An­tique buf­fet can make a ter­rific van­ity

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Leanne Brownoff

Dear Leanne: We have an an­tique din­ing room buf­fet and we were won­der­ing if it could be trans­formed into a van­ity cabi­net for our mas­ter bath­room.

It has two cen­tre split doors in the mid­dle and then two nar­rower doors on each side. This buf­fet doesn’t have any draw­ers in it and its di­men­sions are: 60 by 20 inches by 34.5 inches (height) or 1.5 me­tres by 50 cen­time­tres by 87 cm (height). Also, how do we pro­tect the wood top from wa­ter splashes?

AN­SWER: Trans­form­ing an­tique fur­ni­ture into new uses is truly an in­no­va­tive take on the green motto: Re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle.

Al­though there will be read­ers cring­ing at the thought of cut­ting a hole in the top of a beau­ti­ful an­tique, there will be an equal num­ber of read­ers in­trigued with the idea.

To make this buf­fet a com­pletely func­tional van­ity, you will need to look at your di­men­sions one more time. If you wanted to place a ready-made sink com­pletely into the top you will need to en­sure you have a min­i­mum of 46 cm (18 inches) within the cav­ity of the cabi­net.

The 50-cen­time­tre (20-inch) mea­sure­ment may be in­clud­ing an over- hang­ing top, not its func­tional in­side mea­sure­ment.

Open the doors and mea­sure the in­te­rior depth (front to back) and look at the un­der­side of the cabi­net top, as you may need to re­move brack­ets or brac­ing bars be­fore you can drop a sink in place.

You can get small, oval sinks that are 41 cm by 48 cm (16 by 19 inches) that would fit into this space. Once you know a sink will fit, en­sure you have ad­e­quate clear­ance for the plumb­ing be­low. You will need to re­move any shelves that would im­pede pipe place­ment.

If you are do­ing the in­stal­la­tion your­self, you will need to cre­ate a tem­plate of the sink (that is if you didn’t get one in the pack­age).

Place the sink up­side down on a piece of sturdy paper or card­board.

Trace the out­side of the sink and cut the shape out.

To get the size of the ac­tual open­ing for the sink, cut a sec­ond tem­plate and mea­sure the di­men­sion of the over­hang­ing lip edge. Cut the in­side of the oval shape away, leav­ing an oval ring. This rep­re­sents the lip of the sink. Slip the sink into the paper ring to en­sure a good fit. Now’s the time for any ad­just­ments of the tem­plate.

Place the full tem­plate on the cen­tre of the cabi­net top and drill a small hole into the cen­tre of both the tem­plate and the top.

To check the spac­ing is cor­rect, take the tem­plate in­side the cabi­net, place it on the un­der­side of the buf­fet top and line up the holes. You may need to re­po­si­tion the tem­plate slightly for a proper fit; this is nor­mal. Of­ten, tem­plates need to be moved back slightly to ac­com­mo­date closed doors that can­not be viewed from above.

Drill (from the in­side) the new cen­tre point. Yes, you will now have two holes close to­gether, so make sure you know which one is the new hole when you are work­ing on top.

Place the dough­nut-shaped tem­plate on the buf­fet top, cen­tring it around the new hole. (Us­ing the full tem­plate on top as a guide may be help­ful, as it has the holes to line up.)

Us­ing mask­ing tape, tape the dough­nut-shaped tem­plate on the buf­fet top and, us­ing a jig-saw, cut the open­ing for your sink.

Im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion: Get a cabi­net maker or fin­ish­ing car­pen­ter to do this if you are un­sure of your abil­ity.

Re­mem­ber, the wood may be a ve­neer and care must be taken to avoid splin­ter­ing. An­tiques can be dry and brit­tle, so get an ex­pert’s ad­vice be­fore cut­ting.

I sug­gest you con­sult a plumber for the pipe work, to make sure ev­ery­thing is in work­ing or­der.

An ad­di­tional de­sign op­tion is to have a cus­tom-made glass ves­sel cre­ated to sit di­rectly on top of the buf­fet. Panache Ce­ram­ics In­dus­tries (www.panachece­­fers a va­ri­ety of op­tions for such projects. This would en­tail cut­ting a hole to ac­com­mo­date the drain pipe as op­posed to the en­tire sink. To pro­tect the wood from wa­ter splashes, fin­ish the top with sev­eral coats of a clear, la­tex polyurethane in a satin fin­ish, which is eas­ier to main­tain than a glossy fin­ish.

An­other idea is to re­move the wood top and re­place it with cus­tom mar­ble or gran­ite, which are more prac­ti­cal than wood and re­silient to wa­ter.

Stone man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies will cut to specs, in­clud­ing the sink or drain-hole.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Trans­form­ing an­tique fur­ni­ture, like turn­ing this dresser into a van­ity, is truly an

in­no­va­tive take on the green motto: Re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle.

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