I was asked to assist in a home that needed a “mini” flip. There were a few things that needed to be changed and repaired in the home.
The medicine cabinet that had been previously installed had large holes in the bottom of it, shelving that was inadequate due to warping, and broken mirrors. The mirrors had also lost their silvering on the back and looked terrible.
I had a challenge in a few areas with this installation because I didn’t have my usual go-to tools available and needed to replace a large medicine cabinet in a short period of time (hence, no waiting for one to be delivered and no desire for a large amount of money to be spent). Also, the cabinet being replaced had lights attached to it and no electrical box to hook up another light fixture – something that had to be installed in order to attach a separate light fixture.
The goal was to attempt to replace the cabinet and light fixture with one like it. The cabinet was 48″ wide, and the local hardware store only had one cabinet in stock that would replace the existing cabinet. The problem? There was no light fixture attached, and it was a cabinet that was normally placed outside of a wall, not inside. With the design of this particular bathroom, an outside cabinet placement would have required installing drywall, and the cabinet would have run into a pedestal sink placed close to it. Time being of the essence led to trying to find a close match to what was originally installed.
I turned the power off to the location in order to remove the cabinet since the light fixture was installed into it. The previous installer had glued the cabinet and lighting in relatively well, so I had to use caution with the breakage of glass and held a towel over it as I gently pried away caulking. I paid attention to where the cabinet was installed and noted that the area was relatively empty except a pipe that was in the way of the install. I capped off the electrical wires and proceeded with the install.
One of the first challenges of the cabinet itself was a pipe that was in the way. The previous cabinet installed had been cut to fit the pipe. I removed the mirrors to work on the cabinet and gently laid them down with towels between them. Using a miter box with a saw, I cut the corner of the cabinet the same way the previous cabinet had been cut to avoid the pipe. I then cut the small corner piece backing off a bit and fit it back into the corner with glue and permitted it to dry. This left enough room for the pipe to exist while keeping the integrity of the cabinet. I had to saw all of this without power tools, and I think I did a decent job.
I used a cover already made from the other cabinet to cover the pipe area, painted it white, and caulked it in with white caulking to match the cabinet after the install was complete. If you look at the next photo on the left hand side, you can see the pipe cover.
When installing, I used two screws on each side to screw the cabinet into studs and used a level and shims to make sure the cabinet was in level prior to screwing it into the studs.
I had to place a light fixture relatively close to the cabinet, and I knew with the one I’d use to replace it that there would be gaps on the edges. I didn’t have a tile cutter or replacement tile for where gaps may be showing. A gap was going to exist between the top of the medicine cabinet and light fixture that would be covered by the mirrors being closed, but I bought six feet of wood with a large depth than the cabinet, and I cut the wood to fit to the top of the cabinet. I found some semi gloss white paint in the storage area, and painted it white.
I cut wood and glued it in with construction adhesive on the sides of where the light was going to exist so that I could put some caulking over it due to not having tile or paint to match the bathroom. I also cut two pieces of wood and used construction adhesive to create a place to put two screws to hold the light fixture up on the wall. After I let it dry overnight, the adhesion was spectacular.
I installed the lighting using a level. I caulked around the cabinet and used a caulking tool to smooth it out. I used a color similar to the tiles. Then, I “neatened” it up with a razor blade after it dried overnight. The end result looked very close to the original cabinet installation.
The cost was less than half the price of what it would have cost to order an exact replica of the original cabinet. It took great measuring skills to make sure the lighting didn’t butt into the top of the cabinet.