Some of our projects are planned for a long time, while others happen spontaneously. We’ve been thinking about how to better store our TV- and stereo-related electronics for months if not years. When we finally got a flat screen TV last year and mounted it above the fireplace, we freecycled our old entertainment unit and temporarily placed the various boxes on a sewing table + wooden box combo right next to it. Not attractive at all.
About 6 weeks ago, we were doing some wiring work. The outlet next to the fireplace was still on an old circuit that was not grounded, so we actually had all that stuff plugged in to a heavy duty extension cord. We were upgrading the outlet to a new circuit, and since we were already messing around in that wall it seemed like possibly the time to cut a big hole in it and put in some recessed shelves. Matt and I discussed the possibilities for a couple of hours, and we just couldn’t agree on the design. I wanted a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves recessed into the wall with integrated electrical outlets and ethernet jacks, all made to look seamless with the mantel. Matt wanted sort of a nook recessed into the wall, but not floor-to-ceiling, instead it would be smaller and at the height of the TV, with all the outlets and ethernet jacks on the other side of the wall and accessible through some holes. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, we wanted different things, either of which would have taken a lot of work to do. We hadn’t budgeted the time to do it, and since one of us wouldn’t have been happy with either solution, we decided to do nothing at the time. We just put in a new double outlet. And we felt great about our decision. Sometimes it’s best to wait and see how we feel later than to dive in when we’re not 100% sure it’s what we want.
Then last weekend, we were trying to clear some space in our bedroom for things like a crib and large bins full of baby gear. We had this Ikea shelving unit that I guess we originally purchased for extra clothes storage, but we had just been keeping random things on it and decided this was not a good use of space in the bedroom. Matt had the genius idea of making it our entertainment unit. Luckily, the dimensions were just perfect. He cut some holes in the back for easy access to cables, attached some 2x4s to anchor it to the wall (and again, give a little room to access the cables, and had all our stuff moved in a jiffy.
He also got the big speakers up off the floor - and attached them to their shelves with screws so they can’t fall on us in an earthquake. Here’s the “after” shot again so you don’t have to scroll up.
Doesn’t it look great? (Yes everything is still awaiting a coat of paint, but for now I don’t care.) I love it. So much easier than our various ideas for recessed shelves. We originally thought that recessing the shelves was necessary for traffic flow to the hallway, but this doesn’t block it at all. In fact, there is more room now than there was before with our makeshift solution. It’s functional and looks good.
p.s. I freecycled the old sewing table, having never used it for its intended purpose and decided that we don’t have the room for it.