OSD plywood (which is also commonly known as OSB or oriented strand board) is produced by binding wood chips together with a mix of glue and resin. The mixture is then cast and baked to produce a plywood-like sheet. Because OSD does not use costly veneers it is as much as half the price of regular plywood. OSD also tends to have better waterproof characteristics, …” There were also several other types of “plywood” as well. So, you were both correct! Yipee!

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29.September.2011

I love the floating cabinet idea. That bath with the floating chunky counter is amazing!!!But, I have to agree with everyone else though, not too sure about the raw color plywood. It just reminds me of the old mulit-color gold/brown shag carpets from the 70’s. Maybe it looks better in person?

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29.September.2011

I was nodding along in agreement with the vanities until the plywood one. It just didn’t look right after going through the others. Then I looked again and *BAM* it made sense!

Plus if you do go with plywood and later change your mind, you aren’t out as much $$$.

I say go for it! (Plus I want to see your take on this style)

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29.September.2011

I love floating counters. We DIY one out of a leftover timber from the exterior of our house and I think it makes the space. You can check it out: http://timberandlace.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-floating-timber-counter.html

My only thoughts on the plywood – it would have to be sealed amazingly well on top and underneath cause that stuff sucks up moisture like you wouldn’t believe and then swells. Otherwise I love the look of it.

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replied on October 4th, 2011

Marci – That floating timber countertop is FANTASTIC!!! Love that you reused a piece from the exterior of your home. Great job!!!!

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29.September.2011

I have a floating vanity (although not as nice as some of those) and even though I love the concept and the look of them, its not practical. Unless you really have good storage options elsewhere its frustrating, especially having a place to store your toilet paper! I have baskets underneath, but I don’t find that workable (digging around trying to find what I need). Also the bowls certainly aren’t as easy to keep clean or use (water gets everywhere) as ‘normal’ vanities. We only have one bathroom though so I am using it everyday and don’t have any other options. We are about to redo our bathroom to fit in a bath and I think I’ll be sticking to a floor vanity.

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30.September.2011

Love the floating chunky vanity. Do not love the plywood one though. Wondering what steps they had to take to keep it from mad warping. The previous owner of our home used that same stuff to cover the OUTSIDE of our detached garage and it looks awful. They also used it in the den and painted it instead of using sheet rock. So for me when ever I see that kind of plywood being used like that, it speaks to me of people using something incorrectly and of how much I can’t wait to get rid of it from our home :)

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30.September.2011

I have to weigh in — and I never do this — but, please, not the plywood vanity. Before I even scrolled down, I pinned two of your ideas. Beautiful. And then I got to the plywood one…..mmm….no. :)

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30.September.2011

That isn’t even what I would consider plywood – more pressed wood board. It is not at all appealing to me because I just associate it with being a cheap alternative to actual plywood. All the other options are lovely and would work well in your home. Just please don’t build anything that looks like something you would build a doghouse with!! I like your house too much!

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30.September.2011

I like the floating vanity idea a lot. I could never pull it off myself because I keep WAY too much stuff in my batheroom, but I still think it’s beautiful and modern.

My fav of the ones you posted is the third floating vanity picture with the round mirror. It’s got a comfy, homey feeling but is still simple, sleek and modern looking without being over the top. Well, I hope you end up finding something that you love! :D

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That first vanity is great. I love how simple it is, but I don’t know how practical it would be. Maybe for a guest only bath where small things usually don’t live.

We love our basement vanity. My husband built it, so it’s completely customized to what we want. It’s a mix of open shelving and drawers for concealed storage. You can read more about it here: http://ourhumbleabowed.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/bathroom-business/

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replied on October 4th, 2011

Amanda – Your custom vanity is completely amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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30.September.2011

I love it. I think it is great to use materials for other purposes. I also love that the taps are higher than the sink. I have run into a problem with my own…I found taps at the thrift store and I love them but they would not fit with the sinks I love unless I raised them. This plywood idea is great. Also, I have a husband in construction and I think he would get a kick out of it.
You are delightful and I am so excited to see what you come up with!

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30.September.2011

I like the idea of a floating vanity, but the particle board one–ICK! I regularly read, but have never before commented on, your blog, but the yuck factor on the particle board was enough to make me come out of lurkdom. Love the design of it, but geez, any other material would be better. Particle board screams, loudly, “I am too cheap to use real anything.”

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30.September.2011

Love the idea! The chunky wood one is gorgeous and love the concrete too. I have to admit that I really hate the plywood though- it looks really cheap to me. You have great taste, so I am sure whatever you do will look great!

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30.September.2011

Gonna go ahead and repeat what a lot of other folks are saying. You had me right up until “plywood”. I think that rustic, truly unfinished materials can work, but only if they have a LOT of space around them to be able to breathe properly. Maybe that’s why they aren’t my cup of tea- I’m not a stark, minimalist type of gal. But I think a DIY floating unit in your little house could really maximize the image of space, and you could probably do it quite well.

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30.September.2011

Wow I am in love with that last floating vanity. It’s so beautiful yet unique. I’m all about bringing in your own style to a home so I say go for it!! :)

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30.September.2011

I like the way floating vanities look in pictures….but every one I’ve seen in-person, I’ve disliked. It’s always the plumbing that gets me. I’ve never seen one in a home that had pipes that were hidden well at all. Also, the plywood one, to me, doesn’t work. It’s extremely unique, but it’s just not my style at all! I prefer to have lots of storage in a bathroom, especially since the one I have now has literally one door directly under the sink that hides the pipes. I have a 60-inch counter top and less than 24 inches of storage. The rest goes 100% unused! I’m anxious to find a replacement myself, but I don’t think I could personally do a floating vanity.

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30.September.2011

HA! Dana we went through the exact same find-a-vanity-cycle as you.
Never did find a good enough antique dresser to re-use, started to look at the floating options…and, I do remember finding that same poly’d shred board vanity you have pictured here too.
In the end, time ran out, and we opted to save a lot of money and just bought a IKEA LILLÅNGEN sink (http://20booth.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/New-Room-9863.jpg). We won’t win any design awards, but we spent the saved money on better shower fixtures.

I’m guessing you won’t give in like we did. I’m interested to see what you come up with….

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