Approaching an Apothecary Cabinet

I’m not sure when I got the idea in my head that it would be neat to have a HUGE, oversized medicine cabinet in the first floor bath, but it was definitely a while ago. I was looking for doors, and found a really neat pair on eBay.

They’re like 3″ thick, and MASSIVE. I skectched out an idea for a 3-door cabinet, which would involved building a center door to match. The center door would hold the mirror, and the outer two would be glass.

Here’s another shot of the doors. I did this a while ago, and can’t seem to find where on my computer I put the pictures, but I did strip the doors of their finish, and I’ll re-stain everything together.

Before the tiling, here was the hole for the cabinet. This is about when I started referring it to an apothecary cabinet, and not a medicine cabinet. Because this feels so much grander and in need of fancier words. 

First, we needed to build a box to sit inside the cabinet void. Someday we’ll have a proper workshop. For now, we have a sidewalk and neighbors who don’t seem to complain. That’s a win. But honestly, when we have a proper workshop, it’ll be in the basement, so probably full sheets of plywood will always have to be outside. Makin’ it work.

Doug is cutting stain-grade plywood into strips to use as the sides of the box.

A quick dry-fit to make sure his measurements are correct….

And then he used pocket holes to connect everything together.

The King of Clamps clamped it all up.

Making sure it’s as closer to square as we can get it!

Seriously. It’s big. And he did a great job.

Me, playing with the timer on my camera, and pretending that I had anything to do with this part of the build.

It’s going to fit. I promise. But man, it’s close. It’s very similar to carrying a Queen-Sized box spring up a set of stairs with a landing and turn on the stairs. Though not as heavy. But the principal of trying to make it fit without breaking anything was the same.

It fits!

Next, we cut and dry fit the back, which is made from beadboard.

After a dry fit, we first glued the back on with wood glue.

After which, we nailed the back on.

Ta Da!

There’s a lot of movement in the grain of the beadboard, but I’m hopeful it’ll look amazing once it’s stained.

Yikes. It’s massive. But I’m still excited.

Next, Doug built the dividers to go between the doors.

The Face Frame was next – the outside first.

Center panels went in next.

Everything was held together with pocket screws again.

As though I planned it, the step stool fits quite perfectly above the toilet.

We painted on wood glue before putting up the face frame.

Once the glue was up, we had about 8 working minutes to get the face frame on.

And we nailed the face frame onto the box.

If you’re wondering how we knew where to nail, since the face frame is wider than the edge of the box and dividers, here’s a little video to explain what we did. And by “we,” I mean how Doug’s mathematical brain figured it out. I would’ve just guessed.

It looks so nice, even before it’s finished.

Just holding up a door to see what it looks like.

I am so excited.

The center door is being built, and hopefully I’ll get the inside stained in the next week, and the doors can go on once they’re finished!





  1. I just love, love, love the tile work, the wall paper, actually everything in that bath. You two have done a fantastic job. I’m also so impressed with all the tools you have! Very professional. Thanks for the great pictures and updates.

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