Simple bathroom vanity removal–hah!

So far, we’ve just dropped tantalizing hints about our re-started bathroom renovation project…

thissortaoldlife bathroom tile sample

We’ll soon be filling you in on the long-planned (and re-planned) tile walls now surrounding our bathtub. (We want to complete it before sharing.) But today, we’re focusing the spotlight on our vanity.

thissortaoldlife master bath sink door pic

When the whole bathroom project exploded unfolded, we decided to remove the existing vanity because it wasn’t working well for us. It was wedged so tightly into its space that the left-side drawers hit the corner of the half-wall when we opened them. We couldn’t open the right drawers if the door was open because there wasn’t enough space.

We want something smaller. Like this.

thissortaoldlife restore vanity

This new guy, a ReStore find, has been undergoing a make-over we’ll also share later.

While we’ve got those other things in the works, today’s post is all about getting the old vanity out. We need to get the vanity out because it’s time for the new floor to go in. We have to put the new floor in because we can’t finish the tiling job until we do that. (The whole bathroom project is feeling a bit like a Rube Goldberg device.)

thissortaoldlife bathroom floor removal

This vinyl flooring was stained, so it had to go, too.

We thought it would be a fairly simple matter of removing the tile backsplash…

thissortaoldlife master bathroom tile removal

and freeing the pipes…

thissortaoldlife master bathroom vanity removal pipes

and then sliding the vanity out.

Except it didn’t quite go like that.

thissortaoldlife master bathroom drywall mess

What the heck???

Let’s skip over that gaping hole we put in the wall for just a minute and focus on the missing drywall in the corner. What’s up with that? Did they just not have a big enough piece and decided to go with one a little short? Did they cut once before measuring twice?

Oh, who knows…and really, what difference does it make? It is what it is, right?

We didn’t have time to ponder that long, because it quickly became apparent that the vanity was stuck.

thissortaoldlife master bathroom stuck vanity

Cane managed to wrestle the beast into some kind of submission by laying the front of the cabinet on the floor.

When I asked how that was going to help us, he said he was going to flip the back end up (putting the countertop side down onto the floor), releasing it from the half-wall. Then we’d sorta shimmy it out the door.

thissortaoldlife half-stuck vanity

It was all feeling way too much like our experience of wrestling in the new tub.

Tub wedged into too-small space

This is Cane putting a hole in the wall to the bedroom, so that we could get the tub down into its space.

I expressed some doubt about total support for this whole plan, but it quickly became apparent that the thing wasn’t going to budge. There would be no releasing it from the half-wall.

Not in one piece anyway.

This really bummed us out. The cabinet wasn’t working for us, but we hated to destroy a perfectly good cabinet that someone else might want.

thissortaoldlife stuck master bathroom vanity

Alas, we did.

thissortaoldlife cane's foot on bathroom vanity

Right before Cane smashed this foot down into the cabinet, breaking the back apart, he shook his head, looked up at me and whispered, “Two leaky tiles.”

Yes, this did all start with two leaky tiles.

thissortaoldlife bathroom problems

At the end of the day, we had not only a busted-up vanity, but also a busted up wall.

thissortaoldlife master bathroom vanity removed

This presented a whole new design dilemma opportunity. Back in January, I suggested removing that half-wall on the left. While it does separate the toilet from the vanity area, it also cuts the already narrow bathroom in two and makes the tub/toilet portion of the room darker than we’d like.

“No way,” Cane said back then. “Too much trouble.”

thissortaoldlife master bathroom vanity removal hole in wall

Looks like Trouble has found us anyway.

That’s OK. We laugh at Trouble. And then go back to the drawing board.

Since we now have to do more than paint anyway, we decided to reconsider our previous decision about leaving the wall as is.

We talked about no wall,  a half-way-up wall, a pass-though opening in the upper half of the wall, and a post with shelves extending to the back wall. We do have a light switch half-way up the other side of the wall to deal with, and unfortunately the wires go up, not down–so no wall or making this into a half-way-up wall would not be simple and would require calling in an electrician.

After sleeping on it, we decided to go with the pass-through window, which would preserve the switch, maintain the privacy barrier between the sink and toilet, and let more light in to the tub area.

thissortaoldlife wall pass-through

Here she is from the tub side:

Wall pass-through from tub side

I will admit, I was pretty skeptical about this whole thing–and I know it looks pretty crazy right now–but the tub area is so much nicer with the light from the vanity shining through. This room has no windows, and it really does feel better with this opening in the wall.

So, that’s our story of the simple vanity removal.

Comments of encouragement and/or constructive suggestions of how to enhance this new feature (that don’t include buttoning that hole right back up!) would be so appreciated! :-)

cane arm muscle

Why do I have this shot? I don’t know…guess it’s the goofy kind of stuff you do right after your hole-in-the-wall gamble pays off!

 Update:  To see how it all turned out, click here.