Ugly Fireplace->Weird Nook->Awesome Cabinet

This past weekend Chris and I trekked up to my dad and Wendy's house to install the cabinet, yay!!! We loaded up the car Saturday morning in hopes of missing the rain

We were nearly 100% successful except some minor drops when we were about 3/4 of the way there. We pulled over to inspect things and make sure everything was covered well and by the time we got back in the car the drops had stopped, so all was well :)

When we got to my dad and Wendy's they had already cleared out most of the nook, and all that was left was taking out the giant TV

Once the TV was out Chris and my dad started work on taking out the little strip of drywall against the wall beneath the nook. It turned out there was a sheet of metal and a 2x12 behind it nailed in with about 3 dozen nails, but it finally all got removed (we needed it out to make room for the faux panel)

With the nook and drywall area cleared and cleaned we could do a dry fit of the cabinet to make sure everything lined up properly. We had ballparked for about 1/8" of wiggle room because we knew we could cover it up with the fluting but we needed to absolutely maximize every single inch of space to account for all the speakers and components my dad had

Dry fitting turned into "Well, that thing'll just stay in there" as we soon learned we had to shimmy, shove and squeak it into place because it was just about a perfect fit and there was no way we were really going to be able to pull it back out

Once that baby was in, it was in

Next up was dry fitting the counter top. My dad wanted it to have a few inches of of space in the back to provide ventilation for the components but to also be able to get your arm back there to potentially move cables around. We built the counter top a bit too deep, so we shaved a couples inches off. We also found out in the dry fit that it was a bit too wide

Building it wide was done intentionally because we always knew we'd be able to take the belt sander and sand it down to make it perfect (the walls are a little wavy and crooked). But once it got sanded down, it fit like a glove and our extra space in the back was plenty to get an arm back there, but not too much that the TV couldn't cover the gap so you wouldn't see it

When we knew the counter fit we took it out because we needed to drop all the components into each area from the top because with the face frame and door hinges some of the components were about 1/2" too big to slide through the front. We also worked on attaching the counter trim

After we dropped in all the components it was time to paint

The previous owners had left some primer in the garage, but clearly they didn't cover it properly

Nope, that's not quite what paint should look like. Yuckola. We scavenged around the garage and found some paint that would do as primer (we dropped the ball and only brought a tiny bit of primer for touch ups and forgot that the whole nook needed to be painted)

Dad and Wendy decided to paint the nook the same color as the walls in the room (Universal Khaki). Originally my dad wanted to paint it a darker color to help the nook blend with the TV, but after the cabinet was in place he liked the idea of the wall paint and thought it would look more seamless (yay!)

Next up, the fluting...

...and cove trim

...and wiring madness

And then came the absolute worst and most nerve wracking part: re-hanging the TV

We knew when we were drawing out the plans for the cabinet that the TV was going to be fitting very snugly and that there was a chance that we would have to raise it an inch or so. We had to make the cabinet a certain height to accommodate the center channel speaker and subwoofer, but we also had to leave enough clearance in the fixed amount of space for the TV to actually be able to be re-hung. It was the part of the installation I was least looking forward to.

Chris and my dad picked up the really heavy TV while I hopped on top of the cabinet (with Chris cringing in fear of me scratching it up) and tried to align the little screw holes on the back of the TV with the hardware on the TV mount and get it all screwed into place. The boys were grunting in exhaustion, I was sweating in fear, and after it was screwed in...it didn't fit. Grrrrr. It hung too low and the bottom of the TV rested on the top of the cabinet (don't worry, we had a towel down to protect it). So we had to reverse the process to take the TV down and my dad and Chris put their thinking caps on

There was only a teeny tiny itty bitty bit of wiggle room. If we raised the TV mount too high the TV wouldn't clear the top and be able to fit in the space, but we had to raise it enough so that it didn't sit on the cabinet. There was probably 2" of clearance on the top and we weren't totally sure how much it needed to be raised in order to not have it rest on the cabinet

In the end, Chris and my dad raised the TV mount 1 1/2"

And then it was round two of my dad and Chris holding up the super mondo heavy TV and me trying to screw it into the right place and not strip the screws. Round 2? SUCCESS!

And after touch ups and about a 25 minute freak out when all the audio worked except for the satellite (which we couldn't check before because the TV had to be installed last because the counter needed the whole nook space to be open in order to get it placed in the right way) the cabinet was "done!"

Now, I say "done" because we still have to make a speaker cover for the subwoofer (a white screened panel that will cover it so it blends with the rest of the cabinet), install the shoe moulding because the floor is a little wavy against the wall and doesn't line up quite right, and then install a bit of baseboards on the side from when we ripped out the fireplace. But other than that, it's looking fucking awesome!

And yes, in case you're wondering, that's four grown adults watching Over the Hedge together while my dad worked on fixing my computer for me

And boy oh boy do the two cabinets look snazzy side by side

And that, my friends, is how this room was transformed from Ugly Fireplace (that took up way too much room and was never used and was ugly)

To Weird, and also ugly, Nook (which sat in a state much like this - though I did paint the walls at one point - for close to a year)

To totally awesome cabinet (after a 12 hour day)

Not quite a finished check mark on the list, but I'd say a job well done!


Reuben Collins said...

Wow. Great work. It looks fantastic. You guys should be totally proud!

Heather said...

You two are freaking amazing. That looks AWESOME.

Do you two work? When do you sleep? Also: stop making the rest of look bad. :)

meryl rose said...

Thanks guys! :) And yes, we took Sunday very easy because Saturday was such a long day, which means no floors refinished yet.

Vincent said...

Just an audio component tip: apparently a piece of dust or something got into the optical jack on the a/v receiver because I took a vacuum crevice tool to the back of the a/v receiver and the audio began working again. And, cabinet is IS in fact totally amazing, functional and beautiful!

meryl rose said...

Thanks dad!!!!! :)