Here is the “before” of my $5.00 vanity. See how low the middle part is? That’s what I didn’t like about this piece. I felt like no one would want it unless they could get their legs under it. So I had three choices. 1) I could separate it and use it as two nightstands. 2) I could raise the middle portion to make a desk. 3) I could lower the middle portion to make it a settee sort of piece.
As you’ve already seen, I separated the three pieces from each other.
The veneer came off 3 of the 4 sides perfectly like you see here.
BUT, on this side the veneer was glued really well. I was not going to be able to paint this piece. I would have to cover up the uneven layers. I contemplated doing the brown paper bag technique that I describe here. However, I felt like doing something new, and maybe easier. You can see that I used some gray primer under the black.
I used my 3M super 77 multipurpose adhesive that I got in my Goodwill Shop & Hop swag bag . . .
. . . and some textured wallpaper.
I sprayed the adhesive on the back of the wallpaper and stuck it on.
However, it didn’t adhere very well.
Plan b – I had to used painter’s tape and paper to protect my paint job. I sprayed the adhesive onto the wood and onto the wallpaper. The directions say to do this for an extra strong bond, but I didn’t know I needed an extra strong bond.
Now this is where I go with idea #2 from above. (raise the middle piece so it can be a desk in it’s new life) To do this, I added a cleat on each side (inside) of the outer pieces. This cleat will help support the middle desk section.
In this picture you can see that the middle piece fits snuggly on top of the cleat.
voila! ain’t she purty?
Testing out the cute little ornate decorative piece. It rises too much on each end. I’ll take care of that with my saw.
Another view of how the middle pieces fits against the side. I slid the back cross brace back into place.
One more view of the cleat. The side was very thin lauan, but there were thicker “brace” boards on the inside that I screwed to.
The paint made the wallpaper bubble a little, but that’s okay!
Here you can see the cross brace in the back. See all those hammer dings? They are NOT from me. If you look under the middle piece you can see that I added an “L” bracket to strengthen the hold of the middle piece to the end piece. I don’t usually paint the back of desks, but it was pretty outside, and the paint was free, so why not? I still need to do a second coat.
I painted this piece with a free quart of Glidden paint. Black onyx.
Please ignore the mess in the background. (stuff that I couldn’t get back into the shed)
The top of all three pieces had lauan on them also. It all removed very easily. (I was extremely lucky)
There she is in all her glory! What do you think? Did I improve it, or should I have left it as it was? I think that might be a matter of personal choice. Hopefully she’ll be off to a new home, as soon as I paint a chair to go with her. The drawers were placed in their spaces for the picture, then I removed them. The paint needs to cure for a couple of days.
ps if you'd like to see another option to cover bad veneer, check out my brown paper bag technique.
Related Content: See More Desk Projects Here
Nice! I am thinking of doing this only putting a vessel sink in the middle.
Good luck to you!!!
I looove what you did with the vanity. I have one that's extremely low that I got at Goodwill, and I'd love to try raising the middle like you did. What did you use to cut the sections apart? I don't want to just dive in with a big saw, lol.
I didn't use a saw, I basically attacked it with a hammer and pry bar. If you crawl underneath it, you will see that it is probably in THREE pieces, so it's just a matter of separating them. 🙂
So, remove the drawers, raise it up on a table, lay it on it's back, and start investigating the situation. Some of the demolition will probably be done from inside the drawer area (at the top)
good luck, have fun!
Just found this tutorial after buying (accidentally) a waterfall vanity that had seen better days. tonight i tore into it gently and plan to strip and re-stain from honey colored to red! may have to re-vener, but it will be worth it!
i have the mirror that attaches, so have an extra do-da piece to play with! thank you for your tutorial!
yay! sounds like you have a little bit of work ahead of your, but I think it will be worth it in the long run!
happy you stopped by and took the time to leave a comment.
I couldn't decide to leave the vanity alone or make me some much needed side tables for the bedroom. ~I don't understand why they made those so little you can't put your legs underneath, the ladies were probably smaller. (ha)~ I am using your idea TODAY to redo my vanity into a desk side tables can wait. Wish me luck with your inspiration maybe I can do it. I'll post pic's later if successful if not then I'll post pics of side tables:( . I love your blog please keep it going.
HOw clever! I love that you used the wallpaper on the inside, what great texture. I might just 'borrow' that wallpaper idea if you don't mind, I am making some surfaces for a cookbook that I working on and that would be A LOT easier than making tabletops! thanks
Love this Gail! What a cool idea to add the paintable wallpaper....and the black is way neato. I love your creativity!
I love what you did with this!
I love the natural wood on older items but if its just in really bad shape...then paint! Looks great.
Great way to add texture by using wall paper. Great results.
Holy Smokes Gail! It looks Fabulous! I actually just saw a desk just like this in our thrift store here but they wanted a whopping $45 for it and I just couldn't do it for that. There have been several days I have wanted to go back and talk the manager down. After seeing your transformation, I might just have to. You do such amazing things! Love it!
Mary Beth @ Live. Laugh. Make Something
absolutely beautiful! What a project you undertook! ...and you did such a great job! I hopped over from Cottage Instincts and am so happy that I did. Please accept my invitation to drop in at my place one day this week when you get a moment. I have become a follower and hope that you will do the same. until later...
Miss Mustard Seed
Wow! This piece really took you through the wringer. I love how you solved problems and made it work. It looks really good. Nice work!
What an awesome vision you had. Looks amazing!
Wow! I was glued to this post reading each step...excited to see how it turned out! What a great transformation! I am also loving all those windows in the background of the one picture!
One Cheap B*tch
Looks fabulous! Great makeover!
One Cheap B*tch
Looks fabulous! Great makeover!
Great job Gail. I love how it turned out. You keeping it or selling it? Gorgeous.
This was a cool way to add texture!! Looks great!!
Do I like it better than the original design? Oh my yes! You did a fantastic job! Thank you for the nice tutorial as well.
Funky Junk Interiors
What a beauty!!! Oh goodness, that piece has nice lines.
And for the life of me, I couldn't spot a mess anywhere. Looked like good loot to me. 🙂
Thanks for linking up to SNS!
Given the state of the original piece I think you gave it a whole new life. The antique styling still comes across even painted black because the lines of the piece are fantastic.
I don't think I could paint my set black, it would be too huge a project since I have 4 pieces in the set but you opened up my mind to the possibilities.
Have a beautiful Easter weekend,
Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures
Now I will never be able to look at a piece of furniture without wondering if it can be torn apart and made into something new. You did a great job. Good thinking on the paintable wallpaper. I have a project I have been wanting to do with the beadboard wallpaper. Just haven't had the time.
My daughter has a similar vanity with similar problems that we've been trying to think of ways to fix. Thanks for the inspiration--your redo is gorgeous!
Fabulous!!! Awesome makeover!! Well done!
Great job!! I alway thought I didn't like the waterfall collection... Until I saw what could be done with it! That looks lovely, and the textured paper adds a special touch! Just wonderful....
This is a fantastic makeover. Love the new look and transformation into a desk!
I love the way it looks. I think the black is very pretty.
You did a great job! I really like the paintable wallpaper on the sides...that's an idea I'll have to try.
Beautiful. You did a great job on this!
Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking
GORGEOUS!!! LOVE it with the textured wallpaper & of course I love it black. Fab job!
Sue at Serendipity
Great redo and I never thought to lift the center section! When we use textured wallpaper, we just wet it and use its own adhesive for applying it. Very few bubbles when you paint it after that. But the downside is you have to wait for it to dry to paint.
We have a very similar vanity in the basement of our shop to redo and we just have to try this "lift" technique! Thank you for the info!
WOW! What a great transformation! I love it...
Oh yes, much better. Like Shannon, I have found it VERY difficult to get my legs under those vanaties.
I like the little added do dah on the back. I need one for the back of my bathroom vanity that I made from an old oak dresser - got any more ya wanna rehome?
I used the textured wall paper on a bookcase redo I did for a coworkers office. Same problem with bubbles when I used brush on paint, but spray paint worked very well.
Although I think those vanities are cute, I agree... where do your legs go?
Not that I didn't expect something great, but this turned out great! It is such a cute little desk!
(I couldn't help but notice the windows in the background.. my mom has been collecting them for her greenhouse lately... but, I've seen really cool coffee tables made from them. I'm sure you don't need any ideas 🙂 But, those tables are SO neat!)
Wow! That looks wonderful!
Wow, you did a true transformation on this one. I think it is a huge improvement.