All is vanity

I went a little crazy on Monday. I bought another vanity top. For the upstairs bathroom. The bathroom I already just bought a new vanity top for. Which means we now have 3 vanity tops for that particular vanity. The original ewwww one, the white cultured marble (ie plastic) one I bought off Craiglist on Friday for $20, and then this other one I bought on Monday.

As a reminder, here is the original sink:

Original sink

And here is the Friday sink:

The new top I bought on Friday

I imagine you are all now thinking things like: this woman has gone barking mad, I pity her poor husband, why on earth would she buy another vanity top when she had a perfectly good one that she was so excited to find only 3 days earlier.

But it isn’t quite as loopy as it seems. Allow me to explain.

You see I had to head North a few miles up the 101 to check out potential vessel sinks for the vanity in our ensuite (which is downstairs).  So I looked them over, and snapped one up (more on this at a later date), and realized as I completed the transaction that I was very close to our local salvage yard.

Now you already know that salvage yards attract me like bugs to light, so there was no way I was going to drive home without stopping there.

One of the first rules – I might even go so far as to say The Biggest Rule – of finding bargains in salvage yards is to visit regularly. They have a high turnover of stock, and I happened to know (because I am on their email list, and I went and checked it out) that they are in the process of demolishing a large house in a very affluent suburb near here. I thought there might be some goodies from there, and even if there weren’t, you actually never know what you might serendipitously stumble upon.

As proved the case on Monday. I was perusing the new doors, and some upper cabinets (which might do as extra studio storage), when my eyes landed upon said vanity top. I drew a quick breath in. Gasp. And my heart beat a little faster.

Salvage yard vanity

I went over and had a closer look. The counter part of it was marble, real actual natural marble, creamy white with a dark grey streaks, with just a hint of brown. Not Carerra, but very nice all the same. And the sink? The sink was porcelain, with that lovely solid feel that cultured marble or acrylic never has.

Actual real natural marble. It just has to be better, right?

I whipped out the tape measure I always carry in my bag and measured it. It would fit the upstairs vanity p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y.

And the price? It was $25. $25 for a real marble and porcelain vanity top that would fit our upstairs vanity.  A real 2nd hand marble and porcelain vanity.

I immediately started arguing with myself.  Don’t be crazy, I told myself, you cant buy ANOTHER vanity top, you already have one that you only bought 3 days ago.

But it’s so pretty. It’s MARBLE. It is so much nicer than the other so-called ‘cultured marble’ one.

The pros and cons went round and round in my head, in various permutations for several minutes.

And then I remembered the words the beloved spoke when I bought the white Friday vanity home.  ‘But it’s plastic’ were the first words out of his mouth. Then seeing my crestfallen face, he said ‘Oh well, it looks way better than the revolting one we currently have. It will do just fine until we properly redo the upstairs bathroom.’

He paused for a minute and then said, ‘Look, it’s fine, but please don’t buy a plastic one for the vanity in our bathroom. Only replace that with ceramic or granite, or something like that. I really don’t like plastic.’ And neither do I, actually.

So it is really his fault that we ended up with 3 vanity tops. Naturally, I bought the marble and ceramic vanity top.  I loaded it in the car, and I drove home with it.

And did I march triumphantly in the door holding it aloft? No. No I didn’t. I am ashamed to say I left it in the car, and snuck inside.

Then I made the beloved some lunch, and told him how much I loved him and how wonderful he was, then said I had a confession to make. He immediately looked apprehensive.

I explained my purchase, said that it was marble and porcelain (as he liked), and that it had only cost $25. He looked immensely relieved. I wonder what he thought I was actually going to confess?

I promised to put the Friday vanity back on Craigslist. Which made him happier. And once he saw the new sink he was happier still.

So the new sink joined the Friday sink sitting in our dining area. It sat there and tempted me to install it.  ‘Put me in’ it seemed to say, seductively.

My common sense said that I should leave installing it until I had painted, but the marble vanity top kept up its siren song, and in the end I succumbed.

I put aside the final finishing off jobs in the studio that I ought to be doing, and thought I would surprise the beloved with having the new sink installed by the time he got home that evening.

removing the mirror before starting work

Installing a vanity isn’t hard. It should only take about 3 hours. Should.

How long did it take me to install the new vanity top?

3. Days.

3 excruciating days in which I took down mirrors; wrestled with removing the old sink with fittings that had fused with age; and ditto removing the old fittings off the new sink; beefed up the vanity cabinet so it would take the weight of a marble top; wrangled ancient plumbing that kept dripping; fitted new stop valves, faucets, pop-up drains and p-traps; drove back and forth to the hardware store each time I needed the next thing that had to be replaced; and tromped outside to turn the water main on and off a gazillion times.

Old plumbing

Old top gone

cutting wood to strengthen the top

Attaching wood to cabinet

removing fixtures from new sink

That drain would not budge, so out with the hacksaw

that's better

remove the taps

Give it a clean

dry run testing new sink

Seemingly endless complications from geriatric plumbing

Note to self: when dealing with old plumbing expect the worst.

A lot of this was done lying on the bathroom floor with my head in a cabinet, being dripped on by mangy old pipe water. Why do I get myself into these situations?

Oh that’s right. I wont pay someone else to do the things I can do myself. And if we want the house to look better, I am going to have to do it myself because we are on a 50 cent budget here people.

Finally, after 3 days of toil and struggle the new vanity top is in. But first – of course – a reminder of what is now gone.


And after







Don’t you think that looks a whole lot better? And yes, I still have some cleaning to do, and a long way to go before the bathroom is done.

My problem now is that I am not sure my whole pinkalicious remodel of the bathroom is going to work with the new vanity top.

I am debating changing the color scheme, but I am not quite sure at this point which way it will take me.

I will have the weekend to think it over, though, because we are running away to Tahoe for the weekend. It will be cold, beautiful and it may well snow. Which is exciting when you come from Australia where it only snows on the very highest mountains, and you don’t have to live with it all the winter long.

It will be a weekend of friends, fun, great food and wine. And after installing that vanity top, I certainly feel like I have earned it.


4 responses to “All is vanity

  1. You are a WONDER, woman. Seriously. Just amazing. I love your handiness.

    • Thank you Andy! I confess in the middle of all that plumbing I did wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew … suffice to say I now know a whole lot more about plumbing than I did 3 days ago …

  2. Pingback: Absolutely floorless | Quirk Street

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