Space Saving Bathroom Door-closet-mirror




About: I really just needed a place to pimp some of my projects. The only problem is I never seem to get enough pics of what I'm doing while I'm doing it!

This is a door I designed and built for my tinyhouse on wheels but, it could be applied to any inside door!

Step 1: Building the Main Door Frame.

The door frame is pretty simple to build with the proper tools. Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures of this step. So to explain the picture I can tell you that this is the type of joint I used in all 4 corners. This door frame was built on the cheap so the only wood that was used were common 2x4s and 2x6s. My door is very small width and height wise so this step is just to show the basics. Normally a panel door is built with 2 or more panels for strength and decoration but, for this build I decided to use one solid panel so the interior of the closet section would be more accommodating. I ran planed down 2x6s and 2x4s (no specific dimensions) on a table saw with a dado blade set to 1/2". This could be done with a 1/4" blade with mutiple passes or an 1/8" blade for that matter. Anyway, the frame itself is just 2 horizontals tongue and grooved between 2 vertical rails. If you look at the picture the groove in the edge is offset............. that is purposely done to give more hollow space for use in the closet! That extra 3/4" for me was the difference between staying within the door jam or bulging into the bathroom! The way I set the saw is to cut the groove 1/4" from the side that is to be the outside of the board. Once the boards are grooved, you can cut the 2 vertical boards to length. Next, I oversize cut the horizontals so the tongues could be cut on each end. Now, a 1/2" piece of plywood can be cut to fill the space in the frame. If your still reading you probably have some wood working experience and can now glue and clamp everything together.

Step 2: Building the Closet

I designed the closet opening to be roughly the diminsions of a door mirror (in my case 48" x 12") but, again thats completely up to you. I ripped down some scrap 2x4s and used a planer to make 1/2"x3" stock. Using the stock cuts I first cut the shelf boards the full 3 inch width so they could rest inside the frame of the door. Next, I ripped some of the 3" stock down to 2 3/8" for the closet boards that will rest on top of the frame. No fancy joinery is needed for this because a pocket hole jig is used to hold everything together. The number of shelves is up to the builder but, I made mine with 5. The very bottom horizontal board has to be notched so it can rest inside the frame and the ends cover the bottom of the 2 verticals. ( Hindsight being what it is, now I realize that I should have covered the top and bottom board edges with the verticals. This would have negated the need to notch the bottom board.)

Step 3: Fastening the Closet to the Door Frame

When the closet section was cut and dry fitted I used a Kreg Jig to fasten the closet boards together and to fasten them to the door frame. If you don't know what a Kreg Jig is, it is a pocket hole jig that precisely drills and counter sinks a hole into the edge of a board to join 2 pieces of wood without the need for fancy joints that take lots of time and energy. Its kind of like building Ikea furniture! Anyway, I marked where all the pocket holes needed to be drilled to fasten the closet to the frame and drilled them. Then, I drilled the closet corner joints and shelf joints. Once everything was fitted and screwed together I took everything apart and sanded all the parts for fit.

Step 4: Final Closet Assembly

After dry fitting with screws, I decided to add some rails as hold backs in the closet. For this I drilled 1/4" holes in the vertical boards to hold 1/4" dowels. Finally, I glued and screwed everything together. For this I didn't bother taping the glue joints off because later it will be painted and not stained. The common lumber was just that COMMON. It wasn't special looking and won't take stain well so paint will make it look better.

Step 5: Finishing the Closet and the Door Frame

This next step was just all the little finishing touches. First , I laid out the new door handle and fingered out how high to mount it. For me, I like the handle a bit higher and since I built the door jam............I'll do as I please! The door handle will most likely come as a kit, so the instructions should show all the measurements needed to correctly cut the holes and what size to cut them. Then you will have to chisel the latch plate flush with the door edge. Blah blah blah! After that I recessed the door hinges and installed them. Now is probably a good time to do some sanding ( just to keep busy)! Oh yeah, I also had to install some itty bitty 1/2" hinges for the mirrored door. Those have to also be recessed and screwed down. So, pick up the little chisel and get to chisel-ling!

Step 6: Build a Small Frame for the Mirror

Sometimes its best to have some kind of plan so, draw something. Even if it doesn't mean anything! When you get all the crap out of your head then you can start! After measuring the closet frame assembled, I did the math and figured out the size of the frame needed to hold the mirror. I took the time to build the frame so the mirror could be recessed flush with the frame. But, I think it was a waste of time in all honesty! That being said, Its probably easiest to just make a simple ladder frame and epoxy the mirror to it. I used generic JB Weld from Harbor Freight. (The stuff works and its cheap) Also, the good epoxies usually take all day to harden so use soft clamps and let it set for a while.

Step 7: Finishing the Mirror-door

After the epoxy hardened I checked the fit to the closet frame. Then, marked where each of the four little hinges would fall on the mirror-door frame. Break out the chisels again and get to work! This 1/2" thick frame will probably need very short screws and the hinge packs never come with short enough screws. I searched and couldn't come up with any! After getting pissed I decided to do some sanding (for concentration and because I was bored). After that I took a dremel tool to all the screws! I would suggest not getting angry and just buy some short screws that fit!

Step 8: Mount the Mirror-door on the Closet-door. (kinda Confusing Ain't It?)

Line up the hinges within the recesses carved into the mirror door and it should be nearing completion! At this point the mirror-door will need something to keep it closed. I used 2 sliding bar type latches on the top and bottom. But, any latches will do. Now the door-closet-mirror can be installed into the jam!

Step 9: Get the Door in the Door Jam

I have only built 2 doors from scratch before but, I do like having the door in place before trying to go any farther! It makes it a lot easier to mark where all of the latch hardware, door jam stops, and everything else will go. I like to take a pack of $.99 shims to wedge the door into the jam then, mark where hinges sit. Then chisel the recesses into jam. Once that is done you can screw the door hinges in and see if any squaring is needed. My door was a little out at the top right so I took it down and used a portable belt sander.........(left over from sanding hardwood floors) to make it right!

Step 10: Finishing the Door Jam and Enjoying All the Extra Bathroom Space!!

Next, I had to cut a transition strip because our bathroom has a step up and goes from wood to stone on the floor. Then, I cut scraps down to 1/2"x1 1/2" and mitered them into the jam inside the bathroom. Our door swings into a hallway so the last thing to do for me was install trim on the hallway side. Lastly, I recessed the door handle stricker plate.

I am currently building a tinyhouse on wheels. So, only having 16 sq ft for a bathroom I had to come up with ways to have extra storage. This one thing has given us all the space we need and it only used the space of the wall width! If you would like to see more of our tiny house visit []. All of the work is done outside, without a shop, and just basic hand and power tools. Oh yeah, this is my first ible!



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      9 Discussions


      3 years ago

      I love this solution!


      4 years ago on Step 10

      I love it! I can see were that would work well even in a not so tiny house! Good Job!

      1 reply

      4 years ago

      I second the first comment. I would love to see details on your tiny home. I'm looking to build one soon and want as much inspiration as possible. Thanks for the post great design!

      1 reply

      Reply 4 years ago

      Our blog has been running for a year and a half with plenty of pictures and inspiration! My wife startd the blog from the day we bought our trailer. I will warn is large to be a tiny house! Its built on a 32' gooseneck flatbed and is big!:-) []


      4 years ago

      Thanks alot! I wasn't sure if this was even going to make a good ible! Some of the other wood work I have done is already posted on our blog. We will be building some more innovative furniture designs later. Also, I am trying out some pretty cool tech stuff with water recycling and solar power for the tiny house later. You can also check out my wife's article in Tiny House Magazine this month!


      4 years ago on Introduction

      Hey, nicely done! This looks like a great, well-thought out design.

      Good job on your first instructable too. I bet lots of people would really enjoy seeing just about anything you build for your tiny house. I hope you'll share more with us here!