The medicine cabinet starting out as a small mirrored box recessed into the wall above the bathroom sink; it provided a handy place to store medicines or other bathroom supplies. A good idea yes, but not always well thought out. These cabinets didn’t really take into account the wet conditions in a bathroom. They were subject to rust or water damage and weren’t large enough to store much.
Enter Robern. Based in Bristol, Pennsylvania since 1968, Robern has become the leading producer of mirrored bath cabinetry and residential bath storage solutions. Robern took a look at the medicine cabinet and saw many things to improve; quality of construction, available storage space and appearance. Here’s what they did.
Make the Basics Better
In the past medicine cabinets were typically made from either steel or wood, neither a good choice for the bath. Steel, while sturdy, was subject to rust while wood products absorb moisture and warp; neither ideal for the water rich environment of the bathroom. After some trail and error Robern settled on aluminum as the best choice for the box construction; sturdy, easy to clean and non-rusting. Robern than added a water-tight gasket to seal the door and prevent steam from getting inside the cabinet.
A Cabinet is Born
Thus the Robern “M” Series was created. Originally the “M” Series included two cabinet heights (30” for MT and 40” for MP) and three widths (16, 20 and 24”). Robern also decided to offer deeper cabinets than had been available in the past; in addition to the typical 4” they added the option of 6” and 8” depths. True, these would not recessed completely in a standard wall but these could be partially recessed, giving one a great deal more storage space with just a 4” extension off the wall. Finally Robern added mirrors to the interior of the cabinet which was attractive and useful for seeing different angles.
Once they got the basics Robern started adding options that made their cabinets even more effective. They added internal electrical outlets as an option. These allow one to store an electric toothbrush or hairdryer or other appliance out-of-sight, handy and plugged in and charging. Once electrical had been added it was easy to supply a defogging option. A nightlight option was also added. Another useful option is a lock-box addition; medicines can be secured away from children for safety. One of Robern’s most recent addition is a “cold storage” option; a chilled compartment inside the cabinet for the storage of temperature sensitive cosmetics or medications.
By this point Robern already had a great product but they realized there was more they could do. They created a system that allowed one to design multiple cabinet installations. Accessories that allow one to stack cabinets vertically or gang them horizontally or combine cabinets with wall mirrors, shelves or sink top opened up all sorts of possibilities. Then Robern brought out a series of cabinets that replaced the traditional mirror with decorative glass panels. These can be used in the bath or extended into other rooms; entryways, bar/entertainment areas and dressing rooms are a few ideas.
Design, Design, Design
Having come up with so many functional options Robern turned its attention to the visual aspect of their product. The mirror door had always been available in a plain or beveled edge. Next Robern added the option of a wood frame; three profiles in a selection of wood or metal finishes. That was just the beginning. Robern slowly introduced four collections featuring unique framing options.
Cite – This collection is aimed at an urban look with frames available in black, parchment or oxblood leather.
Fairhaven – This is a traditional country look with white frame and crown.
Metallique – Clean profile frame available in polished chrome, brushed nickel or Monaco gold.
Candre – Framed in glass and chrome, the frame glass may be white glass or tinted gray.
Uplift – Looking at Cabinets a New Way
As you can see Robern offers a tremendous array of design options. But it still wasn’t enough. So Robern introduced the “Uplift” cabinet. This time Robern completely reconfigured what we typically expect from a medicine cabinet. The “Uplift” gets its name from the fact that the door does not swing open but instead slides up revealing the entire cabinet interior. The inside has been designed with multiple shelves, interior lighting and defogger, interior electrical outlets, cosmetics organizer, swing-out magnifying mirror and an optional TV mounting to accommodate up to a 22” flat screen inside the cabinet. Matching sconce or pendant lights are also available.
TV and Music in the Bathroom
Enough right? Nope. This year Robern has introduced TViD. TViD allows the integration of a small screen and sound system into an M series cabinet. The Smart Position screen provides access to TV in the bathroom without having another appliance to worry about. The TViD has an MP3 dock and can be operated from the interior control panel or with a universal remote.
As you can see the offering from Robern is both extensive and exciting. But wait, there’s more! In my next post I will discuss other Robern cabinet collections and accessories. If you would like to see these products for yourself please visit out showroom.