Remember the room divider
post a little while back? I was using these two images below as my inspiration and starting point:
I had a CD cabinet similar to the one above, though much smaller… and I have metal poles in my living room like below (only uglier)…
My thought was that since it was too much work (and expense) to remove the poles, I’d embrace them and make myself a room divider which included them in a kind of farmhouse industrial style.
Now prepare your eyeballs for something really, really horrible… the view of our living room in mid-chaos a couple of years back. Not sure what I was up to then, but somewhere in between I decided to take these photos…
From the kitchen side:
From the front door side:
Beautiful poles, dividing the room in half, totally limiting what you can do with it, making it hard to decorate, ugly… what can I say? Not to mention the three different ceiling heights in our living room as different rooms were opened up or added to create the big living room (before our time).
Below you can see the CD cabinet, in amongst all the
crap bits of odd furniture we were using as part of Wayne’s office in the living room.
I started with the CD cabinet as my base. I’m not good at making furniture from scatch (how do I know? I’ve never tried it, but given my problems with measuring I’d say it was a fair bet!
… I found that the drawers were square and would fit in it either upright or on its side. I considered recycled timber but I decided to go with plywood. You can get it in large sheets so I wouldn’t have to join a million pieces. I used 12mm construction ply. Plenty strong enough for what I needed. I gave the guys at the hardware store the measurements I needed and they cut it for me using their wizbang saw.
I built a box around the cabinet with open shelves on either side to extend the cabinet to totally fill the space between the poles. I actually measured that really well. Its a really tight fit but it fits!
We won’t be moving this in a hurry…
I had planned to use some 60’s legs on it, but they were too spindly. This sucker is heavy. In the end I found some chunky round metal legs at Bunnings which were almost a perfect match for the poles (I got the slightly taller ones than the ones pictured. I bought 6 of them to make sure there’d be no sag, not that I expected any, but to appease Wayne who was concerned about the weight on just four legs.
I painted the poles satin black to match the legs and it looks like the poles were part of the design.
I build the unit/divider in two stages. First I made the base box around the CD cabinet, put legs on it, moved it in and gave it three coats of polyurethane.
I put the TV on it so we could use it while I built the top section to hold the PVR, DVD player, etc.
I made the top shelf as a separate box with dividers and back, but no bottom. I measured the PVR and DVD player and built cubbies to fit them, leaving one middle one free and two end ones open. Once that was finished I brought it in and just put it on top of the base. It wasn’t connected to anything at that stage.
Of course, you always need a back on a TV unit so the TV doesn’t go flying. Especially when you have a poodle like Romeo who not only watches TV, but likes to protect us from all the scary animals living in it!
I built the back out of ply offcuts. The two uprights go all the way to the ground for more stability and the top section (with air holes) sits on top of the upper shelf. I attached this to the base at the back with screws. I used mostly black screws for this job as I wanted the contrast between light ply and black metal. When I ran out of black screws I used regular ones (way cheaper) and just coloured their tops in using a permanent marker.
Now the back side of the unit is a small sitting area and you don’t have to look at the back of the TV.
This is what it looks like from the side. The living room area is now closest to the kitchen and you can watch TV from the kitchen through the opening, the office area is now on the far side of the living room and much less visible when its a mess!
At the last minute I decided to put backs on the side shelves of the bottom unit to hide the electric cables. Since the power points are on the wall, there was no power in the middle of the room. I had to get the electrician to come put a power point in the floor just next to the pole, you can see it in the photo above.
Stupid me – forgot to ask him to bring the antenna cable up too… sigh. Now I’ll have to do it myself or find a willing
sucker friend to do it for me.
I used leftover bits of peg board from my linen cupboard makeover
for that. I put the white sides to the front and the brown to the back but sprayed them gloss black – they look mat cause its a rough surface and they kind look like the stuff old speakers were made of.
I had my painting of Dancer framed and have hung it on the back side of the unit to give it a cosier feel. My first aid box sewing basket acts as a side table.
The divider/unit isn’t finished. There will be either one or two shelves above it taking it up to the beam, and the back bit needs to be polyurethaned. I just ran out of time before Christmas. I can easily polyurethane it a couple of evenings after work.
So what were the boo-boos in this project:
Well, of course there was the failure to bring the antenna cable over so now it has to sit under a rug and its visible.
There was the original plan to use galvanised iron for both the legs and between the shelves – I don’t know how all those bloggers in the USA build gorgeous shelving units out of that stuff… here its SO expensive! I paid over $60 for 6 legs and it would have cost MORE if I went with galvanised pipe!
The dividers between the PVR and DVD players aren’t totally straight… it was hard to attach them so it was a bit of a hit and miss process.
And best of all, with all the movement and weight, the bottom drawers of the CD cabinet no longer fit in their place! I’ll have to plane them off a bit. So till I do that I have the CDs just sitting in there like its a bookcase.
And I love it!