Oct 122012
 

This antique vanity was purchased at a yard sale this summer. It’s not only beautiful, it is very well constructed, solid wood. However, there was quite a bit of damage to the outer edges of the mirror. I didn’t think it would work well as a modern day vanity because it is so short, but I couldn’t let it go to waste so I had to come up with a way to repurpose it. After a lot of thought, and scrapped design ideas, I decided it would start its new life as a one-of-a-kind display cabinet.

Short antique vanity with mirror

Short antique vanity with mirror

It was important to me to reuse as many of the original pieces as I could, so I started out by taking the mirror frame and cutting it in half. I then took those halves and backed them with 1/4″ plywood veneer.

Antique Mirror Frame

Antique Mirror Frame

Antique Mirror Frame - attached to plywood

Antique Mirror Frame – attached to plywood


I used these 4 salvaged kitchen cabinet doors to build the cabinet. The sides were made from 2 of the doors and the top and bottom is scrap 3/4″ plywood. I cut the center out of the other 2 doors, inserted glass, and used them for the doors on the cabinet.

Doors for Cabinet

Doors for Cabinet

Cabinet

Cabinet


The next step was to attach the two halves of the mirror frame to the back of the cabinet. These corner shelves were in my salvage pile, and they worked great for this project. The brackets added to the bottom were cut from the outside of the mirror frame.

Cabinet attached to Mirror Frame

Cabinet attached to Mirror Frame

Display Cabinet with corner shelves added

Display Cabinet with corner shelves added


I took the decorative piece out of the center of the vanity and dropped it down after adding a shelf to the middle. I think this gives it more of a base cabinet look.

Lower Part of Vanity - Shelf added to center

Lower Part of Vanity – Shelf added to center

Antique Vanity - with shelf added to center

Antique Vanity – with shelf added to center


The arch in the inside back of the cabinet was designed to cover the extreme damage to the top of the mirror once it was installed. I made an enclosure for the mirror to sit in, then attached it to the back of the cabinet with silicone adhesive and mirror clips at the top. I also added supports to the back by using ripped down 2 x 4′s.

Vanity and Mirror Back

Vanity and Mirror Back

My original plan was to paint the entire vanity and added hutch, but after sanding the top and seeing the beautiful wood, I couldn’t bring myself to paint over it. So I simply varathaned it and let its natural beauty shine. The paint color was actually Buddy’s choice, and I think he did very well. This was my idea to make this old beauty more useful for modern households. What do you think, beautiful or quirky?

Antique Vanity Repurposed into Display Cabinet

Antique Vanity Repurposed into Display Cabinet

Picture this in your entry way as a place to display your family photos and collectibles. Or in your dining room to hold your favorite dishes and possible wine storage on the lower shelf. It would even make a great home bar in the family room.