Over the last couple of weeks, our monstrosity of a temporary media setup had finally got the best of us. Kim was tired of looking at three gigantic (although fantastic sounding) speakers (okay, me too!), and we were both tired of craning our necks to look up at the television screen perched precariously on top of the center speaker. We decided that my beloved JBL setup would end up on Craigslist or eBay, with the assumption that the funds would go toward new Definitive Technology in-wall stereo speakers and a new center channel speaker that is much smaller and easier on the eyes than the one it replaced.
Those speakers, a new wall mount, and an afternoon later, we’ve gone from a center-channel-speaker-television-balancing-act to a sleek new setup that sounds great.
The project started with an innocent conversation (weeks ago), where we asked each other, is the media cabinet maybe – just a little bit – too tall?; this, in turn, led to our decision to take it down a handful of inches. Enter my handy cordless circular saw and a drywall bucket to handle the heavy lifting. Five minutes later, The legs were chopped down by three inches making a huge difference (it no longer looked like it could’ve been a former desk or sideboard, and instead, looked like an honest to goodness media center!), and we were moving on.
I had previously marked all of the studs with blue tape, and while we were fairly certain that our wall cavities were spaced perfectly, we tacked up the included cutout templates and went ahead and triple-checked all of our measurements for the left and right speakers. (Note the size difference between old and new equipment!)
We had installed the new wall mount earlier in the day, so we draped a tarp over the TV and got to chopping up our perfectly good drywall. If your home is more modern that ours, you’re likely cutting only through drywall, in which case a drywall jab saw is all you’ll need. Cutting drywall can be intimidating, but it’s not difficult. Take your time and measure a few times to be certain of your spacing and avoid time-consuming repairs.
Once we had the holes cut out, we dropped in-wall certified speaker wire down through the wall cavity and placed speaker connections directly below them to avoid having to run cable horizontally through the studs.
As mentioned, the project took the better part of an afternoon, but we’re really happy with the results. The speakers sound great and can even be painted later on to help them disappear more seamlessly into the wall.
While we were at it, I found some industrial strength stick-on Velcro in a junk drawer and stuck the HD antenna to the back of the TV screen. It hasn’t affected the signal quality as of yet, but time will tell. Regardless, it’s a huge improvement over its previous home flopping around in a wiring rat’s nest behind the cabinet (and you know how much we hate that). Below, you can see that the mount allows for the television to angle towards the dining room (and kitchen), and in the same way, we could swing it towards the front window, too – dining al fresco while watching the tube? We can do it!
At the same time, it collapses back onto the wall pretty flush, something that was on the must-have list during my online shopping:
Admittedly, we’re still a little torn on the finish of the cabinet, but the clean new look somehow makes it seem a little more tolerable in the meantime. With so many other decisions going on around the home, this one is no hurry.
We’re not sure if our green velvet chair will stay in the living room or go up to the studio (rather, we’ve been toying with the idea of an under-window bench), but we love how the deep, rich hues tie together from room to room. To top it off – literally – we hung Kim’s grandparents clock above the whole set-up (a sentimental hand-me-down), the icing on the cake.