When it came time to narrow down our priorities for our recent home renovation, I knew I had to spend at least a small budget on renovating our powder bathroom. To be honest, this was a room in the house that I had half-neglected over the years – it looked exactly as it did when our house was built over a decade ago. That’s funny because it’s the one room (outside of the living room and kitchen) that every single guest sees when they come to our home. As I thought about it like this, I realized it was time to give this tiny room some TLC. I had to keep my costs down, however, as my budget was already being gobbled up by the living room, bedroom and kitchen projects I carried out. That’s why I have my sights set on a showpiece that would bring me the best for my money: a rustic sink made from an antique wooden dough bowl.
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Where can you find an antique bowl of dough?
A rustic wooden sink was one of those design elements that I had attached to my boards but had never seen in real life or for sale. Which meant I had to tinker myself, despite Adam’s concerns about having a wooden sink (for obvious reasons). I agreed that a lot could possibly go wrong with a wooden sink, but I was determined to find out.
After a little research, I realized that an antique dough bowl would have the trough-like shape I was looking for. A google search shows a lot of these online, but it took me a while to find one that was the perfect size, shape, and color.
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After months of searching for the perfect vessel, I finally found it in an unlikely place: Pottery Barn was selling antique wooden dough bowls in a variety of sizes. And no, these weren’t made to look antique. Each is a true vintage bowl – here is the description from the website:
In the first half of the 20th century, Magyar bakers in farmhouses in Hungary and other Eastern European countries used bread from these hand-carved wooden bowls every morning. Each is a found antique and therefore unique.
I was sold. I paid $ 249 and grabbed the large size from the roadside pickup.
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But how do you turn an antique bowl into a rustic sink?
Here are the steps that were taken to bring this project to life …
- We made the wood surface waterproof by using these three products: Watco Tung oil (first), Varathane urethane oil sealant (second), Olympic waterproof sealant (third).
- Our framer James Downing (in Austin) installed two steel brackets in the wall that would “weigh” the bowl of dough under the bottom of each side.
- We had originally planned to drill a drain hole right in the middle of the sink, but when it was mounted on the wall we found that each end of the bowl had a slight slope that allowed the water to pool in those spots. So we drilled two drains, one on each side, so the water could hit the center of the bowl and then drain from each end. It worked perfectly.
- Next, my plumbers came and installed the P-trap (with two ports since we had two drains) that connected the sink to our plumbing system.
- Eventually the plumbers installed the wall-mounted faucet, which turned out to be far more difficult than I expected. When they bored into the wall, we found that there was a bearing bolt exactly where the faucet needed to go. After fully opening the wall (see my #casacamille highlight on Instagram Stories), my framer was able to evaluate a solution where he could cut into the stud just enough to install the faucet without causing damage.
- Once the sink and hardware were done, my painter came back and mended the sheetrock and repainted the wall. Phew!
4 of 11This crooked ceiling ladder was the perfect place to display lovely Turkish towels. I love the bohemian vibe it adds to this space.5 of 11I’ve ordered countless versions of these affordable seagrass belly baskets. I use them all over our house for trash cans, dirty laundry baskets and here the cutest toilet roll holder tucked right under the sink. And if this year has taught us anything about Covid, fill in while you can.
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How much did this rustic sink DIY cost?
As with all DIY home reno projects, I learned some valuable lessons that I would consider if I ever do something like this again. Just because the materials are cheap doesn’t mean the entire project will be cheap. To turn it into a sink, I had to buy hardware … and then the installation required work from my plumber, designer, and painter. Here was my cost breakdown of the entire project:
- Dough bowl: $ 249
- Hardware (faucet with handles, P-trap, drains): $ 400
- Labor (plumber, designer, painter): $ 1,750
In total, I spent about $ 2,400 on this project. Was it worth it? I think so – it really is a statement that has a huge impact on the space. But it was still a lot more expensive than I originally expected.
7 of 11Art prints, both by Minted: (left) Title No. 3. (right) Movement.
Another lesson I learned is that it always pays off for the plumber to check the installation hardware before the installation day if possible. The initial P-trap I ordered wasn’t big enough to hold the pressure from the two different drains. At the last minute Adam had to buy a wider P-trap made only of stainless steel. We sprayed it with matte black paint and it dried just in time for our plumber to install it that day.
8 of 11The mirror above is such a personal favorite that I also ordered it for our guest bathroom. It’s simple and clean, but the arch gives it a really interesting architectural feel.
The lights on either side are the Tumwater Sconce from Cedar and Moss. They are made of hand-made stoneware and I love their earthy feel, which fits so seamlessly into our plaster walls.
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Open Hands stool from Urban Outfitters // towel is from Wildflower Organics // candle is FVITH.
10 of 11 11 of 11What do you think of how it turned out? I would love to hear your questions about this project, so don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below!