PVC Pipe Makeover – Adding Old World Charm to Your New World Home

Feb 28, 2022 | On Design, The Parisienne Farmhouse | 6 comments

What’s a girl to do?

She finds a dream-of-a-sink in the woods; a sink that would have cost $1200 at a big city salvage store but the drain is a cruddy mess and proper plumbing seemed rather impossible, cue the need for PVC.  However, nothing kills an Old World look like a bunch of white plastic, especially when it’s set against gorgeous vintage wainscoting.

For your Pinning pleasure.

Does antique plumbing work?

I suppose if you’re Bob Villa or you’ve got endless hours to source the antique pieces you need, but I’ll tell you something – I spend a LOT of time researching for my design projects. I’m quite fatigued. It takes a thousand clicks to get to the right piece of fabric, wallpaper, accessories… and with designing my new Air BnB cottage this winter, I’ve been doing a TON of clicking. Yes, it takes a thousand clicks for the right piece of anything, let alone the correct piece of ‘pipeware’ from the 1930s.

The bottom of this sink was stripped of anything even resembling a thread, a joint, ANYthing that looked like you could connect ANYthing to it and I’ve been making welder phone calls for two years. Apparently, no one ones to help a housewife and NO one wants to work on cast iron. Fair enough, it does require extra skill and equipment. But can you help a sister out? I live in a community with a much older demographic and you try calling a 78-year-old welder who works on tractors and dump trucks all day and tell him you found a sink in the woods, and you are desperate for some welding. ‘Breakdown in communication?’ ‘Lost in translation?’ Choose your disaster conversation expression and insert it here, please. But there’s good news:

You can make faux antique plumbing.

(If that’s your thing.)

Well, it is mine. If I can’t have unlacquered brass, and I can’t live in a creaky old farmhouse or chateau with beautiful old pipes, then I’ll just have to take matters into my own hands.  And I did….er, ‘we’ did.

After two years, (actually maybe three) of harassing my husband about this sink, about the welder, about the plumbing, and SUDDENLY he gets an epiphany on how he could rig this up?? I think he simply had a mental block as he did NOT want to install this sink. But he was just sitting there a few weeks ago, looking at it, and suddenly says, “I can do this.”

WHAT??? Just like that? Waive your PVC wand and SUDDENLY you know how to do this? After years of begging? Apparently, the man is like fine wine. Better with time. 42 trips to the over-priced-small-town-hardware store later, he’s got a ‘boot’, some gen-weld goop, and what looks like a zip tie on steroids and suddenly, I’ve got a working sink! The mind reels. (He says to tell you the P trap is in the wall. He assures me someone will ask. I have NO clue what he’s talking about.)

Paint that PVC my friend.

It’s so much easier than you can imagine. Grab some Rub-n-Buff in the color of your choice. Rub-n-Buff can be used on just about ANY surface so it’s great for plastic. (I went with Spanish Copper to match my oil-rubbed bronze Kensington Faucet. Links for everything are down below.) And then you’ll need a metallic paint with a corresponding patina chemical. There are lots of companies that make these, but a local shop up here sells Dixie Bell and that’s what I went with. But I’ve used Modern Masters before and it’s excellent. You can find some here.

Step 1. Cover your boot, PVC, braided lines, etc with a couple of coats of Rub-n-Buff. Wear gloves. It’s nasty business. If you want it shiny, grab a rag when it’s dry and buff it to your desired gleam.

Step 2. Wherever you would like your ‘corrosion’ to appear, dab your metallic paint. I wanted my pipe to look old and as though they had been leaky for some time so I hit all the PVC joints with it. Remember, this look is ‘to taste’. You may like more or less corrosion/patina or none at all. And also remember, it’s a faux finish. No one is going to have their nose right up in it. When people walk through my boot room, they may simply glance down and think, “Wow. That’s an old sink.”

Step 3. While the metallic paint is still wet, spray or dab the patina effect liquid on top of it. It will drip and just look wet as though NOTHING is going to happen. TRUST ME. Go make a coffee, read a chapter in Go Tell the Bees I am Gone, and then come back.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a video on how I did mine, it also features the installation of the sink with water spraying everywhere. So that’s fun. You’re welcome.

Now that the sink is in, my icky chicken eggs don’t have to come into the kitchen and we can carry on this boot room makeover. Honestly, when something that has been swirling around in my mind comes to fruition, it’s SO incredible to me. It makes me want to take on the next challenge in our Everyday Chateau.

I’m glad you’re here for the fun.

Be sure you get your copy of the Spring Magazine! You’ll have access to the full 2021 Design Class Schedule including my latest class, “5 Ways to Add OLD WORLD Charm to Your New World Home.


  1. Lee-Ann Ross

    Loved the video! I showed my daughter and she now is wanting this done in her home. I so appreciate the step by step instructions too. I have painted and faux finished a lot of stuff over the years, but never imagined this.
    Hope you will share the yellow paint color you used. It was lovely.
    Thank you again and again for such good content.

    Kind Regards,

  2. Allison

    Okay, so I didn’t read the blog post above… yet!! But I just wanted to know when your air b n b would be available?! I need a vacation haha I’m a 27 year old mom of 4 under 6 and haven’t had a vacation in a long time!! Haha and honestly, I’ve been a fan of yours for years and you and shaye helped me develop in every area of my life. My mom did her best when I was growing up but honestly, we were two different people. She was more career minded and I was always more whimsical and loved the romance of life. Anyway, all that to say, you and shaye taught me to make sourdough bread, decorate my home, grow a garden, keep illegal city chickens(okay the illegal part was all me but I just wanted fresh eggs so bad haha) and also start working out again. Believe it or not, shaye motivated me a lot in this area because quite frankly, I thought if she can do it consistently, I can most certainly do it. Haha
    Well, I know this was long winded but just know that I feel like I wanted to thank you for helping me learn to be a good homemaker. Oh and for the record, I also started to wear skirts more and ditch the leggings because I realized due in part to shaye and you that they were contributing to the ugliness in our culture. Anyway, can’t wait for your air b n b to be available. This Texan now midwest girl by marriage is ready to make the trek! Blessings! ☺️

  3. miss agnes

    Great job on this sink, and on your blog design. I can read everything perfectly now 😉

  4. Kate

    Lol .. I wondered about the p trap… Let’s just say I started young plumping with my father… It’s beautiful!! The information about the rub and buff is super helpful!! Thank you and blessings

  5. Serena

    I watched the video of you pulling the sink out of the woods a few years ago! I’m trying not to be envious, as everything salvage and antique here in the northeast comes with an eye-watering price tag.

    It does give me some comfort to know that other people also struggle with projects that last years. Husbands can do amazing things, they just need a little (or a lot) of time to figure things out, lol. Your faux paint finish looks great. Can’t wait to see the rest of your renovations.

  6. Anne

    I immediately ordered the rub n buff paint/stain you used on the pvc pipes – it looked like the stuff I’ve been searching for. I used all 4 colors the day my order arrived. I have an old, beat up coat stand that was begging to be “aged” but in a good way. I LOVE IT!! Thank you ❤️


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