Media Center Reveal

We did it! Built-ins Big Finish!

The living room isn’t totally finished, so if you’ll excuse the last few pieces of trim I’m going to write this post as if it’s completed.  We’re going to be on vacation all week and I'm anxious to get this posted. Without further ado, our big reveal:
A lot has changed since we began this project a couple weeks ago:
Big difference, right?  The cabinets kind of looked like they were swallowing the fireplace whole.  
I wasn't sure where to start, so I got on and poured through photos to come up with a plan of attack for the living room.  Jason’s taste is more modern and masculine, while my style is contemporary and eclectic.  Having different perspectives benefits the design because we each bring something unique to the table. 

Jason pushed for the thicker trim on the mantle and above the cabinets, but had to give in on the tv framing.  He was concerned about getting a bigger tv in the future and wanted to sit the television in front of the frame, while I wanted it to be recessed.  I like to work with what we have right now and greet challenges as they come.  In my opinion, entertaining “what ifs” means we are worrying about a problem that doesn't even exist, so we went with the recess.  
I want the fireplace to pop, not my flat screen.  Recessing it draws less attention to the television itself.  However, we were able to find an extendable mount, so if we ever do get a larger set, we can extend the mount and it can sit in front of the frame.   We also added decorative metal for the cabinet doors  and crossed our fingers that the remote would transmit to the cable box through the door (it did!).  
Our biggest hurdle was the flooring which didn’t extend under the built ins.  I searched the internet to see if anyone else had encountered this issue, but came up empty.   Contrasting colors on the floor would have divided the space and made the room look smaller, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to match the wood and attempting it would result in something that looked choppy and weird.  
I’ve always loved this beautiful hand cut glazed clay tile that Atlas Tile carries. Each piece is individually painted and kiln fired.  It comes in dozens of colors, so I was pretty sure we could find a way to blend it with our mahogany floors.  It’s also about id="mce_marker"7 a square foot.  I spent a week trying to find something cheaper, but when Jason caught me googling  “annapolis kiln’s for public use” (admittedly, I can get a little crazy on the DIY stuff) he told me to suck it up and make the big purchase.  Our house was built in 1980, so a brick hearth fits the era.  We decided to lay it across the entire floor to theoretically create the look of a really long hearth (even though I’ve never seen a hearth extend from wall to wall).  
For the fireplace itself I chose a creamy white tile from the same manufacturer to pull everything together.  Unfortunately, I didn't buy quite enough.  When tiling you need 10% more to account for waste from the pieces you cut, and I tried to save money by buying the exact amount.  I was three pieces short, and after paying $85 for freight shipping the first time I wasn’t about to order more, so I used some of the lighter colors from the hearth randomly placed in the design.  It actually turned out even better and gave it another dimension.  I did a couple posts on laying tile and grouting for anyone looking for how-to's.  

Once we get all the tools out of the left-hand cabinet it will be a great place to stash toys, and my office is built into the shelving, so we have a multi-functional space.  We still need to make a pull out shelf for the keyboard, but the computer fits perfectly. I hung a large photo frame on the wall as a dry erase board to write out my project ideas, to-do lists, and daily calendar.  
The room is desperately needing some color, there's a whole lot of beige going on.  I’m toying with painting my bar-stool/desk chair a teal and doing something to the backs of the bookshelves. Some DIY pillow cases and curtains will go a long way, but that’s the hardest part for me.  My talents lie in design, not decorating.  Luckily there are a lot of other bloggers out there with some excellent skills in that area for inspiration.    I'll post some progress when we get back, but for now, we are in the sunny Caribbean!  Have a great week, we'll be back soon!
For the ins and outs of this project, check out my posts on building the mantle, framing the tv, and building the cabinet frame, at

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