Y’all, I am positively thrilled to have Honey with us today sharing one of his recent DIY projects. So, without further ado, I turn over the reins to Honey…
I know that Amanda recently shared the two paintings we had our family friend, Mary Pratt, paint for her Christmas present. One of the things I love about my wife is that she never leaves me guessing as to what she wants so she’s always thrilled on Christmases, birthdays and all those other holidays Hallmark created. It’s always a win-win scenario.
What my lovely wife didn’t share about her Christmas gift was part 2 (The part that comes after writing the check and thinking I’m done.) She wanted me to build a cabinet around our TV in the bedroom and then hang the 2 paintings on it to close like barn doors. Being a guy, my first thought was “Why make me have to get up and open the cabinet to watch TV…you’re just making my life more difficult.” In the end, she begged and pled and pretty much drove me crazy until I agreed to the gift. In the event that you haven’t already figured this out about Amanda, let me go on and tell you that she always subscribes to the “form over function” school of thought.
This one was pretty easy to sketch out as it is just a box on the wall that the TV had to fit into. I decided to not have a top to this box so that the TV could still be taken off the wall and taken out to the porch when a big game is on. I made my measurements for the 3-sided box and measured how far out the TV stood for my depth and the total dimensions of the paintings. They were each 20×24 so when put together the total size of the paintings and box were 40″x24″. Note to self for future projects: don’t just measure depth at one point, because if something is tilting out and you measure at the shallowest point, you’re screwed later on. Which I was.
After gathering my supplies and tools I cut a couple of 2x4s to screw the side edges of this box into. I attached them to the studs in the wall and I had my framework. A while back I had already cut a hole in the drywall to weave the cords through so that they would be hidden. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, that too was an Amanda idea. The black thing is the best flat screen TV mount I’ve ever had. (See it here)
Next up, was attaching the side walls to the 2x4s. Really the only challenge was in making sure they were level with each other and hung as straight up and down as possible. If these weren’t nearly perfectly vertical, then the “barn doors” could swing open or closed on their own. How I handle something like this is to attach the wood and then measure with my level. If it is off, then I’ll loosen some screws and insert a wooden shim to make it straight. Screw the screws back in we are all good.
So I now have my side walls, next up was the bottom shelf. Easy enough, just screw it into the side walls. No troubles here…especially because it was going to be painted. Because it was going to be painted, the joint didn’t have to look too nice between the two pieces of wood. Once all of that was done, I used wood filler to fill in the areas where the screws were countersunk and also any gaps at the corner joints. Let dry, make a huge mess sanding them down, watch Amanda silently freak out over the mess, and then we are ready to paint.
Once the paint dried it was time to hang the paintings. This required a lot of precision because even though the side walls were perfectly upright, if the hinges were off, the paintings could still open or close on their own. I first attached the hinges to the paintings and then screwed in the top screw of the top hinge only to the box. This allowed me to swing the paintings shut to make sure they would close all the way without having too much of a gap. Once I had them lined up, I just eyeballed where the lower hinge sat on each side and then opened the paintings and screwed in all the hinges.
The last step was to make sure the paintings would stay closed. I first started out trying to use magnets to ensure the paintings stayed closed but that was a disaster so I moved on to door catches. This was what I should have started with anyways…the magnet incident wasted a lot of time and tested my sanity. (Door catch on left, magnet that didn’t work on right)
As far as I was concerned, this project was done. I cleaned up (which was a pain because of the sanding) and then hung the TV back on the wall. It fit perfectly in the box. It was centered horizontally and there was just enough room under the TV to put our cable box in there too. I sat back for a while and marveled at my DIY craftsmanship…sweet.
Then I went to close the paintings and disaster struck. It wouldn’t close…the TV tilted down and as I mentioned before, I measured depth from the bottom. So the top part of the TV was sticking out about ½ inch too far…this sucked.
Easy solution, I thought…just tilt the TV back some so it fits. Well with the box around the TV I couldn’t reach in there to change the tilt (and before you say something like “there is no top, just get a stool and reach in from the top”…remember the 2×4…yeah it’s in the way. There was some other reason why I couldn’t take the TV off, fix the tilt and then re-hang the TV. Something to do with the bracket I think.
So I had 2 options:
A) Remove one of the side walls, fix tilt, re-install wall
B) Cut top 2×4 somehow to make space to fit my arm back there
Neither option looked appealing. The first one would make another mess and I would have to redo so much of what I had done. The second option would be a pain because I didn’t have a reciprocating saw.
While I was procrastinating, the fact that I was only a ½ inch off stuck in my head. Then it hit me…drywall is usually 5/8 or ¾ of an inch.
So I get the TV back down, then unscrew the bracket from the wall. Cut out the drywall and then screw the bracket back into the same holes it was at. Re-hang the TV and the doors finally closed.
As is almost always the case, one of Amanda’s hair brained ideas turned out to be a pretty great addition to the place. I have to admit that I really enjoy working along side her to make this house awesome.
You ladies have a nice day.