Home improvement and Repair #2: Built in Home Library and Entertainment Center

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Blog entry by C_Philhower posted 10-05-2012 04:49 PM 3237 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Had to work wood into the Bathroom Remodel Part 2 of Home improvement and Repair series no next part

This is a recap of a project I did almost 2 years ago, but wanted to post it online and just got around to it now.

My Wife and I have a room in our basement that was partially finished by the previous owners of our home. For the first year and a half that we owned the house the room had a dartboard, an XBox and TV, a futon and about a dozen boxes of books. The walls were already sheet rocked and painted, carpet was installed and there was even an attempt at a tray ceiling with a small ceiling fan already installed. There was crown molding on the ceiling too, but since we never used the room, I pulled the crown to save a few dollars and cut it down to use in my upstairs bathroom remodel.

The problem with the room was that the outside wall had a stepped CMU with a 6 inch shelf along the top that was only good for holding DVD cases and pint glasses. I don’t remember how the conversation got started, but at some point it was decided that we needed shelves in the room and that I should put in beadboard too.

This is what I had to start with:

I took a few measurements and went upstairs to the computer and laid out the wall and shelves in Sketchup.
I came up with a decent plan and rough material list to get me started.
The stepped foundation wall presented a challenge with the layout, we decided to build a cabinet with doors in front of the higher section of the foundation wall to hold the XBox, TV, and other small things that we want to keep hidden away.

Getting the room ready for the work, I peeled back the carpet, added a knee wall along the foundation, insulated, sheet rocked the knee walls, then primed the new drywall.

I started with the entertainment center side building 2 matching base cabinet bodies with one face frame that will run across the whole thing. The idea was that we wanted it to look like one unit, and not being too skilled in cabinet building this all seem like the logical way to go.

Base Cabinet Boxes

I used 3/4” cabinet plywood for the sides, bottom and shelves, ran a dado across the bottom to hold the bottom, a rabbet for the top pocket jointed frame and a rabbet to hold the 1/4” plywood back.

Face Frame made using pocket hole screws

I used poplar for the face frames and everywhere that needed edging to cover the plywood edges. We knew we were going to paint it all so poplar would be fine. Plus we wanted to keep the cost down.

Progress Image

For the beadboard I cut down 4’x8’ sheets to 32” tall pieces and simply stapled the sheets to the wall with 1” staples along a 35.25” level line. I added scrap beadboard pieces along the floor so that when I added the base of the wainscoting, the piece would remain plumb. I used pre-made mdf trim pieces for the rest of the wainscoting to dress up the beadboard and bring it up to a final height of 36”

This was a fun learning experience and after a few coats of paint, we had a nice little room going for us. We would come down here to watch movies, use the elliptical or my wife could use her workout videos. I was happy just to have a good place to keep and display my books.

I still need to build the cabinet doors and run power to inside the base cabinet for the tv instead of using an extension cord run under the door. I have an outlet on the other side of the wall in the unfinished half of the basement so the plan is to just cut a hole and relocate the existing box.


The room has looked this way more or less since the pictures were taken for the past 2 years thanks to life getting in the way. At the time my wife and i were only engaged to be married so a few months later we went and had our wedding. Then the holidays came, then it was a new year, then we came up with another project and I still haven’t made any cabinet doors.


-- If you would not be forgotten, As soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worthy reading, Or do things worth the writing. -Ben Franklin

1 comment so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3763 days

#1 posted 10-06-2012 06:16 PM

A very nice addition to your room!

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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