Monday, March 8, 2010

On The Drawing Board...

Going Through Money Like Water part II

John and I had discussed what we needed and wanted in an entertainment center. First priority was for storage, unless I can come up with some crafty way to use old VHS video tapes...make them into tables...bookcases? If I were Hildi, (Santo-Tomas) of Trading Spaces fame, I'd probably just glue them to the wall.

Photo above...Papa's brand new toy, temporarily housed on our folding buffet/banquet table. Cable black box, video recorder and DVD player keep it company.

Hildi had a penchant for gluing or stapling anything that didn't move or breath to hapless walls and I think that's only because she just hadn't gotten around to it yet. Certainly she had a list of things like; Styrofoam restaurant doggie boxes, abandoned old tires, empty beer cans, small automobiles, somewhere on that list she must have had, dogs, cats, pet goldfish, etc. I always felt sorry for those poor souls that ended up "Hildi-ized" and even now I wonder about the lady who had straw glued to her walls, since she had small children I'm sure she ended up with straw strewn from one end of her home to the other. How long before she freaked out and called her Trading Spaces buddy to say; "Get your arse over here and help me get this _ _ _ _ _ _ _ mess off the walls." Yes, that was definitely THE reason I never considered auditioning for Trading luck I would have gotten Hildie !!!

But I digress ! Boy did I ever digress ! Back to the media center...

John and I probably drew up dozens of different designs, most of which just didn't fit our requirements, which were:
  1. It had to be able to store ALL our "media" stuff
  2. It had to fit within the space of the wall, and
  3. It could not cost more than what we spent on building our house.

photo above...unfortunately Coby tossed out all the designs that were nixed so we'll just have to envision them on the final draft. Our 1st draft had banks of drawers across all 4 of the lower cabinet boxes. Yes it looked nice but...

Ultimately we came up with a plan, albeit a rough plan but it was a start. Thinking it would be fun to be different I designed the whole base of the unit with drawers instead of doors, however once we got to the home improvement center and sat down with Coby, the Home Improvement Center's design consultant, things changed.

Coby really liked the idea and thought it was great to have all the drawers on the bottom and perhaps it was, it looked good but...oh yes that awful contradiction...but where were we going to put John's record album collection ? The drawers weren't really deep enough and it would be an inconvenient way to access our albums . We decided to remove the section of drawers on the two end units and replace them with door cabinets, thereby giving us space for John's records.

Picture above...Imagine the drawers on the 2 bottom end units being replaced with doors.

Deftly, uncomplainingly, Coby drafts this change on his computer cad program and as I watch the units dropping into place on the PC screen, it dawns on me. NO, it's all wrong! Now the unit looks like it is flanked on each side by two overly tall, overly thin towers; an illusion caused by the vertical lines of doors above doors and no space between them to break up this tall linear effect.

photo above...Imagine this end unit with a set of doors on the bottom and then picture the top cabinet with another door cabinet mounted above it, making the upper cabinet 48". Now close your eyes and try to imagine one on each end !

STOP! Coby stop! Don't click finish, don't finalize it, don't pass go and don't collect $200; just give me a moment to rethink this. Okay, how about drawers on the bottom units of each end tower and doors on the middle unit ?

Patently Coby complied and deleted the drawer units. This is much more involved than simply highlighting, clicking delete and then typing in a new word as virtual upper cabinets have to be lifted and moved out of the way in order to remove the ones on the bottom, then the new lower cabinets have to be set into placed and finally the upper cabinets can be replaced above them; exactly the way you'd have to do it real life. It's most difficult, more like impossible, to place a wall cabinet in the air and expect it to stay there without responding to a force we call gravity.

The next draft was better, much better but...well you get the picture, this went on for quite some time. I decided to have decorative glass doors on the flanking end cabinets and we tweaked this and modified that until finally John and I agreed it was the way we wanted. So now Coby begins printing out what must have the 8th or 9th version of our media center design but this time he prints out the sheet with its estimated cost as well. Both John and I concur, the design looks great...the cost however is another story. Waaaay more than we anticipated!

Picture above...yes this is the finale draft of our media center but we really weren't done re-designing. Though we had added drawers the upper cabinets on the rough draft were still a combo of 4 cabinet boxes; two boxes on each side one measuring 30" and the other 18" in height to total 48".

After John and I returned home we sat and studied the plan, went over all the many components, itemized each unit's cost and tried to rationalize some means of cutting it down; getting the dollar signs back into our ballpark instead of the ballpark in Donald Trump's neighborhood. It was agonizing but I decided to forgo the lovely, carved glass doors that were about $200 extra per cabinet and we decided it wasn't necessary to have the 2 end towers be so tall. So instead of having two wall cabinet boxes, one above the other on each side, we could replace the 4 units with two 40" units and save a few dollars.

I was sure that when Coby saw us returning he would probably want to duck inside a tall display pantry and hide, I could even imagine him cowering in the dark, whimpering like a frightened puppy but for some reason he stood his ground and greeted us warmly. Maybe he's used to it? He listened to our requested modifications and began the redesigning process. With time we managed to scratch off a few hundred dollars, however the total was still mind boggling and the dilemma was; do we do it or do without? We decided to take the plunge, to go ahead and order the cabinets and all those little bits and pieces that are needed to put it all together and finish it off. Had we a crystal ball we might not have committed ourselves to this project but one can never tell what tomorrow will bring. And believe me, tomorrow had something in store.



  1. Can't wait to see the final entertainment centre. We were lucky that the previous owner of our condo made a built in unit for all that stuff....phew! ;)

  2. ooooh! wow! good luck with all this! Or tv is in our family room/my studio in a nook in the finished basement. I'm a minimalist in some respects, so a simple, nice media center was actually our first 'real' furniture purchase! It's super small and simple though!

  3. It looks very exciting :) It is kinda depressing when you go thru all that design stuff and then the big bad money thing says ya can't have what you want :(

    No designing anything for me for the next few years except big zeros on these college loans :)

    Looking forward to seeing the final completion.

    Have a great day, T.

  4. Very good luck with your project! I´ll come back to see how it looks! and thank you very much for commenting on my blog! ;)

  5. wow! last year, i designed my parents' kitchen remodel using a CAD program and it was great and horrid at the same time. it was so easy to change things, but it was easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection. :) (like lexus, haha :))

    good luck!

  6. That's pretty amazing. Hubby and I have been designing a DVD wall shelf unit--and we both disagree on everything--color, how tall, and how many DVDs should it hold. Glad you both had some objective help! Have fun!

  7. I couldn't stop laughing through this whole thing, I'm sure Cody had a great time with you guys and was more than happy to design the new entertainment center no matter how many revisions you threw at him lol. So glad you decided to go for it (they don't say money is fluid for nothing my friend :-) It looks great and will be perfect to house the brand new tv and all the fixin's


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