How to Raise Up A Short Vanity

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Okay back to the master bathroom!  We had only about a week to remodel, and no money to speak of, but I had ONE main issue… the sink height. You probably haven’t met me in person but I am tall (you can get to know me a little by reading my 31 days posts – shameless plug). Or somewhat tall for a girl, I am 5’10”. So, the dinky 30 inch high standard bathroom counters have no place in my master bathroom.

In our last (last) house we fixed this issue by building a tall open table vanity for our master bath… And I really wanted to do that, I had the plans all drawn out but with the time crunch of our eminent move, I just had to make do with what we had… but I couldn’t make do with a 30″ inch counter… It just did not a master bathroom make.

Well a few years ago I saw an idea on the Nester’s site high heels for your vanity!  I used it to help my friend do this on her bathroom a few years ago, and it was finally my turn to try it out.

How to Raise a Short vanity without buying a new one!

 

How To Raise Up A Short Vanity!

 

 

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Before we bought the house, during the walk through…
 
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I got grout on the cabinets while tiling, and wiped it off with the grout cleaning sponge… oops,

don’t do that!

 

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First, we removed the mirror, since it was resting on the counter.  Then we pried off the side backsplash.  We did this carefully so that it wouldn’t break, in case we wanted to put it back, but also to keep from ripping up the wall board.
 
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Next, we turned off the water supply at the sink valves, loosened the nut attached to the p-traps under the sinks, and detached the water lines to the faucets.  At this point we were able to remove the counter top. Luckily, the counter was not glued down. It was really easy to remove. Heavy though! Remember to lift with your legs!!
 
Since the solid surface was a decent color and in good shape we saved it to reinstall.  If you want to replace yours, be sure to see if you can donate your old counter to a local Habitat ReStore.
 
 

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All ready for raising the roof!  I mean the countertop, well almost.
 
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I needed the top of the existing cabinet to be flush for the raised portion.  Since the cabinet was just a stock builder grade, the corners had these cheap supports stapled in to keep it square.  I didn’t want to remove them, but, I needed to cut off the lip in the front make a level spot for the new apron we were adding to the cabinet.  So, I just cut off the part of the corner brace that hung over the edge with a razor blade.
 
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The front of the cabinets are important to keep flush.
 
 

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Storing area during the construction.  Sorry little bathtub. 
We removed the toilet as well to not have to work around it while tiling.  (by the way it was sitting on a board, not just on the tub, that would be gross!!)
 
 
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We couldn’t keep these spacers away from Lydia.  As soon as she went down for her nap they disappeared… it is a little bit of Mommy magic, making things disappear. Sorry baby!
 
Also an apology for the strange color change in the pictures, it is so much harder to get proper pictures at night.  But with little ones we are often working around the clock, sleep time is important work time!
 
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Here is the finished framing.  The front apron is Kreg jigged or pocket hole screwed to the existing cabinet.  I used pocket hole screws to attach the front apron to the middle brace, and sides as well from behind, which left no holes in the front.  The side and middle braces were also pocket hole screwed to the cabinet base.  This created a very strong hold with no glue. 
 
Finally, I added braces to the back wall, to help support the weight of the countertop.  They are just screwed into the studs in the wall.
 
 
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On the front of the cabinet, we added a small molding to cover the seam.  We decided to wrap that molding around the edge for a cohesive look, once we got the new side board on.  We kept the molding low key because that is more our style, but you could add wooden appliques or designs to ad interest to the apron if that is your thing.
 
 
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The face frame of the cabinet hangs over the edge about a quarter of an inch.  This helps builders screw the cabinets together without gaps, but it made it hard to wrap the front molding around the edge.  So we decided to just cover the side.  We had a left over piece of bead board from the playhouse,  we didn’t cut out the kick space, because later on we decided to add legs.
 

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We decided to install new faucets, so we removed the old ones completely. They were BAD!  Luckily we were able to get two of these on sale! 
 
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While the counter is not attached you can attach the new faucet really easily, before you set it in place.
 
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This is much nicer to wash hands in. No more bending over and braking my back.
 
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When installing the sink, be sure to add plumbers putty for a water tight seal.  Other than that that the counter is taller the only extra piece of plumbing you will need is a tailpiece extender to reach the p-trap after the counter was raised.  (But if your water lines from the faucet to the valves aren’t long enough you may have to replace those, Just FYI, our were fine…)

 
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Since this is a master bathroom, I think it is awesome that the kids have to use a stool to get to the faucet, as it should be… No more stooping down for Mom and Dad.  Cute little helpers could not stay away.  They just love water.

 

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All ready for paint.  EXCITED! EXCITED! (said like Steve the monkey!)

 

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And apparently, we forgot to take any other intermediate pictures.  We just nailed the feet in place.  I painted the kick space black, I regret it now, I don’t love how it turned out, but oh well, live and learn!  I also really wanted to use more exciting legs, but since money was short, we just went with a left over 2 x 1, but next time…!

 

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Well what do you think about our raised sink?  Did it give you the guts to try it at your won house!  It is so worth not stooping ten feet to brush your teeth, it is so luxurious!   It is just those little things that make such a big difference!

About 

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three homes from top to bottom and are working on their fourth. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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Comments

  1. says

    Short vanity heights are literally my BIGGEST pet peeve about builder grade pieces! This little hack is GENIUS and turned out looking so clean and classy! The beadboard adds such a great dimension to it without being over-kill.

    Did you paint the bottom kick boards white (behind the new legs)? Or are they a darker color to enhance that feature?

  2. Ronda Batchelor says

    Very nice! I love to see you DIY with your girls right in the middle of it!! It brings back memories of that with all my babies who are now big!!!

  3. says

    I love how you built a frame around the mirror and built up the area where the lights go. This just the idea I needed for our hall bath that we are remodeling. We have a mirrored cabinet above the sink that sticks out way too far for the lights that we bought. We thought of recessing it, but won’t work that way. I believe we’ll use your idea! By the way, your bathroom looks great and I love the look of the taller vanity

    • says

      Monica, the frame around the mirror allowed us to add more lights and it turned out how we wanted it. We are glad you like it and good luck if you do it with your own.

  4. says

    I totally get the short-sink-syndrome. I am 5’11″, hubs is 6’3″. Our last house had a really tall master vanity – this one is a bit taller than builder grade, but still short. Since the landlord doesn’t care what we do to the house, and will deduct anything structural or permanent cosmetic that we do from the rent, this might be a good option for us. I shall mull it over…

    PS – looks GREAT!

  5. says

    I love this idea! It’s being filed away for future use for sure. My brother-in-law raised up an entire vanity from the bottom (so a really big toe kick), and this idea seems so much easier to execute. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Renee, my father-in-law did that in his bathroom. That is another way to do the same thing I guess. Doing on top seems to be the option with less work.

  6. Jessica says

    I love it! I was wondering what to do with my awful short cabinets and this is a great work around. My mom is 6’2″ and my brother built her a custom bathroom counter and installed one of those taller handicap toilets and I’ve coveted her bathroom ever since. This looks much easier. I’m a pretty short (for my family) 6’0″ tall and those short countertops kill my back. I’m going to have to look at my kitchen counters and see if I can sneak this fix in there so dish washing isn’t so totally awful!

  7. Suzanne B says

    How funny, I have been staring at the bathroom sinks wondering how I can do make them higher. Mine are different but it gives me something to work with. I was going to frame my mirror too but I did not think of a higher molding including the lights. I like that better.

    • says

      Sarah! Yay! i am so glad, seriously it is one of the easiest things to do and I am telling you it is SO much nicer to have it that much taller, and of course, you could do faux drawer fronts or more moldings, the possibilities are endless! I can’t wait to see if you do it!

    • says

      Not at all, the cabinet is built in place fully self supported, I wanted to add some feet for looks, we ran out of time and money and just used wood we had, a little plain, but oh well. Better luck next time!

  8. Virginia says

    I think you guys did a great job. I think it looks like a bit of a project. Your bathroom looks a million times better though. Great job!

  9. Ashley V says

    I’m so glad I came across your blog thru Pinterest. This looks amazing and you guys did a great job. I now can see myself getting my bathroom remodeled myself. Well with hubby’s help of course. ;-)

  10. Julie says

    Awesome! Found this from your frame a mirror blog post. Silly question on that post you have a list of materials used and cutting instuctions. How and with what type of wood did you make the frame? We are brand new DIY people. Spoiled growing up with an engineer Dad! So inspired and grateful there is hope for my awful vanity.

    • says

      Julie I think you are asking about the frame wood? That was pre-primed MDF. For the vanity we used oak, because we wanted the grain to match the rest of the oak vanity. Hope I got you question right! Good Luck!

  11. Whitney says

    What size boards were bought for this project? I just took down my large mirror and I’m headed to lowes tonight!

  12. Adam says

    Thanks for the detailed post and pics – we were looking to do the same thing to our bathroom and was looking for an example w/o having to remove the entire vanity.

    We went a little further and replaced the countertop, sink, and taps at the sametime ($30 for everything off Kijiji – couldn’t pass it up). Worked out perfectly (and I got to add a Kreg Jig to my toolbox for future use).

    Thanks again!

  13. Sheri says

    This is amazing! I’m all over this like skink on a skunk. Did you cut the side paneling flush between the two wood ends, or did you lay the paneling against the two wood ends (leaving an open space between the old side and panelling)?

    I’d love a closerpictureof the footwork on the bottom. :))))

    • says

      Sheri, we just glued the panel to the side of the old one. There was a 1/4″ overhang from the old vanity face frame that covered up the front edge. Also the feet at the bottom are just simple blocks nailed in the sides. Hope that helps.

  14. Vickie says

    Very nicely done. I would have never thought of raising a cabinet on the top. But it works. I’m raising a small 30 inch by adding feet. Don’t regret the black kick plate, it looks nice and gives the appearance of it being open underneath.

  15. S.Lynn says

    I just found your site and love it. After using a friends taller bathroom sink I was wondering how to go about doing mine. There is tile all the way up under the kickboard so I couldn’t remove the cabinets. Now you have shown me how to go about it. Thanks!

  16. Jonathan says

    I’m redoing my bathroom and will be copying your strategy for raising the countertop. Thanks very much! Did you blog how you framed the mirror and added the trim piece at the top for the light to attach to? That’s a great idea…one I would like to do, as well. Thanks!

  17. Gloria says

    I love this. We raised ours by putting a base on the bottom.
    Husband no longer in the picture so I think this way may be a little easier for me to do.

    One thing I think I would do is put a tip out tray in there.

    • says

      Absolutely, You could cut out a hole for a tipping “drawer… Maybe even check your local Habibtat for Humanity restore and see if you can find a couple matching drawer fronts to use for the front… As long as you paint, you can probably make that work!

      Good luck! You can do this!

  18. says

    Thank you for sharing this “How To.” We will be raising our vanity on Monday. Had no idea it could be raised from the top! Countertop comes on Wednesday and we will be winding down two bathroom remodels. Hurray…..

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