Happy Early Birthday

… to Jeremy! Jeremy’s birthday isn’t until August 8th, but he bought himself some presents anyways:

New Turn TableA fancy “new” turn table and a cool table to set it on! We have a pretty (but not audiophile-friendly) record player in the hall/foyer, but Jeremy wanted one for the downstairs. He watched for turntables on eBay for months, and finally decided on this one, a Technics SL- D205.
The little table fits the turn table perfectly! It’s from Home Goods. Supposedly it is made in India from reclaimed/recycled wood – hence the various colors and textures. It’s pretty cool. The cabinet is the perfect size for vinyl. The drawer is also handy, since it houses the preamp. The turn table plugs into the preamp, and the preamp connects to our receiver. The preamp is necessary for the turn table to work with our modern receiver.

Hole in TableWires in HoleTo keep things looking neat, Jeremy drilled a hole in the back of the table for the wires. The turn table’s wires go in, and the preamp’s come out and plug into the wall.

Audio In JackThis is the magic of the media room! Just plug your turn table into the wall and get magic surround sound! In reality, there is a wire that runs through the walls and plugs into the receiver in our storage room. The running of the wire was my gift to Jeremy.

Here’s where things get complicated. First, let’s start with placement. Wouldn’t it be better if the audio jack was closer to the outlet? Look back to the first picture in the post, the table doesn’t hide the plug. Well, I agree with you, that would look better.

MistakesSo, I first cut a hole next to the outlet. The plan was to remove the baseboard and run the wires along the floor to the corner, and then behind the built-in bookcase. Behind the bookcase is accessible via under the stairs, so I thought it would be easy.

Wrong. I forgot that along this wall the foundation is elevated. So, behind the baseboard is cement. In order to get the wires to the corner and behind the bookcase I would have to drill a hole through the studs in my way. That was not happening. So, my new hole is on the other side of the stud. The next part was to get behind the bookcase.

Behind BookcaseHere I am under the stairs, behind the bookcase. You can see the MDF boxes we built, wedged between the studs. Now, let’s zoom-in to the upper left-hand corner:

Stud FinderThe brown to the right is the MDF backing of the bookcase. When I pull back the insulation I can access the stud that forms the corner of the two walls. As you can see, there are already some wires running through that stud: the speaker wire for our left rear in-wall speaker, electric and ground wire for outlets (don’t worry, I turned the power off). Above the electric wire I drilled a hole. Then I used the fish tape to push the audio wires through the stud and out the hole in the wall.

Wires InstalledTa-da! These wires hook up to the back of the jack cover. Now we can enjoy vinyl downstairs, very loudly. It sounds great coming from our in-wall speakers. I really can tell the difference between this new turn table and our not-as-professional record player. We’re listening to records I’ve heard a thousand times and I am picking up on elements I just couldn’t hear before.

But wait, what about that extra hole I cut in the wall? For the solution to that and many other drywall issues, check out my next post. :)

Pallet Shelf and Nautical Wall

I’ll just cut to chase:

Nautical WallAfter updating the bench with a new cushion cover and relocating it, I wanted a way to make the bench blend in more with the media room. Jeremy received the octopus/squid art for Christmas and we had not yet found a place for it. The art is printed on plywood, so it compliments the wooden bench. I also have my ship art (that I made here) so I decided to seek out other elements for a nautical themed wall.


BarometerThe barometer and weathered pulley are from an antiques shop in Annapolis. The barometer is British made. It’s difficult to tell if it is working properly or not, but the hands have moved (on their own) over the past few days as the weather has changed (it reported that today was windy and cool). There was a larger, way cooler barometer at the shop, but it was $235 while this one was $35. The man at the shop estimated that the more expensive barometer was WWII era. There were several pulleys at the shop but I like this one best because it is wooden and metal. Most of the others were completely metal, and more rusted. This one is weathered, but not damaged.

While selecting pulleys Jeremy and I brainstormed how to display the pulley. Hang it by the hook? Lace rope through the pulley and hang the rope from the ceiling? Then we decided we could display it on a shelf. Then Jeremy got the crazy idea to make a shelf from a pallet.

PalletYou might remember last week I mentioned that a pallet was one of the many things crowding our garage. Now that the garage was organized, Jeremy decided to put the workspace to use. He started by lightly sanding the rough pallet with his orbital sander.

Sanded PalletJeremy sanded the boards just enough to smooth them out, but not enough to remove the great texture that’s pictured. I liked that you could see the blade marks from when the boards were first sliced. After some sanding, Jeremy just chopped off a section of the pallet to form a shelf.

Pallet ShelfHere is the sanded pallet shelf, ready to be treated. In this photo, the top left corner of the shelf has already been treated with Behandla polish from IKEA. We purchased this sealant for my table in the craft room. It seals and protects the wood without needing to be sanded like varnish. It is also less toxic.

One Coat Two CoatsJeremy gave the shelf (top, bottom and sides) a coat of the sealant. As you can see, it brought back the rich colors that were “lost” with the sanding.

Hanging the shelfTo hang the self, Jeremy inserted a small 2×4 block into the shelf. He pre-drilled three screw holes into the block for mounting. Then Jeremy attached the block with three of the original pallet nails through the top of the shelf. I held the shelf in place while Jeremy screwed the block into the wall. The center screw is in a stud and the other two are in drywall.

Finished ShelfTo hide the mounting mechanism, Jeremy wedged in another piece of wood from the pallet.

Pulley on the ShelfThe pallet shelf is rugged and weathered like the pulley. I love that the shelf is imperfect. A shelf like this would be great for an entryway. Below the overhang you could mount some hooks for jackets or keys. Jeremy likes the shelf because it cost zero dollars.

Nautical CornerWe’re really happy with how everything turned out. There are so many interesting things happening in that corner of the room. All the different wood tones bring a warm element to the cool greys, blues and greens in the room. The nautical theme continues a little onto the mantel, where the ship art still resides with our vases of stones from the beach. Definitely still keeping my eyes open for an anchor or small ship’s wheel to add to the wall. A wheel would look awesome over the mantel.

What do you think or this nautical arrangement? Totally love Jeremy’s pallet shelf?

Linked up to:

”TheManic Mondays at Serendipity and Spice

Continued Clean-Up

Last week I posted about the little bench cushion revamp. Moving the bench to the other side of the media room left the corner by the window looking like this:

Hot MessThe first order of business was cleaning up the items on the shelf. Jeremy replaced the chunky green surge protector with a smaller, off-white one. He was also able to replace the ethernet wire and coaxial cable with shorter ones. The other wires were cleaned up with a few twisty-ties.

ImprovementHard to believe something so simple could make such an impact. While the wires are still not ideal, it’s much cleaner than before. We did some brainstorming about how we could possibly do a little built-in cubby for the routers. This is the only access we have to the internet, so we don’t have any options for moving the routers to a hidden location. But the shelf is hollow, so we could possible build-in a nook for them. We’ll see if those ideas come to fruition.

Owl BookendCarved BookendsThe routers are sitting on these cool wooden owl bookends Jeremy found at the thrift store. It’s a weird combination of bookends and shelf, which connects the two owls. The shelf has some cool carvings, which I forgot to capture before covering them with electronics. The shot above was the best I could do, without moving everything. Since we have our horse bookends and built-in bookcase we didn’t need these owls for books. using the bookends with the routers makes the mess feel more contained.

At the end of the shelf, I placed our music books (sheet music and guitar tabs). Then we brought over the keyboard to make this music corner complete.

Music CornerPlus, the keyboard helps hide those two remaining wires. Do you think it looks better than before?

Hot MessI don’t know if it is the new arrangement or the bright sunshine coming through the window, but everything just feels so much lighter. All I need to do now is update the keyboard’s cover with fabric that matches better. Did I mention I have a fabric problem? And the ladies at the quilt shop are enablers.