“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Entertainment Center Extreme Makeover

Saturday, July 21, 2012

See that entertainment center in the corner?  It's one of those "some assembly required" units from Target.  We bought it several years ago and while it's served us well it was time for a change.

We've been working on finishing our basement and part of that project is a home theater (photos to come), so most of our TV components (DVD player, PlayStation, VCR [yes, we still have one], etc.) are now downstairs in the partially finished room.  All we need upstairs is a small unit to hold the smaller TV, and a few extras.

The first step was to chop off the top half of the unit.  I forgot to take a closeup of the whole unit before, but you can see from the top photo that we cut it down from a unit that was about 4-1/2 feet tall to more of a console type unit.

Because we had to use a saw to chop off the top half, the edges of the new "top" were a little rough, so I filled them in with some of that fun, fancy spackle stuff that starts out pink and turns white when it's dry.

I also filled in some holes in the top ...

... and lots of other holes like where the old handles were in the doors.

Then everything got a good sanding ...

... and in some cases another coat of spackle until it was as smooth and even as I could get it. 

I still wasn't quite happy with how boxy the top was though.  It needed a little oomph.  A little pizazz.  A little something more.

This piece was the old top of the unit before we chopped off the top half.  See how it has a nice curve on the front and a slightly rounded edge?  That was just the extra touch I needed.  So I unscrewed it from the side pieces to reuse it as the top of the new shorter unit.

I sanded it to be sure that it would adhere properly.

Then I applied Gorilla Glue (suggested by my father-in-law – that stuff is way awesome!), placed the new/old top carefully and clamped it.  Since there was no place to put clamps on the back side, I put as much weight in books and pieces of the old unit as possible to weigh it down so it would adhere well.

Now on to the doors.  You can't tell very well from that crappy before photo at the beginning of this post, but the doors were plain, boring, flat.  Ugh.  Like the top, I wanted them to have a little something extra special.  So I got some half round from Menards, measured several times very carefully, cut each piece at a 45 degree angle, and glued them to the sanded faces of the doors with Elmer's Wood Glue.  They look a little weird this way, but ...

... a good coat of paint made a world of difference.

And another coat (or two) made them even better.  Isn't that just so much nicer than a plain flat door?

Once the glue had dried on the main unit, I gave that several coats of paint as well.

There was a point at which I really thought I might never be done painting, but eventually, there were enough coats on all the pieces to cover every hint of the old fakey wood veneer.

I set my new unit in place and put the TV on top and also added in the center shelf, which, by the way, got a little makeover of its own.  It had been just a plain shelf with a squared off front, so I added a piece of half-round to that too, to give it a little more polished look.

Then it was just a matter of attaching the doors with their new prettier handles, and adding in a few accessories, and voila!  The look is complete.  It took a couple days of work, but it was so worth it.  This piece of 100 times prettier than the original was.  (In my ever so humble opinion, of course.)

Now on to the next project!

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