DIY: Installing a Vanity in 10 Easy Steps!

DBC DIY LOGO 150x1501 DIY: Installing a Vanity in 10 Easy Steps!Death By Chil­dren is about more than the nefar­i­ous and deadly machi­na­tions of our spawn or their efforts to ren­der us twitch­ing and pale from their ongo­ing appro­pri­a­tion of inter­net porn slang. It’s about a lifestyle, a way of going about your day with a kind of Zen focus, a way of being ever more self suf­fi­cient and capa­ble. To that end, we present our ongo­ing series of Do It Your­self projects.

DIY #003: The Vanity.


  • A van­ity.
  • A sink.
  • Chan­nel locks
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Plumber’s crack
  • Cres­cent wrench
  • Screw­driver
  • Hack saw
  • Band-aids
  • one sink kit (for installing the drain stuff)
  • two 12″ water sup­ply lines
  • The inter­net


  1. Using the inter­net, start look­ing for a van­ity. Use Google “shop­ping,” eBay, and, late into the morn­ing, dis­cov­er­ing wild and gor­geous bath­room van­i­ties wor­thy of a Wal­Mart heir, van­i­ties that look like they were care­fully removed from the apothe­cary bath­room of a 14th cen­tury Amish alchemist. At about 3:41 am, wake up your wife and try to con­vince her to let you buy a $2,967.13 van­ity that comes with a Belar­ian Gran­ite sink, a black Ten­nessee mar­ble sink insert, a bur­nished, teak cab­i­net made from the remains of Pres­i­dent Lincoln’s per­sonal privy, and brass han­dles melted down from the recov­ered port­holes of the Titanic. Try not to be dis­cour­aged as, even in her groggy and sleep deprived pre-dawn fog, your wife points out that the Lin­coln van­ity is a 32 inch top and we have a 26 inch space. Also, ship­ping is $541.32.
  2. Find a van­ity at Menard’s online. This is awe­some because it looks EXACTLY like the Lin­coln van­ity, only its made entirely from recy­cled ele­men­tary text­books, saw­dust, and glue. Order. Pay. Feel the warm flush of accom­plish­ment rush through your body.
  3. Remove the old van­ity. This is eas­ily accom­plished by sim­ply lean­ing on it to see where it is attached then let­ting it crum­ble beneath your appli­ca­tion of mod­est pres­sure. Pull the pieces apart, and dispose.
  4. Go to check on the width of your van­ity online. Check. Notice a funny email from your bud that directs you to a web­site dis­play­ing pic­tures of peo­ple who shop at Wal­Mart. Stop surf­ing this web­site only after your chil­dren come home from school and beg you to make them food. Menards is closed. So you’ll have to get the van­ity tomorrow.
  5. Pick-up new van­ity at Menard’s where the plumb­ing depart­ment man­ager informs you that because you did not check a deliv­ery option when you closed out your shop­ping cart online, they have not shipped your van­ity. He fixes this. It should be here in about 10 days.
  6. Act like it’s all part of the plan. Scratch your chin. Say, yeah, yeah. That’s what I was hop­ing. Buy a new toi­let to make it look like you’re there for a pur­pose because that lit­tle plumb­ing depart­ment man­ager weasel is eye­balling you like you’re 113 years old and never heard of a shop­ping cart. Screw it, buy two new toi­lets. [see, DIY: Installing a New Super Flush Toi­let in 5 Easy Steps].
  7. Three days later, act non-plussed when Weasel calls to let you know your new van­ity was shipped early. Go to Menard’s to pick-up van­ity. When asked if youneed any help out to your car, reply with a manly ‘what-are-you-kidding-me?’ shrug. Schlep the box out to the car. Recall that you drive a 2003 Camry and note the box for the van­ity is 9 feet by 6 feet by 4 feet. Cram it in.
  8. Unpack the van­ity in the liv­ing room while sit­ting on the couch watch­ing your DVR episode of Mad­Men. Don Draper would’ve built this thing from scratch.
  9. Drag van­ity to bath­room and slid it into place. My god, that is one beau­ti­ful van­ity. Look at it. Run your fin­gers along the details on the bent-wood door. Look how it fits per­fectly, how the door opens and closes with­out hit­ting. You sir, are a man.
  10. Lie down on your back and shove your upper body into the cav­ity of the van­ity. Install the p-trap, the drain pipe, and the drain valve. Get every­thing ready to con­nect to the exist­ing drain. Note that the new van­ity is four inches taller than the old one, that the sink is dis­placed to nine inches out instead of six and that your shiny new p-trap is about three miles away from your grubby old drain.
  11. Buy a 9 inch drain extension.
  12. Mea­sure the gap between the exist­ing drain pipe and the new on hang­ing below the sink. It’s 6 inches.
  13. Get the hack saw. Saw 3 inches off of the 9 inch straight pipe.
  14. Drag the van­ity out of the bathroom.
  16. Attach new 6 inch drain pipe into the sink drain. Note: a pro­fes­sional plumber allows for the inside of the fit­ting. Note the new 1 inch gap between the jagged end of the short­ened pipe and the old p-trap SHOULD INCLUDE the one inch of pipe that would fit into the fitting.
  17. Drag the van­ity back into the bathroom.
  18. Go to Menards and stand in front of the sink repair sec­tion. Think to your­self: maybe you’ve been approach­ing this wrong. Think: why the hell don’t they make flexible—
  19. Pur­chase flex­i­ble sink trap repair kit.
  20. Install flex­i­ble sink trap repair kit.
  21. Pull the escutcheon off the wall so you can finally attach the new p-trap to the old drain pipe. Note that your house was built in 1937 and your drain pipe is not threaded. It’s also embed­ded a half inch behind the wall and welded to some­thing you can’t see.
  22. Stare.
  23. You can’t just unscrew the hor­i­zon­tal drain pipe, because it’s welded as a sin­gle unit. After installing a six inch 9 inch pipe exten­sion to a flex­i­ble p-trap repair unit to the old p-trap (thus cre­at­ing an loosely defined w-trap) leav­ing a one inch gap from the end of the flex­i­ble repair kit to the exist­ing drain pipe stick­ing out of your wall.
  24. Beat. Head. Against. Sink.
  25. Go to Menards. Buy a rub­ber cou­pling. Work it on between the two pipes and voila! You have drain.
  26. Turn on the water.
  27. Check every sec­tion to find out why the water is not drain­ing. Every­thing is perfect.
  28. Beat. Head. Against. Sink.
  29. Drag the van­ity back into the din­ing room.
  30. Call Gar­rity plumb­ing. Your son will let him in while you’re at school.
  31. Come home to see your gor­geous van­ity installed with what, even from a dis­tance, you can see is per­fect and san­guine grace. Under­neath the sink, a gleam­ing chrome p-trap falls grace­fully from the drain in the sink and dis­ap­pears through a new escutcheon into the wall.
  32. On the din­ing room table is your self-installed w-trap lying on top of your bill ($532.00) and a note from Gar­rity in the mar­gin: “Nice try.”

About Bull Garlington

Christopher Garlington is the humor columnist for Chicago Parent magazine, Seattle Parent Map, and New York Parenting magazine. His stories have appeared in Atlanta Parent, Baton Rouge Parent, Parenting ABC (U.K.); Florida, Orlando, Orlando Weekly, Catholic Digest, Retort, Another Realm, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and other magazines. He is the author of the infamous anti-parenting blog, Death By Children; co-author of The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats.

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