Sunday, April 17, 2011

Problem, Solution, Happy Anniversary!

Many of my home improvement projects have been a true joy, a genuine improvement in our domestic abode. But every now and then, something falls a wee bit short. Such was the case with one aspect of my HDTV wall mount: the temporary solution I devised for our stereo and TV components. Because our old TV lived in a cabinet with a shelf for the components, I needed to find a new place for all of those boxes and cables when we put the TV up on the wall. While I looked for a permanent solution, I stacked everything on a little shelf made from pegboard. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was not a good idea.

The leaning tower of stereo components.

Oooh, look. Collapsed pegboard! How scenic in our living room!

So, yes, that was not the elegant solution that I really had in mind. Which, I suppose might've been okay for a temporary solution ... except that it had now entered its fourth year. Suffice it to say that Monique thought it fell somewhat short of her aesthetic ideal.

The solution? Well, after failing for several years to find a stereo cabinet that fit the space, I decided to knock together a little wooden box, slap some stain on it, and declare victory. Then I had a smarter idea. Since our 10th anniversary was coming up, this was an excellent excuse to have somebody with genuine skills build a little stereo cabinet for us. And so, thanks to the fine artistry of Phil Gaven and Shininglass Studio, tragedy -- my sad and deficient pegboard shelf -- has been transformed into triumph -- a beautiful custom-built cherry and birdseye maple stereo cabinet. It made for a lovely 10th anniversary gift to ourselves.

It's not just pretty. Not only is it solid cherry and birdseye maple, it also has some nifty features like an adjustable shelf and a hinged back panel. It also goes beautiful with the Shininglass reference book stand that Monique and I gave ourselves for our anniversary a couple of years ago. Astute readers may notice an anniversary pattern emerging, one that bodes well for overall improvements in the level of our wood furnishings for years to come.

After three quick hours of rewiring, all the boxes were installed and happy in their new home. Yeah, three hours sounds like a long time. There were a lot of connections. And not all the wires reached. And I'm pretty sure I pulled a hamstring about halfway through, though that's more an indictment of my general level of fitness than the complexity of getting everything hooked back up correctly.

Voila! The new cabinet in its new home.

As you can see, it fits perfectly between the trunk and the bookshelf. Custom built furniture! Hurrah!

While I'm on the topic of furnishings, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Katie the Beagle received a furnishing upgrade of her own recently. Now that she's an enormous 22 pounds, she doesn't always fit conveniently in her bed. Sometimes her head would flop out of the front opening of her bed at night and lean awkwardly down towards the floor.

So Monique made her a little green pillow all her own, so that she can her head can rest easy.

Katie the Beagle, what do you think of it?

"I'm just glad my pillow isn't made of cherry and birdseye maple!" says Katie.


  1. Huzzah! That looks like it fits pretty well - what luck. Glad you like it; it was a pleasure to work on it for you.
    But three hours, really?

  2. Luck, schmuck. A triumph of precision measurement!

    Yeah, it took about three hours. It was mostly just that the wires were a bit too short to string through easily, and it was sliding into a tight fit. Plus, I plugged a couple wires back in the wrong places, and so had to pull it all out and plug again.

  3. Looks lovely. What a good idea! Good craftsmen stay busy, and the overall effort is much less than endless and pointless mall-hunting. Look forward to seeing it soon. And Happy Anniversary!

  4. A splendid piece of furniture, indeed!

    And BELATELY, Happy Tenth Anniversary!

    See, insteadt of getting a nice present on this important occasion, all that you get from me are late congrats. Having eloped these ten years ago, I cannot ever remember the date of your marriage vows.

    Sorry Monique, I am beginning to miss my mind...

  5. Yes, the new cabinet is fabulous.

    Also fabulous is the idea of a new, Shininglass keepsake to mark each year of our marriage from here on out, or at least many of them.

    Ten year, wow, they flew!