Where I'm at right now...
**My 2-year-old broke my computer a while back and I am still using my husband's old work computer. Something happened while I was uploading photos to this dinosaur and I lost all of my in progress shots of the fireplace, so I'm going to do the best I can with what I've got now**
Here is said 2-year-old helping
Behind him though you can see the very first two things I put together. The sides and then main shelf. I will have a more complete post when I finish this puppy with all the measurements and supplies, but I used 1/2" MDF to make the frame. After I did it, I realized I probably didn't use thick enough MDF, but it is holding
up pretty well. If I had to do it over I'd pick 3/4".
Here I have already started to piece the base together which I built using plain old 2x4's
I cut two pieces of MDF to create 'sides' of the fireplace area, and cut a 1x12 to make the doors.
I screwed the 2x4's together, and cut a piece of MDF to fit the top. MDF is really cheap, like $14 for a giant piece and it's relatively sturdy so for large areas that aren't going to support a ton of weight, it's what I like to work with most.
I also cut a piece of MDF to fit the back and create the 'fireplace' area. Sarah Jane makes it look awfully pretty, and you can get a good feel for the size of it. I think it's 61" wide. At this point I took it inside to finish.
I am really bummed I don't have all the pictures, but you can see here where I am hiding a door and how I built a frame to fit inside the doorway so I would be able to mount the TV. I cut a piece of, you guessed it, MDF and screwed it into the 2x4's and then mounted the TV. This is the one and only part of the project I did have to have help on. I needed an extra set of hands to hold the frame level and screw it into the doorframe. We only used 2 good drywall screws (they work much better on 2x4's than regular wood screws) to fix it into the doorframe for minimal damage.
In case you are wondering why we are hiding a door it's because we live in an old 1930's farm house which was built before air conditioning. We have approximately 4,506,236 doors in our house and some are just useless and are like right in the middle of the wall where you would what to put a TV. Something the original owners probably didn't think too much about.
Here is the base flipped to show the underside.
I ran out of screws that day and forgot to add the third support in on the left. It honestly holds up just fine without it, so the likelyhood of me actually putting it in there is slim to none, but yeah, it should be a nice sturdy box.
Base in place
This picture was taken at an odd angle I guess, but it is really not that un-level (that is not a word according to spellcheck). But here is the base with the 'fireplace' surround sitting on top. I also cut pieces of MDF and mounted shelves inside using simple 1x1 trim to make the supports.
The sides however, are really that wonky. Our garage floor fluctuates everywhere. All the concrete is cracking and I can have a difference in floor elevation by a few inches in just a couple feet of space. This is why I brought the project inside to finish it. But apparently I measured wrong or something and it looks like I am about 1/4" off making the boards bow in on the sides. I chose not to fix it until it was on solid ground, so that will have to be fixed soon.
And here is where it stands today
This week I plan on getting it leveled out and all of the pieces attached to one another. Then I'll put the doors on with hinges. The place where all of the pictures are sitting is actually going to have a drop down door in front of it as well, and the 'mantle' will sit on a lip on top of that.
If the TV ends up being too close to the top of the mantle it will be fairly easy to take it down, slide the MDF up a bit further to give it more height and then remount the television higher as well. But I'm hoping that won't be necessary!
After I finish the carpentry portion I'm going to paint it, I'm thinking Annie Sloan chalk paint because I've been itching to try it, and then I'll have a full DIY post up.