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January 3, 2012

The apartment is very comfortable but there are still a few things that need to be finished. The most nagging loose end is the vanity base in the bathroom. We have a sink top but we haven’t been able to resolve what to do for the base.

This is the glass sink we got from Hoods

We started out planning to buy a base from Home Depot but it seemed very expensive for what it was and had limited storage. Our plumbing connections come up through the floor, not from the wall, so the  installation would not have the clean look of the photo in the link. We would need something with a more enclosed base.We looked at IKEA and other on-line resources, but nothing inspired. We thought about making something and looked into getting pipe connectors and using some of the scrap pipe in the building. This is a table we saw in a store in Seaside, Florida.

Possible pipe connector system that we could make into a sink base

That option quickly became very complicated and surprisingly expensive. It also didn’t easily provide storage. We looked for something that we could repurpose, but nothing we found would fit with the sink that we already had. Nothing seemed to be the RIGHT solution. In order to get the apartment move-in ready, Franco fashioned a base out of scrap 2x’s and plywood. I asked him to not make it too nice because I worried that we’d learn to live with it if it were at all functional. Since we moved into the apartment last March, this is what our bathroom sink looks like.

Not the look we were going for

Numerous trips to Hoods later, we still have the cluttered workbench sink. All the cabinets we liked didn’t fit our space or were really cheaply built.

These are interesting but wouldn't work in our location

We have a salvaged large plate glass mirror for the wall, but we haven’t installed it because we don’t know exactly where the sink will end up. We have a cool little medical cabinet from an antique mall we’ll use for additional storage, but ditto on the placement. Everything is in limbo until we fine a usable base.

Vintage pharmacy cabinet

This weekend, Hoods e-mailed out a coupon for 20% off any one item. Saturday morning we hit the road for Festus, Missouri, the Hoods location with the largest vanity selection. We looked through the entire warehouse and focused on a cabinet we’ve considered before. It is simple, less than $200, the right size, the right configuration, but it is mostly particle board and cheapy hardware. I think we even looked at this same model in the past but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to buy it, at the time. This one is in better shape than ones we saw before.

We even found the glass sink like the one we have and mocked up the final look. If you're in Hoods and see a couple moving the merchandise around, it is probably us.

We bought it and loaded it into the Subaru. Next weekend, we’ll get it installed and finally have a more functional bathroom. It felt like we were settling for a sub par solution but in the end, we realized that a simple, cost effective cabinet was better than scrap lumber. There are other design features in the bathroom that are more important than the sink base.  We’ve also had to frequently remind ourselves that the apartment isn’t our final project, but more of a place to test options and ideas. The lesson here is that not everything has be to ‘Designed’ and precious. Sometimes, a simple solution could be the best solution. We’ll probably have to keep reminding ourselves of that.

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