Bathroom Makeover Challenge Part 2: Building a Vanity

Natasha Dickens from Little Red Industries returns with her next DIY challenge, this time tackling a tired and outdated bathroom. Read on for part two of our bathroom makeover series, showing how Natasha gave this bathroom a full timber refresh, with a little help from Bondall’s products.

There’s no denying bathroom fixtures and surfaces eventually need upgrading, whether they take on wear and tear or simply become dated.

The vanity in my bathroom is more than 20 years old. The doors and drawers don’t open smoothly, the veneer is peeling off and it’s actually too big for the space, making it awkward to use the sink.

With the entire house getting ready for a major refurb, the area needs a spruce-up to simply make it more usable. I took a budget of just $1000 and a couple of days for DIY to transform it into a more practical space. My aim was to DIY as much as possible, refresh the surfaces with bright white paint offset with timber accents to warm it up.

I love building furniture so I decided to tackle the issue of how to replace the original cabinet with a smaller, more elegant table plus a shiny new sink and mixer to make it modern again.

Removing the Old Vanity

When demolishing the vanity, the water mains need to be turned off to remove the old sink and taps. It’s best to call in the plumber to do this and have the new vanity ready to install at the same visit. TIP: Call in an electrician before painting if you’re moving switches or installing new light fittings.

Measuring the Space

When measuring for your new vanity table, consider the space needed for an average-size person to stand in front of it, taking into account the size of your counter-top basin with mixer, allowing surrounding workspace for accessories like hand soap. ‘I chose the smallest basin I could find and went for a mixer rather than taps which take up more room,’ says Natasha.

Cut the tabletop to size, with a splashback the same length and as high as you need for it to sit under your mirror. 

Sealing the timber

Tasmanian oak is a hardwood with a pale grain that can handle moisture if it’s sealed well. I love that it’s not too dark and has a lovey woodgrain with a modern finish. I used Monocel Gold Clear Timber Varnish in Satin for all the timber in my bathroom. If it’s good enough to use on boats then it’s definitely the best product to use in this wet area! Use a mini roller with microfibre cover to apply the varnish, leaving it to dry thoroughly between coats.

Planning the Table

An 18mm-thick oak panel from Bunnings was more than enough timber to cut a tabletop of 850 wide x 450 deep, a splashback of 850 x 200mm and a base shelf of 750 x 350mm. The frame is made using 6m of DAR 65 x 19mm Tasmanian oak and, when it’s assembled, is 750mm wide and just under 400mm deep.

The table is designed to come together like a flatpack, with the top attached using brackets and the base shelf simply resting on the rails so it can be removed for the plumber to make the hole for the waste pipe. Have the table completely finished, with plenty of time for the varnish to dry, plus the basin, plug and mixer ready for the plumber to install.

TIP: This table is just over 820mm high, which is lower than a kitchen bench but standard for a bathroom worktop.



  1. Make the apron

For the apron, cut two pieces of DAR Tasmanian oak to 750mm and two pieces to 360mm then butt the short pieces against the long ones to countersink two holes into each join, securing with 40mm screws.


  1. Attach the legs and base rails

Cut four legs to 800mm and two base rails to 322mm, position the legs inside the apron, against the long rails, countersink two holes and each join, securing with 30mm screws. Position the base rails inside the legs, 300mm from the floor, countersink and secure with 40mm screws.


  1. Attach the top to the frame

Turn the tabletop upside down to position the frame 50mm from the front, 50mm from the sides and flush with the back, using four 50 x 50mm galvanised brackets with 15mm-long screws to attach the top. TIP: You may need to remove the top when the plumber installs the sink.


  1. Secure the splashback

Dry fit the splashback to the back of the tabletop to countersink along the base edge then apply Bondcrete adhesive, clamp and secure using 40mm screws, leaving to dry. 


  1. Sand all over

Cover the holes with timber filler, leaving to dry then use a hand-sanding block or random orbital sander to smooth all over with 180-grit abrasive paper, rounding over the edges and corners then finishing all over with 240 grit. Don’t forget to finish the separate base shelf. TIP: Removing the sharp edges and corners makes the top safer while adding a professionally handcrafted look.


  1. Apply marine-grade sealer

Remove dust with a damp cloth then apply three coats of Monocel Gold Clear Timber Varnish in Satin all over using a mini roller with microfibre cover, leaving to dry between coats. Finish with a fourth coat over the tabletop, splashback and base shelf for extra protection. 


Stay tuned for the next part of the Bathroom Makeover Challenge, where Natasha will show us how to repurpose a mirror.

For assistance choosing the right Bondall products for your next DIY job, contact us now.