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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

custom built-ins/entertainment center.

This tops the list of the largest start-from-scratch project that we have taken on.
It's a big one, it took many man hours of building time.
But we love it and it completely transforms our entire great room look!

It is our White Custom Built-Ins/Entertainment Center.



About a month or so after our little Andie was born, and about two weeks after we had just splurged on a new mini-van, Todd looked at me one night and said "How about we go ahead and do the built-ins?"  I figured with a newborn in our arms and $ tied up in a new car payment big projects were not in our near future, so I was so excited and was all "heck ya!".  If my husband was going to build it then I knew it would not only be perfect but also extremely budget friendly.

New baby = lots of baby stuff laying around, sorry!
Alright, so first was the planning (one of the few steps I had my hand in :)).
We did a little looking around and researching and found a picture online Here - from Honey We're Home that was closest to what we were thinking.  So we used it as a base to start our vision from.

Then it came time to measure out the space, decide on measurements and then pick out materials.

Measurements of Unit:
The middle section is 4 feet wide and 8 1/2 feet tall.
Each of the end sections are 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
The entire unit is 10 feet wide.

Besides putting together a design plan and helping to choose some materials this big project was all my husband, but I am going to try my best to detail it as much as I can.
Todd recruited a good friend and the two of them spent an entire 12 hour day to get the frame all together.
Here is stage one:

Then it came time to prime, paint and add some moulding(top) and trim(mid-level).
Once it was primed and painted, Todd just wanted to get it into the house.

The first step to getting it it into the house was to cut the baseboard so that we could push back the unit to create a built-in look and it would all be flush (and attached) to the wall.  I think he measured about 10 times before he finally cut the baseboard on the wall. :)

This is the stage when it was first brought into our family room and attached to the wall.

Then it came time to add the shelves!  Something I got to help with, which meant I held things while they were installed.
It probably took me about 30 minutes to finally decide where I wanted the shelves to go.  Did I want it to look the same on both sides?  Did I want it to look different to allow for variation and give a more custom look?  I eventually decided on the second option - and I'm so glad we went this route!  Good news about the shelves, we can readjust them at anytime by adding new holes and relocating the pegs.  We didn't want them to be permanent.

Here the shelves were installed (at about midnight one night) and I got excited to throw a few things on the shelves.  (This bad pic makes our paint look green!)

We decided to go with 3 shelves on one side and 2 on the other.
Each of the lower cabinets have one large shelf installed.
We also placed one shelf in the section below the T.V.  We had decided we wanted open shelving for the cable box and DVD player.


Then it was on to the drawers and cabinets.
The drawers and cabinets were all handmade.
Sorry for the bad pictures this is all I got from Todd's phone from when he was working on this step.

The front of the cabinet drawer.  We did an insert of beadboard on these to compliment the beadboard behind all of the open shelving in the unit.  We cut the inside of the door out, then used a router around the edges.  Afterwards, we chiseled out the corners so it was nice clean so the beadboard would fit nice and flat from the back of the door.

 The drawers and shelves in and attached prior to painting them.

After painting and hardware was attached.

We purchased the black half moon pulls from Lowe's and the paisley black and grey knobs from Hobby Lobby.  The hinges were from Menard's.

This section shows you the open shelving for the cable box and DVD player.  You can also see the baseboard here as well.  We took the router and ran 2 passes on it to create a nice clean look.

Materials we used:
- 4x8 sheets of mid grade birch plywood
- beadboard (used as backing on open shelving and front inserts of cabinet doors)
- luan panels (used behind the TV and bottom cabinets)
- top grade pine wood (for face frames)
- crown moulding
- baseboard
- shelf edge (made from simple screen trim)
- trim pieces for door and drawers (these were from a custom wood shop)
- shelf pegs (they were gold, but we spray painted them white)
- Kreg jig for pocket holes to attach face frames together
- router
- nail gun
- lots of wood glue!
- coping saw
- Miter saw
- big long table saw (very handy to rip the face frames and birch plywood)
- chisel (for the back/inside of the all the doors)

Painting
- We used a nice dense roller for most of the areas but came back with a brush for the smaller areas.  We did use primer on all the bare wood before applying 2 to 3 coats of paint.


The complete project!
I'll go into the decor on a separate post.
There is still a little room for a T.V. upgrade if we would like to do that one day.
The storage of the drawers and cabinets below has been fantastic!

It has made the biggest difference to our home.
See that white panel curtain in the corner you can barely see - I painted those!  You can see that project HERE.

This was a big one and a time-consuming one.
I think it was about 80-100 hours worth of work total.
It was well worth it.  In comparison to models similar on the market, we saved ourselves $2,000-$3,000.

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