Old House Journal

From Wash Bowl to Sink

Given the right preparatio­n, patience, and light pressure, the diamond-saw blade made a clean cut on both sides of my new vessel sink. — G.B.


Finding an antique, decorated sink basin, in perfect condition, at an affordable price, is almost impossible. So I decided to create one myself. Vintage bone china and earthenwar­e wash bowls are available from plenty of sources online. From a dealer in Belgium, I ordered a beautiful basin with a teal-on-white transferwa­re pattern. To create a center hole just the right size for a drain fitting, I would need to use a drill fitted with a hole saw. I was terrified that I would break the bowl, so I practiced on a $19 bowl that had arrived with a few cracks. After some trial and error, I was ready to work on my prize transferwa­re bowl.

Step 1 To find the center of the basin, place at least two strings across the bowl, one from top to bottom and one from side to side.

Step 2 Find the exact center of the bowl using a plumb bob and pencil. Use a protractor to mark a circle that’s the same dimensions as the drain opening you need to create. My opening was 1¾", so I used a Bosch 1¾" diamond hole-saw bit with teeth.

Step 3 Cut a template the same size as the circle from a thin piece of balsa (1/8" thick), then lay it over the center mark and secure it with duct tape.

Step 4 Pour a few ounces of water on it before drilling to keep the blade from overheatin­g and cracking the bowl. As you drill, don’t apply much pressure and do rock the blade around.

Step 5 The drill cuts through cleanly with no cracks. Step 6 The new drain and stopper fit perfectly.

I wanted to keep the original tub and furnish the rest of the room with antiques and vintage pieces. Oddly, the freestandi­ng plumbing for the tub was in the middle of the room—draining away from the low side of the bath. So I was able to flip it end for end, which fixed the potential drainage problem and also allowed more room for a sink in a vanity cabinet.

The bathroom is right at the top of the stairs, visible from the entry, so I wanted the view from below to be of something beautiful. I found an antique, Eastlakest­yle washstand that needed work, for $45. (I’m always rescuing antiques from craigslist and Facebook Marketplac­e.) To bring the washstand to the right height, I added legs, then refinished the piece in a slightly darker color to match other Eastlake pieces I’ve collected. It fit perfectly in the rearranged space. The washstand had no

 ?? ?? right The owner chose a marble that resembled whiter marbles used in Victorian times. The small mirror came from a flea market.
right The owner chose a marble that resembled whiter marbles used in Victorian times. The small mirror came from a flea market.
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