The Hidden Bathroom Doors Are Installed, but there’s a Problem

Hi Everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you’re having a beautiful day.

Today, we will review the recent renovation developments in more detail, which we began looking at last Thursday.


This has been the most productive renovation week in months.


One of the projects that finally got underway was the hidden bathroom doors.

The vanity area is perfect.


Soss hidden door hinges - 204cus26d

Brendan figured out which hinges we needed. Soss makes them, which are surprisingly small at 2-3/8″. However, these hidden bathroom doors are also small. (You can find the hinges here)


Let’s take a closer look.


The first door went in on Thursday.


first hidden door niche

Yesterday, they did the other door and made the boxes for the hidden doors by the toilet.
Let’s look at the first hidden bathroom doors flanking the sink vanity.


door pops open

After being gently pushed, the door pops open. Pushing it activates the magnet catch near the top of each door.

Soss hidden door hinge
Le Hidden Soss Hinge in action.


hidden cabinet door shower side 8 inches deep

It really IS hidden! Here you can see the magnet catch inside the cabinet.

This is the right side cabinet and it’s nearly 8″ deep so that it will be very practical for everyday items like makeup. I will have a couple of glass shelves inside. And, of course, we’ll vacuum out the sawdust and paint it. :]


Can you mirror the back of it?


That’s a great idea. ;] I’ll talk to the glass guy when he comes by.


hidden door open - medicine cabinet

The opposite side is a good 3″ deep, a standard medicine cabinet depth. Yes, there’s outlet for my electric toothbrush.


I'm so pleased with my new hidden doors, newly built

This was not a big deal. I have no idea why it took so long to finish.


However, the other side of this small room is another story.


This area has always been a “problem child.” The architect didn’t know what to do with it either. We’d know exactly what to do if we were doing it all over again. While hidden doors are becoming increasingly popular, they are far from mainstream. One of my goals with this project was to do several of these less common innovations and then report back.


new cabinet openings waiting for their new hidden panel doors

Mid-day, I came down as the guys returned from their lunch break. I was so tickled to see the boxes for the new cabinets that I didn’t focus on the problem. We decided several weeks ago that there needed to be three cabinets to mirror the panels flanking the vanity. That makes sense. Only in this case, all of the panels have hidden doors.


Is this the most practical solution?


Well, this isn’t a bathroom for a family of five. It’s just me for now; the five little cabinets have ample storage for my essentials and even some non-essentials.

Plus, my primary and linen closets are just outside the bathroom. It’s not a problem to walk a few steps. Hell, I’ve been in homes where they have to walk further than that just to get from the toilet to the shower.


The openings are awkward.


They are a hair over nine inches wide for the first four or so inches, but then become 13″ wide. The cabinet is also 25″ deep. That means it’s ideal for a narrow pull-out storage to contain things. I found the perfect one on Wayfair.

I’m not crazy about the four-inch gap on the left. It’s there because I had the guys add a few inches on the left so the panel would be more centered.

The boxes are off-center. That thin strip of what is on the left is perpendicular to the stile, not part of it like the white piece on the right before the door casing.

On the left, there is 2-1/2″, and on the right, there is 4-5/8″.

Oh dear.


However, it’s worse than that.

You see, we decided to put the door casing we’re using everywhere else on the toilet opening. The problem is that it’s 1-1/8″ thick, which means we’ll lose even more of the short side, making it only 1-3/8″ wide and the other side 4-5/8″ wide.

I don’t know if the guys can move those boxes over. I thought we had gone over that. Suppose it had been 3-1/2″ on the left and 4-1/2″ on the right, no problem.  However, even if they can, I was afraid to ask, so I decided if we leave off the casing, I can live with it as is.


So, I spent a good amount of time measuring and crafting a text to Robert, my contractor and told him my plan. But what he said shocked me.


He said, “It really bothers me that the boxes are off-center. I will talk to the guys on Monday to see what they can do.”

Now, that is a great contractor. I wasn’t expecting that.

Worse case, we’ll have to leave them as is but without the casing on the shower and toilet openings. Instead, we’re going to do a 5″ marble surround on the openings of both the shower and toilet.

On Friday, I had both some good news and some not-so-good news.

We’ll go over that on Monday evening.

In the meantime, I will leave you with a few more detail shots I took last week.

embrasure doors flanking primary closet
Above are the two sets of embrasure doors with their Harmon-style pocket pivot hinges. They flank the primary closet. The ceiling in the center is the full 9′-1″, and on the embrasure side, it comes down to 8′-3″. All doors are eight feet high. Perspective and perhaps a bit of lens distortion make them look like different heights in this image, but they’re not.

embrasure doors - magnet catches - Outwater crown mouldings

We used the same crown mouldings by Orac Decor (a division of Outwater Industries) that we did in the bathroom. The center section has a moulding that gives a tray ceiling effect. (That’s at the top of the image.)

The moulding for the embrasure door ceiling is the same as we did for the vanity, toilet niches, and shower ceiling.


What are those round things, Laurel?


I found some cool magnet catches on YouTube. Yes, YouTube. When the embrasure doors close back, the magnets hold them in place. Pretty cool, huh?


Is that recessed light off-center, Laurel?


Oh, you noticed, lol. They should’ve waited until everything was built to install these. However, it’s not so bad, and here’s why.


view from bed - lights hidden

One fine day, hopefully sometime in July, my bedroom will no longer be two carpenters’ workroom. And then I will be able to move back down. This will be the view from my bed. It looks even better than I imagined. But, look what we don’t see. The recessed light is on but obscured due to the new door jam that lowered the header enough to block it!

I love everything about this, but one of the most special is the recreation of my Bronxville bedroom’s mouldings. It’s what sold me on the apartment and probably what sold my successor. (In addition to The Mural Source gorgeous wallpaper!)

Pondfield Rd W - Bronxville apartment for sale - bedroom - Mural Sources - Chinoiserie Wallpaper - Benjamin Moore White Dove wall color


Mural Sources Wallpaper - Bronxville, NY apartment for sale


Oh, I made a little diagram of the wallpaper placement for Paul Montgomery, owner of The Mural Source.


They provide this service for their customers, but since I’m getting the paper complimentary, I don’t want them to do any additional work.


bedroom mural layout for The Mural Source Solitude White

Yes, it’s a lot of work, but when it comes time for installation, it will make life so much easier for all involved.

Solitude White The Mural Source

To be continued on Monday evening… We’ll have an update on the rest of the hidden bathroom doors.

I’m blessed to have such a darling contractor!



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14 Responses

  1. Laurel, a belated Happy Mother’s Day to you. Hope you are feeling better. I am late with my comment, just wanted to say you have a great carpenter. The fact that he told you he felt the cabinets were off center earns him a good guy badge. How many would have just not mentioned it until the customer did. Anyway, I think your bathroom/closet area is developing a wonderful architectural character. Love the crown mouldings. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Happy Mother’s Day, Laurel! (And to all your followers who are moms or who have a mother’s heart!) You are just the best, Laurel. Thank you for sharing your kind and generous heart (with a bunch of wittiness mixed in there) :]

  3. The hidden cabinet is nice. I have one in mast bath that is our medicine cab but flush in wall. It makes a great large medicine cabinet! I have put one in every house we have done.

  4. Happy Mother’s Day, Laurel! Your bathroom closet situation is too complicated for me to understand (it all looks OK to me and yes, I am a bit spacially challenged) but it sounds like some of your readers have excellent solutions to what is wrong!

  5. HMD!
    The doors can be wider than the actual opening, so put the hinges on the left and make the doors/panels wider on the right so they are symmetrical on the exposed wall space after casing toilet niche.

    Sorry to be opinionated but the recessed light(s) needs to move to center or go away. You will go insane if you don’t change it, and changing it is easy. Elves make “wafer” LEDs that are only as deep as the drywall and therefore can go under a joist because there is no can/pot. From below, they look exactly like what you have now. It’s the cheapest yet best Mother’s Day gift to give yourself.

  6. I’ve been enjoying your blog so much over the past few months, sparking memories of growing up in a sprawling Victorian era duplex that my parents bought when I was 3 and painted battleship grey interior (they joked that it must have been on sale) and transformed, year by year through the addition of many tasteful and period appropriate touches. What we called secret cupboards, hidden behind what I now know are embrasure doors (!) concealed by panelling which popped gently to reveal dishes, glassware and a hidden bar complete with plumbing in the dining room… and a collection of antique firearms (no ammo!) and swords in the sitting room. Picture moulding in the (creamy white) living room added architectural interest. I made our wonderful ‘carpander’ Mr Stewart sign my parent’s guest book… and rightly so, because he was such a big part of our lives during those years and he left his mark on that house and us. I’m so looking forward to reading more every few days… thank you for sharing this story with us!

  7. Happy Mother’s Day, Laurel! I so enjoy following your renovation journey. You are talented and tenacious, resulting in a beautiful home. I hope you get some well-deserved Mother’s Day rest.

  8. Happy Mother’s Day!

    Robert has a younger version of “Best Contractor” in MN…I really didn’t think they exist anymore. But when the contactor says, “I have to fix — because it’s driving me crazy,” there’s hope in our modular, pre-fab, one-size-fits-all world! So happy you have such a great team, and everything is looking gorgeous!

  9. Laurel, happy mothers Day, I hope you get some relaxation time today. I think I would have made that problem closet into one tall skinny closet with shelves in it. Then it would have been one long hidden door with moldings in the appropriate place. That could max out your storage in there. I know you are not high maintenance when it comes to toiletries, but I know that I can be! It’s going to be beautiful.

  10. Happy Mother’s Day. I hope you’re relaxing today.
    Your contractor behaves the way I wish mine had. When I brought things to his attention that were done wrong he would start yelling & tell me he hated working on my house. Can you imagine?
    So give Robert a hug for me.
    Those openings next to the WC would make me want to throw in the towel. I would have told the guys to just drywall over them & then apply the box moldings in the center. You’re a stronger person than I am.

  11. Happy Mother’s Day, Laurel! So happy for you that you get to enjoy today after a week of good progress. Robert is such a gem of a contractor.
    We’ve been working our through remodeling our living room and your blog has helped us make better, wiser, and more exciting decisions than I ever dared imagine. Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement!

  12. YOU are SO lucky to have your contractor, that’s all I’m going to say about that!
    Everything is looking wonderful!
    Happy Mother’s Day!!!

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Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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