Building a New Vanity Cabinet

January–February 2015

Before
the bathroom sink when I bought the
house
Impetus for the new cabinet
After its use by three different sets of tenants over two and a half years, the sink above suffered from a persistent dripping problem, which only the strongest valve tightening at the water supply hose could stop. I enlisted Len the Plumber to replace the water supply hoses or at least their valves, but other code violations noted by the initial inspection could stand to be remediated at the same time. Len the Plumber's crew installed a new chimney liner, new pipes allowing the water meter to be read without a stepladder, ball valves on the pipes leading to exterior faucets, and new water supply hoses on the affected bathroom. When one of the new pipes sprung a leak at the solder connection on a morning I was scheduled to teach in Rockville, it was only by sheer luck that I discovered the leak and shut off the main valve, thereby avoiding coming home late that evening to a flooded basement. Furious at the shoddy soldering job that Len the Plumber had performed, I terminated our contract and proceeded to install the replacement sink myself. For its support I would use neither the wall-mounted brackets chosen by the previous owner nor the particle-board cabinet likely to be chosen by Len the Plumber, but instead a simple design making use of the leftover lumber from unfinishing part of the basement. This project required only a weekend of sawing, hammering, and gluing, but the work served as a pleasant redirection of emotions aroused by Len the Plumber's ineptitude and the poor packing job done by Home Depot's online order fulfilment (the vanity emerged from the box in two big pieces and several shards, having suffered in shipping a crack clean across the entire width of the backsplash).
After
new cabinet to support the bathroom
sink
Transferrable skills learned from this project
  • Planning and budgeting
  • Applying adhesive to composite materials
  • Constructing a P-trap with steel plumbing and rubber gaskets