Custom Media Room  
Bashing a Hole in a Perfectly Good Wall.

The homeowner wanted to have a built-in equipment rack for his hi-fi gear. The wall shared with the stairwell coming up to the room proved to be the perfect place.

It takes advantage of what was "dead space" in the stairwell and puts it to work.

Patching the Hole.

Of course, after the hole was punched through the wall for the equipment rack we had to put in a new, lower ceiling to hide it. The homeowner took the opportunity to wire up a new light fixture to brighten the dark stairwell.

Why OSB instead of just drywall? The owner says it helps deaden the sound from the room.

Riser for Seating.

The homeowner plans to place his "listening chair" on a platform that has hidden bass thumpers. This makes it hard for anyone seated behind him to see the projector screen or hear the speakers.

Solution? Build a riser in the back of the room. Because of the angle with the wall I also built a half-wall.

Prepping the Mullions.

After the wall mullions are ripped down from the 4 by 8 sheets of oak plywood they get a finish of hand-rubbed stain and polyurethane. The owner opted for the unconventional choice of high gloss poly instead of the more common satin finish.
The Paneling Goes Up.


To get our "gentleman's study" look and feel without the cost of solid oak library panel we start with putting up sheets of "leatherette" 1/8" wood panelling from Menards. It's available in this shade and a darker "walnut" shade.

What about the seams between the sheets? They'll be hidden by the mullions when they're installed. Since you'll never see them, I used roofing nails to hold the paneling in place. The larger head of the roofing nail won't sink through the paneling like traditional panel nails.

Starting to Come Together.

Here you see the room starting to shape up once the corner columns and the columns flanking the equipment rack are installed.

All the columns are hollow so equpiment wiring can be hidden inside. The long soffit between the two corner columns hides an electric drop down projector screen.

A Column Drops Into Place

I install the final column. It hides wiring for the light switches as well as acting as a transition between the upper wiring chase (to be installed next) and the projector wiring chase, which is 12" higher up.
Great Way to Hide All Those Wires.

The homeowner needs to run 2 HDMI cables as well as power and a 12V trigger for the projector screen from his equipment rack on the left to the projector up and to the right.

These wires will be fished through the holes in the tops of the columns flanking the equipment rack and be hidden by oak chases that get installed shortly.



The floor perimeter is made of oak wiring chases. However, there are no chases on the riser. So, I cut custom baseboard from the same oak plywood used in the chases to make for a nice "finished" appearance.

See the plastic wrap behind the baseboard? This lets me put on the final top coat of varnish without getting any on the paneling.

Seems Nothing's Ever Perfectly Square.


When you're remodeling a room you'll soon discover the walls are never perfectly square or plumb. So, rather than cutting all the mullions in the garage and hoping they'd fit, each mullion gets cut to the exact length needed for its place on the wall.

When it came time to do the horizontal mullions I used a rotating laser level to dial in exact placement throughout the room.

Projector Housing.


Here's the custom housing I built for the homeowner's front projector. It's mounted to the wall and has a hole in back to allow easy access to the video connections.

After this picture was taken a wood-grain ceiling vent was placed over the hole to improve the appearance and yet still allow air circulation.

Note the unfinished wiring chases that feeed into the projector housing. No unsightly wires!

The Last Wiring Chase Is Finished.

Here I am putting up the last piece of the wiring chase that runs all around the room at ceiling height. There are also wiring chases that run all around the room at floor level as well.
Built-In Drawers.

The homeowner wanted some built-in drawers fpr out-of-sight storage. The drawer bodies are made from 3/4" baltic birch. I faced them out with pak plywood stained to match the wall mullions.
Did I Nail It?

The last step after filling all the nail holes is a final top coat of varnish.

We had a heck of a time finding wood filler to match the stain. Seems that even the "matching" Minwax wood filler doesn't really match.

So, I used the closest match I could find, which was still too light in color, and "striped" each fill by hand with a brown Sharpie. It's permanent and it makes the fileld nail hole practically invisible.

Too Much Bass?

The homeowner tells me "you can have too much bass" in a room. He says it sounds "boomy" and "muddy" when you do. So, he bought these 2x8 bass absorption panels to fix the problem.

Two of them go up on the wall and two go in the corners. I built some special supports for the ones in the corner, and trimmed out the bottoms with leftover leatherette paneling.

He's Happy, I'm Happy.

The finished result is gorgeous. The warmth of the oak mullions contrast nicely with the leatherette paneling, giving this Media Room a more sophisticated look than plain old drywall ever can.


03/10/2012 10:33 PM
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