Deep Dive: The Entertainment Center

From the very beginning I'd planned on a built-in entertainment center located smack in the middle of the living space. As I started sketching out the framing, I figured out a way to incorporate it into the structure built to bear the load of the roof in the middle of the space. The most challenging part was getting this structure centered and symmetrical; I spent a lot of quality time with my tape measure and snap line.

On 18 May 2016, the sill plates started going down—a critical step, since any changes would become exponentially more difficult after this point.

As more sill plates went down, the outline of the entertainment center began to take shape.

Four days later, most of the framing was up. Notice the massive header beam across the top; this will bear the load of the roof, and do so with nothing under it.

The next day, I filled the opening with a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood. This was important because the plywood added stability to the most critical part of the living area framing. Eventually this plywood will be finished with hardwood veneer, and the TV will be mounted on it. The recess provided by the 2x6 framing around it will allow the TV to be flush with the wall.

At this point, the structural framing in this area was complete, so nothing else happened with the entertainment center until the middle of August. By then, the roof was on, so I could take my time with little details. I added a hi-fi shelf, and posed my stereo gear on it so as to have a glimpse into the future. All of the visible surfaces will be finished with hardwood veneer. The opening in the center provides access to the rear of the equipment to make wiring more convenient as well as less visible. The opening will eventually have a small door.

Note how the hi-fi shelf extends under the panel on which the TV will be mounted, into the closet/laundry behind it. On the other side, the area above the hi-fi shelf is filled with storage shelves, which, like the entertainment center, will be finished with hardwood veneer.

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