Kids’ Bathroom: Choosing a Vanity


Due to a persistent leak that is likely coming from underneath the floor in my kids’ bathroom, we may well need to add on a re-do of that room to our kitchen reno (as you may recall, the leak comes from the kids’ bath down to the kitchen ceiling. Wonderful). I have 49” space to work with for a vanity. I’d love a double sink, but that may not be in the cards cause it would be tight, so I’m looking at repurposing a dresser or chest, or using a trough sink.

Since I’m planning on using an antique piece as a sink cabinet for our downstairs half bath, I’ve already looked into how this would work, and initially had in my head a similar piece, something like this beautiful antique:


And while it’s beautiful and the measurements are right (if not the price, ahem), it’s just too fancy for the look I’m going for here.

As I’ve posted before, I want a simple, clean, shaker-inspired look, with painted vertical paneling ending in a shaker peg rail. As close as a bathroom can look to American colonial, given that they didn’t have bathrooms.

To that end, I really love the idea of using a pine piece. I will say that part of me is mortified to admit this. I don’t think I’ve ever identified with a character more than when Jessica Lange was relegated to her own personal hell in American Horror Story, and it was paneled in knotty pine. I agreed with her – that was about the scariest thing in that whole series.

BUT, we’re not talking primitive style, here. We’re talking stripped down, clean-lined antique pine. No yellow finish. Like this beauty:


It even has a pretty scrolled back! Measurements are right, and it would look lovely with a narrow vessel sink or a round vessel. It’s not big enough for two sinks, though, and while it’s not much different in price from your off-the-shelf vanity of the same size, I’d have to pay someone to modify the top drawer to make room for plumbing. I also worry about how it will wear and tear unless I replace that top with stone! That is not something I want to do because I’d lose the splash back, which is so lovely.

Another option is to cut the difference between fancy and simple:


This piece is scrubbed pine, would look gorgeous with a stone top, and would require pretty straightforward modification. I might even be able to put a drop-in sink rather than a vessel sink in, which would be nice. It has some, but not a ton, of storage. I’m a giant sucker for faux bamboo legs, and actually think that could look pretty great in a colonial room, because those American colonials loved their chinoiserie.  But it does skew away from simple shaker style!

Another option is this sideboard:


There’s a lot I like here. First off, the measurements are so precisely what I want it’s almost uncanny. As any of you who have ever tried to find something specific for a very specific space know, that is the unicorn dream.

It has some really lovely detailing in the cabinet door. The cabinet door and drawer above also have the added benefit of making modification for plumbing easier. There’s lots of storage, the finish and patina is lovely.


The first drawback for me are the pulls. They clearly aren’t original, as you can see in this zoomed-in photo where you can see the filled holes where the original pulls were. This is a real bummer, because now there are three holes in each drawer, so if I wanted to replace these pulls it would be an ordeal to find something that’s period appropriate and able to hide that.


Next drawback is that some of the wood is fragmented on the side. I honestly wouldn’t mind this age-appropriate wear-and-tear if the vanity were in a nook, but this side would be the one immediately inside the door, visible from the hallway. Not great.

Another option would be to use a simple table:


I love the legs on this one, which is good, because the top is trash for my purposes. It extends too far out, doesn’t look like it would survive any water at all. The nice thing about a table is that there is hardly any modification at all for plumbing. Just drill a hole and place a vessel sink. I could even do an undermount, though I worry you’d see the underside of the basin which wouldn’t look good.

At least marble and pine look beautiful together, and I would only have to find a remnant I loved at a stone yard rather than buy a whole slab!

Of course, I can always go with a trough sink.


I love the one above, with the bottom painted blue. This seller actually has tons of colors. And the measurements are pretty darn choice – 48” for my 49” space is hard to beat. PLUS it has two faucets so my kids aren’t at each other’s throats about who gets to turn on the water (it is a whole thing). The main problem? Storage. As in, there is none. There isn’t even a place to put your darn toothbrush.


Above, these folks put two giant medicine cabinets above the sink to solve this problem. However, my kids couldn’t reach these, which would mean supervised tooth brushing for the next five years. No thank you.

Basically, all of these provide great solutions … but also more problems to solve. Either making them safe for kiddo wear and tear, adding storage, or fixing finishes. Nothing is simple, right?

Which is your favorite vanity option? I keep going back and forth between the trough sink and the pine dresser with the backsplash as my top two …