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Media Makeover

Over the last couple of weeks, our monstrosity of a temporary media setup had finally got the best of us. Kim was tired of looking at three gigantic (although fantastic sounding) speakers (okay, me too!), and we were both tired of craning our necks to look up at the television screen perched precariously on top of the center speaker. We decided that my beloved JBL setup would end up on Craigslist or eBay, with the assumption that the funds would go toward new Definitive Technology in-wall stereo speakers and a new center channel speaker that is much smaller and easier on the eyes than the one it replaced.

Those speakers, a new wall mount, and an afternoon later, we’ve gone from a center-channel-speaker-television-balancing-act to a sleek new setup that sounds great.

The project started with an innocent conversation (weeks ago), where we asked each other, is the media cabinet maybe – just a little bit – too tall?; this, in turn, led to our decision to take it down a handful of inches. Enter my handy cordless circular saw and a drywall bucket to handle the heavy lifting. Five minutes later, The legs were chopped down by three inches making a huge difference (it no longer looked like it could’ve been a former desk or sideboard, and instead, looked like an honest to goodness media center!), and we were moving on.

I had previously marked all of the studs with blue tape, and while we were fairly certain that our wall cavities were spaced perfectly, we tacked up the included cutout templates and went ahead and triple-checked all of our measurements for the left and right speakers. (Note the size difference between old and new equipment!)

We had installed the new wall mount earlier in the day, so we draped a tarp over the TV and got to chopping up our perfectly good drywall. If your home is more modern that ours, you’re likely cutting only through drywall, in which case a drywall jab saw is all you’ll need. Cutting drywall can be intimidating, but it’s not difficult. Take your time and measure a few times to be certain of your spacing and avoid time-consuming repairs.

Once we had the holes cut out, we dropped in-wall certified speaker wire down through the wall cavity and placed speaker connections directly below them to avoid having to run cable horizontally through the studs.

As mentioned, the project took the better part of an afternoon, but we’re really happy with the results. The speakers sound great and can even be painted later on to help them disappear more seamlessly into the wall.

While we were at it, I found some industrial strength stick-on Velcro in a junk drawer and stuck the HD antenna to the back of the TV screen. It hasn’t affected the signal quality as of yet, but time will tell. Regardless, it’s a huge improvement over its previous home flopping around in a wiring rat’s nest behind the cabinet (and you know how much we hate that). Below, you can see that the mount allows for the television to angle towards the dining room (and kitchen), and in the same way, we could swing it towards the front window, too – dining al fresco while watching the tube? We can do it!

At the same time, it collapses back onto the wall pretty flush, something that was on the must-have list during my online shopping:

Admittedly, we’re still a little torn on the finish of the cabinet, but the clean new look somehow makes it seem a little more tolerable in the meantime. With so many other decisions going on around the home, this one is no hurry.

We’re not sure if our green velvet chair will stay in the living room or go up to the studio (rather, we’ve been toying with the idea of an under-window bench), but we love how the deep, rich hues tie together from room to room. To top it off – literally – we hung Kim’s grandparents clock above the whole set-up (a sentimental hand-me-down), the icing on the cake.

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  • Julia@Cukoo4Design2.17.14 - 6:45 AM

    I know if I show my hubby this, he’ll want the same speakers. We have that same mount too. Love the sleek look of it all and the media cabinet looks great the way it is! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • angela2.17.14 - 7:14 AM

    Love how fresh, modern and uncluttered the space looks! And that clock is fab!

    Angela @ Number Fifty-ThreeReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia]2.17.14 - 8:14 AM

    Oh, Yes!!!! And I echo the other Julia’s comment, once Chris sees this….it’s over.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project2.17.14 - 8:23 AM

    I love it! There are few things I hate more than lots of visible cords and wires. What a great solution!ReplyCancel

  • Kim2.17.14 - 10:32 AM

    Thanks, guys!

    Julia and Julia, the speaker hunt took us quite a while, contrary to how easily it seems we made up our minds in this post. There was a LOT of research, and once we had made decisions, I added additional stress to Scott to ensure we could find a center channel in white (do you know how hard that is?!). Even still, it was worth all the research, as most things are!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley2.17.14 - 12:15 PM

    What mounting bracket (brand) did you use? I’m looking for something similar but am unsure of what brands are worth using.ReplyCancel

  • Nice update! I love that you took a saw to the legs to get a better height on the piece. Isn’t solid wood furniture the best?!ReplyCancel

  • Adam2.17.14 - 3:22 PM

    That looks great! I have been trying to do something similar with our Media set up. Went through 2 mounts so far, everyone of them sent my tv facing the floor. Its an older 42″ weighing 60 lbs. My wife said “you must be kidding, you want to try a 3rd time?”. Is it too much to ask to be able to mount your TV? I would try the one you mentioned but I am afraid that it is a VESA mount design flaw on my TV that is preventing me from my happiness.ReplyCancel

  • Kim2.17.14 - 3:41 PM

    Heather, not every part of it is solid wood, but thank goodness for the solid legs!

    Adam, ugh, bummer. And no, it’s not too much to ask! Perhaps you can use this as leverage to upgrade your television? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Oh my gosh, I never knew you could get mounts for big screen TVs! We have a flat mount at our existing place which works well for the space. But at the house we’re about to move into, a swivel mount would solve all my big floorplan dilemma. You may have just saved my marriage haha.ReplyCancel

  • Kim2.18.14 - 5:42 PM

    Alicia, wahoo!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Jane2.19.14 - 12:13 PM

    I just love your console! Mid century modern is gorgeous and your projects and truly done this piece of furniture justice.ReplyCancel

  • Marie2.19.14 - 4:21 PM

    Great job. I’ve been asking my husband to hang the TV on the wall for months now… I’ll show him your post, no doubt he’ll be convinced that time ! I love the clock too, it’s awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Kim2.19.14 - 4:48 PM

    Marie, glad we could help, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Twarek2.19.14 - 8:42 PM

    Grandma & Pap Pap’s clock looks awesome in that room. You did a great job restoring it.ReplyCancel

  • Becki @ Bites 'n Brews2.21.14 - 9:55 AM

    Hello! LOVE the install! Looks really clean.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly3.5.14 - 1:23 PM

    What size is your TV? I’m considering this mount. Did you have to add any blocking behind your drywall to accommodate it? Thanks so much for any info!ReplyCancel

  • Kim3.5.14 - 1:31 PM

    Kelly, it’s a 46″ television. We used toggle bolts to secure it to the wall, which is the same thing we did in our last home. Toggle bolts are our friends when it comes to heavier items!ReplyCancel

  • Eulalia5.13.14 - 7:58 PM

    Check that off the list of things I was coeusfnd about.ReplyCancel

  • Luci8.2.14 - 10:33 AM

    How are you hiding all your cables this time around? As someone about to wall mount my tv, I’m particularly interested in how you got your cables from the tv to the media center.

    It looks like your new media center is pushed right up against the wall. Did you have to cut additional holes to accommodate the power cord plugs?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.4.14 - 9:33 AM

      Hi Luci! The cables run behind the wall where the television is mounted, and then there is another hole cut out from the drywall behind the media center so the power cord can come out (you can sort of see this in the photo of Scott kneeling on the floor). Those cords go into the back of our media center, where we have a power strip inside the main compartment, along with our receiver and Playstation (for watching Hulu, Netflix, etc). Our media center already had a little opening for the cords to fit through, but you could certainly cut an additional hole for a media center that doesn’t already have one! It’s all about making it work for your space :)ReplyCancel

  • Robyn3.1.15 - 10:00 PM

    That looks so great. I am super jealous- I live in an old house with metal lathe underneath the plaster which makes it impossible to find studs. I wish you didn’t have to mount things into studs :(ReplyCancel

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