ingenious design

This Hidden, Behind-the-Door Shelf Is Like a Giant Medicine Cabinet

Photo: Or Gotham

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the Strategist in June 2017, and over three years later, it remains an example of a product that does what it’s supposed to do — exceptionally well. So we’re republishing it today, as part of Ingenious Design Week.

I am the opposite of a minimalist. I am a profligate in the face of sparse pale homescapes. Any attempts at Kondo-ing have been an empty endeavor. I’ve distilled this “problem” to the fact that I like stuff. I always figured that should my apartment ever become like John Burroughs’s Slabsides (his cabin turned historical landmark), I’d like visitors to come and make inferences about my life through all the curious objects I refused to dispose of. To aid this, I’ve directed my efforts toward practical storage-and-display solutions. Most leave me wanting. They either take up too much valuable square footage or reek of dormitory décor. Then I found the Cabidor — a behind-door cabinet that attaches to the jamb’s hinges.

Cabidor’s website is filled with photos of (aspirationally appealing) ladies in comfortable clothing. There are five different models to act as anything from a spice archive to gift-wrap reliquary. I was looking for something to install in my bedroom, so I ordered the “Classic Deluxe” model for its full-length mirror, and it arrived two days later. Assembly, while tedious, was notably manageable. First, I affixed the hardware to the Cabidor. Then, using a hammer and a girthy nail, I tapped each of the pins out of the locked door’s hinges. They greasily slid out with minimal effort. Propping the hardware against the hinges, I inched the pins back into place. Now for the pièce de résistance: the shelves. The configuration options are limitless. Equidistant? Segmented like a Rothko painting? Fibonacci sequence? Either way, adjusting them is uncomplicated and can be fiddled with until you get the perfect arrangement. The included retention rods keep your belongings from flying across the room should you open your new cabinet with too much gusto. Although I took several breaks, the install time was an hour.

Once in place, the Cabidor feels like a built-in addition to my bedroom in a corner that was otherwise useless. Fifty percent of it is dedicated to skin care. Thirty percent to foot cream (necessary when wearing fur-lined slides), tiny air plants, and hair care. And 20 percent to Raisinets. It swings open quietly and clicks shut sturdily with a magnetic closure. It makes a pleasant curio display if left open, like a six-foot-tall medicine cabinet, and practically disappears when needed. Its visual unobtrusiveness to storage capacity ratio is rivaled only by hidden refrigerators. My maximalism lives to see another day.

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This Behind-the-Door Shelf Is Like a Giant Medicine Cabinet