The Measure of Success

Measure twice, cut a deal once


When you write for shelter magazines you have the opportunity to meet designers from around the country who are delighted to share their insights and decorating tips.  I’ve always been fascinated by the savvy designers who truly appreciate bargains and advocate Craigslist as a great source for cabinetry.


DIY’ers are enthusiastic about home remodeling projects.  However, when they buy cabinetry on-line, such as a bathroom vanity, they neglect to take precise measurements of their space before they click the mouse and proceed to check-out. The vanity is delivered, it doesn’t fit into the space as imagined, and the homeowner tries to ease their heartache by selling the unused cabinetry, still in the box, on Craigslist for a fraction of the original price.  If you have a sense of adventure and a vehicle to transport large items, you can really save money on this Internet clearing house. You can look for similar deals on Ebay; however, if you do find something you like chances are the item requires local pick-up and the seller lives 1,000 miles away from you.  Craigslist allows you to work with sellers in your community.


Then there is the case when someone buys a high-end home and decides to completely remodel the kitchen and bathrooms.  Contractors remove the existing slightly used custom cabinets and vanities and sell them on Craigslist well below their original value.  I recently noticed a Craigslist posting for custom kitchen cabinets in Newport, RI that cost over $100,000 to build.  After the new cabinets were installed, the homeowner decided to reconfigure the kitchen’s layout.  The new cabinets were removed, taken away to a warehouse to be sold for $25,000.


If you peruse Craigslist, you’ll also notice that kitchen and bathroom showrooms sell their display cabinetry at drastically reduced prices.  We saw a $10,000 custom kitchen island with a farmer’s sink and granite top sold from a showroom in Portsmouth, RI, to a lucky Craigslist buyer for $1,000.  If you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to buy new cabinetry on Craigslist, set up an email alert. Every time a seller in your area posts items for sale that match your alert, you will immediately receive an email.

Don’t be blinded by a bargain.  Before you consider purchasing an item on Craigslist, remember to measure twice!

The Quest for Bathroom Vanities

snowy house

The epic winter of 2015 caused considerable delays for our rejuvenation project. We originally hoped to have custom vanities made for the three bathrooms…..a small bathroom, a master bathroom, and an aging in place bathroom.  However, to hasten the project along, we had to buy built vanities.  Before heading to a national home improvement store (the one with the orange sign) to check out the selection, I set up an email alert on Craigslist for “new bathroom vanity.”  I thought to myself….why not heed sage advice from design professionals?

small bathroom

The first Craigslist email alert I received in my inbox advertised a new single-sink white vanity from the Home Depot that was being sold at an 80% discount.  The homeowner wanted to remodel a bathroom in his waterfront vacation home in a neighboring town.  He did not measure properly and just wanted to get the vanity-still-in-the-box off his front porch.  Success!  We found the perfect vanity for the small bathroom at a tremendous savings.

single vanity 2

One down, two to go.

The next Craigslist email alert came from a dealer who specializes in selling vanities that have been returned to a national home improvement store because the buyers did not measure properly or did not like the finish when they saw the vanity in person.  This particular dealer buys truckloads of the returned vanities and sells them on Craigslist for a 50-60% discount off the original price.  And he offers free delivery in Rhode Island.  He happened to be selling an espresso colored double sink vanity with furniture like details, slow close drawers, Carrere marble top and under-mounted sinks. We contacted the dealer by text and two days later a beautiful double vanity was delivered to our project for 60% off the retail price.

bimini 2bimini

Let’s Hope That Three’s a Charm.

When we met the dealer on the delivery day, we showed him the aging in place bathroom and described what size and type of vanity we were looking for.  He promised to text an image of our wish list vanity as soon as his next truckload arrived.  Sure enough, two weeks later, he sent a text with an image of the exact vanity we were looking for at a 60% discount.  Two days later he delivered the vanity free of charge and he also brought along a mirrored medicine cabinet that would pair perfectly with the first vanity we bought on Craigslist for the small bathroom.  We bought the new medicine cabinet at a 60% percent discount from the original price.

Medecine cabinet

We are very happy with the vanities and now are considering buying matching bathroom mirrors from the same Craigslist dealer.

To read more about trends in bathroom vanities visit:

I’ve now set up a Craigslist email alert for a “vintage crystal chandelier.” Stay tuned to see how we do.


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