How I Built A Secret Media Cabinet!
Hey! I’m Jenna, a DIYer from Saskatchewan, Canada, and the face behind From House To Home DIY. Room by room, I am making my house a home, and showing women – and men – they can go from “I can’t” to “I can”. I started doing projects 2 years ago after the “to-do” list for my husband was getting overwhelmingly long. He was busy with his growing plumbing business so I decided to take that list into my own hands and I have always had a love for woodworking. I have since completed 18 spaces and multiple smaller projects. There was one project though that I have been wanting to do since we first moved in 7 years ago….I refer to it as the “hole-in-the-wall” and transform it into a media cabinet.
A media cabinet doesn’t sound like much of a challenge but when you are working with this….
…it becomes a whole new level of challenging. This “Hole in the wall” (as I have coined it) has been a huge eye sore. I have struggled to come up with a plan for it to make it look pretty and not awkward as it is so close to the wall. It is also not square…not even a little…but a lot not square. But here is my plan…super professional mock up here…prepare yourselves!
As it is so close to the wall, I figured, why not make it blend into the rest of the wall and do a simple board and batten but with a little “secret”. I want to make the media cabinet hidden and blend so it no longer stands out and is an eye sore. To do this, I will make the center of one of the board and battens, the door and use the battens as a way to hide the edges.
Have I ever done anything like this before? Not at all! But I am more than ready to experiment and get rid of this ugly hole in the wall. Let’s Go!
Materials For My Media Cabinet:
- .5in x 3.5in MDF Pre-Primed Fibreboard Moulding
- .5in x 2.5in MDF Pre-Primed Fibreboard Moulding
- 3/4in Maple or Birch Plywood
- Maple Edgebanding
- 36in Continuous Hinge
- 3/4 MDF
- Kregjig Pocket Hole Jig
- 1 1/4in Kregjig Screws
- Nail Gun
- Brad Nails
- Stain of Choice
- Magnetic Latch
- LED strip lights (optional)
*Please note, plywood cuts and amounts will vary depending on the size of cabinet you want.
Demo of the Existing Structure
Demo really isn’t demo for this project as the hole is already “ready”. I did have to remove the wires for the sound system so they weren’t in the way but other then that, nothing to drastic. Once those were removed, there was a small issue I noticed and questioned why in the world the electrician who did our basement 6 year ago did this:
As you can see, the boxes are not level with each other. After going to the mechanical room to see the cords were long enough, there was no reason for him to stagger the outlet and the one that feeds the wires (sorry if there is another term, I’m not an electrician!). I decided to move the one down so it was visually appealing.
Building A Square Cabinet Box
Once the electrical was moved, I could start focusing on the cabinet. I wanted the back of the cabinet to have some depth so I use left over shiplap from the Pantry Project.
Tip: I nailed the shiplap straight to the wall prior to installing the cabinet. The reason for this was to ensure the shiplap didn’t 1. take depth away from the cabinet and 2. was straight and had clean edges. really comes down to personal preference of install.
I used up some scrap maple plywood and birch plywood I had laying around in my garage. Why two different species of wood? I was trying really hard to make this project *free* by using up scraps from previous projects. I had enough maple for two sides and enough birch for the other two sides. As I am staining the wood dark, the tones from each species wouldn’t make a large difference so I wasn’t worried.
I used the pocket hole method to assemble the cabinet to ensure it had a seamless appearance from the inside. I then added some trim (You can use edge banding but I needed the extra depth of the trim to properly make the cabinet *almost* flush with the drywall) and applied the stain. I used Ebony by Varathane. I added two shelves with the pocket-hole method, filled in with wood filler and stained the same tone.
Note: You can add the shelves prior to install the cabinet box using brad nails and glue or screws form the exterior of the cabinet. Due to the opening in the wall I was working with, I felt it best to install the shelves second to ensure they remained level incase of any skewing when the cabinet box was slid into the opening.
For the shelves, I wanted them to be an 1 1/2in thick so I laminated two 3/4in maple plywood sheets together with glue and clamps. I finished off the edges with maple edge banding.
Now, here is the cool part.
I really wanted to make this cabinet “not be there”. We couldn’t move it over because the foundation for the garage is on the other side the hole and the stairs are on the opposite side of the corner. So I came up with a plan to make a door and hide it so when the media equipment wasn’t in use, the wall appeared to be a normal wall. I decided to do a board and batten trim on the wall and use the “inside” of one as the door.
Board and Batten is a fairly simple and beginner friendly wall accent application. Once you know the batten widths you want to use, simply find the length of your wall, determine how many battens you want, minus the total width of all those battens together, and divide but 1 less to get your spacing.
4 battens at 3.5in wide = 14in total
Wall is 96in long
96in – 14in = 82in/3 (One less the amount of battens )= 27.33in spaces.
Use a brad nailer to attach the battens to the wall and then caulk the edges for a neat finished look.
I used a 36in continuous hinge or piano hinge because I could hide it easier and it would give the 1/8. gapping I was wanting on all sides of the door. As for the door, I ripped down a sheet of MDF to the opening (minus 1/4 on the both the vertical and horizontal measurements of the door to allow for a 1/8 spacing so the door doesn’t get stuck if the house shifts any). I used MDF rather than plywood because, once painted, it would replicated the wall texture whereas plywood would show wood grain potentially.
How did I hide it the hinge in my media cabinet?
To truly hide the door, I needed a way to conceal the hinge and gapping all around. The board and batten was the perfect solution. I could make the door the centre of the board and batten and used the battens to hide to gaps. For the hinge batten, I used my router to dado out a 1/4in deep by 3/8 wide track that would fit over the hinge and still allow the door to open (The battens are 3.5in wide). The other vertical batten is attached to the door and opens with it. The two horizontal battens above and below the door are 1/8 or less from the door to allow it to open without rubbing the battens, and with the lighting from above, mimics shadows cast from the other battens without the door, making it well “hidden”.
Final Result – The Media Cabinet is DONE!
I painted the battens to match the wall as well as the MDF door in Snowbound by Sherwin Williams. I added some LED lights to add some Zest, a magnetic latch, and here is the final results….
I did make a small error when attaching the top batten (you can see it is slightly lower than the one next to it). It’s a smaller adjustment I hope to fix just by lowering the one next to it but these are the lessons I learn from these projects! I am very open about my mistakes and ensuring I learn from them!
I hope you enjoyed this project! Cheers!
For more amazing tutorials from Our Faux Farmhouse contributors like this accent wall from Savannah Kay Designs, check out the Our Faux Farmhouse blog here.