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Awkward Alcoves   arrow

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Sitting Room Alcove Before 01

Does this look familiar? Awkward alcoves, TV on a stand, table or wall bracket and all the wires and boxes on the floor sharing limited space with the dust bunnies. Actually this was relatively tidy as the clients were preparing to re-decorate.

The clients had looked on line for a piece of oak furniture to house all their audio visual boxes and cables because they thought it would match their floor and coffee table. However, they could find nothing to quite fit the space.

During our discussion about what they were looking for it became apparent that they like symmetry and the idea of having the same solution in the alcove on the other side of the fire place where they had a free-standing Ikea bookshelf. As one would expect in a 1920’s house, the alcoves are slightly different sizes and none of the walls are exactly straight or square. I enjoy a challenge.

I suggested that an oak cabinet might leave the client with too much wood in a relatively small space and not match exactly. In my view, in their situation, white would look much more modern, especially if they were slightly adventurous and put a little colour into the walls.

I constructed eight 40mm (1½ inches) thick shelves by making pine frames, which kept the cost down, with good quality plywood top and bottom. I rounded the top leading edge of each shelf, to soften the look and add a little style, then painted them white. The underside of each shelf I painted to match the new wall colour. This resulted in a hollow box which is extremely strong (able to take a metre of large books without bowing) and allowed ‘secret’ fixing from the inside. The shelves are fixed to the alcoves at the ends only; providing space behind them for cable management and hidden lighting strips.

Sitting Room Alcoves After 01With four shelves in each alcove the top two and the bottom two are fixed the same distance apart to give the symmetry that the clients wanted. I fitted doors to the lower pair of shelves forming enclosed cabinets, lifted off the floor, which gives a ‘floating’ appearance and facilitates easy cleaning.

I then fitted an IR repeater “magic eye” to enable control of all the equipment inside the cupboard and dimmer LED strips to the rear edge of the middle two shelves on each side to enable mood lighting. All wires are contained in a simple cable management system within a hidden channel.

By careful listening I was able to identify all the problems to be fixed and I met the clients’ needs in relation to the look they wanted, the storage they needed, management of their audio visual equipment and ease of cleaning. They were delighted with the result and said that I had “exceeded their expectations”.

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