Den/Office 1.4

I don’t have a big picture for this update, because there’s not much that’s changed in the room visually at this point—but that doesn’t mean nothing got done.

Today’s work is almost solely the result of an awful lot of hard work by my wife. She did a bunch of touch-ups this morning while I was getting some other things squared away, and this evening she went through the room and used up the remainder of the two gallons of paint we bought to do an entire second coat on the room all by herself.

As if that wasn’t enough, she also steam cleaned the perimeter of the room (the chair and piano are still in the center of the room) after vacuuming up the last of the drywall dust. It was an insane amount of work, but my wife is a superwoman and I clearly don’t deserve her. And all this with her starting school with my children next week as well as getting Caleb ready for his first day on Friday.

I bought her a pizza and some of one of her favorite beers as a thank you this evening, but I’m certain that wasn’t enough. I should try to be more creative.

I did put the frame together for my new desk:


The top for the desk is still propped up in the garage, but I plan on installing it tomorrow. I’ve tested the desk frame and everything is working great. Yes; it’s in my kitchen right now.


The reason she ended up doing that work by herself was that I summoned my main man Ken over today and we got to work on the living room project. There are a couple of bits of furniture I want to move from the living room out to the office, so I wanted to get that project rolling. I had planned on helping Amanda with the painting after I was done with it, but I’m upstairs now and it’s after 1 a.m. and it’s still not done.

Here’s the setup I had before today’s work:


It’s served me well to date, but there was a lot about it I didn’t like. The audio pier—of which I had removed the door long ago for cooling reasons—has  been an awkward piece of furniture, and the receiver being located off-center made wiring the room difficult. (I have speaker connections I ran just after the house was built that go to the surrounds on either side of the entrance area of the room.

The only solution for these problems that made sense was to mount the TV on the wall. As I tweeted previously, this was a decision that was probably a long time coming, and Matt asked me about that:

I promised there was a blog post coming about it, and so here’s the word. I have resisted mounting the screen for the following reasons:

  • I don’t like taking risks with $1k+ electronics in general. I’m not the handiest of people, and always worried that I would run into a problem, either mounting the brackets or placing the screen on them.
  • I have a lot of devices plugged in to the TV at any given time, so I have concerns about cable management. My TV wall is an external wall, and routing cables through it isn’t a trivial matter. (Plus, the wall plug for TVs is not rated to go through the wall, which means extra complicated work.)
  • I used to sell mounting plans to people as a TV salesman (at Circuit) and I had so many customers elect to place the set high on the wall, which is not an ideal location for viewing (if you have the right wall it should be as close to center on the wall as possible in most cases). I didn’t want to make that same mistake and always felt I would be tempted to do so.

Here’s what swung me around to wanting to put the screen on the wall:

  • Aforementioned wiring difficulties with the layout of the room that would be solved with a more central device location.
  • Desire to upgrade the size of the screen in the near future from 55″ to 70″. (70″ is the break point for “affordable” right now because of scale of larger panels.) You can see in the picture that with the length of the room, the current set feels small. And once you hit sizes like 70″, using a TV stand becomes less practical.
  • Safety. As long as the screen is anchored properly, it’s actually safer to have the TV on the wall than on a stand, where it can tip over and injure young Markels. And Rebekah is not yet 2 and already a climber.

After an evening’s worth of work, here’s where we are with that room:


A few notes about this image:

  • The screen is a bit higher than center. I measured out to 40″ from the bottom of the screen to the floor but that ended up being higher than I wanted. I’m OK with this, and the brackets on the back of the screen are adjustable, so I can change it in the future.
  • This is also because I measured now for the 70″ screen I plan to purchase. When that goes up, it should be more or less in the center of the wall.
  • Man, I had a lot of crap in that furniture (that you now see strewn about the place). The walls also look crazy empty to me, but I think I’ll be able to solve that problem.
  • Mark reminded me about something before I got started:

With Ken’s help, I was able to get the bracket level, but had more of a problem leveling the brackets on the back of the set. Thankfully, the adjustment pins on the back of the mount took care of that problem for me. According to a torpedo level, it’s correct now. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get the rest of the components installed and then I’m just going to twist-tie the wiring into a bundle. I did buy a cable management solution I really like, but I’m going to wait to do that until I can find the pictures I took of the framing of that wall because the stud finder ended up with some very interesting results.

Then, I’ll be going through the rest of the junk that was in the various bits of furniture and pitching or storing anything I don’t need most of the time.

The whole thing is starting to come together, and I should have some much closer-to-final images to share tomorrow. This has so far been a lot of fun, and it even got me writing again, so it’s been well-spent. :)