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Old 01-24-2012, 09:28 PM   #1
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Hi all. We are moving into an apartment that is owned by friends and in serious need of cleanup, fixup, etc. One issue is the medicine cabinet, which i ripped out as it was older than dirt, disgusting, cracked and all together nasty.

The problem is, nothing out there fits the size of the opening. The wall opening is 24" H x 20.5" W. This seems to be an outdated, non-standard size. Lowes and Home Depot have nothing close to what I need.

We only have $150 to work with on this. My wife says just buy a mirror and cover it up. But I for one would like to make use of the space. We cannot expand it (no permission and too difficult). Any recommendations? Were I not carpentry deficient I'd build something.

Anyway, that's my story. Don't even get me started on the front door or the windows.

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Old 01-24-2012, 09:39 PM   #2
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


I would get a cabinet you like. If you need to enlarge the opening do so. Or shrink it if you have to do so. This is an inexpensive mini-framing and drywall patch job at worst. You will probably just need the cabinet, some 2x4 blocking material if you cannot move what is there, a minor amount of drywall, drywall tape and mud. Drywall screws, etc. Just make sure there are not wires for a vanity light or something hiding in the wall near the cabinet opening.

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Old 01-24-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Does the 20.5 width go stud to stud, or is it justa hole in the drywall. If it's the width between the studs, I'd be tempted to build or have built, a box to fit. That'd be a nice big medicine cabinet. If there are horizontal 2x4s visible at the top and bottom, making the hole narrower, to take a standard 14.5" cabinet would be easy. No horizontals make it a little tougher, but not much. In fact, it'd be easy with a few metal connectors. We can walk you through it.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:15 AM   #4
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Your height is standard. Get a regular 16" wide cabinet, and slap a mirror on either side to cover the holes. Win-win.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:44 AM   #5
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Here's what I did to replace our non-standard cabinet.

I took four pieces of 1x4 and built a box with nails. Then I nailed a piece of plywood on the back. I put that into the opening, along with some trim, and put a mirror on it (with hinges) to cover it.
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:05 PM   #6
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Thanks for the help. One issue is that the medicine cabinet was installed partially where there was tile. So that tile was chipped away. Now if I buy one that is less in width, those chipped away tiles will be visible. Were this not an issue, I'd buy the 16" model and be done with it.

I'm really perturbed by this. There seems to be no way out.

I'll snap a pic tonight and post it.
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:21 PM   #7
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Build your own. Mine still needs a door but as previously posted put a mirror or glass on hinges. It's made of 1/2" ply on the sides, 1/4" ply back, and standard trim you find in the trim section, stained with poly. Drilled holes for adjustable glass shelves
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:24 PM   #8
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Very nice. I have no power tools and with the til being an issue, there would be complications. I'm also limited by the fact that this is not my place. The owner would have been fine with my keeping it as is, but it looked like someone caked feces all over the cabinet that was in there. We wanted it GONE.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Dwillems,
That cabinet looks great. But, do you live on a space ship?
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:07 AM   #10
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbefishing
Dwillems,
That cabinet looks great. But, do you live on a space ship?
I don't get it? If you're talking about the sideways photo I'm sorry, my phone does that and I don't know how to fix it lol. If you mean the silver thing... You need a talk with my wife lol, I just fix stuff I don't decorate
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:21 AM   #11
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


I was talking about the contents defying gravity. Around here, that stuff would fall right out.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:10 AM   #12
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


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Originally Posted by ratherbefishing
I was talking about the contents defying gravity. Around here, that stuff would fall right out.
Aaahaha. Yea sorry about the sideways pic. Lol. I'll see if theres a way to fix the orientation on my phone
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:07 PM   #13
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Finding a recessed medicine cabinet replacement: Not easy


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Originally Posted by mso1518 View Post
Thanks for the help. One issue is that the medicine cabinet was installed partially where there was tile. So that tile was chipped away.
Just make a little frame, like in the photo by Dwillems. Mine actually has a big frame to cover the mis-matched paint where the old flourescent lights were, too.

You don't really need power tools to make something functional. Just buy straight boards and cut them square to length. You could even use the miter box at HOME Depot do do that. If it was my house I'd make the back from plywood, but painted cardboard could work. I've seen furniture for sale made similarly.

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