Medicine Cabinet Restoration

Now that we are essentially done with the 2nd floor (a post on the completed master bedroom will come soon), it’s time to turn our attention back to actual rehab work.  One of the pleasant aspects of working on the 2nd floor was that much of it was working from nothing, instead of undoing old work and then making it look nice.  Rehab work, without question, is more difficult.  That’s why many people, sadly, just gut an old house and start over.  We continue to be so thankful that no one ever did that to our house.

The original bathroom contained a clawfoot tub and built-in medicine cabinet that we knew we would someday re-use in the relocated downstairs bathroom.



The downstairs bathroom was one of the few spaces that we had to alter, and in this case, completely relocate.  This space was claimed when we expanded the kitchen, which means it contained walls that had to be knocked down.  When I was doing that, one thing I was careful to remove in tact was the medicine cabinet.

The built-in medicine cabinet appears (to my admittedly untrained eye) to be original to the house.


Inside it contained many razors, a handy chart for “Emergency Counterdoses”, and a ton of dirt and grime.



I was proud of myself for removing it without damage and even more proud of the fact that I managed to keep the various trim pieces together for the past couple years without losing them!


When we did the original framing for the relocation of the downstairs bathroom, we included space for the medicine cabinet above the toilet.  That space has been sitting empty, but now it finally made sense to dig out the medicine cabinet and bring it back to life.  I had thought all along that we would just clean it up a little, paint it white, and then put it in the wall.  But after a little scraping, we saw that the wood underneath the paint looked great and seemed to be the same age and type as the rest of the woodwork in our house.  So we began the painstaking process of removing several layers of paint from all the nooks and crannies.


The weekend Amy and I did this was an unseasonable warm winter day (that felt like spring), which meant we could work on the back porch while Lucy played in the yard and the chickens free-ranged.  It was refreshing to get back outside!


I was impressed with the structural integrity of the cabinet.  I didn’t have to do anything to it – no repairs, no glue,  …nothing.

We did end up deciding to paint the inside of the cabinet instead of trying to strip it. Mostly because it would have been so awkward to work in that space… and because we were getting tired.

Here it is, in it’s new resting place.



Amy I have no problem tackling relatively big jobs related to home rehab. You know, things like knocking down walls, sanding floors, repairing plaster, and completing carpentry projects.  But you know what we really struggle with?  What slows us down to a snail’s pace every time?  What threatens to derail our blissful marriage?

Deciding and agreeing on paint colors, light fixtures, curtains, and rugs.

Seriously.  Those four things stump us every time.  I think most people would dislike the dirty work, but love the finishing touches.  Not us.  It’s painful.  We agonize over making those final decisions and there always so MANY decisions to make.


Anyway, that explains the lack of blog posts for the past few months.  It’s not that we haven’t been doing anything.  We have, but we just can’t seem to completely FINISH things.  The master bedroom is done, but still not decorated.  The downstairs bathroom has been painted, plumbing completed, and is now just awaiting some final decisions on lighting and other details.  Work has begun on the dining room, including completely refinishing all the woodwork.  And…  we have actually begun the process of renovating the kitchen!  Cabinets are ordered, finishing touches are being planned, big things are happening!






8 Comments Add yours

  1. Adam says:

    “even more proud of the fact that I managed to keep the various trim pieces together for the past couple years without losing them!” True story!

    Fantastic little medicine cabinet, turned out beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terry Riley says:

    Good job on the medicine cabinet. The trim on the bottom is “egg and dart”. Paint everything white. See no decision to make.


  3. Candice says:

    Great job! I can’t wait to see your kitchen progress.


  4. Cheryl says:

    The medicine cabinet looks stunning.


  5. Stripping and staining is meticulous and slow, beautiful job! I love to see original pieces brought back to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TAMMI L DUIS says:

    That is simply gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seth Hoffman says:

    Wow, that looks great, and fantastic job stripping the paint! I know from experience how tedious it can be.

    It looks to be quarter-sawn oak. Makes you wonder why someone would paint over such beautiful wood, but people still do it today :-/

    Liked by 1 person

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