Unfinished built-in shelves
In a small bathroom space is at a premium. Recently I replaced a vanity and counter-top that ran the length of a bath with a European-style, shallow-profile vanity. At that time, a new light fixture and a re-framed medicine chest were added.
While those improvements were needed, the reduction in counter and under-sink storage space were a problem. So, built-in shelves were next.
Finding the studs was the first step. A standard stud-finder worked like a charm and from there I could measure out the 16″ centers and start taking out the drywall within the selected space. (interior space between studs is normally 14.5″ unless you have an unpredictable old home or a nutty contractor built the wall)
Once the drywall was punched out using a flat-head screwdriver and a hammer (most efficient way I have found), a couple shelves of 3/4″ plywood were cut and inserted. Friction plus some wood glue made for a good tight and permanent fit.
Built-in shelves, close-up
I used some left-over 4 x4 stone tile ($5/sq ft) for the main part of the shelf tops and some smaller squared sheets ($10/sq ft) for shelf accents and the back of the shelves. After tan grout is worked into the cracks the shelf under sides and frame will be completed with poplar stained to match the mirror frame.
In the process of updating a bathroom trapped in the 70″s, I had to make a decision about the medicine chest. To replace or redo. The chest itself had nothing wrong with it except a worn, out-of-date frame around the mirror.
Rather than contribute to the volume of junk in the local landfill, I opted for replacing the frame. I took the chest out of the wall and disassembled the mirror from the metal box. It was held there by about two dozen screws.
The metal box needed a bit of light sanding and a quick spray paint job. The mirror was in perfect shape and really was a very nice piece of electroplated glass. Probably cannot buy one this nice any more.
The replacement frame was made with mitered corners from standard poplar purchased at Lowes. I bought a European-style narrow profile vanity from the local box store. It had what the manufacturer called a Cherry finish. Trying to match that color required testing several different stains on scraps of the poplar. The final choice was one by Cabot called Red Hickory. I put one coat of the stain on followed by one coat of satin polyurethane. A light pass with fine steel wool followed by another coat of finish was all it needed to match the finish of the vanity.
Total cost of the project: $20. Compare that to at least $100 for a new medicine chest. Love it.