Five vintage Lavanette “Vanette” bathroom vanities — oh my, fantastic!

vintage steel bathroom vanityHere’s a rare sight to be seen, five hard-to-find vintage Beauty Queen Lavanette “Vanette” steel bathroom vanities, all found in one building in northern California, and spotted for sale by several readers who sent us tips. Yowza — they look to be in great shape! 

lavanette

From our original story on Lavanettes: The 36″ model above is the “Lavanette” — the 48″ models for sale are “Vanettes”. There also was a longer “Powder Bar.” Oh. My.

I asked the seller Laurie, how did they happen to come across not one — but five — of these rare vintage Lavanette Vanettes. Her reply:

We are just starting renovations on what was a local family practice.  The doctor was there from the 1960s until a couple years ago… he never changed his decor.  The Lavanettes were used in individual exam rooms. I think that is why they are in such great shape!

Laurie was also excited to hear from us — she is a regular reader! She said:

I am the assistant to the owner of the sinks and the one working on getting these FABULOUS units to their next home!  I absolutely LOVE your website, follow you on Facebook too, and would be more than happy for these sinks to be featured on it…. I soooo hope these amazing cabinets go to a loving new home (wish one could come home with me J ), vintage is the BEST!!!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks so much!!!

vintage steel bathroom vanityThank you, Laurie! We don’t see too many of these vintage Lavanettes in the wild. We think they were quite rare to begin with, but then, when you combine their rarity with the metal-rusting moisture found in bathrooms, we think many of them just didn’t survive. The fact that these examples were not used in bathrooms, but in patient rooms in a doctor’s office is probably why they are in such good condition after all these years.

These are Vanettes from the Lavanette Line

From the Craigslist posting:

Love vintage?? Well then, one of these vintage bathroom “vanity with sink” cabinet units would be the PERFECT addition to your retro bathroom makeover.

vintage steel bathroom vanity

This is one of five cabinets we have for sale. All five are part of the Beauty Queen “Lavanette” line made by Toledo Desk & Fixture Corp., Maumee, Ohio in the 1950s. They are powder coated steel with laminate tops and porcelain sinks with chrome trim and measure 4′ x 2′.

Beauty Queen Lavanette Beauty Queen Lavanette

We have three light blue with light pink laminate tops and two light green units with grey laminate tops for sale. All five of these units are in fabulous condition with minimal dents, scrapes or chips. (for pictures of the other units please see our other postings)

vintage faucetBeauty Queen Lavanette

The sinks do not appear to have any chips but, along with the faucets and nobs, will need some careful elbow grease to remove the hard water stains. There is only one light blue unit that has a visible dent on the front right, bottom drawer. Other than that any smudges you see in the pictures are just dust/dirt from sitting in a vacant building for many years.

vintage steel bathroom vanityBeauty Queen LavanetteBeauty Queen LavanetteBeauty Queen LavanetteBeauty Queen Lavanette

Four of the units have the original “optional” towel bar. All five have the pull out bin in bottom left cabinet, garbage bin in bottom right cabinet and the plastic odds and ends trays in the top drawers.

vintage steel bathroom vanity

Each individual unit is listed at $500 and are located in Northern California, just south of Redding, so you will either need to be able to pick up or pay for it to be shipped.

vintage steel bathroom vanity

You can see more photos of these five amazing Lavanettes on Craigslist. Currently, Laurie has them posted for sale on the Las Vegas, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Reno and San Francisco Bay Craigslist.

Beauty Queen Lavanettes:

beauty-queen-lavanetteBeauty Queen Lavenettes are smaller and have only one set of drawers. Above: A Lavanette that Pam salvaged from a neighbor’s house. Will she find time to restore it? Or will she tire of having it sit in her garage and give it away on craiglist?

Beauty Queen Kitchen Cabinets

beauty-queen-kitchen

Yes, Lavanettes and Vanettes were part of the Beauty Queen line of steel kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Laurie took the info about the maker — Toledo Toledo Desk and Fixture Co., Maumee, Ohio — from our original story here. Hmmm. How many steel cabinet makers were there in Ohio, Pam wondered. She knows of (1) Youngstown Steel Kitchens, out of Warren… (2) Republic Steel Kitchens, of Columbus… and Beauty Craft, from Toledo. Perhaps one day soon we will go through our histories and make a complete list by location.

steel drainboard sink

Above: See this story about a Beauty Queen sink base, which was restored, including with the addition of a new Elkay Lustertone drainboard sink.

beauty-queen-2beauty-queen-3beauty-queen-1.jpg

Above: Pink Beauty Queen kitchen cabinets — with a long pink drainboard sink, be still our hearts — posted to our buy/sell forum in 2008.

Link Love (Various photos are sprinkled through five different listings):

See our extensive archive of stories
about vintage steel cabinetry — it’s fascinating!

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Comments

  1. Carolyn says

    I didn’t know about RetroRenovation until March 2015. I am heart-sick that a convent nearby was sold by the city for $1 to be developed. I can only hope that the developer salvaged and ReStored the interior.
    I have to accept that I can’t save everything since I don’t have adequate storage to foster these types of items until they get adopted. And thankful that I don’t see dumpsters filled with “old junk.”
    To end on a positive note, were we cool back then or what?! Innovation, style, craftsmanship…is this where I insert “woot”?

  2. Janet in ME says

    These are just marvelous! I wish my bathroom had the room to accommodate one of them! I saw one just once on Craigslist in Buffalo and it was in pretty poor condition – very rusted. I agree the fact that they were in a doctor’s office kept them so pristine! Wonderful find and I am also thrilled that they didn’t junk them! Too much nice stuff goes to the scrapyard!

  3. Robin, NV says

    Oh my goodness. These are only 4 hours from me and my blue bathroom really needs a new sink and cabinet… Oh dear, what to do?!

  4. pam kueber says

    There was a New Old Stock Lavanette or Vanette in Western New York some years ago. I don’t think I got permission to show the photos… my memory is dim. These, though: Even though not NOS, they look to be in like-new condition.

    A neighbor just sold her house. She had a Lavanette (I think, the smaller model). The buyer is likely to renovate. This story is inspiring me to go knock on the door and introduce myself yada yada yada. I think I could fit a 36″-er in my master bathroom!

  5. Lynn-O-Matic says

    I have an identical green and grey one waiting to be installed in our upstairs remodel. I couldn’t love it more. I have always wondered what the second drawer on the right was for. It looks like a letter sorter for an office. I wondered if it is because the company also made desks.

    I haven’t warmed up to the idea of the toothbrush holder mounted on the wastebasket, however.

    • Laurie says

      Does the second drawer lock on yours?? These five have a lock you access from the cabinet below…at first I thought it was jammed but it is a spring loaded latch! Cool if you have kiddos and need to hide away they aspirin.

      • Lynn-O-Matic says

        Yes, it does lock, and I also thought it was jammed. Our carpenter couldn’t figure it out, but I finally did!

  6. Neil says

    So glad to see these in a story here; when I spied them on Craigslist here in San Francisco, I just knew they would ring your bells big-time, Kate! And I’m glad to hear other readers alerted you too: Between the eagle-eyes of us all maybe we’ll keep a lot of treasures out of the dump.

    I was aghast, however at the $500 price; in my “antique” business here in SF I’m often buying 40’s/50’s/60”s steel, freestanding storage cabinets, both the tall ones and the short ones with formica or enamel tops; I give them a fresh coat of charming period color inside and out and they sell like hotcakes, compelling as they are to the discerning SF hipster eye (many of which are looking for more storage for their tiny, vintage SF kitchens). But….I only pay between $5 and $25 each for them, typically.

    But, possibly these Vanettes’ rarity and completeness, and truly excellent condition, merit the layout of half a thousand dollars…

    Toodles,
    Neil

    • MJ says

      It’s a capitalist society. I’m wondering how much you would ask for one of your 5-25$ Vanettes. A Capitalist price, I expect. The fresh coat of paint would make them worth less than an original paint job, if my experience is any indicator. But to each his own.

      • Ed says

        I’m aghast at the price, too. That’s CHEAP! As Pam notes, press-board units from the big box chains demand similar money, and are even more susceptible to moisture over time. I can only hope the ones Neil is picking up are in a condition befitting their price, so the fresh paint isn’t quite so heretical.

    • pam kueber says

      Even cheap wood vanities from the Big Box store cost moola these days ….

      And with these, you get the sink, the vintage laminate countertop, the faucet — and a STEEL cabinet with original condition paint! Personally, I think the price is fair. All depends on the market, though!

  7. Scott says

    The green Vanette is stunning. Only the fact that my ultra-tiny modest bath couldn’t possibly hold something of that size allows me to have the restraint to not immediately try to acquire one. I’m literally gasping at its beauty, what a find!

  8. Joe Felice says

    I just cannot stand it! How are people so lucky to be “in the right place at the right time” to score things like this? “The stars must be aligned,” is all I can think. Were these cabinets an off-shoot of airplane lavs? That’s what I’ve always thought, and that’s what they resemble.

    • pam kueber says

      I don’t know if the company is still in business. These vanities are no longer made by anyone, as far as I know.

  9. Lynda murray says

    Wow, what a find! The people renovating are very fortunate to have had one of your followers in the mix! I hope she will benefit from the sale of these cabinets , because featuring them on your site gets a much larger pool of people who might want them. I also wanted to say that I bought a vintage metal glider that was very rusted(holes right through the metal) . I went to the auto store and bought bondo, also asked the sales people to tell me how to use it. It was surprisingly easy! My glider turned out to be so cool looking.

  10. MarissaBee says

    Just wanted to chime in to say that I LOVE the vintage children’s animal wallpaper in the 3rd vanity photo!

  11. Mary Elizabeth says

    Wonderful! A note on cleaning up the sinks: if they are porcelain on iron or steel, the Kohler Cast Iron Sink Cleaner should do the job.

    And I agree you can’t get a really good new bathroom vanity for under $600 or more, unless you build it yourself.

    As for the locking drawer, I can think of many things to put in it if you have wee ones around, such as makeup. I’m thinking of how lovely my toddler daughter once looked with lipstick all over her face. 🙂

  12. SebastianPDX says

    These are really lovely…it would be a shame to expose them to rust in a bathroom. Unless the vents have enough draw or, as in our 1952 apartment, there is an original heating unit to dry up the moisture. I think these would be stunning in a home with minimal bathrooms, to use in a bedroom. Like in European bed & breakfasts or “pensiones.”

  13. Kathy says

    Makes me think that if you can’t get your own Lavanette, retrofitting an old metal desk with a sink might be an interesting project. I would think about putting a curtain in the knee hole as well.

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