How ironic is it that my last post was entitled “Sometimes DIY Sucks” and this one contains “DIY” as a descriptive? You win some. You lose some. Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement! We’re feeling more hopeful about tackling the bathroom tile this weekend and will be sure to share what goes down. xo
I’ve already discussed my thoughts on surround sound here. In short, I don’t care for it. BUT my husband enjoys it and I do care for him so I’m dealing with it – boob speakers and all – the best way I know how. And that involves creative disguises…or squinting.
Take the subwoofer for instance. It’s basically this big black box that is responsible for low bass frequencies. (i.e., it’s the speaker that makes the floor shake when we watch movies…and we’re on a slab, soooooo yeah, I don’t get it.) We’ve had the thing for 10+ years. There’s probably some new sound technology that doesn’t require such an eyesore but we aren’t willing to invest any money into something like that when what we have works just fine. (i.e., it creates small earthquakes.)
In our first house, the subwoofer was in plain sight next to our media console. In our previous house, it sat behind an accent chair in the family room. I draped a floor-length curtain around it to disguise it even more.
In our current home, due to the placement of media components and audio wiring, the subwoofer sits between our sofa and media cabinet. The blue power light drives me bonkers. I tried concealing it behind the curtain but, at best, it looked like a small child hiding. I decided enough was enough and Steve and I came up with a plan for a DIY subwoofer cover. The cover doesn’t interfere with Steve’s audio experience and it keeps me from giving the subwoofer the stink eye so Steve and I are still married. Best of all, we made it from leftover supplies so it was “free.”
Steve created the basic box from premium grade plywood leftover from topping off the fauxdenza and building the living room shelves. It’s just four sides with a top and no bottom. The inside measures ¼” larger than the subwoofer on all sides to allow the box to slip over the speaker. There is a 2″ gap between the bottom of the box and the floor to let sound waves flow freely. (Apparently, sound waves come from the bottom of this subwoofer. I learned something new.) Wood glue and finish nails hold it together. Veneer edge banding was added to all visible cut edges except for the one on the back. #cheap #lazy
The back is cut out for wire access. (Can you see where I inconspicuously tested out some stain on the back?) We added felt pads inside to protect the subwoofer and achieve a snug fit.
I applied Minwax wood conditioner and Minwax natural stain to the external surfaces. Then I set to work creating a design for the front panel. Basically, I drew up a bunch of ideas on paper and when I had a winner I transferred the design to the cover with a pencil.
1 // I wanted at least one section of the design to be a darker stain but I predicted the edges would bleed so I decided to tackle that triangle first. My thought was at least I could clean up one edge with a neighboring painted triangle. I taped off one section using Frog Tape and applied two coats of Minwax special walnut stain. I left the tape on until the stain was completely dry to avoid as much bleeding as possible. The stain did bleed a little but it wasn’t too bad.
2 // I taped off the second section and took the cover outside to apply two coats of Design Master Gold Medal spray paint. For crisp lines, I carefully removed the tape before the paint dried.
3 // I brought the cover back inside (looking good!) to hand paint the final two sections.
4 // One at a time, I taped off the sections and brushed on two coats of Benjamin Moore white dove primer + paint in satin. Again, I carefully removed the tape before the paint dried.
The Frog Tape marked up the gold section when I was taping and painting the last white triangle but it’s only noticeable when light shines on it in a certain way. For the most part, the edges are crisp (save for the one stained edge that has no neighboring paint) and the points meet up like I had envisioned. I especially like the texture of the wood grain in the gold section.
I opted out of a topcoat because I like the unsealed look so a cloth napkin or coaster under sweaty glasses is a must. In real life, Mabrey likes to climb on top of the subwoofer to catapult herself onto the sofa (!) so there’s usually just a magazine or book resting here. I shot this during nap time so I had fun styling without kids in mind.
I’m happy I went with a natural stain on the majority of the cover. Anything darker would have been too brown next to the sofa. The natural stain picks up on lighter wood tones in the room: coffee table, woven shades, decorative bowl (on the media cabinet) and scalloped side table (not shown).
In case you’re wondering, I moved the lil’ red table to the boys’ room. Some changes are happening in there but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
Steve didn’t see the painted / stained front panel until after it was finished. He loves it! That makes me happy. Know what else makes me happy? No more big black box.
Good design can save marriages. It’s a fact.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking