Ines’s DIY Vintage Vessel Bathroom Sink

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When Ines, Michael, and their three small children relocated from Brooklyn to Brattleboro, Vermont, they had a tough time getting their kids to brush their teeth. “The very tall (6’5) previous owner had installed a wall-hung sink literally 41 inches from the floor and my kids could not reach the sink,” Ines explains.

She knew she wanted a vessel sink but didn’t like the modern options. Then she spotted a bathroom in an anthropologie catalog, in which a small antique table was fitted with with an old antique bowl that had been converted to a vessel sink. “I thought it looked great and I set out to make something similar.” Here’s what she did:

1. Found an old wash stand at a local used furniture store for about $80.

2. Discovered an old wash basin bowl for $30 at a flea market in New Hampshire. It had a nice old crackle glaze and appeared to be handmade. Ines emphasizes that if you are searching for a bowl to use as a sink basin make sure the bottom of the bowl is not too flat so that the water drains out easily.

3. Next, she needed to drill a countersink hole to fit her Kohler pop-up drain. “I knew it would be hard to do and did not want to attempt it myself,” Ines explains. After calling contractors and tile installers, she was finally directed to Abbiati Monuments in Brattleboro. Owner Mike Walsh makes tombstones but also does granite countertops. Ines says that Mike agreed to drill a hole in the basin and countersink it (ie, make a groove within the hole a bit bigger than the hole so the drain is flush with the bottom surface of the bowl) for free “in exchange for some good conversation and a promise I’d have coffee with his daughter, who had just started law school.” Ines emphasizes how important it was to ensure the drain was flush with the edge of the bottom of the bowl so water drains properly. “I had to bring the bowl back to make the countersink groove deeper.”

4. Ines then bought the faucet, the most expensive part of the project (almost $300). She found it at Sunrise Specialty, which makes antique reproduction faucets. “I chose unmarked handles so I could reposition them so that they turn on and off by going back and up,” Ines says.

5. Michael lightly sanded the top of the table and coated it with Waterlox. “We did our wood countertops with untinted Waterlox in Brooklyn and water beads on it like it does on the hood of a brand new car. Completely water proof, and a small can is hard to find and wicked expensive, but worth it,” Ines explains, adding that “polyurethane is an absolute no-no because it cracks when exposed to a lot of moisture.”

6. Using a door hole-saw set, they drilled holes in the table for the drain and single-hole faucet. A plumber then completed the installation.

Way to go, Ines and Michael!

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