Vintage medicine cabinets that enhance the storage and look of a bathroom

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Medicine cabinets have taken on a familiar shape since the 1920s, and with a slim, ergonomic profile and built-in mirror doors, they’re a crucial inclusion in most bathrooms and bathrooms. Suspended high enough for a standing adult to handle, and suspended over the obstacle of a sink, your little Tenzing Norgay is less likely to make an ascent for your Korean face masks or the pills against the candy-colored cough. However, never take anything for granted. If in doubt, lock them up.

We’ve come a long way from the wooden or steel cabinets typical of the Edwardian era, some adorned with a red cross and often locked with a key (most were loaded with an Agatha Christie arsenal of deadly treats). Until the 1950s, cosmetics were stored around a dressing table, but we don’t have time for all that polite division of labor today.

Modern cabinets may look familiar. There have been very few stylistic changes from the mirrored slab or lightly wood paneled cabinet with a ceramic knob.

Yet with built-in lighting and Wi-Fi connectivity, new smarts and details can elevate the cabinet to mainstream mirror status, offering flattering highlights for smoothing and a lively app-enabled entertainment center for sing and sway while brushing their teeth.

Marie, a tall, slender, vintage-inspired wall cabinet with an aged gold finish and three removable glass shelves, €250, grahamandgreen.co.uk

Frame materials and panels can float like a flat mirror, closely follow other bathroom colors and style, or create an unexpected decorative element. Starting with the materials, plastics can be reviled everywhere else in the house, but they really come into their own in the bathroom for a cabinet carcass and with a shock operation, do not react to the slaps of whitening sprays , humidity variations and temperature changes as will the wood.

If you recycle or choose softwoods, they must be carefully sealed and lacquered. Otherwise, opt for aluminum, sealed MDF and steel, or a combination of highly durable, rust-resistant elements. Bathroom cabinets get roughed up multiple times a day. Include adjustable hinges to set the door elements straight, or that rooster-eyed glow that drives you crazy as you sit on the throne flipping Reader’s Digest.

With the growing battery of cosmetics that are bordering on prescription drugs, these storage minions can all too easily go the way of the “men’s drawer” (with empty checkbooks, dead AA batteries, and half-bags softened peanuts).

With regular clearances, the sizing and composition of the interior is crucial.

A standard frameless or framed commercial cabinet can sit on the wall or be placed in a niche that is part of the bathroom architecture. Set back, you don’t have to stay flush with the hole, cabinets can sit slightly proud. You don’t have to fill the whole niche, that’s up to you, just avoid the lips that trap dirt on the top edge. Look around Instagram for ideas to push the cabinet or just a mirror, drive it into the wall or frame it, then fully communicate your ideas to your contractor, as there will be structural, plumbing and electricity to take into account. Lighting can come from the inner surface of the top rail and bounce off white crockery or lick around the mirror in an integrated LED.

With the help of niches or wall elements, spotlights can be placed in the upper edge and combined with more diffuse side lighting for a soft but practical wash.

Size choices for wall hung storage cabinets will largely be width choices, as reaching over 1.6m will become a scramble on your bare toes, and bathroom cabinets are rarely more than 10cm 15 cm deep. Hung directly above the basin, the widths should not exceed the size of the basin below, it really lessens their presence and looks awkward.

ENHET Mirror cabinet, anthracite, €75, ikea.ie
ENHET Mirror cabinet, anthracite, €75, ikea.ie

Go a little thinner in a single vertical rectangle, or deliberately vertical, even in a double door – no problem. Do you have a drain? Consider what you need for cubic space, then add about 15% to that estimate. Could you move some of your non-toxic beauty items from the wall rack to the drawers and presses of a floor-standing vanity supporting the sink? Boxes and drawer dividers could eliminate that 7 a.m. chaos, thrashing over your mascara or dental floss. Wall-mounted tall boys require a small footprint for a huge ballast right next to the vanity or sink.

When it comes to height, the first thing to do is stand in front of your sink (actually or model it with tape and newspaper during a remodel). With our hips against the edge of the sink, reach what could be your top shelf of a future cabinet on flat feet, effortlessly. Note the measurements from the ground or from the top of an existing pond.

Anything above this staff is “dead” without a low step. Then it comes down to how low can we go? We need a comfortable clearance above the sink, to provide useful reflection, and to include a gooseneck or wall mounted faucet, and decorative/protective tiling. Taking the mirror behind the faucet, you will have to lose this storage or fit a slim sliding store.

Where you have plenty of space with optionally two sinks, double sinks (two doors) or two separate sinks for you and your partner to keep your bath/beauty/medical arsenal dedicated and in whatever order you prefer. These could be banked on either side of a large heated mirror plate without fogging. In standard cabinets, single, double and triple cabinets offer solid mirrors, but mirrors with seams. Stand in front of your prospect on the showroom floor and make sure they are right for you. Also note whether this double or triple is an open cabinet behind all doors, or two or three boxes screwed together with vertical dividers. These are useful for stabilizing tall bottles, and with a bit of cabinetry, the piece will be structurally stronger. Framed cabinets with sliding doors? Ideal for small bathrooms and tricky bathrooms to get rid of a swing that takes over the space.

Traditional framed cabinets mean there are no marks on the glass.  This model, from an extensive range at Wayfair, is beautifully balanced at the basin with the addition of two vertical art deco lights;  from €50, wayfair.ie.
Traditional framed cabinets mean there are no marks on the glass. This model, from an extensive range at Wayfair, is beautifully balanced at the basin with the addition of two vertical art deco lights; from €50, wayfair.ie.

Frameless mirrored cabinets in niches or wall mounted are classics that swell space and light, and they’re so easy to live with. In a larger arrangement, they can gobble up all the detritus that can destroy the final finish of the best bathroom or bathroom. The only thing that has changed since the days of Hercule Poirot are the once clumsy hinges that slide on the backs of the doors – sleek and contemporary. Intensifying the character, simply add open storage with lighting and beveled edges to the glass.

If the glass is edge-to-edge rather than framed, your fingers will inevitably leave imprints every time you use a pulling or pushing action. Add interior mirrors to see you from the side. Peek-a-boo cabinets hide shelves behind a mirror – no hinged door needed. Do not bend to matching base and wall cabinets. It is not given. Arches are trending all over the home for 2023, so if you’re in the mood for a little art deco flash, try a frameless upright mirror with a sleek curvaceous top placed atop a rectangular storage cupboard. Arched recesses for your cabinets and mirrors? The builder will see it as a pain or a challenge (probably a bit of both).

If you can do without the mirror or want a place dedicated to serious pharmaceuticals, check out the latest reed glass craze – uniquely blinding while providing a sturdy glass door. Favorite — the haze wall cabinet for Ferm Living — adult class and elegant at €339 (also available in a showcase on legs), finnishdesignshop.comor the cheap metal and glass cabinet from Sklum, at only €109.95, sklum.com.

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