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Where to start?

Friday, I shared plans for our new basement built-in, and it's coming along fabulously!

Slowly, but fabulously. Tonight we'll be attaching the tops to the cabinets, and then tomorrow we'll be building shelves. Or at least one shelf. I'm hoping one bookshelf gets completed tomorrow night.

I'm jumping way ahead of myself though.

So I drew up the plans for the media center a while back, and tweaked it over several weeks, based on discussions with the hubs. Then I apparently "forgot" to show the hubs the final design. He saw it last Friday, along with all of you. It's a good thing he trusts me and he liked it, elsewise we'd have had some problems.

So to refresh your memory. Here is the media center.

It is 150" of awesomeness.

So how did I start this process? How did I know what would work?

I did research. I looked online and analyzed various media centers and built-ins. I figured out what I liked, what I didn't, what would work, and what wouldn't.

Then I opened up SketchUp, and stared at a blank screen for a bit.

Then a rectangle appeared. A 150" x 12" rectangle. Then I made it 30" tall, oops, no, wall cabinets need a base. I adjusted its height to 33.5".

Yes, we're using wall cabinets as the base. This isn't new. It's been done so many times over. You just need a good foundation for the cabinets. They're the muscle of the piece. So 2x4's it is.

From there it slowly morphed into what you see above. My first rendition had the entire piece only 12" deep, but that didn't seem deep enough for some of the TV components, so I increased the depth of the center. The center is now 60" wide. Why 60" because the wall cabinets I used came in a couple of widths, 30" wide and 36" wide. Neither of those widths was long enough by themselves, and doubled the 30" cabinet made the most sense. It also allowed the side portions to be 45" wide, which is plenty wide enough for storing books and games. Luckily for me, all of my sections added up to 150" without having to use any filler sections. Doubly lucky was that the cabinets I planned on using are not full face cabinets. They're traditional  cabinets, where the doors on the cabinets don't reach the edges. The doors are inset from the edges allowing them to open even when placed next to a wall.

So I had my base decided on. The sides would be comprised of 2 cabinets, a 15" x 30" and a 30" x 30". The center would be the 2 30" x 18" cabinets. I like that there are varying heights to the piece.

The next problem was what to top the piece with. We could use normal wood and finish it the same way as the rest of the piece, or we could find something else. Something better. Then I remembered that my grandfather had mentioned having walnut lying around. So after a phone call to him, and then a subsequent visit. We ended up with this.

Well not quite, there was a lot of measuring, cutting, figuring, and then replacing to get the boards we got from him to work. Some were cupped and twisted, some were just to skinny, but in the end we found a great mix of walnut and cherry to top our cabinets.

Right now, I'm waiting for the third coat of poly to dry on the tops. They're so gorgeous. Seriously, I'm glad I didn't do anything with the wood other than ask my dear sweet husband to sand them down to as level as we could manage. He did a decent job, and I couldn't be happier with the results.

That's after the first coat of clear had just been applied. Looks at the glorious grain that was hiding underneath the surface.

So tomorrow we'll build the bookshelves, which should go fairly quickly, because really, it's just a box, right?

Have a great Wednesday!

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