Stuff I’ve Built: Breakfront Entertainment Center

  • March 2007

This piece was an interesting one to build. In our family room, we used to have a 21″ TV in an el-cheapo particleboard entertainment center. But, for a holiday gift, we received a 32″ TV to replace the old one. Man, what an improvement! A nice, big picture, stereo sound and very high resolution.

Only one problem – it didn’t fit the existing entertainment center anymore.

We junked the entertainment center (thank goodness) and perched the TV on top of a blanket chest for a few months. That was OK, but it looked terrible. Since I had all those fancy tools in the shop, I went to the drawing board and designed something new.

Here’s what I came up with. This entertainment center addressed a few issues that needed to be given some attention.

The design for the piece was relatively simple. First, I built a base out of strips of 3/4″ plywood that would serve as a firm foundation. I brought that inside, cut the carpet out from under the unit so it sat level on the concrete floor.

The piece itself was built in three sections – a large central unit flanked by two towers. The piece was built using through screws, dadoes, biscuits and pocket screws where necessary. I sanded and painted the piece with a coat of primer, sanded it, then rolled on two coats of latex enamel paint with a sponge rubber roller.

I brought the piece inside and screwed it down to the base and into the wall studs. I also screwed the pieces together to ensure the most rigid piece possible.

Once the pieces were mounted and unified, I trimmed them as one unit, which gives the impression the piece was built as one piece. The crown molding on the top consists of one 1×4 nailed over the top of the case, mitered at the corners. A 1×2 is nailed to the case face frame and butts up to the bottom of the top piece. A quarter round molding fills the intersection, making a nice built up molding.

The doors are poplar, cope and stick cut on a router table. The solid panels are 1/2″ plywood rabbeted to fit the groove. The two glass doors were glazed by a guy who does stained glass work locally.

Besides giving the TV a nice place to rest, the inside of the unit provides a great deal of storage space. This shot was taken before I built the doors, and you can see just how much storage space that’s built in. Now, we can hide all of the DVDs, books, tapes, toys and the other various and sundry items a family of four collects.

The storage area under the TV is an excellent place for the VCR, DVD and PlayStation 2. The door that covers that gap actually flips up and is held in place with a lid support. We raise it when we need access to the components, and, when closed, it looks like a pull-out drawer.

Just an aside, yes, that’s my wife and youngest son. Hey, fame is the price you have to pay when someone in your family runs a blog!

4 thoughts on “Stuff I’ve Built: Breakfront Entertainment Center”

  1. A really nice job! I like the way that you new piece fits into the room — it looks like it’s always been there and not an addition. Very nice job — congratulations!

  2. Thanks, Steve. You know, it’s only been in for a little more than a year, and it’s hard to even remember what it was like before I put it in….

    My wife was skeptical at first of the drawing, but today she loves it.

  3. Tom, I love it !

    Great job all around, but neat how you constructed the crown molding. Did you miter the whole top of the 1×4 , it looks so or is it a flat front edge ?

  4. Hey, runningwood, thanks for the comment. The top piece is only mitered to wrap the corner – its face is flat to the front edge.

    I do like the lines of that built-up crown. And, it was obscenely easy to assemble.

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