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Job Site Diaries

Job Site Diaries

Hidden Giant Medicine Cabinet

comments (10) July 23rd, 2013 in Blogs
Matt Risinger Matt Risinger, Blogger

Video Length: 1:24
Produced by: Matt Risinger

My finish carpenters love working on hidden doors and this medicine cabinet detail from Architect Scott Ginder with Dick Clark & Associates was a ton of fun to build.  He wanted these white oak framed mirrors to be flush with the tiled wall and not appear to be a medicine cabinet.  

The white oak frames on these med cabinets are flush to the wall and you can't tell there is space behind.

Here's a few shots from under construction:

The poor plumbers had a tough time getting all the pipes for wall mounted faucets in limited space with these deep med cabs.
You can see the wires for the lights and elecric outlets inside these cavities.
All completed and ready for the mirrors to be glued on.


 I don't have a good photo of these on the job but the Blum 155 degree hinges needed to have a longer throw than a standard euro hinge.  

Blum 155 degree Protrusion Hinges we used.


His & Hers Giant Medicine cabinets!


Matt Risinger - Risinger Homes in Austin, TX

Risinger Homes is a custom builder and whole house remodeling contractor that specializes in Architect driven and fine craftsmanship work. We utilize an in-house carpentry staff and the latest building science research to build dramatically more efficient, healthy and durable homes.
Be sure to check out my video blog on YouTube. 

posted in: Blogs, architecture, finish carpentry, cabinets, medicine cabinet

Comments (10)

alexpaul alexpaul writes: click here
Posted: 12:54 am on February 25th

Matt Risinger Matt Risinger writes: @Dreamcatcher and HWG: Thanks guys! Appreciate your comments, and agreed that the detail work and interesting/different designs make the job fun.

Good comments guys about the mirrors being deep and it being nice to have a secondary fixed mirror. If you are designing one of these I think those are valid comments.
Best, Matt Risinger
Posted: 10:39 am on July 30th

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: HWG kinda beat me to it.... this isn't 'Spec Home Building' this is FINE homebuilding.

While true that Matt could have just ran over to the Home Depot and grabbed up a China-Crafted three paned medicine cabinet like everyone else does these days, the idea of seeing three or even two split panes of mirror would not have near the same effect as seeing the one seemingly fixed framed mirror.

That's one of my peeves against many carpenters these days... if a detail differs from the way they've done it a hundred times before then they don't like it; Often to the point of trying to redesign it themselves or even completely skip the detail just because they didn't understand it.

Folks, listen to Matt... Hire a good architect and a good carpenter.

Posted: 6:29 am on July 30th

HWG HWG writes: While the comments about making three doors instead of two, etc. are very valid I think you are missing the point that the homeowners wanted these to be hidden cabinets that appeared to just be wall mounted mirrors.
Posted: 1:35 pm on July 29th

BGodfrey BGodfrey writes: Good article. I have actually been thinking about doing the same thing in my own bathroom. This and the comments will be very helpful.

As far as the wide swinging doors are concerned, you step back every time you open a door that swings towards you. Most people do that without a thought and will quickly adapt to doing it with these mirrors, too. And you are already standing back because of the counter so you don't really have to step back that much farther. In fact you'll probably just take a half step to the side and not go back at all. (I used to be a manufacturing engineer, so time and motion studies are in my background.)

I think the bigger issue is that you have to move the mirror every time you open the cabinet. That would not be a problem for me, but might get annoying for someone who keeps their make-up behind the mirror. That could lead to a lot of opening and closing. We currently have a gigantic mirror behind both sinks and one of those small, metal, mirrored built-in medicine cabinets on the side walls at each end of the counter. The operative word is "small". The older you get, the larger a medicine cabinet you need!
Posted: 12:34 pm on July 29th

brownman brownman writes: Having myself built several of these I completely concur with the previous comments on using multiple doors so the user doesn't have to step back when opening. Another consideration when making is the materials used need to be durable against the caustic elements in shaving cream and toothpaste. I've found plastic laminate to be the least expensive to meet this need. Painted or lacquered frames and mirror backs will get splattered and the finished ruined over time.
Posted: 10:19 am on July 29th

ripstorm ripstorm writes: I agree on the hinges. I did a very similar single cabinet a couple of years ago, big door and mirror, and used a stainless steel piano hinge. Worked great. I really don't like those European/Blum hinges - sure they're adjustable, but that's the problem, they always seem to need adjustment.
Posted: 9:36 am on July 29th

carver carver writes: Nice cabinets but while the cabinet is flush the doors are not. It is a nice clean appearance even though the doors do intrude into the room when opened. Two doors per cabinet would have been better
Posted: 9:19 am on July 29th

Gampy1 Gampy1 writes: Nicely done but not very practical in my view. Opening these mirrored doors means the operator would have to take a step back to avoid being hit by their leading edge.
A three door mirror system over each sink would provide just as much storage plus offer the lady of the home, presuming there is one, great views for fixing her hair, etc.
Posted: 8:41 am on July 29th

TheTimberTailor TheTimberTailor writes: Matt,
I'm amazed that just 3 hinges on each mirror/door are adequate considering the weight of mirror glass and oak frame. Those must be pretty beefy hinges!
Nice work in providing the architect what he designed.

Posted: 9:57 am on July 25th

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