Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How we hide the TV electronics

Hello there! First of all, I know there is a weird redirect going on with my site and I'm trying to get it figured out. I'm still here! Go ahead and click through if you get the notice and hopefully I'll have it fixed shortly. 

You all have been so helpful the past couple of weeks! If you missed my review of our family room sectional earlier this week, check it out here. You all had some great ideas that may be helpful for you those of you with similar issues. I've already tried adding a pillow to our cushions and it made them way too thick, but I'm going to keep working on it. 

I have a whole post planned soon about the best way to hang your TV without seeing cables and cords everywhere (safely). But this post goes into more detail on how we hid our electronics in our family room. I didn't want to have the components out if we could help it and this was a perfect solution! 

When we took down a wall and extended our family room years ago we had to build our gas fireplace out into the room. Usually there's a little "dog house" bump out outside that your fireplace sits in, but ours had been a corner fireplace. Adding that bump out would have required permits and a lot more time. 

Since the fireplace was going to come out into the room anyway, I figured out a solution to reconfigure kitchen cabinets (like I do a lot in our house) and make them into built ins to hide the electronics:

I didn't do that part personally -- the guys we hired expanded them in the back so they would be deep enough to hold the electronics. We used upper cabinets because the lower ones were too deep for what we needed. I had them extend these to 18 inches deep instead of 12 inches like the original cabinet. 

I later cut the center part of the doors off and then installed metal sheeting so the components could breathe: 

I love that the sheeting lets air flow, but also still hides the items inside pretty well. The best part -- the remotes still work! 

Here's how it looks inside: 

THIS is important and I will go into this more at a later date -- do not run power cords through the wall. I learned years ago this is NOT the correct way to hang a TV. We had an electrician/AV professional install the proper outlets and plugs behind the TV. (Power and receptacles for all HDMI, etc.) 

I had the fake wall built above the fireplace so I could recess the TV back into it and have it sit flush with that wall when it's pushed back:

I love that you don't see the wires behind the TV or the mount when the TV is in it's regular position (it also pulls out, swivels and can go up or down). I highly recommend this little trick if you are considering hanging your TV -- especially with a mount that pulls out!

The other cabinet is pure storage which is awesome! Those fabric covered bins are from IKEA and I have all our extra remotes, phone accessories and random electronic stuff inside. I LOVE having this storage in the family room:

I love even more that there is empty space in there! :) 

This fireplace wall is the focal point of our family room for sure. I think it turned out so well. The fact that the electronics are hidden away makes it even better:

I still haven't hidden the subwoofer, but now it doesn't even bother me. Years ago I was going to  build some kind of cover for it, but now we hardly notice it.

These DIY tricks are what completely transformed this wall -- it's another spot in our home that looks good but also functions wonderfully as well.

Here are some more helpful projects from this wall if you are interested!

How I used $13 to panel the wall behind the TV:

And I just did this again this morning! I share how to clean the (inside) glass on your gas fireplace

It's actually quite easy! :) Ours gets yucky every year and this helps tremendously! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

A review of our most expensive purchase!

Hello all! Sorry for the silence on the blog on Friday -- our boy had the flu and my husband was out of town. I was focused on getting him comfortable and feeling better. :) It's been going around and it was a doozy! 

I like to update you on some of our bigger purchases occasionally and this one was probably our biggest furniture purchase ever for our home. I get asked about this piece ALL the time, even years later. We bought our family room sectional from Arhaus six years ago (the Landsbury) after we paid off our mound of debt. I was SO excited about this purchase and researched the best sofa for months

I updated you on it a few years ago and it was still doing well for the most part. But over the years since then I've grown more and more frustrated with this sofa and decided it was time to share our review after years of use.

Because our experience, we won't be spending extra on a sofa again. There are definite pros and cons with this one and I'll be sure to list those below. 

Here's a look at the sectional as it looks 95 percent of the time: 
Landsbury Arhaus sofa review after six years

Usually the pillows are on the floor so this is pretty good. ;) 

Overall the construction of the sofa has held up beautifully. It is a solid, heavy sectional and there is no give or creaking or any sign of it falling apart any time soon. For six years old and daily use, that's pretty good. 

Our issues are with the cushions. It has gotten to the point that they drive. me. crazy. Most of the seat cushions are still holding up well, but one has started to flatten out: 
Arhaus sofa review

It's hard to see just how much it's changed shape here, but it looks different than all of the other cushions and the front on one side sticks out quite a bit. (Probably a good three inches past the base.) I've tried to fix it but nothing works. You'd think it was from overuse but I rotate the cushions (flip and move locations) every few months. 

The bigger issue and the reason this sofa has started to drive me crazy are the back cushions: 
Down filled back cushions on couch

For two reasons. One, you can kind of see here that every back cushion is now two-toned. :) The top part is a different color from the bottom. We purchased the protection plan but when we called about this issue we were told this wasn't covered. Of course. 

The bigger problem is that they do not hold their shape. At all. Ever. It is so frustrating: 
Down filled back cushions on sofa

We purchased this sofa specifically because it had down-filled back cushions. That was my mistake, but I had no idea it would turn into this. They are comfortable -- but I would much rather have a firm back pillow that holds it's shape instead. 

I used to be able to fluff these up with my hands pretty easily, but those days are gone. The fill has separated inside and I have to take the entire cover off and try to move everything around to make them even again. 

And finally -- the fabric is called micro denier and for years I was thrilled with it. It is very similar to microfiber but without the "shadows" look that the latter has. I didn't want the shadowy look -- although you can see in the photos above that there is still some of that. 

It was like this magical fabric for years -- anything that spilled on here we could wipe off with a wet rag. No cleaners, just water. It was AWESOME! I don't know what is going on lately (I'd say the past six months), but it's stopped working. I can't explain it. They'll wipe away a bit but when it dries it comes back. I'm pretty sure a professional cleaning would take care of it, but I miss how easy it was to clean! 

I have NO idea how long a sofa should last. Maybe six years with daily use is pretty good? Who knows. Here are my thoughts on the pros and cons of this Arhaus sectional: 

  • The construction of the actual sofa is excellent. It doesn't bow, wobble or make noises when we sit. It is a solid sectional. 
  • For years I loved how easy it was to clean the fabric. LOVED.
  • We needed a small sectional and they were the only store I found that could offer such a small sectional (not just a sofa with a chaise).
  • The seating on the sofa is deep and comfy. 
  • The back down-filled cushions drive me MAD. They do not hold their shape and always, always look messy. Unless I spend 30 minutes punching and reshaping them that is. :) 
  • The fabric discolored quickly and the protection plan does not cover it. 
  • The seat cushions are starting to lose their shape as well and there's not much we can do about that.
Would I do it again? Probably not, not for what we paid. I expected it to be a quality sofa for a good 10 years. 

Here's how it looks after some fluffing: 

Review of Arhaus sectional

Review of Arhaus sofa after six years

But two of us sat on it this morning and the dog plopped onto the back and now it's right back looking like it did in the first photo. ;) I've honestly given up on trying to keep the back pillows tamed -- when we have company over I just do my best to make them look decent. 

Someday I want something a little more streamlined in here (now I'm more drawn to something with a smaller arm like our sofa in the living room), but for now we continue to enjoy the comfort and hate. the. cushions. Ha! 

Have you had a good or bad experience with this sofa? Do you have one you love? I know this is a topic many of you are interested in at one point or another!