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Inset medicine cabinet an option?

We're currently planning a "lite" remodel of the master bathroom. This will include new paint, lighting, fixtures, vanity top, cabinet refacing and either a.) 2 inset medicine cabinets or b.) 1 small storage cabinet (center mounted on vanity top between the sinks) with 2 normal/framed mirrors on the wall. I really like the idea of inset medicine cabinets; however, this evening after locating the studs in the wall, I think realized an issue that would prevent installing them. On the opposite side of the wall they would be installed in, there is a built-in desk with built in overhead cabinets. So I believe the cabinets are mounted in the same studs that I would need to cut sections from to install the medicine cabinets. :( Has anyone else run into an issue like this? Is this a show stopper or is there a potential workaround here?

A. Spruce
Re: Inset medicine cabinet an option?

My suspicion is that your built in desk and cabinets will all be surface mounted on the wall. A standard wall cavity is 3-1/2" deep and give or take 14" wide, it is doubtful that any usable space would be had by trying to utilize the wall cavity for the desk. The way that "built in" furniture is generally done is to build niches along the wall and install normal cabinetry into the niches, giving the look of built in. An easy way to find out is to either use a stud finder (radio/electronic type, not magnetic ) or take a small nail and drive it into the drywall from the bathroom side where you'll be hanging the mirrors or cabinet. What you're doing is trying to locate the studs in the wall, and if the nail penetrates the drywall without hitting something hard, then it's likely an open stud bay. If you hit something hard then it's likely a stud.

One word of caution is that there is probably electrical and possibly plumbing in the wall/cavities where you wish to install the medicine cabinets. Depending on the size of the cabinet, you can probably work around wiring, plumbing obstacles would be a problem.

Re: Inset medicine cabinet an option?

Thanks for the reply - yes, the desk and cabinets are surface mounted on the opposite side of the wall, and they are surface mounted by being anchored into the same studs that would need to be cut in order for inset medicine cabinets to be installed on the bathroom side. I'm on the second floor, so I don't believe there would be any plumbing would be running above the sinks in the wall, but I know there is electrical in the wall.

I think I've concluded that inset cabinets just aren't going to be an option now without major modification to the desk/cabinets on the opposite side (e.g. I could convert the wall hung cabinets to a hutch attached to the desk, which would free up the wall studs so sections could be removed - major work though!). I think my options are now a.) a pair of surface mounted medicine cabinets or b.) a small cabinet surface mounted on vanity top between sinks (not sure if there is a specific term to describe that type of cabinet? Here is an example of what I'm trying to describe: http://www.prosserwoodshop.com/cabinets/bath/images/11-25-05_035-md.jpg. I like option b), just not quite sure how to affix the cabinet to the countertop or if it should be fastened instead to the wall.

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