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.
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.