How To Build a Furniture Style Vanity


You know it’s become a pretty popular thing to take old pieces of furniture and convert them into vanities. In recent years I have kind of gone the other direction and have started building vanities that can look like furniture. My customers have liked the idea to the point that it’s been hard to get them to select any other style that we could do. So I’m going to show you how I build one of these freestanding vanities. First of all, it does not have a face frame which means that the entire front is cabinet doors or drawer fronts. So the main structure of the vanity itself is a frame that has feet on it, 2 boxes that have stainable fronts, and 2 end panels that are made of solid hardwood. My favorite thing about this type of vanity is that when it’s completed every exposed piece of wood is hardwood. That’s pretty unusual these days.

I’ve been cutting up material for the boxes and here I’m using a pocket hole cutter. There’s nothing magical about this machine, but for a small shop where I sometimes need to produce things quickly, this can really help to speed up productivity. The machine has 2 routers built into it. The first cuts the slot with the push of the lever forward and the 2nd drills a hole for the screw in the end of the panel when you pull the lever towards you.

The boxes are made of three-quarter inch melamine or flake board as it is sometimes called and I edge band the edges that faced the front of the vanity with pre-glue alder edge banding in this case.

This is a simple pattern that I use for the legs. Once again, these can be cut on a bandsaw or with a jigsaw. I have a tool path set up in the CNC machine that allows me to mass-produce these quickly. Then I glue them together with just a butt joint, then clamp them and let them dry. Also any style of leg can be used for this type of project. Many different shapes and sizes of legs are available online or at the big hardware stores. In this example I’m using about a four-inch tall leg which is a pretty good dimension for the vanity base.

I’m getting ready to assemble the base that the legs attached to and the boxes will sit on. I wouldn’t recommend using pocket holes for tying these pieces together. Biscuits and a biscuit cutter will work well. Also dowels will do the job. In my case I’m using domino’s to give additional reinforcement to the joints.

As I said earlier, all exposed pieces of wood are solid hardwood. So, even though the end panels in this particular case can’t really not be seen very well, I still make them out of hardwood. It doesn’t take that long to do and is not that costly either. I can glue up the panels in a short period of time and the main advantage it gives me is that when I’m staining and finishing, I get consistent results because I’m using hardwood all the way around the vanity. Plus if sometime down the road this bathroom is remodeled again, this vanity could have a different top put on it can be used as a piece of furniture somewhere else in the home.

With everything together, all that remains is to add some pieces of trim to cover the joint between the base and the boxes.

With everything now in place and all is looking good, it’s time to head back to the shop and build some drawers, drawer fronts and doors. My drawers for this type of project are pretty simple. Again I use the white melamine, but in 1/2 inch thickness. I then edge band all the tops of the drawer sides and trim the edge banding to size. I use 1/4 inch thick bottoms which is plenty adequate for a vanity. These drawers are very functional and the white melamine gives them a real clean look.

I then squared them up and run a bead of glue on the underside of the drawer bottom to lock them in to that shape. Any style of door and drawer front can be used at this point. These are slab doors so I’m gluing them up just like I did the end panels for the vanity. The hinges that I use for this particular reveal on the doors are three-quarter inch full overlay hinges. So once they are installed to the inside of the boxes, as they open and close they will completely cover the edge banded front edges of the boxes.

So you end up with this kind of look. Using alder as the hardwood and the slab doors and drawer fronts with just a slight chamfer to take the sharpness off the edges, this vanity has a bit of a rustic look and also definitely a custom look. Then we finished it off with a solid surface countertop with integrated sink and a matching mirror. I hope you enjoyed this video and maybe it gave you an idea or 2 of your own. Also hope you’ll consider subscribing to my channel and checking out other project videos from Dobbs Workshop.