Home About Vanity, Thy Name Is Formica

Vanity, Thy Name Is Formica

written by Andrew Auten

The original sink was a crappy plastic thing that looked more suited to a football-stadium porta-potti than the rolling pleasure-palace we had envisioned.

01_vanity-originalOne of the things that we loved about this particular RV was that the bathroom sink and vanity were located just outside the bathroom – as opposed to inside with the shower and toilet. With two people living in a small space, this configuration would allow us to overlap our morning and evening “beauty” routines.

The original sink was a crappy plastic thing that looked more suited to a football-stadium porta-potti than the rolling pleasure-palace we had envisioned.

As you can see by this first photo, it was super sexy! And by “sexy” I mean horrible and awful.  That’s sex, right?

We knew right away that we would be replacing the sink with something of a different shape and size, and that meant we would also need to replace the counter-top.

We started this project after we had finished painting the walls, cabinets and trim for the whole interior.

To start, we cut the new counter-top out of all-weather plywood to fit both the existing vanity and the new sink. I’d like to say that we got it right the first time, but that was not the case. This was our third attempt.

The sink was a 30-dollar surplus bargain from e-Bay – lightweight and small.

The counter-top is finished off by a faucet from Lowe’s and aluminum edging from Orange Aluminum. All three elements match the kitchen.

I had never done a laminate counter-top before but it was way, way easier than I had thought. There are a few useful videos on the YouTube that helped us quite a bit.

Below you can see, in progress, a new set of switches for the water-pump and overhead vanity light.

I wanted to document both the Formica and aluminum edging but I’d never done those jobs before, so it was entirely possible that I would be documenting a disaster. I’m too vain to allow that.


Here is the finished product, with a few other details to note.




There was no light to speak of in this space, at least, not enough light to serve the purpose of a vanity. So we added a light fixture from an old RV, spray painted in our color scheme and wired with Ikea LEDs.

The original mirrored door to the medicine cabinet was just horrible. It was obviously an add-on from the original-original. The mirror was oversized and just glued to the metal door. Over time it had started to sag. We looked into several options from replacing the entire medicine cabinet, which would have required rebuilding the wooden RV cabinet to replacing just the door with an off-the-rack mirror. Those plans ran headlong into lack of time and ability to find the right sized match in either case, and thus self-terminated. The solution: miter cut, paint and glue a piece of plastic trim molding directly to the mirror to form a “frame.” Voila! NEW DOOR!!

To finish off the project, we mounted a silver-colored anodized aluminum sheet, picked up from our trusty neighborhood Home Depot, to the wall behind the sink to serve as a back-splash.

Like so many of our projects with this RV, all the time and effort we spent on on this small area has proven well worth it in the end.

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