Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Finished Steampunk TV Cabinet & Shelf Reveal!

Time for the big unveiling of our new steampunk TV cabinet!

Ta daaa!

I love all the sunlight in that pic, but later I realized the bright white Wii was TOTALLY showing through the cabinet doors. Boops

So I threw a black piece of felt over it:

Better.

(There's actually a ton of stuff in the lower cabinet, but all the other electronics and DVDs are dark enough that that can't see them. Nice, huh?)

 A closer look at the top shelf:

Me: "So do you want just a few things elegantly spaced out, or crammed full of stuff?"

John: "CRAM IT."


I still have to paint the interior silver screwheads (those shiny bits on the "ceiling" of the shelf), but otherwise, it's all done!  

And of course John built both pieces completely from scratch. Keep going for build photos and closeups!

***

First I found an all-metal cabinet online that I loved, and John sketched that same general shape in the size/proportions we needed:
 
We decided to also add a matching shelf overhead.

We kept bringing in the pieces as he went to double-check the size:



Everything is wood except for the metal grating inside the doors. This is the most complex piece of furniture John's ever made, mostly because of those rounded, inset doors, which had to fit perfectly.

The plywood John used had a dark walnut core, which was so pretty it was almost a shame to paint it!


Here I'm using a template to figure out the door plate size:


Some of you will remember this progress shot, which I posted on FB:

After this John spent several days painting on sandable primer, sanding it down, and repeating. This was to help hide the wood grain and was super tedious. So I'm glad he did it and not me. :D

Once John deemed it smooth enough, we rolled on a coat of black primer and added large furniture nails for "rivets":


Followed by an imperfect coat of Rustoleum's Soft Iron spray paint. The Soft Iron is surprisingly translucent and has terrible coverage, which was great for giving a softly mottled look that passes for old metal:

It's also pretty glittery in direct sunlight - but I've never been one to object to more sparkle. ;)

Next it was my turn to do the fun part: the "rubbed-through" silver aging. You can see that only the top left and very edge of the top right are done in that pic - and see how it gives the whole piece a little more life and dimension?
 
To add that detail, all you need is a Q-tip and some silver Rub N' Buff.  Hit all the edges and anywhere the piece might get extra wear.

Here's a comparison of the doors before & after the Rub n' Buff:
 
John did a great job on those doors, don't you think? The rounded edges really do look like square metal tubing!

 At this point we stalled out for over a week trying to decide how to finish the door grates. The original silver seemed way too bright and shiny, brass was too gold, rust was too ugly, and black just blended in:
We finally reached a compromise by spraying the grates gold and then sanding them back down to silver, leaving the gold only on the inside edges. So now it looks like dull silver straight on, with a warmer gold sheen from the side:

(I'm glad John went through the hassle of mounting the TV on the wall; such a cleaner look!)

[He ran the TV cord inside the wall, so it connects to a power strip inside the cabinet.]

I originally wanted something like antique fishing weights for the handles, but these drop pulls I found on ebay are a little more elegant - and I love them:


After finishing all that, John was able to make the overhead shelf in a matter of hours:

We made it too deep, though, so later he went back and sawed off several inches from the back side.

The hardest part on the shelf was rigging up the 4 small spot lights, which look SO cool at night.

I made John's ray gun stand from a long strip of cardboard - folded into a triangle with a notch cut out - and copper foil tape to cover the edges. Cheapest display hack ever.

And for Songbird, I used a small pocket mirror to reflect the overhead light back into his face:

 The lip of the shelf hides the mirror, which is propped up on the "floor."

(It makes me so happy seeing Songbird up there each night, I can't even tell you. Ahhh.)

And finally, here's a look at the whole wall, which you'll notice is still pretty empty under the windows:


We're taking a break from the room now to work on MegaCon stuff, but when we jump back in we're planning to build something like this for under each window:

Just imagine it a little less "industrial fan", and more "airship propeller."

Aww YEEEEAH.

:D

47 comments:

  1. Oh wow! Those pieces turned out gorgeous!!! So love them. I'm dying to redecorate but have to wait until we move but then I can put so many of your tips to use! This room is amazing.

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  2. I am always astonished by y'all's (yes, I did use it) ingenuity, focus, imagination, craftiness, skills, ability, and overall amazing vision and follow through. And your cabinet looks great :) and I am very intrigued by the cool knick-knacks. (Haha! I couldn't resist using that word for your awesome art. Your pieces are fascinating!)

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  3. Awesome, awesome, awesome. John it looks terrific. Jen you have excellent skills and taste. I can just imagine you two sitting in that room, enjoying all the details and work and effort and planning that has gone into this whole room. LOVE.
    Maureen S

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  4. Even though I hate humidity....I WANNA LIVE HERE!

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  5. John should enter the HGTV show "Ellen's Design Challenge"! He would so win!! His skill and design ideas are so impressive. I love how you've both incorporated your nerdiness love with excellent design and decorating choices. Thank for giving us an up close look into your home! It's so cozy and warm and screams "Jon and Jen's home" without being overly kitschy or unlivable.

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  6. You guys are SO crafty, it's incredible. LOVE that cabinet - it is so neat looking with the rounded corners for the doors! The shelf is awesome too. They really do look like they're metal, although I agree, it's a bit of a shame to cover up that beautiful walnut. Cannot wait for the airship propeller shelves! This room is amazing :)

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  7. Did you cut into the paneling to hide the wires? I love the clean look.

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    1. Yes, John spent a lot of time carefully running all the wires through the wall, so nothing would show! Got a little tricky, too, since he had to notch out a horizontal wall stud to do it. o.0

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  8. John & Jen, this is fantastic! I love "metal" effects. Hmm.. I do need new shelves... :)
    The effort, patience, and love you put into each and every project is just awe inspiring!
    Can't wait to see what lies ahead in the chapters of Jen.

    -- Piper P from Washington State

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  9. Random question, where are the TV cords and cabels?

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    1. Inside the wall! John cut into the wall behind the TV and ran the cord down to behind the cabinet. There's a power strip in the cabinet, and that plugs into the side wall plug - you can see the one black cord to the left of the cabinet.

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  10. " we're planning to build something like this for under each window:

    Just imagine it a little less "industrial fan", and more "airship propeller." "

    What if the shelves had that "cloth skin stretched over wooden ribs" look, like a WWI biplane wing?

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  11. Totally gorgeous. This room is incredible.

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  12. OoooOOOoooooooh!

    Also, drafting sketches MAKE ME WANNA BUILD STUFF.

    Kimstu

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  13. My hubs -- a woodturner who loves this site as much as I do -- and I watched Ellen's Design Challenge and enjoyed it very much until that terrible ending. We both thought Tim's furniture was amazing (making no call on the final piece). I could see his little campaign desk in your decor, too! It annoyed the heck out of me that the judges kept saying his stuff was too "masculine," especially that gorgeous shelf that's inspired you. We don't all want pink acrylic, darn it! So loving your steampunk room.

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  14. I am just awed and envious and damn near drooling!

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  15. Wow, I think the room is looking really great! It's such a transformation from how it was before. I think the only thing I'd change if I was doing the room is put a steampunk frame around the TV so it fits the theme better. I love the cabinet, the rounded edges are just lovely. Can't wait to see the under window shelves when they're finished! I know you've released cakewrecks books, but have you ever thought of doing an epbot book? You're step by step tutorials for projects are amazing, I would definitely be interested.

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    1. Thanks! We've debated adding a frame on the TV, so you never know; maybe we'll add one later! At least this TV has a soft matte gray frame, which isn't as jarring as the suuuper shiny black frames you see on most flat screens.

      I've had the Epbot book thing suggested several times, but... eh. So much work, and I'm not sure there'd be a market for stuff I already post for free here online! (Or alternatively, I don't think I could do enough book-exclusive projects, since I love the instant gratification of posting & getting feedback right away.) Thanks for the encouragement, though!

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    2. You could put your DIY projects (or just some of them) into PDF format and sell them. Not as much $$ as a book would generate, but way less trouble and time on your part, since you are already documenting the process. Just a suggestion.
      Maureen S

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  16. Bravo! You two are a great team.

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  17. I totally want a John. Is he for rent? I love that y'all can brainstorm an idea and then come up with a way to execute it. This looks so great!

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  18. I agree, an Epbot book would be phenomenal!

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  19. It looks fabulous! You two never cease to dazzle me when you're working on a project.
    The only change I would make if this were my space would be to create a frame of sorts around the TV too, so the three things would look more like they belong together.

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    1. Or I'm thinking some "support" brackets with "rivets" appearing to hold the TV to the wall, to carry on that very solid industrial look without actually boxing in the TV screen.

      Kimstu

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  20. This is so awesome! I have loved every step of watching this room come to life and it's always inspiring! Also, I hope I get to run into you at MegaCon! I'm moving to central Florida the weekend prior, so it's going to be my first Florida Convention and I'm SO EXCITED!

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    1. Sweet! We'll see you there! (If you can't find us, just give me a tweet; I try to check that a few times a day at cons.)

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  21. Oooooh! I want a Steampunk room! <3

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  22. Yes...Yes it will impress the judges.

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  23. It's truly amazing.

    The only thing that bothers me is all those lovely valuables on the top shelf - are they fastened with quake putty or somethig similar? I'm from Christchurch, New Zealand and the photo of that shelf freaked me out...

    I know Florida is not an earthquake zone but please reassure me.

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    1. Ha! No worries; Florida only gets hurricanes, no quakes. And the shelf is bolted into studs, so it's just about strong enough for John to sit on. :)

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  24. You two never cease to amaze me. I need to come here more often. I am always inspired, but also a bit intimidated. I have no skill in these sorts of things whatsoever. Never to late to learn!

    - Just Andrea

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  25. Awesome as always and the shelf is a great use of space provided nothing shakes the items off (like two 80 lb labs careening about on floating wood floors). Have you ever read phillip pullman's golden compass? Every time that clock has been in your photos i've thought it was an alethiometer.

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  26. Marvelous job and attention to details. I love your grate color solution too, subtle. Using foam core is a brilliant way to design things. And your trick of putting the mirror in for a bounce light? Awesome!

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  27. Wow. You guys always pay such attention to detail. I'm in awe. I'm also exhausted just reading about all the work! :)
    I like to live vicariously though you two. I don't have the attention span to do all that you do!

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  28. that is absolutley amazing and i wish i had access to the john and jen DIY happy hour......and rub n buff is my fave!

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  29. brilliant work - practical query (from someone who'd like to hide all their stuff but is v lazy about actually going over the the tv!)...do you have to open the doors to play on the wii or does the remote signal work through the mesh?

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  30. Your entire house will soon be steampunk and that will be awesome!

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  31. Both pieces are gorgeous! You and John did amazing work - John with the big concept becoming real, and your detail work that made it look completely realistic. Really stellar. I liked that bookshelf/console Tim made on Ellen's Design Challenge and can't wait to see how yours turns out. One small concern - the top shelf is so crowded, it's hard to honor each individual piece with the proper attention it deserves. Maybe when the shelves are finished, you can spread some of the accessories around and allow them to shine.

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  32. Looks absolutely fabulous as always!

    I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I wouldn't want you to find out the hard way - running power cables (i.e. the plug) through a wall cavity is often against fire and electrical code. Check in your area. Honestly on an interior wall I wouldn't worry, but on an exterior wall the presence of insulation (and possibly insects/rodents) may make a difference. Again I normally bite my tongue over DIY stuff as we all have our own tolerances, but if a fire started, well, I would never forgive myself for not speaking up.

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  34. This is gorgeous! I love your unique TV stand and all of the details in the room. The globe next to your TV is absolutely beautiful and it looks just like one I purchased from Ashley Furniture. Did you DIY the paint? If so what kind would you recommend using because I think I'd love to try to do something similar to my plain dark one. Thanks!

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  35. Wow! And I am totally using your idea for the ray gun stand, it's simple and brilliant! I just refurbished a tommy gun style nerf type gun, and was racking my brain on making a stand for it Thanks!

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