Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY

bathroom, storage

That Pesky Medicine Cabinet

By Picardy Project on Dec 05, 2012

Two years ago, when we were planning out the back bathroom, Chris and I decided we would very much like to install a recessed medicine cabinet.

In the main bathroom we just have a mirror on the wall, because we've got plenty of storage (with a small wall cabinet over the toilet and a standing cabinet in the corner), and I always feel like medicine cabinets that stick out from the wall feel so incredibly bulky.

Because the only storage so far in the back bathroom are our cubbies, we thought a medicine cabinet was very necessary. So I wrote about the one we had selected two years ago from HD on this mood board post...


But when Chris read that post the next day, he sent me an email letting me know he totally forgot that we wanted a recessed cabinet and that we'd need to get it really soon in order to accommodate the installation for it (because it's recessed, we'll have to adjust the framing on that wall a bit). I said I'd hop on the task and drove to HD that day to pick it up (this was Monday).

Ummm, they didn't have it, but we did see it at HD two years ago, so really I can't blame them at all for not having it anymore.

After running several more errands I came home and looked it up online and tried to buy it off the website. No dice.

So then I looked to see if any nearby stores had it: not one store within 50 miles (that's 30 total stores by the way) carried it. Well, that sucks.

HD had a couple recessed choices in their store, but none of them had any detail trim that made them look at all vintage (which is what we liked about the above cabinet), so I didn't like any of the ones they had.

I was relegated to buying something on the internet instead of in-store. I wasn't a super big fan of this, but what are you going to do?

I googled and found many recessed medicine cabinets, but you know what, they are expensive as shit!


The one above from Pottery Barn (found here) oh, you know, just $249. Gah!

I liked this one on Amazon (found here)

Medicine Cabinet in Espresso

But it only came in that super dark color, and I was really gunning for white (or a milk chocolate brown stain like the one from Pottery Barn).

There was another from Amazon that looked pretty decent (found here)

ZENITH PRODUCTS #MC10WW White Amer Medium Cabinet

But the reviews weren't great, and the ones from people who sounded like they knew what they were doing said it was basically a piece of shit.

I found another on Amazon that looked pretty snazzy (found here)


But it's "currently unavailable". Damnit!

And of course Pottery Barn kept disappointing me with their pretty but expensive things...


Found here, again for $249.

Sigh. It seemed as if the recessed cabinet was out of our reach. I just couldn't stomach paying that much for a 6 sq. ft. cabinet that hangs on the wall. With a $250 price tag, that's $40+ per sq. ft. of storage and that just seems ridiculous to me.<./p>

I thought about getting a regular medicine cabinet. But again, they just feel so bulky to me, and as I was scrolling through some, they just made me snarl. Plus, with our bathroom so small, I felt like a cabinet jutting out from the wall would make the space feel even smaller.

And then I thought of it: let's build one! If Chris will let us, that is :) Frankly, it seemed not too difficult to build, and hey, if we can build this


Why they hell can't we build a medicine cabinet? So I googled around to see if it was in fact as easy to build as I thought. I may be the one in this partnership who makes us bite off a little more than we can chew :)

And with baby coming and 5 ft. of the wall to tile, I didn't want to turn Chris into a stress ball. But as I googled and read the plans, it seemed pretty straightforward.

I waited until Chris came home. I told him that HD didn't have the cabinet anymore (and neither did any store from Sacramento to San Jose), and that as I was looking online, they were just a little pricey. So um..."You want us to build one?" Chris guessed it before I even said it. I looked at him sheepishly. I said if it was too much trouble, that was totally fine, we could just get a mirror and figure out other storage, no big deal. But Chris said, no he thought we could do it. The most difficult part would probably be the mirror—how it would be trimmed out, attached to the door, etc.

I agreed and said the first thing I would do was find a suitable mirror for us and then draw up the plans, and we'll build away! It never takes us too long 'til we decide to build something else :)

Visit Picardy Project »

blog comments powered by Disqus