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The Wall

Hey, oh my gosh, guess what? This past weekend was spent, for the most part, enjoying our new wall! And if it weren’t for a hot, sunny Sunday or a few evenings dining with friends, we’d have spent every moment parked on the sofa, staring at the wall. The wall that we built! We made it! Okay, so with the help of friends, Ross and Patti, but yeah, the four of us made it! (See how it came to be here, here, here, and here.)

We’re totally smitten with the newest addition, but I think it’s important – and easily more gratifying – to remember where we started from. For the better part of almost-four-years, our media center consisted of two Ikea Traby units (no longer sold in the US), tucked along a kelly green wall (Behr’s Chlorophyll):

To be honest, I can’t remember who suggested it first, but I do remember a tiring back and forth of should we do it? Should we try for a built-in? There was a whole lotta yeah, maybe one day and a lot of omg, where do we start?, followed by a aw, hell, let’s just do it! One fateful email to our friends Ross & Patti started a chain reaction of sketches, plans, and ultimately, a whirlwind weekend working in Ross’ wood shop to knock it out.

Somewhere between our Cincinnati road trip and this past Friday, you’d find our casa looking a lot like this. For the better part of a week, we spent our time in painting pants and ordering take-out, shuffling around ladders, Polycrylic bins, and drop cloths.

We were being extra weird about making sure we painted everything just so, going so far as to re-research our favorite painting tips. So rather than have anyone reinvent the so-called wheel, we started with one base coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 water based primer, followed that with two coats of Behr’s Muslin White latex paint (a creamy, warm white), and sealed it off with two coats of Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in satin. We’re thrilled with the results, and the low sheen is still fully wipeable. But of course we hung out for four more days with this (while the poly fully cured)…

… Until finally, we put every piece back together. After an evening of reigning in an other worldly amount of cable chaos, we had our wall! Everything above the sturdy sideboard is secured to the top, and we used L-brackets on the ends of the top shelf and in the middle of the 3-part shelf above the tube. A dab of paint left them invisible, and we like to think we achieved the whole built-in look we were hoping for.

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Then came the scary part. Other than our living room shelves stacked with art, I’d never really had to “style” a shelf before. It sounds totally cheesy, but I actually had to pump myself up for what I considered the most daunting task of the whole process. (Yes, more so than building, painting, and installation.) I started by gathering all the hoopla we were thinking of displaying – everything from collected glossies, favorite books, and my mom’s camera.

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And I kid you not, for 3 hours I styled. Is that normal? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that. But dang, I gained a new appreciation and understanding for pro stylists. I referred to my inspiration images a few times (couldn’t have finished the task without ‘em) and played with stacks, colors, and groupings until I settled on this:

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I then proceeded to obnoxiously call Scott and check up on how far he was from home. (I was excited.) But realizing that I had a good hour until I’d see him, I decided to put the whole room back together for the big look what I did! sha-bang. And then I barely let him drop him his keys on the console before I tackled him to the living room. (He loved it, by the way.) This was snapped just yesterday, which explains our finished terrarium on the shelf (more on that later):

As much as we loved our cheerful green, we’re really enjoying the whole light and bright thing we’ve got going on. Here’s how the edges flow into our hallway-slash-foyer:

But, okay, this is probably one of our favorite features. The hidden storage on the left houses our turntable, and we were able to build in a pull-out shelf for easy record flipping action. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, we painted the platform a cheery robin’s egg blue (hello, spring!) and gave it a finger pull to mimic the door. I’ve been told I’m easily amused, but come on. Coolio.

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The other door hides our receiver, game controllers, and a small bin for Netflix DVDs, headphones, and miscellaneous adapters. We of course played the game of inches and customized the depth of the entire unit to match our deepest gadgets. The receiver (from tip of knob to back) is the biggest space hog at 17 inches, giving us an overall depth of 18 inches. (Btw, the turntable pulls out completely. Again, how cool is that.)

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And the middle panel houses the center channel speaker, as well as our internet modem and router. Because this was a panel we’d rarely need access to, we nixed the hinges to gain a thinner wooden frame. To keep things snug, the door simply pops on with hidden cut-to-size 1x2s on the back. The metal insert was picked up at Home Depot, generally advertised as decorative ventilation (think: radiators), or, you know, for something like this.

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So I know I’m crazy wordy (and probably not always for good reason), but I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve yet to share how everything comes together. From the round table that started it all, to the rug, the pet portraits, and finally, the wall, here’s how we’re hanging these days:

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To put it simply, we’re so happy. The toes are still totally into the shag, and the coffee table lends more than enough space for drinks and stuff, while maintaining a weightlessness the former table was unable to provide. We’ve tucked our teal chair in the office, and we’ve pulled out Jack’s favorite ottoman as an extra place to perch.

But what would all of my rambling be without a big, bad money breakdown? Crazy as it seems, this’ll be the first time I’ll add up the numbers; most often we just reach for a budget-friendly-as-possble approach. Here goes:

MDF, oak and poplar = $150
drawer suspension, hinges and brackets = $26
decorative metal sheet = $17
8 legs and mounting plates = $24
primer, Polycryclic, dark walnut stain = $35
paint, brushes and trays = free (on hand)
TOTAL =  $252

Not bad for a completely customized wall – especially considering that similar retail units are upwards of $750 + (and I’m estimating on the low side.) Even better, Ross was able to cut us a break from his original invoice, seen here:

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Of course he was kidding, but after a long weekend of drilling, sanding, and boy grunts, it certainly got a chuckle from us. And for those of you that actually stuck with me up there, virtual hugs and kisses to you! The wall chapter has officially closed, so excuse us while we gorge ourselves on popcorn and stay-in movie nights.

Any all-time-consuming-mega-payoff projects you’re working on now? Or maybe you’re wrapping up just in time for some warm, sunny weather? We’d love to see!

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - April 11, 2011 - 8:46 AM

    Wow! Well worth the wait. It all looks AMAZING! I especially love how one piece of wood was used for all three doors and how fantastic the continuous wood grain looks. The robin egg blue pull out shelf is also a lovely touch (and who doesn’t love a mimicking finger pull!).

    I also think it perfectly normal to spend a lot of time arranging and rearranging decorative items until they look just right (and you very much achieved that look, I might add!).

    It was very fun to be a part of the whole process (virtually, that is). And is it weird that I also feel a lot of pride and ownership in this amazing wall unit?

    Totally love your gorgeous home! One final question – what’s next? *smile*ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 11, 2011 - 10:26 AM

      Susan and Jill – thank you!

      And Susan, to answer your question… there’s always something! With spring around the corner, I’m thinking we need to get on that neglected deck!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - April 11, 2011 - 9:45 AM

    i love it. can’t say anything else but that!ReplyCancel

  • jodi - April 11, 2011 - 10:40 AM

    looks great!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d - April 11, 2011 - 10:48 AM

    I friggin’ LOVE it! Great work, Kim and Scott! (And Ross and Patti) Seriously, such a great piece. The reason built ins are so great is because you can customize it to YOUR needs. The blue pull out is great. I might have to paint my printer pull out a bright color. It’s just so fun! Anyway, love it.

    P.S. If you ever have issues with your center cover, you can add magnet hinges to keep it secure. But it seems fine right now. :)ReplyCancel

  • aleksandra - April 11, 2011 - 10:50 AM

    this is almost too awesome to even comment on. beyond words. you are truly visionaries.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 11, 2011 - 10:51 AM

    Hey Amanda, we actually bought magnet hinges just in case, but seems we’re okay for now. If it ever becomes an issue, we’ll be prepared!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite - April 11, 2011 - 10:54 AM

    Wow, this looks amazing! I’m in the process of working on our new home, so I am obsessed with learning about these types of projects!ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten - April 11, 2011 - 11:05 AM

    You guys continue to amaze me – what a beautiful piece of furniture! It’s so perfect for that wall…and talk about great storage!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - April 11, 2011 - 11:50 AM

    LOVE IT! The whole thing is fantastic, but I think my favorite part is that decorative ventilation/metal sheet. Seriously, LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • Megan {reFind} - April 11, 2011 - 12:36 PM

    I love it!!! I love how it gets more narrow at the top. It looks so fresh and clean! Great work!ReplyCancel

  • Tonya - April 11, 2011 - 12:54 PM

    Amazing job you guys!!!! Love how it turned out.ReplyCancel

  • RocketGirl75 - April 11, 2011 - 12:59 PM

    That looks fan-freaking-tastic!! And I’m so jealous of all the gorgeous paint. I haven’t yet been able to convince my husband to paint any of our custom shelves–mostly because, in fairness, most of the time we end up moving them around within six months, anyway.

    Beautiful, and inexpensive, to boot!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 11, 2011 - 1:44 PM

    Thank you all so much!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - April 11, 2011 - 1:50 PM

    FABULOUS! And I think you nailed the styling ;)ReplyCancel

  • Scott - April 11, 2011 - 4:05 PM

    Thank you all for the kind words! I’ll admit, I had my doubts about the size and scale of everything a couple of times throughout the process, but once the first coat of primer went on, I knew we’d nailed it. Glad we stuck to the plans!ReplyCancel

  • Jordan @ The White Bungalow - April 11, 2011 - 5:19 PM

    You guys knocked this one outta the park! Great planning & perfect details!

    P.S. I got the Bicycle Diaries as a gift this past Christmas but haven’t had a chance to crack it open? Any good?ReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ DesignBuildLove.co - April 11, 2011 - 5:50 PM

    Oh my goodness! That is a gorgeous media unit! Way to go for building it yourselves and making it look stunning and better-than-store-bought!!! We just finished a massive 8ft x 2ft workbench for our garage that will be deserving of a blog post soon! We’ve been dying for some official workspace, so we are pumped! (nothing fancy- like your media unit- in the works just yet, but maybe soon now that we have a work space) :)ReplyCancel

  • Scott - April 11, 2011 - 6:33 PM

    Jordan-

    Oddly enough, I got The Bicycle Diaries as a Christmas gift last year. I’m a big David Byrne/Talking Heads fan, so maybe I’m biased, but there’s some really funny stuff in there. There’s also a bit of nonsense, some interesting insight, and a bit of pretentiousness, but it’s all in good fun. Overall, a nice, quick read that’s easy to read in chunks. Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - April 12, 2011 - 10:12 AM

    This is amazing! Kuddos to you for building it yourself!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl - April 12, 2011 - 2:18 PM

    So completely awesome, you guys! And not a cable in sight. I would park myself there on the couch to stare at it too, beautiful weather or not. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Q - April 13, 2011 - 7:22 AM

    This looks great! Painting over the chlorophyll wall and matching it to the rest of your room really made all of your fun art stand out even more. I love the bit of blue on the turntable stand too!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - April 13, 2011 - 11:53 AM

    This looks AMAZING!!! Great job!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the wooden doors :)ReplyCancel

  • greta - April 13, 2011 - 2:45 PM

    I love this–and would love to do something similar.

    If I did want to wimp out and buy a wall unit in this spirit–where did you get your inspiration?ReplyCancel

  • Scott - April 13, 2011 - 3:27 PM

    Greta-

    Thanks for your kind comment! Our inspiration really came from the space itself. Our former entertainment center was in the same spot, but not really the correct size or color. We wanted something to fill the entire wall, and not lose any precious inches of storage. I would say that we were shooting for a bit of a mid-century look, but didn’t copy an existing piece by any means. Google sketch-up is a great tool for designing things like this. It takes some practice, but it’s well worth it. Good luck and keep us posted!ReplyCancel

  • Mich - April 14, 2011 - 1:43 PM

    this is awesome you guys. I am so impressed. I love the wood cabinets and the radiator screen re-purposed. Lovely!!!ReplyCancel

  • Hilary @ My So-Called Home - April 15, 2011 - 12:29 PM

    This wall turned out so fantastic, I mentioned it in my I’m Lovin’ It series on Thursday. Keep up the great work!

    http://www.mysocalledhome.com/2011/04/im-lovin-it_14.htmlReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 15, 2011 - 12:45 PM

      Thank you so much, Hilary!ReplyCancel

  • Friday Link Love - April 19, 2011 - 8:13 AM

    [...] inspired by this great TV/storage wall [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] For a dose of fun, I would love to paint the shelf a poppy color, like the pull out shelf in Yellow Brick Home’s amazing media wall. [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] out this media wall built by Yellow Brick Home, absolutely fantastic Kim & [...]ReplyCancel

  • Sara - April 29, 2011 - 8:38 PM

    I just found your blog via CG tonight. WOW. How amazing. I’m uber jealous as a fellow record lover. If I show my husband this he may start drooling on the keyboard. You certainly nailed the mid century modern look in a fresh way.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 29, 2011 - 9:45 PM

    Hi Sara! Thank you so much! We actually were brutally honest with ourselves before the making of the wall, and we got rid of about 60 records that we just didn’t listen to. But now we have room to grow (and this time, only with music we love, love, love)!ReplyCancel

  • sarah - May 1, 2011 - 11:01 PM

    looks awesome!!! love the yellow you used for the horse and pic frames … what color is that? did you paint that? or were you just lucky enough to find two things in that great color?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 2, 2011 - 8:08 AM

      Thank you, Sarah! The horse was found at a flea market (you can find out more about how that happened right here), and those frames are from Ikea, and I painted them that mustardy color. The frames were painted years ago, but Stanley the horse came into our lives (by lucky accident) last summer!ReplyCancel

  • Julia M. - May 3, 2011 - 3:27 PM

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I am so so impressed and inspired. We have been pricing units for over a month now and we came to the conclusion that the family/media room will just have to wait until our savings account is super bulky. $1000+ is not exaggerating for a wall unit. But we have a tv. And we have a mount. And we’re handy…I think. And now, thanks to you, we have the inspiration and motivation. Way to go.

    Chris Loves JuliaReplyCancel

  • Ellen - May 3, 2011 - 5:22 PM

    This is amazing! And totally inspires me to try and tackle my media wall. I just had a quick question: since the reciever is behind the wooden door, can it still work with a remote? Or does it have to be open?

    Thanks!
    EllenReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 3, 2011 - 5:42 PM

      Julia, thank you! Isn’t it nuts how expensive these things retail for? Good luck on yours! I really hope you DIY!

      Ellen, unfortunately, it does have to be open for us to use the remote, however, Scott’s been looking into remote eyes – a tiny sensor that can be hidden and allow us to use our electronics without needing the door open. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • h - May 3, 2011 - 6:12 PM

    wow – awesome! 1000x better! beautiful (the whole room and love the pet images!!!!)

    I’ve been thinking of affordable ways to switch up my stereo / record / music cabinet, which also houses my printer(the old brown bonde ikea sideboard which i just can not stand any more!), so I need something about as deep as your unit. This is pretty awesome & when the time comes, I may write you for some more specifics!!!!

    heatherReplyCancel

  • anne - May 4, 2011 - 10:51 AM

    So cool! Question — do you (or anyone here) think it’s possible to do this without a wood shop? Ie asking Home Depot to cut to specks, and sanding and assembling at home?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 4, 2011 - 3:13 PM

      Anne, I suppose it could be possible – but it would certainly be challenging. Perhaps if you had friends with many tools to borrow, and a large working space to assemble and dry fit?ReplyCancel

  • michelle torres - May 6, 2011 - 9:50 PM

    Ahhhhh!!!! Im so in love with your design! kudos to you all! Im going through the same dilemma right now and after seeing what you accomplished Im more motivated than ever. Thank you for sharing this!! Im a set decorator and funny enough that my house is the last thing to get pulled together!

    Enjoy your beautiful space,
    MichelleReplyCancel

  • bridget b. - November 22, 2011 - 2:24 PM

    looks wonderful! which parts of the media wall are anchored to the real wall(sorry if you mentioned already)?ReplyCancel

  • bridget b. - November 22, 2011 - 2:44 PM

    one more question: did you guys reuse the bottom portion of the media console that you already owned, or did you buy another one?

    thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 22, 2011 - 3:23 PM

      Hi Bridget! The only parts anchored to the wall are the left and right wings on the top two shelves. As for the bottom, it was all built from scratch, and we sold the other media center at this past summer’s yard sale. And thank you!ReplyCancel

  • kaylan - November 22, 2011 - 3:11 PM

    love it. all of it. you’ve definitely got me thinking about building a media center to fit our small and awkward apartment.ReplyCancel

  • Anna - November 22, 2011 - 3:14 PM

    I just popped over from YHL and LOVE this! Also I’m kind of in love with the doggy print near the top – is this something you DIY’d? Any suggestions if so?ReplyCancel

  • Melissa // thefauxmartha - November 22, 2011 - 3:53 PM

    Just came across your blog from Young House Love. Love your style! I’ll be coming back for inspiration for sure. PS—I’m a fellow Chicago dweller too (Oak Park to be specific).ReplyCancel

  • Jen @ The Decor Scene - November 22, 2011 - 3:58 PM

    Stopping over from Young House Love. LOVE your entertainment center. You guys did an awesome job!!! Can’t wait to check out the rest of your blog. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lizbeth - November 22, 2011 - 4:49 PM

    Yowza! This is seriously the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in a long time. We live in a tall, skinny condo with a weird media wall, have a turntable and records to store, and love the MidMod design aesthetic as well. We’re a little on the audiophile side, and since our living room is on the second floor, we put our turntable on a floating shelf above the speakers. (We lagbolted it to the wall to hopefully keep it from getting jarred and jostled when people walk by). Have you had any sound issues with having your turntable on the pull-out shelf? Again, FANTASTIC work- I love the place!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 22, 2011 - 7:12 PM

    Thanks, Lizbeth! We have no audio issues with our turntable. The sliders that the turntable is mounted on are well made and have high quality ball bearings, not allowing for movement (so no skipping). Sounds fancy and expensive, but it really wasn’t!ReplyCancel

  • Delphine - November 23, 2011 - 12:22 AM

    I love your media center and no wires in sight !! Totally jealous !ReplyCancel

  • foo - November 23, 2011 - 7:51 AM

    I love this so much, I am going to steal the bottom console idea, probably completely. I have tons of records and a phonograph, and a low profile under a window, and this design fits the bill.

    great work.ReplyCancel

  • Jenn @My Southwestern Life - November 23, 2011 - 9:19 AM

    I came here from YHL. I just wanted to say that this is INCREDIBLE! Great work, guys! It looks like something that would cost thousands in a high-end furniture store, and it meets all of your needs. Your painstaking attention to detail shines through. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kate - November 23, 2011 - 9:50 AM

    Where are your gorgeous dog prints from??ReplyCancel

  • Molly - November 23, 2011 - 3:03 PM

    This is AMAZING! Where did you buy the legs for it?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 23, 2011 - 8:50 PM

      Molly, thank you! We bought them at our local Menard’s – but I can’t seem to find a link to them on their website. You can also find them on Amazon though, and you have the freedom to stain them whatever you like!

      Hope this helps,
      KimReplyCancel

  • CoolJ - November 25, 2011 - 4:19 PM

    This is VERY nice. We are about to take some gifted pine shelving and some craigslist cabinet & create something we hope will be similar. Looks sweet!ReplyCancel

  • [...] The prior owners used the tv on a different wall and I didn’t love it…it messed up the flow and really broke up the room. Tragically Todd and the cable guy deemed it not possible so we had to place the tv on the ground…which lasted all of maybe 10 minutes till Hurricane Tenley became a factor. So we got really fancy and used our dresser (that belongs in the bedroom) until we got it mounted. After living with the set up for like 3 days it was clear that our current set up was not going to work. I HATE it! So we decided we’d just cut up the wall a little more to see if it was feasible. Well once it was open we might as well see if we can run away this thought, I mean there’s a huge freaking hole in the wall now. So then the debating began, and please believe that there’s some sort of debate (nice way of saying argument) on just about every project we tackle. Todd pretty much took it on as a challenge once we had cut the hole. You can see that there wasn’t much support, in fact the 2x4s were literally attached by A nail so we had to figure out how to re-frame things and determine what was load bearing and what wasn’t. Since everything was opened it just made sense to drop the other lines, which then resulted in trying to figure out how to get a power outlet within the area AND make it legal and safe. While were trying to figure out where all the TV electronics were going to go and it just about started a meltdown from me. The surround sound receiver the box would stick out off the mantel by 6 inches…Todd thought it’d be no big deal, kinda like it was no big deal with Jake picked Vienna or Ben picked Courtney (yes, I did just reference The Bachelor). RIGHT Todd, no big deal…men and their poor choices! Pretty much when Todd said that was the best we could do, I was ready to grab my ball and go home. There was no we were going to leave things hanging off the mantel, in face I didn’t want to have an electronics on the mantel at all! So after going back and forth, we agreed that we’d build an additional shelf inside the fireplace. If you can see there is an electrical outlet in the back right hand side of the box. Todd had to actually go in and rewire and move the boxes. the middle part has about a 2″ clearance from the gas flute and then the wood is adhered to cement board too, we turned the fireplace on (yes it’s 100*+ here, we’re crazy) and fortunately heat’s not an issue…if we ever do use our fireplace! We plan on doing a grate of some sorts, something like this… {source} [...]ReplyCancel

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