Build a Floating Vanity
A modern cherry cabinet supports a heavy counter while levitating above the bath floor.
Synopsis: Since Fine Homebuilding‘s Project House had a new bathroom sink (see “A New Approach to Concrete,” FHB #234) made by Buddy Rhodes, it was time to get a cabinet to accompany the sink. The editors turned to Nancy Hiller, and in this “Master Carpenter” article, she describes how she built a sleek cherry vanity that floats over the bathroom floor and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For this vanity, Hiller used plywood for the carcases, but coated the exterior with cherry-veneered moisture-resistant MDF. After the carcases and drawers were assembled, Hiller hung the unit on the bathroom wall, using four 16-in. steel brackets (rated for 330 lb. per pair) to suspend the vanity. This article includes sidebars on custom veneer, clamping techniques to make sure boxes are square, using router templates for precise work, and determining the extent of support that a hanging vanity needs. A companion video about this project also is available.
As someone who prefers not to be vexed by job-related anxieties in the wee hours, I work hard to prevent foreseeable problems. On most jobs, gravity is the cabinetmaker’s friend. When it comes to floating furniture, however, gravity poses certain challenges. If you don’t take these challenges seriously, you may find yourself with a cabinet that wants to fall apart—or worse, one that falls off the wall.
Fine Homebuilding asked me to build a bathroom vanity for their Project House, and structural challenges were only one of the issues. Designed by architect Duncan McPherson, the cabinet’s sleek, clean look depended on careful planning and on maintaining sharp lines. The vanity also was intended to be compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, so the center portion below the sink was to be removable for wheelchair access. To accentuate the horizontal…