Remodeling My Entertainment Center

by Josh on October 9, 2010 · 3 comments

in furniture,Living Room,Projects

Like a kind of housewarming present, the previous owners left us a few pieces of furniture when we moved in six years ago.  The most notable of these is a custom entertainment center bookshelf that the previous owner built himself.  It isn’t the prettiest thing in the house but it is very functional and I just never thought much about it.

Never thought about it, that is, until we got a new, larger TV (after our 6-year-old squirted water at the old TV and ruined the LCD panel) that no longer fits in the TV niche in the shelf unit.  Suddenly, not only did the TV look wrong, but I also saw that we were only really using half of the shelves.  So I decided to cut the entertainment center down to accommodate the TV, be more proportionate to our storage needs, and hopefully look better in the process.  Here it is before any modifications:

Entertainment Center Before

To begin right-sizing the shelving unit, I first decided on a finished height of 36 inches.  After emptying the shelves and moving the unit away from the wall, I marked cutting lines on the vertical boards using a tape measure and a carpenter’s square.  Then I positioned the guide rail of my DeWalt Tracksaw on the cutting line and clamped it in place.  I also used a pair of bar clamps to press up on the material above the cut to keep it from binding on the saw blade during the cut.  With the clamps holding the kerf open, the cut was a breeze.

Cutting Entertainment CenterAfter three more cuts, the entertainment center had been reduced from seven feet tall to only three.

Entertainment Center Cut Down

I removed the top board from the section of shelf I had removed and installed in on the top of the shorter entertainment center using wood glue and finish nails.  I used a nail set to sink the nail heads and filled the holes with putty, then used Howard’s Restore-a-Finish from my local True Value Hardware to refinish the many scuffs and wear marks.

Entertainment Center Top Mounted

Finally, I repositioned the entertainment center, filled it back up with our things and hung the TV on the wall above it.

Entertainment Center Finished

In the process of installing the wall mount kit for the TV, I made an interesting– though not completely surprising– discovery.  Instead of drilling into plaster and lath, I found the wall surface was simply wood paneling.  Then I found that although there were regular studs spaced every 16 inches at the bottom of the wall, some of these studs disappeared in the middle of the wall where I was trying to anchor the TV mount.  Then it dawned on me: this wall of the sunroom used to have a pair of windows that looked out onto the front porch.  At some point, perhaps as a security concern, the windows were removed and the opening concealed with paneling in the sunroom and on the porch.  (These aren’t the first covered over windows I’ve found, either.)  Who knows how much of the window framing remains inside that wall?  Perhaps I’ll find out if I decide to restore that porch view someday.  Until then, I’m happy to enjoy the view of my much improved entertainment center.

Disclosure: I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program and my DIY project as well as my posts about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

The Stucco Bungalow October 9, 2010 at 7:15 am

What a beautiful transformation! The new size and shape really update the unit and make an impact in the room. LOVE the refinished wood!


Jamie October 17, 2010 at 5:47 am

Wow! What a great improvement!


katie October 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

Love this! Good job just reworking something you already have, rather than buying new (unlike the TV situation, which had to be remedied with a new purchase! Luckily, it’s a funny story that you can remind your son of often as he grows up:)


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