Part 2: Pottery Barn Inspired Vanity (Abbott Console) DIY

 

Progress

Sorry the “where we are” color is so off. I think it’s from taking a poorly lit iPhone picture. The true color of the bathroom is in the center picture.

The last bathroom update “How To Build a Pottery Barn Inspired Vanity (Abbott Console)” was well over a year ago.  The powder room was 95% finished for most of that year, and 100% finished for a few months.  However,  between homecomings, new baby, scrambling to finish house projects, renting the house out, and moving across the country I am just now getting around to posting the other half of the vanity post (sorry if you were waiting).

 

The look I was going for was inspired by this Pottery Barn Abbot Vanity.  If you want to see the tutorial for the wood part of the vanity click HERE.  Back when I built the base, the pottery barn version  was $1699 + $75 shipping. Fast forward a year and the price has actually gone up to $1899 + $75 shipping!

To build my version I spent approximately :

  • $30 in wood
  • $40 in Plywood (this was scrap from my garage but I tried to guesstimate the actual cost of the material)
  • $17 Henry’s Feather Finish
  • $5 Stain (another guesstimate price from leftover minwax dark walnut stain)

For the bare bones vanity (without sink/faucet/plumbing)  I spent approximately $92.  The rest of the cost will vary depending on  what kind of sink, faucet, and plumbing materials you buy.

Here is what I bought for the varied expenses:

For sink, faucet, and plumbing stuff I spent around $298.

Total cost of everything for this exact vanity set me back about $390.  You could cut costs by spending less on a faucet and sink and still make a beautiful vanity!

Tools:

  • Jig Saw
  • Drill
  • Orbital Sander
  • Sand Paper 80, 120, 220, 400
  • Trowel
  • Puddy knife
  • Bucket for mixing

Materials:

  • Henry’s Feather Finish
  • Caulk
  • Liquid nails
  • Screws

Step 1: Make or prep countertop

Most tutorials I found were covering pre-existing laminate countertops.  I think I could have used the existing laminate countertop, but when ripping the old vanity out I didn’t have a game plan so I tossed it.  The rest of the vanity lived in my back yard as a little play house until we moved.  I let The Boy and his friends paint it all sorts of crazy colors, but couldn’t find any of those pictures.  Here is what it looked like before it was painted:

Old Sink Vanity play house

First I decided how big the counter would be and cut two pieces of oak plywood (oak is just what I lying around in my scrap pile).  Remember: from the “how to build a pottery barn vanity post“, the vanity and counter need to be 15” from the center of the toilet (Washington/Oregon Code).   I screwed/glued them together.  You can see in some of the pictures that I had to piece together one large piece and one small piece.  If I could do it over I wish I had added 1 more sheet of plywood for a thicker look.

***I have read (after the fact) that wood may not be the best base for a cement overlay because it can suck the moisture out of the concrete potentially causing cracking.  We’ve had the counters for well over a year and haven’t had any cracking issues.  When I read about these counters not holding up well I’ve noticed they seem to struggle in high traffic areas i.e. kitchens.  I learned a lot from the comment section in This post from the blog Tidbits.  ***

 

I then added 1×2 to the edges in an effort to make them sharp and smooth.  Looking back I don’t think this was necessary and wish I hadn’t done it.  While the counter has held up well, adding the 1×2’s creates a weak point potentially causing cracks in the future.  As of now it hasn’t been a problem.  Again I didn’t realize this until AFTER I finished the bathroom.

Step 2: Cut Sink Template

The sink I bought (American Standard Vessel Sink Amazon Affiliate Link)  came with a template to cut the correct size hole. I went ahead and traced it onto the wood counter, drilled a 1/2″ entry hole for the Jig Saw, and cut it out with my Jig Saw.
I went ahead and stuck my sink on to make sure everything fit/looked right.
American Standard Sink Fitting

Step 3: Apply Henry’s Feather Finish

Before you start, make sure to read the instructions!!!  This was such a  small surface I didn’t even use an entire box of Henry’s.  After roughing up the plywood with low grit sand paper I started the tedious process of: mix, apply, let it dry, sand, clean surface—- mix, apply, dry, sand, clean—- mix, apply, dry, sand, clean—-mix, apply, dry, sand, blah blah blah. I think I did about 4-5 coats,  I lost count at some point. I used whatever grit sandpaper I had lying around until the last coat which I used a 400 grit.

Cement layering
It felt like frosting a cake.  The above picture was  a couple layers in.  I did at least 2 layers a day (sanding in-between).
This was the most time consuming part of the project.  One benefit to applying the feather finish to a non-attached counter is that I was able to take it outside every time I needed to sand it and often brought it back inside so I could watch TV while i put another layer on.
finished cement counter
I finished it off with 400 grit and it was like butter.

DIY Abbot inspired cement vanity

Step 5: Seal Counter

Here is the deal, I can’t actually remember the sealer we used or find it on the Home Depot website.    I’ve read many rave reviews about TK6 NanoCoat.  If you’re using this in a kitchen please make sure to get a food safe sealer!!  We did 3-4 coats of a natural matte sealer and called it good.

As for attaching the vanity, we used a combination of liquid nails, caulk, L brackets, and shims to attach everything.  Make sure the vanity is securely anchored to framing in the wall (not just drywall).

Pottery Barn Vanity Abbot console
 Voilà!  For $390 we were very happy with the results.  Just remember, this is what it used to look like:
Before picture
Now, would I do this again?  Yes absolutely.  However, I will say, I would not use this to cover pre-existing countertops.  The main reason being, it is so incredibly messy.  I would only use this method again for a piece I could take outside to sand.  In the future I’d love to experiment with mixing Ardex white and gray powders together  to get a lighter gray.  After putting the sealer on my counter it darkened up more than I would have liked.
I swear, I won’t wait a year to post the final bathroom pictures (or the rest of the house pictures).  Since all the work is actually done it’s just a matter of finding the time to write/upload pictures.