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Neat AV install - lounge room refurb in a Victorian Terrace

keyjade

Standard Member
We're all familiar with the story even if we haven't lived through it ourselves - you want a room full of state-of-the-art toys and she just won't have it. Well, in my case I am now glad that I was talked (forced?) into a room setup that doesn't look out of step with the rest of the house.

When we moved in last year, we did so with the intention of eventually renovating every room in the house. Getting my gear set up was a high priority for me, so the lounge room became the first significant project. I was full of enthusiasm after reading posts from other members about their installs.

The brief was simple: the room needed to retain period features, yet it had to accomodate my existing gear plus my first-ever LCD. Also, with some significant construction projects on the horizon in the rest of the house, we has to keep the costs right down. Oh, and the finished room needed to be toddler proof.

Choice of speaker was very important. While I would enjoy the performance from a fantstic set of floor-standers, I needed to get something that would not stand out in the room. The guys at Kent Home Cinema set me up with an M&K package and everyone was happy. My signature file gives details of the kit I was putting into the room.

The first pic shows what the room looked like in the real estate agent's brochure, to give you an idea of the starting point I was working from. Ick!
01 - Starting point.jpg

The first activity was to strip the wallpaper off. I was keen to re-plaster the walls and paint directly instead of using a covering paper... the appearance looks better from the start and suffers less deterioration over time. All of the expected problems were uncovered as the paper came off - walls in terrible condition, etc - and one I wasn't expecting... an uncovered wall box from an old power socket that had simply been papered over. You can see it in the photo.
02 - Wallpaper.jpg

Then I got quite keen and removed the carpet, and pulled out that old 1960's fire surround and hearth. At this stage, we were making very little mess and still wanted to watch the telly so I hung it on the wall to see what it would look like.
061224 Fire surround out.jpg

Then the builders arrived to put a lintel in the chimney breast and knocked the bricks out of the fireplace that were not required. There was also a damp problem in the right alcove, so you can see in the photo that we took this opportunity to inject a chemical dampcourse and re-render that part of the wall.
070102 Fireplace cut out.jpg

You can see the square cut out of the back panel of the recess for running cables. What you can't see in these pics is the work that went on behind that back panel. First of all, there is the timber stud-work in there that not only supports the back panel, but is also set in the correct location to fix the LCD mounting bracket to.
070103 Fireplace reshaped.jpg

You can also see that there is something sticking out of the square in the back panel that is also sticking out of the left side of the chimney breast. We knocked through the side of the chimney and installed a section of PVC waste pipe as conduit for the cables from the back of the television into the left alcove. This comes into play later.

The next pic shows the same thing with the plastering completed.
070104 Fireplace plastered.jpg

Then the builders set to work on making some bespoke cabinets for the alcoves to our spec. They were relatively inexpensive because we had them use MDF and leave the painting and finishing for us (hmmm... me) to do.
070111 Cupboards in.jpg

Now the important bit about the conduit. The cabinets have side panels in them, which can be seen in the photo as the bits that the adjustable shelves are mounted on. Well, the cavity behind these is sufficient to run the cables from the conduit, down into the base unit of the left hand cabinet. The section of side panel that covers these cables can be removed to allow access simply by lifting out the bottom three shelves and removing the four screws that secure it.

The left-hand base unit is used to house my kit, so it was just a matter of a few child safety cupboard door accessories to keep little hands away from it and we're well on our way to toddler proofing the final setup.

I also took the opportunity while the room was deconstructed to run cables under the floorboards and chase up the walls for the rear speakers, subwoofer, and an ethernet cable to the room directly above this one for streaming from my PC to the AV setup.

After giving it a go myself on one wall and then realising the effort involved in getting it perfect, I then had the builders re-skim the plaster all around the room. I built up a hearth from some of the bricks removed from the fireplace, including a recess for the centre speaker.

Then I set about painting - plaster sealer and then 3 coats of pale green on the walls (dark green above the picture rail), and undercoat then 4 coats of brilliant white gloss on the woodwork.
070203 Painted.jpg

Final tasks undertaken were to cut a template of the fireplace and have a local stone workshop produce a granite top for the hearth, lay a new solid oak floor over the old floorboards, and new skirtings after that. I used a matching profile architrave around the hearth because the high skirtings would have dominated it.

Furniture and AV gear came in. To deal with it all being in the cupboard I installed a HotLink Pro remote control repeater with the receiver eye hidden under the trim on the cabinet. It took a little bit of fiddling to get it right in the first place because it is ultra-sensitive, but it now works fantastically with my Harmony remote, so literally anyone can operate the AV gear with ease.
070303 Lounge (1).jpg

The curtains were a hit with the better half. She found them secondhand on the web for a steal, and they came with the the matching soft pelmet. I'm pleased, because they are extremely dense and heavy and when closed will cut out any outside noise that is creeping through the double-glazing behind them.
070304 Lounge (2).jpg

The 5-globe chandelier is far too bright for watching movies, so I installed a soft-touch light dimmer that is remote controlled and have it set up as a device in my Harmony remote.
070304 Lounge (3).jpg

There are still a few things to finish off. Firstly, I intend to make a basic timber frame to cover with speaker mesh and inset it in the recess under the hearth to hide the centre speaker.

Also, I am currently enforcing the rule of not having the equipment running unless the doors are open on that cupboard for fear of overheating things. I need to work out a fan / ventilation solution to overcome this. I don't think this will be too hard, but I'd love to hear solutions and opinions from others who have tackled similar problems before.

All in all, the final room met my requirements of getting my gear set up neatly and away from curious fingers, and yet kept with the plush feel and classic designs of a period room. Ok, I admit there were very few LCD televisions on the walls in Victorian homes, but I think we have managed to combine the modern facilities with some old-time features.

Cheers
;)
 

LewisD

Active Member
Very nice work keyjade.
Absolutely love the granite hearth area :thumbsup:

Might have to look into one of those Harmony remote for myself I think too, they sound ideal.

Again, lovely stuff :) Keep us posted on the other rooms in the house.
 

inzaman

Moderator
Looks very smart, i like the old v new styling :cool:
 

MarkP80

Active Member
Yep, I agree with everyone here keyjade, you've done an excellent job. Those units are really good. You obviously put a lot of thought into the planning, and I think that's the key.

Nice one.
MarkP
 

lsba02853

Active Member
You know i've been looking for cabinet ideas for a while now and those are EXACTLY what I'm looking for.

My Fire place layout is Very Similar, so when the time is right i'm going to Steal your ideas for the cabinets. Obviously i'll pass them off the the Mrs as my own. :D

Cracking job, well done
 

mark.carline

Active Member
Also, I am currently enforcing the rule of not having the equipment running unless the doors are open on that cupboard for fear of overheating things. I need to work out a fan / ventilation solution to overcome this. I don't think this will be too hard, but I'd love to hear solutions and opinions from others who have tackled similar problems before.

you could allways look at replacing your doors with doors that have a vented mesh on the front - I think B&Q and Focus DIY make a pannel thats got loads of holes in the front. Main advantage is that you can still use the remote while the doors are shut.
 

breadbun

Active Member
Have to say - very impressed! I have never been able to do ANYTHING decent with AV setups in my current house, but we are looking to move and will hopefully have a bit of a "blank canvas" with which to work, so I am seeking inspiration... and well, I have found some!
 

keyjade

Standard Member
Thanks to all for the kind words :D

mark.carline, the chimney has been sealed above the television simply with a piece of plasterboard secured over the opening. We have started to remove the breasts altogether from the floors above, on the basis that we do not have a need or desire for a working fireplace in the house. This was done first with the removal of the chimney pots from the roof and the breasts in the loft space to coincide with the loft conversion (I mentioned we had other big projects in the house :rolleyes: ). This was relatively easy because that wall is the end of terrace so there were no complications with neighbours' chimneys. We will eventually also remove the fireplaces from the bedrooms on the first floor, leaving just the non-functioning "feature" breasts on the ground floor.

If there was ever a desire to install a fire, it could be done with minimal fuss because there are plenty of built-in gas options that can flue straight out the wall behind, although I am reluctant to put a heat source under the telly.

We'll just end up putting something in the space on the hearth for decoration - perhaps a big stone bowl full of river pebbles, or something else of my other half's choosing... :(
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
Like that a lot - as others have said, obviously a lot of careful planning and thinking through, and it really shows. Very clean and tidy looking makeover!

Question - coffee table, where's it from? Friend of mine has one that looks very similar, but theirs doesn't have a drawer like yours...
 

j4ck100

Active Member
Love the room matey , looks the total business! I bet your pleased! Quick question , the cabling in the room, you say you chased it - was that through the walls by cutting a channeling? Cheers
 

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