Master Bath After (1)

Don’t Just Buy It, DIY It


The past few weeks and months (depending on where you are) have become a brand-new world of social distancing where we’re all hunkering down in our homes. I have two projects you can do while hiding out from COVID-19. Both tasks are pretty simple and won’t take long to do. After all, you have free time on your hands right now…right? So, if you get tired of looking at the same walls in one of your rooms or you’re in the mood to do a DIY project here’s a couple of projects.

Today, I’m showing you a room I haven’t shared. Three months ago I shared details of our master bedroom (if you missed it, scroll down to “Sweet Dreams” posted on January 29, 2020—it’s a wonderful room)! I thought it would be fun to take you on a tour of our ensuite. Ensuite, you might ask? Well, all homes have a main bathroom, and then most will feature a bathroom attached to the master bathroom. While I refer to our ensuite in this blog, keep in mind that these two ideas are applicable to any bathroom.

While my talented late son, Andy was painting our home, my husband approached me. “I haven’t said anything about the colors you’ve chosen to paint our house,” Paul said. “Well no, why would you?” I replied. I mean, although not all the rooms were painted the same color, the different colors flowed seamlessly. So no, why would my husband say anything. Our house was originally a “ho-hum house.” It had little color and was basically just a big “vanilla box.” I had grand plans to make the house a special getaway for my husband and me—a relaxing paradise away from everyday hustle and bustle where we could entertain and host guests. The color palette, which I had chosen up until that very moment, was inspired by nature. Our home was surrounded by breathtaking views of mature landscape of many shrubs and tropical trees.

Before After

“Well, I was wondering if you could paint one room with Ohio State colors.”

“Wait, what? Are you kidding me? Our entire house was being designed around the tropical palm tree theme. And you want a room painted with Ohio State Buckeyes team colors: scarlet, gray, black and white?”

“Yeah.” That’s what Paul wanted.

I shook my head. I remained solemn. And, Paul added, “I know you’re not a football fan, but we are both from Ohio.” He had a point. But in all seriousness, there was no reason why I couldn’t give my full-blown-Ohio-State-fan a room of his own. And I didn’t have to break the bank to give my hubby the look he wanted. A water closet is one of those rooms that serve a purpose. Because of that, it sometimes doesn’t get the love it serves. Paul’s now little sanctuary includes art, a wall decal of the Ohio State logo, and a throne.

However, I knew our ensuite did not have the “wow” factor I would have wanted. For the longest time we lived with a dinky amount of storage in this bathroom. I always knew the cabinetry that lined up along one wall lacked storage. There were no enclosed drawers to keep my hair tools, my makeup, and most of my toiletries. But, the biggest detail that gnawed at me was lack of storage for our really small items, specifically our prescriptions, vitamins and OTC medicines. Our master bath lacked medicine cabinets that you traditional see on the wall at both ends of the double sinks. Eventually I felt compelled to do something about this issue.

This was my opportunity to use my imagination. I didn’t want to make any change to the layout or cutout holes in the drywall. Being a savvy DIY’er, I wanted to utilize space in the easiest way possible, so I chose to make flush-mounted medicine cabinets.

Let’s take a look at how I whipped something up to organize our small bathroom items. The idea came to me because my husband and I have had year-round guests. I’ve often helped them carry various luggage pieces into our home. As you know, suitcases come in all shapes and sizes. This inspired me! It occurred to me how a well-traveled flair from vintage suitcases might make for medicine cabinets. After all, we all know most traditional medicine cabinets are absolutely boring. Am I right?

So, I went hunting for perfect suitcases that I felt would fit the bill. I lucked out when I snagged these two handmade medium-sized wooden suitcases online. Unlike purchasing used, beat up vintage luggage pieces, these did not need to be cleaned up or lined on the inside. If you are looking to work some DIY magic of your own on truly vintage suitcases, you may need to line the suitcase with fabric, scrapbook paper, magazine clippings or whatever your heart desires. The possibilities are endless.

Next, I took a look at my suitcases to decide how many shelves I would be able to fit. I did this by taking some RX bottles that I knew we would want to store and setting the small bottles inside to see how many shelves would fit. In our case, I ended up with one shelf in each cabinet. I wanted to make the RX bottles were easy to see and access. I didn’t want them crowded together. I wanted to be able to see the labels. I cut a piece of wood to the right size, stained it to match the suitcase interior, and installed it without a hitch. You could easily use some scrap lumber, barn board, MDF, particle board, or whatever you’ve got.

Afterwards I used a stud finder to locate the studs where I wanted to mount the cabinets. I knew the best way to make sure the cabinets were straight was to use a level. Next I pre-drilled some holes in the back of the suitcases to prevent splintering or fracturing. I used drywall anchors and pre-drilled a couple of holes in line with the studs. Then I screwed in our “medicine cabinets.” I used L-brackets to secure the shelves inside the suitcases.

This turned out to be one of my favorite home projects that I’ve done. Aside from being unique, the suitcases also saved me some money (I bought both suitcases for only $25). It makes me smile whenever I use mine.

Stay safe and well and have a good week.


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