A Sagging Vanity Solution + Make Your Own Walnut Veneer!

It’s been almost one year since we completed our bathroom renovation. We’ve all but forgotten about the ten days of (backbreaking!) tiling, the endless search for an extra tall shower curtain and our funny little solution for that funny little sliver of space. We enlarged the footprint of this room to make room for a double vanity, a decision that we celebrate every evening as we’re washing up and brushing our teeth. The IKEA GODMORGON (paired with walnut fronts from Semihandmade) was an easy choice for it’s friendly fit and deep drawers, and if we had to do it all over again, we’d choose this exact same piece – with just one caveat. Allow me to explain.

A few months ago, we received an email from Christina and Jaime:

How did you secure your GODMORGON to the wall? Did you add in extra studs/supports behind the vanity to ensure it was secure? The reason I am asking is, we installed the same vanity about 6 months ago… and now it almost appears like the middle support is concaving in, and it’s causing the drawers to be crooked. We hit at least 2 studs, used toggle anchors AND drilled extra support through the back piece. We love the look and it seems to have great reviews, but we weren’t sure if you guys did anything different to prevent this from happening! Love your blog, Christina + Jaime

We immediately triple checked our vanity, and sure enough, there was a slight dip just below the sink top. I had recently noticed that our drawers were coming out of alignment, and I even remember telling Scott that I needed to adjust them; I figured it was from several months of heavy use. We also used toggle bolts and hit a couple of studs, and we asked Christina and Jaime to keep us in the loop with their solution. We were just as bummed and stumped as they were!

Here’s the thing: Simply put, the dense particleboard simply isn’t strong enough to support the weight of a 48″ porcelain sink top. We were down, but we weren’t out! (We imagine there would be no issues whatsoever with smaller versions.) Underneath the vanity is a middle support beam, and Scott pushed up from below to liiiift on that beam while I watched the dip rise up and meet the sink nicely once again. As he held it in place with his hands, the drawers regained their perfect grid formation, and all was right in the world.

Our solution? Add a leg!

We wanted to keep the floating look we love, so we picked up just one of these GODMORGON stainless steel legs. It has an adjustable height up to not-quite-10″, and we took full advantage of that, twisting the leg just so until the vanity had evened out. It’s centered front to back and side to side, and unless you’re a cat or dog, it’s impossible to see:

We stayed in touch with Christina and Jaime, and we were blown away by their solution for the vanity. Not only did they address the issue head-on without the use of any legs, but they also DIYed their own walnut drawer fronts! Want to see?

I asked them to share their story for anyone else who may be noticing the same issue or may be renovating a bathroom or looking to warm up a piece of furniture. Here’s what they had to say:

When we bought our 1928 Bungalow two years ago, it had basically been stripped of its character except for the original door trim and hardwood floors. Since then, we have been tackling one home project after another to restore some of the charm, while adding our own personalized features. One of the first things we did was put in a new vanity in our master bathroom, and after debating our options we decided to go with the white IKEA GODMORGON floating vanity since it was the perfect size, affordable and the more modern look we were going for.

Six months later, we noticed that the vanity had started sinking in the center and slowly pulling away from the wall. We just shrugged it off at first, but after only a couple of weeks the issue had gotten dramatically worse. We knew we had to do something about it and fast!

While deciding whether or not we should purchase another vanity, we decided to call IKEA to see what our options were. We ended up filing a warranty claim and IKEA upheld it! After all the work we put into installing the vanity originally (plumbing was tough to figure out) and falling in love with having four large drawers for our vanity, we decided to give the same vanity another go…with a few changes of course.

First, we took the old vanity off the wall exchanged it for a brand new one (props to IKEA, it was a super easy transaction!). Once we got our new vanity home, we tore out the drywall where it was obvious that the old drywall anchors failed, despite having used heavy duty toggle bolts/anchors. We sistered new studs to the original studs where we knew the new vanity would be fastened to the wall.

While we had the vanity removed, we also decided to go ahead and add tile behind it. We had been wanting to tile at some point anyway and this would save us the time and effort of making the drywall repairs pretty. After tiling, we installed the new vanity ensuring that we hit studs each time we secured the vanity to the wall. We decided to use heavy duty 3” lag screws to make sure that we didn’t have the same problem again.

We also wanted to modify the standard drawers that came with the vanity and thought this would be the perfect time to do so! We bought PureBond walnut veneer plywood from Home Depot and cut it down to the same size of the IKEA drawer fronts. (Tip: Tape before you cut so that the plywood/veneer doesn’t splinter!)

For the exposed plywood edges, we attached walnut edge banding to the sides of each drawer front. We sanded, then applied two coats of Watco’s Dark Walnut Danish Oil, and finally, we sealed them with Minwax’s matte Polycrylic Protective Finish.

Meanwhile, we assembled the IKEA drawers minus the fronts and then measured exactly where the IKEA drawer fronts were supposed to attach to the drawers. We marked these locations on the walnut fronts, pre-drilled holes, and then attached the drawers to our walnut fronts with small screws, ensuring everything was square along the way.

We ordered these 5” matte black tab pulls and installed them in the same fashion that the IKEA pulls were to be installed. It was a lot more work than we had anticipated, but in the end, we LOVE how everything turned out!

Rarely is DIY ever simple, but it should never come as a surprise that you’ll get out of it what you put in. Their solution to customize an IKEA vanity is so pretty, but there’s much more in this room to love – the square tile, that black door and the brass mirror, to name a few!

You can follow along with their San Antonio home renovation (the photos of their pup Harlow can’t be missed!) through their Instagram accounts, calexan4 and jaime_rowan. Thank you for sharing, Christina and Jaime!

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  • Anna - March 6, 2017 - 5:51 AM

    Hello! Just wanted to point out that it’s GODMORGON, not Godmorgan. IKEA nerds unite! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 6, 2017 - 8:20 AM

      Oh, man, YESSS! Thank you for catching that! Updated.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy G - March 6, 2017 - 6:59 AM

    Holy cow! That veneer is gorgeous.

    Thank you for the update.ReplyCancel

  • Josh @ The Kentucky Gent - March 6, 2017 - 11:02 AM

    I definitely love IKEA, but I’ve learned that there’s usually a hack or two involved in keeping them in tip-top shape.ReplyCancel

  • Paige - March 6, 2017 - 2:05 PM

    That vanity is gorgeous! You did an awesome job!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.comReplyCancel

  • Emelia - March 8, 2017 - 11:37 AM

    “Unless you’re a cat or dog, it’s impossible to see.” That line cracked me up for some reason! Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte Lindsay - March 13, 2017 - 3:28 PM

    I hate when the pieces you chose so carefully start to fall apart or aren’t doing the part you wanted them to. Thanks so much for sharing the story of how to fix it, I really love the walnut finish. It accentuates the rooms home decor.ReplyCancel

  • AmyLynn - April 22, 2017 - 8:15 AM

    Hello! Me again! :) I’ve been poking around the Semihandmade website and I’m just curious why the color on your flatsawn walnut fronts looks different from the other examples (the others appearing darker). I really like the warmer look of your fronts, especially since our bathroom is pretty teeny tiny.
    Thanks! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 22, 2017 - 8:42 AM

      Hey, Amy! To be honest, our fronts have lightened since we’ve gotten them. I talked with Semihandmade about it, and they can only suggest it’s because our vanity is across from a window that’s causing the finish to yellow/lighten up. It started out a little darker, BUT ours were never as dark as some of the photos online suggest! They do offer samples (I think they’re like $15 for a pack), so you can hold some of the finishes in your own space. That was a HUGE help for us!ReplyCancel

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