My new living room project.

asheashe

Active Member
Childs play compared to some on here!

Originally when we bought the house last year I planned on building a home cinema in the double detached garage, however over the last year we have found the masses of space in this building really useful and would be tough to lose it now, plus the additional conversion costs and it meaning we'd still have to do the living room and go outside to get to it each time, I settled on building something thats a great experience for us in the living room instead. The idea is for us to have a nice AV setup to enjoy films etc on, but not have this be the sole purpose of the room and to let a lot of light into the room when not in use for movies.

I looked at loads of Besta setups on here and on other sites, but my amp has quite a lot of depth so would have been poking out the front of the cabinet before any wires were even in the back. I have quite a lot of gear, with plans to get more, so wanted to have something big enough for what I have now, as well as being future proofed and giving us additional storage in the room. We watch a lot of movies and TV shows and I do a lot of gaming, so wanted something that gave us a really good experience, without taking over the entire room.

I didn't feel like sharing this until it started shaping up so will post the story so far and update it up until completion.

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This is the living room as it was when we moved in - not our furniture or gear, these are from the property listings when we bought it. The room is nice and light, but annoying shape for AV setups due to the L shape. Initially we had a large corner sofa by the far window, with the TV opposite - at the time that was a 7 year old LG 50 inch plasma, and some old onkyo 5.1 surround set (receiver + speakers kit) with passive sub.

Viewing distance of about 5m which was far from ideal for that TV size and the speakers, which were fine in the old room, lacked a bit of thump in the new larger and differently shaped space. The fireplace is marble but wasn't the best construction and fireplace just cheap electric job, unlikely we would use this and the fact it isn't central to the wall or in great condition was a bit annoying to us, so we plan to strip this out and skim over the wall to have it look neat.


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Just another view of the above - showing the other window opposite the front window.

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This view shows the window - where we originally had the TV when we moved in - I took this recently as we ripped the fireplace out. Unexpectedly behind fireplace and electric fire there was capped off gas pipe sticking out the wall so had to get an engineer in to move that back into the wall. We ripped the old fireplace out ourselves and sold it. Weighed a ridiculous amount!

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The current rear view of the house with the window from the previous picture at the far left (Again, this is from the sales brochure - the garden is massively different now after mrs has spent a year working on it, but just wanted a quick picture for illustration)

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After much two-ing and fro-ing and text message debates while she was on a night shift, this is the layout that we settled on. We originally planned to have a sofa on the right hand wall where the Ikea chair is shown - but viewing distances were still going to be huge at over 5m, which according to the tables I looked at makes 4k quality equivalent to 720p at that distance.

I upgraded to an LG 65 inch C8 Oled about a year ago before this plan was rejigged, and it felt like a waste to have such a sexy set and sit so far away from it. Meanwhile I sold my Onkyo setup and my dad gifted me his ancient Mission M70 speakers & Sub which were a huge upgrade from the onkyo all-in-one receiver and speaker set, and i complimented this with a new Pioneer VSX933 receiver. Planned on all speakers to be mounted on the wall with cables chased into the wall.

Note: the ikea chair on its own on the right is an in-joke between me and the mrs as I love Poang chairs and she keeps trying to make me get rid of it.

The new sofa is a 4 seater power recliner, currently expected end of September.

The wall along the bottom, the mrs designed a window she wanted to let her look into the garden as she is a keen gardener and spends a lot of time in there getting everything how she wants it, and she wanted somewhere she can chill indoors with a cup of tea and look out into the garden, so its a full height window and two small grey chairs (which she is yet to settle on) - we originally wanted laminate but have switched to carpet now for comfort. The other window will remain as-is as its balanced to the windows at the front of the house.

The AV unit was originally going to be a besta hack, but while I was originally on board with a really long one, I couldn't solve the depth issue for my receiver in an easy way, and I've got a lot of consoles, a HTPC and other gear that I want to tuck away inside, so while the above image shows the original Besta design I had planned, I eventually went in a different direction.

Overall plan for decor is all walls light grey except main wall which will be brilliant white to match the units. Carpet is a dark grey, and sofa is dark grey, curtains light grey, and we will be adding colour accessories to contrast the room and some floating shelves /art prints.

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All plants moved out of the way ready for the work - I know they are professionals but something scary about someone cutting a huge hole in your house like that! Disaster does strike this morning as we moved everything out of the way for the workmen - I dropped my centre speaker and it shattered everywhere. They're an old set and buying a new one wouldn't cost a lot, but its investing money in old gear and condition may not be as good. Decision is made that as the whole room is being refreshed, new speakers will be sourced! Purchase made for: 1x Dali Opticon Vokal centre speaker 2x Dali Oberon 1 L & R speakers (these will become rear speakers down the line) 2x Dali Altecco C1 atmos speakers 1x Monolith Plus DF All in white. but as different ranges, will have to sort out the grills later so they match. for rear surrounds going to keep using the missions for now and sort those out at a later date. Lower priority!

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Close up of the massive hole

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This is the window she wanted - its tilt and turn windows which are ideal for us as we have two bengal cats, so we can have them on lock when they are in the room and they can't get out the windows, and they open fully inside if its really hot and they are out of the room.

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Windows installed - plus one of aforementioned cats. Originally they had quoted us £100 to make good the plaster, but we were planning on getting this wall skimmed away to fix some bodged filling jobs from previous occupant, so we cancelled their plasterer and knocked £100 off the final price. Seemed a lot for such a small part anyway?

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View from outside of the window - I wasn't hugely bothered about the old window as it was the girlfriends project but had to admit once it was done I really liked it. As we have french doors on the other side of the house, it really adds balance to the back view of the house too.

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Right, that other direction that I went in to Besta - looked at all sorts of options for increasing depth of Besta but didn't really like any of them. Instead, found a few guides for Metod cabinets for a sideboard, and though this had potential to be a nice roomy beast of an AV cabinet doubling up as storage.

Kit:
1x KARLBY Walnut worktop 246cm
1x KARLBY walnut worktop 186cm
4x METOD 60x60 wall cabinets in white
2x METOD suspension rail
1x BILLSBRO handle 2 pack
1x UTRUSTA hinges 2 pack
1x UTRUSTA soft close dampeners 2 pack
2x VEDDINGE door 60x60 white

It would be big, but would allow all the networking, media playback, NAS server, consoles (PS4 Pro, SNES Mini, Switch, and will probably get both next generation consoles to replace PS4 Pro), wires, VR unit etc that take up a load of space in the room now to all be tucked away neatly with room for additional stuff to be added. I decided to get a full motion TV bracket for the wall because its going on a solid external facing wall and be good to have the flexibility to adjust angle or bring it out over the centre speaker, and as I'd ideally have had the TV a bit lower, but its a huge TV, a slight downward angle would be nice, but be able to put it back against the wall where needed to keep the room looking neat.

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Started to assemble the units where they will eventually go. Bonus cat inspecting the work.

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Carpet shopping! Eventually went for one with a finer pile, but its this colour. Put a project plan together for all the work to be done in the room and carpet has a 10 day lead time for fitting, so once skirting boards are done and radiators are back on the wall, we'll book this in.

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Room is chaos at this point, girlfriend acceptance factor is low despite it being her window work that kicked all this off! Had to move the sofa out of the corner so can visualise the units in place. Sofa becoming an issue now as don't want it hanging around when new carpets getting fitted, so we made the decision to sell this - managed to get £250 for it despite it being about 10 years old so that was a bit of a result. The downside of this is the new sofa is expected around 20th September, so we've got 2 months of sitting on Ikea chairs between now and then!

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Exceptionally handy mate comes over to help fit the suspension rods so we can see the units in place before work kicks off and get all the measurements right
 

asheashe

Active Member
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Downgraded my TV for some very roughly cut weed matting. In hindsight we should have done all this after the walls got skimmed, but needed to make sure it was all going to go on the wall and fit properly! On the left you can see the hastily blocked off flue that needs blocking up that was concealed behind the marble fireplace - cats were banned from the room unattended as last thing I needed was to try and get a cat out of the flue.

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Units in place on the suspension rail, cat claimed them for her own.

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KARLBY walnut worktop in place along the top, just have the ones to add on the sides now.... but it was at this point that I decided that I actually quite liked how it went on in situ and decided to return the extra length of KARLBY, rather than do each side of it - partially because the right hand side wouldn't really be seen as its next to the wall, and partially because those side bits were costing £120 and as we liked it in place as it was, it was a decent saving - decided to put shelves in the centre two sections, and add frosted glass windows to the bottom parts of those two sections. The advantage of these METOD cabinets, is that they are designed for fridge-freezers, so there are ventilation holes at the top and bottom which are great for feeding cables and plugs through - and even the (included) shelves have the same space at the back. Saves a lot of cutting!

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The gap looks quite big there between TV and cabinet, but there is a very large centre speaker to be mounted. Considered putting this in the AV cabinet but A/B tested it and found it definitely altered the sound profile - it wasn't central so you could hear the sound wasn't coming from dead centre and to my ears it sounded different in the cabinet, girlfriend couldn't tell the difference so got mate over who confirmed suspicions.

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Speakers out for a pleasing test run - eventually these will be rears as the non-matching grills will drive me nuts - but for now these are the L & R front speakers. They need a bit of clearance so have mounts for both to go on the wall.

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Delivery! Monolith Plus DF sub, all 50kgs of it. Delivery man was not happy and said should have been a two man job. He wasn't kidding! It took me and my girlfriend to get it out of the box, and a coordinated effort to carry it over to its new home. This was the first the girlfriend learned about the subwoofer and to say she was not impressed at its size and weight is an understatement!

We never argue about anything though and some light ribbing occurs about it.

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Well packed!

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Cat investigates the beast.

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Must admit I really like its understated clean design and the white matches the METOD cabinets.

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AV Installation phase 1 - speaker cables are chased into the walls and 4 additional double power sockets added, cable for sky to the TV for freesat as its about the only broadcast TV we watch, and ethernet networking points for the TV and our 8 port network switch. Looks a state and girlfriend not impressed by this stage. Sockets to be hidden are kept in white, could always be changed later on, ones on show in brushed steel.

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Must admit I was myself unimpressed at how all this looked, but as we were getting this wall skimmed anyways, I just had to have faith. The lads assure me that plasterer will skim it nice and smooth. Plasterer booked for 2 days later, loosened all sockets for him ready. he has really good reviews on his facebook page so not concerned too much.

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two walls skimmed (the window wall due to work at the side of each window, and this wall with chasing and fireplace blocked up. Other walls all in good condition so left those for now.

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I was out while it was being done, expecting to find sockets neatly fitted to walls, I was a bit bemused to find them looking pretty shoddy. Called plasterer up and expressed dissatisfaction and he came out and added some filler around the edge...

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...as the decorator coming in a few days, tried to cut round the edge so he could try sort it out and it flaked very easily as he had done it right up to the socket. Not a very tidy job at all. Plasterer blamed the guys who cut out the channels in the walls for doing a rough job, and said decorator should be able to tidy it up. Decorator says he will do his best. Bit deflated at this point - again it will largely be hidden away but we will know its there. Am not sure if we are being too picky and its something easily sortable, but will see.

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Decorator has been and painted the walls. Experimented with the two light fittings we settled on. Challenge being we have two lights in the room, both fitted with Hue bulbs, which we love but aren't mega bright so wanted something to diffuse the light and not block it like a lot of light shades do, so needed to be mostly clear. This is the one we eventually decided on as it hides the actual bulb, lets all the light through and doesn't look like something out of the 80's. We'll compliment these with some lamps in the room.

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This was the other light fitting - we initially preferred this one but fell out of love with it during the trial period.

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AV guys come back to mount everything on the wall - chew out the plasterers shoddy work and say they will fix it but will mean repainting the sockets. We have plenty of paint left over and would rather repaint than have the sockets looking awful. so he applies some easifill and talks me through how the plasterer should have done this job but didnt. lets first coat dry then applies a second coat, building it up to cover the socket. Says he will come next day to sand it down and make it flush.
 

asheashe

Active Member
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View of the speakers and TV without the cabinets yet mounted.

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Handy mate comes over to help cut out the holes for the wall plates and the power sockets. Loads of glare on the TV screen here, but we are getting plantation shutters installed, as well as curtains at the side; luckily no glare at all from the viewing position, but should this change come winter, the shutters and/or the blinds will sort it out for us.

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Still got wires everywhere, but at this stage we've been without a TV for 2 weeks so just wanted it set up for the evening. They came back and sanded the socket down nicely for us - needs repainting so will take a pic once its done, but its no longer an eyesore with smooth plaster and socket flush to the wall. Result! Fitting of the besta frosted cabinet doors gets relegated to the non-urgent work list because the Besta hinges aren't compatible with the Metod carcasses, so will need to drill some new holes for these.

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Testing it on the evening with some demo files

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Installed Huestacean on the nvidia shield to try and get the ambilight effect.

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Happy with that! The AV install work is now done, just a few bits of optimisation to do.

Work is booked in for:

New Radiators x2 - August 2nd
Skirting board fitting - August 6th
Fitting new carpet - August 16th
New Sofa - ETA Mid September

To do list (non-urgent work):


  • Add individual wall plates for the L, R & C channels on the wall as they are currently just coming-out of the wall and its not neat, hardly seen but want it done properly.
  • Replace current speaker wire from wall-plate to receiver as just using some offcuts at the moment from my old setup
  • Replace Front L & R channel with Dali Opticon 1's and move Oberon 1's to rear L & R surrounds to have black grilles
  • Replace Dali Altecco C1 front grills with black for uniform look across all front speakers
  • Replace rear surround speaker columns so they are white instead of black to fit in with the room decor
  • Source 2x grey arm chair/tub chairs and coffee table for area by window
  • Repaint around sanded socket
  • Try out an Anti-mode as I feel like the shape of the room doesn't lend itself perfectly to a non-EQ'd sub.
  • Additional LED lightstrip for under the cabinet
  • Fit replacement lightswitches - we have 3 styles of lightswitches in the room - JUST WHY! We use Hue extensively, either via Harmony or alexa voice controls, occasionally app - never light switch - but for neatness we just want to have these consistent so have bought some to tidy the look up.
  • Buy and install an ikea sideboard - we are big cocktail fans and have a huge alcohol collection which is currently in the garage, some of the kitchen cabinets and in one of the spare rooms - we decided to build a Besta cabinet to go along the back wall, no worktop on it - as this wall is grey so the white will contrast with that, and then add some finishing touches to the top (Sonos, house plant, nest thermostat, some art on the wall above it etc. This has been bought and put together, but we bought the same hinges we got for METOD cabinets and they aren't compatible, so they are coming on Wednesday 31st July.Doors and handles to the unit will match the AV unit for consistency.
  • Fit the frosted glass BESTA cabinet doors to bottom half of the AV unit.
  • Once everything is in place furniture wise, calm it all together, screw the units together and screw worktop to unit & apply the silver handles
  • Fit toughened glass top to subwoofer (ordered)

Anyway, after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, girlfriend acceptance factor is where it needs to be, and she is looking forward to watching Gardeners World. The monolith plus is an absolute beast even without any sub EQ and I love it. I break the news to her that Monty Don probably doesn't get mixed in Atmos or have any LFE. Will update as furniture arrives/gets built, we finish our snagging list and bang through the improvements we identify.
 

asheashe

Active Member
looking good, nice and clean. Really like the hue lighting behind the TV. I bought some last year, still havent put it up behind the TV yet. After seeing your post its given me some motivation lol

Cheers - we actually had this one under the sofa for about the last 6 months as i was procrastinating doing it - because the old TV was basically in front of the window, would have looked weird to the outside world!

Glad I've done it now as the effect is really nice. I'm not a fan of the backing tape that is on the LEDs however, but there are cheap clips on amazon that are a bit like cable ties with sticky pads on, found those great as could put them in place one by one and get positioning right.
 

Will I Aint

Active Member
Nice job you've done there. So hard to finalise where all the wiring needs to go when you only have a shell and no furniture. I moved house 2 years ago and we had the downstairs ripped out. Might post my own thread inspired by yours, much to learn from challenges that other have already faced.
 

asheashe

Active Member
Plumber has let us down so no rads to go in tomorrow, annoying. Means we have to put back our skirting board install because some of the pipework is at the level of the skirting and pointless doing that if it needs knocking into.

Nothing ever goes to plan!

Got an Antimode coming today so going to see if that makes any difference with the Monolith Plus sub as my VSX-933 doesn't do sub eq.

not really AV related, but for the other side of the room we did some non urgent work today and built a cocktail cabinet. I had an old fashioned one like this that I bought on eBay 8 years ago for £20. managed to sell it for £100 somehow, so it paid for 2/3rds of the new one! It was scatched up to hell but some old vintage style cocktail bar has bought it.

Old:

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New:

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Sad to see it go but looks really clean! More space, we had loads in the garage in storage and its great having it out in one place.
 

Will I Aint

Active Member
Nice to see someone who enjoys their rum. Shame that Sailor Jerry was sold and they changed a great recipe. The original owners launched under the Old J label but are only allowed to use a similar recipe to the original. Also Plantation make some great rums.

Sorry for poking around in your cupboards but you did post the pic :D
 
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asheashe

Active Member
Nice to see someone who enjoys their rum. Shame that Sailor Jerry was sold and they changed a great recipe. The original owners launched under the Old J label but are only allowed to use a similar recipe to the original. Also Plantation make some great rums.

Sorry for poking around in your cupboards but you did post the pic :D


Yeah we go to rumfest every year. Do miss the old sailor Jerry’s but old J is good enough and their overproof are decent

Always have loads of plantation pineapple in and love their OTFD overproof.

Bottle of zacapa 23 left there from when got 8 from Tesco at £25 each. Have Zavala xo, diplomatico ambassador and 2001 vintage, signed goslings old rum and a bunch of others

The grenade pineapple overproof is great too/ pineapple and salted caramel notes and 63% I think

Have you tried sunset very strong rum? It’s over 80% - very nice with pineapple juice. Oddly sippable in small amounts! Need to pick up a new bottle of that.

I used to have a lot more but started to cut it down.
 

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