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medicine cabinet @ Home Depot, architect on demand, advice without strings

The other day I went to the Home Depot to DIY a medicine cabinet. After seeing an elegant solution to a sliding mirror medicine cabinet in a magazine, I set out to engineer my own version.

I chose to do it by only using parts and pieces from The Home Depot. Upon making a sketch, and putting together a preliminary list, I drove to my local store.


medicine cabinet @ Home Depot, architect on demand, advice without strings

Initial sketch


Once at The Home Depot, I met Jason, an associate who was willing to help out with my medicine cabinet DIY project — not just in his own isle, but to walk around with me. We went though my list and noted the appropriate departments next to the items need. We had a plan.

  1. Rollers isle 12
  2. Track isle 12
  3. Mirror isle 22
  4. Solid wood isle 14-15
  5. Wood Stain isle 5
  6. Glass shelves isle 30
  7. Wall anchors isle 12
  8. Wood glue isle 6

I liked Jason right away. His patience and confidence put me at ease. We started with the glass shelf inserts for the inside of the medicine cabinet. On the way, Jason pointed out the wood glue. Next, we picked out the mirror without bevel. As we were moving right along, I was recording everything by writing down The Home Depot skew numbers and dimensions.

Real DIY challenge was the medicine cabinet mirror track

I envisioned a contraption with tiny concealed wheels placed at the top and bottom. We had to find the appropriate item choosing out of sliding closet door and patio door hardware. Since the track was going to be visible, it had to fit within my aesthetic.

Jason decided to ask for help. He enlisted Reed, who seemed extremely knowledgeable. He knew his department’s inventory like the back of his hand. Not only that, he seemed very comfortable with envisioning various solutions to my DIY design problem. He was much faster than me! He talked about leveling considerations, ability to adjust during the medicine cabinet installation, and long-term application with wear and tear.

Reed showed us quite a few options. Jason was still by my side, “expanding knowledge,” as he put it. Raw steel angle or bar could work. But I was also rethinking the design. It would make sense to streamline the medicine cabinet mirror rail instead of thinking of it as a prominent feature. OK. I got enough information to work with. We thanked Reed and went to The Home Depot lumber department.

Where we met Rez! Jason, as my ambassador, explained my medicine cabinet DIY project to Rez who recommended using red oak. He was carrying a 2×4 at the time we stopped him. As soon as he finished with whatever he was doing, he took us to the appropriate stand. Besides red oak, I liked birch and maple. Rez explained the dimensioning as well.

The Home Depot experience was truly inspiring

It was now time to go back to the glues and finishing compounds — Jason’s element! He is an expert at finishing wood. He showed me the sandpaper options, stains, and polyurethane. He also instructed me on how to apply them. I was in DIY heaven!

medicine cabinet @ Home Depot, architect on demand, advice without strings

The Home Depot amazing sales associates

A customer with a dog on a leash who was waiting to ask Jason a question got involved in our discussion. He offered his opinion on how to notch the wood. Since they don’t mill at the store, he said that The Home Depot sells a special tool with a special bit to take care of that.

I asked if I could snap his picture. He wondered if I would send it to my daughter. Does he think I am that old? Maybe it was time to leave. The seeds of the design solution were taking hold of my imagination. Maybe it was time to go back to the drawing board. Whatever else I might’ve needed could be found online.

medicine cabinet @ Home Depot, architect on demand, advice without strings

Revised sketch


  • November 30, 2015

    Thank you for this post, Alla. I love DIY’s that look nothing like DIY’s.

    • Alla DIY Ally
      December 1, 2015

      Nelli, I know what you mean! There is more to come!

  • November 30, 2015

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Alla DIY Ally
      December 1, 2015

      My pleasure! I have a tendency to spread the word when I like something.

  • December 1, 2015

    Nice. Thank you.

  • December 1, 2015

    This is a fantastic story of design thinking and customer service. I’m looking forward to the next installation and seeing the final design. I especially liked your notations on the aisle numbers for all the components.
    I had a great customer service experience in the gardening section at the Long Beach Home Depot. Every problem I expressed was met with a solution and I walked out with a compromise product that was the best for my needs. Plus advice on how to use it throughout the year. The Home Depot people are great guys!

    • Alla DIY Ally
      December 1, 2015

      I totally agree with you, Mary! Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. Best, alla

  • December 1, 2015

    I love new takes on medicine cabinets, and wonder what yours would look like when you are done! Thanks.

  • December 4, 2015

    Inspired! What a great post. I too cannot wait to see the final product. Also, very funny joke at the end there!

    • Alla DIY Ally
      December 4, 2015

      Mia, thank you very much for reading all the way through! I should’ve said something to the guy. Are you on your way back from Vienna? XO

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