Words to live by in certain circumstances, but on the other hand, if you can make it even better, by all means, what are you waiting for? That’s how I felt about the built-in cabinet in my small bathroom. The cabinet was installed a little over a year ago. All I had to do at the time was prime and paint the doors and add hardware (knobs / pulls).
Now, one year later, I’ve had plenty of time to assess how this built-in bathroom cabinet works for my needs. It makes a great storage place for bath towels and extra rolls of toilet paper, provides space for displaying attractive bathroom accessories, and the bottom of the cabinet is a laundry chute that goes straight down to the laundry room which is a definite plus. All well and good, but I decided it needed to do more.
In small bathroom design, you need to get the absolute maximum use out of every available inch of space. To maximize the use of this built-in cabinet it needed to offer even more functionality. This is what I did to turn a simple bathroom cabinet into a multi-tasking feature even more worthy of the space it occupies in my small bathroom.
Giving up the bathroom accessory display space in favor of additional concealed storage seemed like the logical place to start. I decided to move the bath towels up a level and add a door to the lowest cubby. The existing doors were fairly basic and would be easy to replicate with MDF (medium density fiber board) and some trim.
Measured the height for new door. This measurement had to be precise so the door would fit perfectly between the upper and lower shelves as well as the slightly raised trim pieces that are applied to front of the shelves. The width would be the same as the other doors. Measured the thickness of an existing door at the outer edge. Measured the width of the raised area on the face of existing door. Calculated the total trim requirements.
Here’s what I came up with:
Thickness Required 3/4″
Raised Area Width 2-1/4″
Trim Length 47″
To achieve the desired edge thickness, I would use 1/2″ MDF and 1/4″ thick trim. The trim would need to be 2-1/4″ wide.
Second – Door Operation
When the idea for improving the built-in bathroom cabinet formed in my mind, I thought I’d simply be adding a regular door, but after some serious consideration, I decided that I could further expand the usability of the cabinet if I made that door drop down/flip down to work as a type of tray for holding things. With that new thought in mind, I wrote out a shopping list.
Third – Materials
1/2″ thick MDF ( 2′ x 4′ handi-panel)
1/4″ thick poplar 3″ wide x 36″ long – 2 lengths for trim
The materials shown above were purchased at Home Depot. A cup pull was purchased at Canadian Tire to match the one on the laundry chute. Also purchased at Canadian Tire was a latch.
Putting It Together
- Using a table saw, the MDF was cut to the appropriate dimensions of 12″ x 16″ and the width of the poplar lengths was reduced to 2-1/4″.
- A compound mitre saw was then used to cut the trim to the proper lengths – 2 pieces at 16″ and 2 pieces at 7-1/2″.
- The trim was adhered to the MDF using carpenter’s wood glue and held in place with clamps until the glue dried. Special care was taken to wipe up any glue that squeezed out beyond the inner and outer edges of the trim pieces.
- Once the glue had dried, the door was primed with two coats of latex primer, then top-coated with two coats of semi-gloss interior latex to match the rest of the built-in cabinet.
- Hinges were attached with a cordless drill to the door first, then screwed in to the shelf bottom.
- To hold the drop down door at the right level in its open position, a flap stay was attached to both the inside of the door and the inner side wall of the cubby.
- The latch was installed to hold the door snuggly in a closed position.
- The final step was positioning, drilling holes for and attaching the cup pull.
The End Result
The end result of this mini bathroom makeover is a built-in cabinet that works even better for my needs.
By adding this door, I now have more concealed bathroom storage. Items that were previously stored in the vanity cabinet below the bathroom sink can now go in the built-in cabinet. This allows for more storage space in the bathroom vanity. And, because I made the door flip down, I have more surface area on which to set items as they are being used.
I am truly pleased with the way the new door looks and operates. It’s amazing how such a small change in the design of bathroom storage can reap such great rewards.