Creating a Niche From an Old Medicine Cabinet

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Have an old tract house originally erected in the 70s or 80s? You know, the ones with the builder’s grade mirrors, tubs, and tiles in the bathroom? What dates the bath worse than all that stuff?

Those blasted old medicine cabinets!

I’m talking about the old wall cabinets with the mirrored doors behind which we traditionally kept our foot cream and Mercurochrome. Yeah, remember that stuff? Everybody has had one of those medicine cabinets at some point in their life.

But medicine cabinets décor-wise have gone by the way of glass grapes and macramé owl wall hangings. (Although I hear some of that is coming back.) Why, you can’t even find decent medicine cabinets at the home improvement store anymore! Sure, you can order them, but you just can’t go buy one the size you need right off the shelf.

When we ripped out our old master bath, we took out the 16″ wide, very outdated medicine cabinet.  This was one of those medicine cabinets that fit into that huge hole notched into the drywall between the wall studs. Believe me, when I was looking to update, I looked everywhere for a medicine cabinet that would both suit the new bath décor and fit the wall space.

No dice.

That left us with one of two options: 1) patch the open hole back up with drywall, or 2) find something new and updated to do to utilize the space.

When we ripped out our shower, I thought–for a split second–that I would put in a new tiled shower. Ultimately, I wised up and went with a shower insert from Menards which is acrylic but looks very much like real tile. One of the things I liked about a true tiled shower was the fact that shower niches (the tile guys pronounce it “nich,” but I pronounce it the French way–“neesh”) are a growing and very attractive trend.

A niche is simply a very elegant hole in the wall with a shelf upon which you put all your toiletries– things like shampoo, conditioner, and soap. I came up with the idea of just repurposing that big gaping hole in the wall that used to be a medicine cabinet and making a niche above the sink.

My hubby cut some drywall to fit flush around the inside studs and nailed it in place. No drywall patch required. Then I found some peel and stick tiles: a flat slate sticky tile from Home Depot and a little of the Bengal natural stone tile I had leftover from doing the backsplash. I had hubby cut a shelf to fit out of nice pine, and I lined the inside of the cubby with tiles, picking out some of the protruding natural stone to stick out enough to provide support for the shelf.

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Niche without shelf (notice thin layer of Bengal stone sticking out to function as shelf support)

The nice thing about making a niche is that you can coordinate the tiles to match your décor. In my case, I cut a frame and painted it to match the mirror we had already bought for the vanity.

Everything sort of came together in the end. I found a relatively inexpensive solution to update my décor and repurpose an otherwise useless gaping hole in my bathroom wall.

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Problem solved!

Thanks for visiting,

Lois