I think our bathroom vanity is going to be...unique. Yes, I think that's a good way to describe it, unique, in many ways.

To start out, the fact that it's a buffet and not a vanity to gives it automatic uniqueness points, but there are several other factors it has going for it in the one-of-a-kind department. I think the number one item our vanity will have in the distinctive category is its rather odd size, especially for a vanity.

It's somewhat fitting, as our home is also a rather odd size. Our house's 15 foot wide by 65 foot long footprint makes for an interesting use of space and layout. And while it may not be the most efficiently laid out house in the world, it's indicative of the "row house" style. Besides, the space works and we like it, so there's that. It's my hope that the same will ultimately go for our vanity. However, there are some shape/size related items we're going to need to overcome before our hopes and dreams for this piece have a chance at being fulfilled.

The goal of our vanity transformation is to fit the top with large piece of Cararra marble. We then intend to bring wedded bliss into our lives via the incorporation of two under mount ceramic/porcelain sinks fitted within the glorious crown marble that will sit upon this vanity. We also plan to mount the two sets of 8" spread faucets that have been patiently waiting for install for years. This goal, however, is actually a bit more of a challenge than I had hoped. What else is new?

The first major challenge when dealing with this goal has to do with the planning of the overall vanity and how we will reinforce the top of the vanity to accept the marble. To allow our vision to blossom we must provide adequate support for the large piece of fairly fragile stone. When I began planning how I'll perform this feat of unknown carpentry, I realized we needed to first define the variable of sink sizing and placement.

Yes, that's right, before I could build anything to help us achieve our goal, we had to select and purchase a pair of sinks that would work within the cozy confines of our oddly sized vanity. Primarily, we need them so we can see just how much room they'll take up in the vanity and how I can build the marble support structure to not interfere with them.

It may seem like selecting a sink or two for a bathroom should be a relatively simple task. I guess I'm saying that I thought it would be simple. I, for one, would love to tell you just how painless it is, that a gerbil walking on a keyboard has the skill necessary both to find and buy them from the Internet. Unfortunately for us, and for online shopping gerbils everywhere, that's about as far from the truth as you can get.

We started the process by simply browsing. Browsing. Every. Sink. Website. Everywhere. From manufacturer websites to speciality vendors, from salvage sites to Amazon. The problem, the more we browsed, the more uncertain we felt in our decision. Did we want square or oval? Did we want flat bottom or curved? Did we want wider or deeper? There were so many options.

So what did we do?

We used a brown paper bag.

No, not as the sink, but as a template for the sink. We knew we needed to purchase a sink small enough to fit within our cozy confines, so we narrowed our search to sinks on the 17" by 11"-ish range. Once we had a handful of contenders, Wendy started making brown paper bag templates we could lay on the top of the buffet to visualize our install.

This gave us a pretty good sense of how the sink might look and feel once in place. Sure, there's really no depth to it, but we only really needed it for sizing.

Our main debates revolving around the whole sink selection primarily involved the overall width/depth of the sinks, as well as the shape of the sink, oval or square.

Years ago we thought we had settled on a sink that would work, but when we finally got down to purchase time, not only could we no longer find the sink on Overstock, but we fell into the pit of uncertainty over all of our limited options. Wendy and I both like the idea of a square sink, but the look of a more traditional oval basin will likely go much better in our house. But the main thing an oval sink means for our vanity of limited size, we get just a little more counter surface area.

I guess when it came down to it, function over form won out for our bathroom.

With our search narrowed to only oval porcelain enamel basins in white vitreous china, we scoured the Internet looking for viable candidates. So many options, so many prices. We found sinks from $50 all the way up to $450.

One of the things I really wanted to make sure of was the placement of the overflow and drain. My preference was for an overflow that would be placed at the front of the vanity, so you're not looking at a black hole under the faucets, along with a drain that's more rear located in the bottom of the basin. This was tough given the typical center mounted drains.

After what seemed like days of searching...okay it really was days...we finally settled on one we had seen almost at the onset of our searching. This beaute from Kohler will do exactly what we asked it to do. Rear mounted drain, front mounted overflow, pure white, and only 11" x 17" when mounted.

With that selection, we dropped about $80 per sink and now have them in hand (well, more like cluttering up our guest room) awaiting install. We'll now be able to properly measure the vanity for hole location, reinforcement, and provide the basin dimensions when we have our marble top cut.

Ultimately, our selection of the right sinks for our vanity proved to be rather easy once we had all of our variables defined, but it took us a while to get there. What do you think about our selection? Is the oval basin a good choice, or do you think we should have gone with the more contemporary square look. Or maybe even the look of the single long rectangle with two faucets? Hrm, now sure how that would work in our decor.

Comments 16


3/19/2014 at 7:14 PM

I believe what the oval sink has going for it is (1) it echoes the oval/rounded top of the doors of the "vanity", and (2) it also provides contrast to all of the angular lines in a bathroom, which are extra-prominent in your case because of the beadboard wainscot. In short, the sinks you selected will look good. I'm partial to square sinks but agree with you that oval sinks are more functional for your needs, as well as being more historically appropriate as you noted. And again, thank you for eschewing (the hated by me) vessel sinks!


I honestly don't think you'll ever see a vessel sink in any of our houses. ever. Very good point on all of the sharp/hard lines.

3/28/2014 at 11:31 PM

Agreed! The oval harmonizes better with the vanity

3/19/2014 at 10:25 PM

Curious about the preference of the drain location. Are there benefits about a drain further back vs. in the center? I must know!


This is both an aesthetic thing and also something functional. Since we're retrofitting this buffet into a vanity we'll need to drill holes for the plumbing and cut drawers down. The further back the drain location the less drawer space we have to lose since the plumbing is also further back.

3/28/2014 at 11:33 PM

Alex, are you planning to rework the drawer to fit around the pipes or make the whole drawer shallower?

3/20/2014 at 10:32 AM

I am partial to the square/rectangular as well but I think oval is the right choice for this application. It's amazing how a seemingly simple thing suddenly becomes a nightmare of options when you dive into the particulars. This was me with about 8 different things for my kitchen redo.


It can be almost paralyzing! Everything stops until this one tiny thing can move.

3/20/2014 at 11:43 AM

Good choice. Right for the vanity and the age of the house, and it will be easier to clean than a rectangular sink. (I have three oval and 1 rectangular ... well, 2 rectangular if you count the laundry room utility sink, lol).


Hadn't even thought about how easy it is to clean. Win for us on that one!

3/20/2014 at 12:54 PM

I think you were right to go with the oval sinks. They fit well in the space and in keeping with the style of the vanity and your house in general.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the marble and faucets come together for this.

3/21/2014 at 8:15 PM

80$ seems just a tad pricey for that sink. I know some of the ceramic undermount sinks are a ripoff (because they're categorized as a luxury assuming you're dropping big bucks on stone), but I think the ones we used to be able to order from work were retail 60$ CAD. I picked up mine (17" x 14") on clearance for 6.99$ but that was a really lucky find.

I think oval works well, but I think if I were doing 2 sinks side-by-side I'd be tempted to do rectangular instead. In either case, ceramic is definitely a good choice.

Some advice I'd give regarding your counter top is that you should double check the quality of your stone cutters. I've seen good, bad, and downright AWFUL work done by granite and marble installers. Both in poor installations, and poor cutting. I will never forget this one client's double sink counter top (black granite). I have photos of it (we built the cabinets - she got the stone). The edge was poorly polished (it looked wavy/bumpy if you looked down the length), and the oval sink holes looked like they had been done freehand with some sort of saw, but they looked lumpy (not a crisp beautiful oval).

For your counter support, I wouldn't worry too much. This cabinet isn't some Wal-Mart garbage made out of chip board, it's solid wood. I would probably just add a vertical (3" or so) board along the back stretcher to reinforce it (pocket screw it on the ends, and screw it through the top piece), and I'd add a centre bar to support the centre section between the sinks. Since you already have a drawer divider here, you could easily just stick-in a board (anything, even plywood) that would fill the vertical space between the two drawer openings (notch the ends to fit around the stretchers). Anything else is pretty much overkill. The entire front edge is solid (each wood frame is resting on another piece, with the weight transferring all the way to the floor).

Generally, the only real area of concern on a vanity or kitchen counter sink, is the thin area right in front of the sink, since it can (and will) break if you, say, sit on it. I also remember seeing a VERY expensive (and brand new) 1 1/2" thick Travertine Marble vanity counter top that had broken at the front of the sink due to an idiot electrician who knelt on it while installing a fixture. It was only supported by a (pretty flexible) 5/8" particle board stretcher though. I have a picture of that too, haha. If you want to see, just ask and I'll e-mail them.

3/22/2014 at 2:48 PM

A buffet and a sink? It is a nice combination. We have bought a small wooden house near the lake and I think that bathroom in a classic style will be great. I have a lot of ideas and I definitely like this one.

3/23/2014 at 11:18 PM

Oval is a perfect choice. Square is too contemporary for the vintage look of the buffet. You did great!Alt smile heather

3/28/2014 at 8:24 PM

I'm on the oval band wagon.

I just can't get on board with vessel sinks. I tend to think they really only belong in modern or contemporary homes.

Will your kitty fit into that sink??? Our kitties loves to sit in the bathroom sinks with the faucet barely dripping.

3/28/2014 at 11:43 PM

Also for your consideration, before creating a template for the countertop installers, etc. : where will the faucets be located? Do you have enough room to locate them between the sink and the rear counter support on the vanity? Looking at the picture, it seems really tight.

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