Antique Dry Sink Re-Do before and after antique dry sink re-do step by step

**update… A reader was kind enough to remind me this is not a dry sink… As soon as I read their comment, I realized my mistake. This is a commode! Oops! (Everywhere in the post where you read ‘dry sink’ think commode, and all is well again) ?

A couple weeks ago, I shared with you one of my favorite ‘secret places’ to find wonderful vintage finds… and this antique dry sink was a recent acquisition from that source… (If you want in on that ‘secret place’ you can read about it here!)

Here’s what I did…

This was the before… (Obviously a very cute piece, but a little rough)

I’m so happy though that even though the marble wasn’t attached to the piece correctly, and the mirror was mounted incorrectly, mostly all the original pieces were amazingly still there! antique cabinet before

First thing I did was wash the piece, inside and out with soapy vinegar water and leave it out in the sun to dry for a few hours. The vinegar helps kill any weird odors, but also I always feel that it helps sanitize it too.

Next, I set up my little paint area.

Er… sorry, I tend to paint pretty much wherever… especially up here in the Midwest where we have so many months of cold weather, if one wants to paint furniture, one must be willing to paint indoors in the heated space… so breakfast room, here I come… setting up to paint

Using a leftover gray latex paint from some painting projects in the restoration of our 100 year old house… I used this light pale gray for both the built ins in the living room, and back kitchen stairway.

First a primer coat. My all time favorite primer is THIS BONDING PRIMER! It goes on smooth, is water clean up and assures you that your paint will adhere properly. 1st coat of gray

2 coats of latex paint over the dried primer finished the painting project.

This piece of furniture, basically a dry sink, is from the later 1800’s. I know that because of the styling and confirmation of the drawer construction: tell age of piece by drawer construction peg and scallop drawers

Check out this post I wrote about our family’s Eastlake style dry sink, you can read some interesting information about this exact peg and scallop joinery.

After I got all done painting the cupboard and drawers, I realized I had totally forgotten to paint the mirror!

Argh! I hate when I do that! painting mirror

One thing I always do when I’m leaning stuff, like how this mirror is precariously perched, I place something in front of it to prevent it from sliding or flipping forward when it’s not be attended to… that’s why that chair is in front in such a weird spot while the mirror was drying.

Here’s a little painting tip… overlap the paint onto the mirror, (works well for windows too)… because to try to carefully edge it just takes too much time and to tape off the mirror usually results in leaked paint on the edge anyway. mirror with over paint

Then once the paint is dry, I just simply remove the excess from the mirror with a straight edge razor. use razor to scrape over paint off mirror

This little razor widget works great for this job. (I do windows like this as well)

Once all the pieces were totally dry, it was time to reconstruct the antique dry sink.

To attach the marble top to the cabinet I squiggled on some clear silicone caulk.

Here’s a caulking tip: squiggles are good, circles of caulk with empty space inside the circles are not good because they can actually trap air in the empty circles and cause less adhesion caulking for stone top

Once the marble top was in place, I put a line of silicone on top of it in the back for the backsplash to set on. backsplash on

Let me just pause a moment here and say this marble did not look like this when I bought this piece…

It looked like this: marble before refinishing


But I found a really simple trick to restore it, and I’ve written a post on how to DIY marble restoration here… so be sure to check it out!

The mirror was the last thing to go on, and screwed onto the back of the cabinet with the long ‘legs’ on the frame of the mirror you can sort of see in the painting picture.

My husband needed to give me a hand with this part of reconstruction… he held the mirror in place and I screwed it from the back. (we added some silicone to those long support legs of the mirror to secure the backsplash a little more than just the line on the bottom. mirror mounted from back

The newer white porcelain hardware you can see in the before picture, wasn’t in the right style for this late 1800’s piece, so after searching through my treasured ‘junk drawer’ I found the perfect stuff… and after restoring it, it looks great on this piece. (to see my tips and tricks on restoring this old hardware, be sure to check out my post from last week: Restoring Antique Hardware)

It’s hard to see in the picture, but there are actually holes in the marble along the two back corners… looks to me like there were originally some type of brackets there, perhaps to support the backsplash? But it seems pretty sturdy now with the silicone, and I like the top open like this, so I’m not looking to replace them. antique dry sink re-do all done

I am thrilled with this antique dry sink re-do! The pale gray looks absolutely beautiful with the gray marble top… now that the marble is restored that is!

Also, I love repurposing this dry sink into an end table for the sofa in the breakfast room… it’s the perfect size and looks and works great for this purpose!

This is an easy DIY type of project, just take your time and have good lighting to prevent drips in the paint… and so gratifying to re-do a piece that has potential hiding behind an ugly surface.

Here are some more furniture redo projects:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and now Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.

This post can be found at the following other sites:Thrifty Chic DecorToo Much Time on My HandsDesign, Dining & DiapersPosed PerfectionVintage CharmPocketful of PosiesDIY DreamerYesterday on TuesdayCozy Little HouseHome Stories A to ZA Stroll Thru LifeMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaConfessions of a Plate AddictCoastal CharmBetween Naps on the Porch

Reader Interactions


    • Liz says

      Terry, you’re right… it’s a commode! I just realized my mistake. Oops Thank you for pointing that out. ? And thanks for stopping by.

  1. Donnamae says

    You did a fantastic job on that dry sink Liz! You can really see the details now, that it’s been painted! Lovely! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *