Kitchen Pantry Hides A/V Rack
It wasn't the most ideal solution, but this custom electronics pro and homeowner were willing to put the gear alongside the Pringles.
November 18, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Cookies, chips and crackers aren’t the only goodies you’ll find inside this kitchen pantry.

There are also a lot of black boxes and blinking lights, as it’s been stuffed with a rack of sophisticated audio and video equipment that distributes music and video throughout the house. Sure, a rack like this might eat up some of the space you’ve saved for double-stuffed Oreos, but it’ll also give you a feast of music and video.

The kitchen pantry rates right up there as the last place you’d ever put your amps, receivers and other gear, but in this case, it was about the only option, according to Brian Amideo, owner of Audio Video Rescue, Mesa, Ariz.

A closet he had hoped to use measured only 15 inches deep, “So guess what? None of this stuff will would fit,” Amideo recalls.

“We brainstormed to get the top shelf of the [adjacent] pantry, figuring that would get it done. It’s never what we wanted to do to begin with, but it was more a matter of having stuff done at the time and leaving him with a working system, or rescheduling the project.”

The understanding homeowner basically told him to go for it. So Amideo stuffed two A/V receivers, two DVD players and two satellite boxes onto that top shelf, along with two Panamax strip-style surge protectors and multiswitch for the sat boxes. With such little breathing room, however, wires were left as a jumbled mess behind the components, ventilation was inadequate, and one of the receivers needed a piece of tile to sit evenly. “It was such a nightmare to put my name on it, and, of course, we never wanted to leave it that way,” says Amideo.

However, because he had such a good relationship with the owner, and because the owner continued to rely on Audio Video Rescue for additional projects, Amideo got a second chance and ended up producing one of the more intriguing rack setups we’ve seen. It actually came about because the homeowner added on to this house, and Amideo recently outfitted the new area with localized systems run from a half-rack of gear that is tucked into a closet. “When they saw how nice and organized things could look, it was like, ‘Wow, why couldn’t we do that in the main house,’ and I said, ‘That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you for four years.’”

So began his own cleanup job, during which Amideo also served as pseudo carpenter on the solo effort. A full two days involved gutting the pantry, chopping and reconfiguring shelves, adding a plank to replace the one that had bowed thanks to the weight of the equipment over the years, and reconfiguring the wires. The cables and wires were all extended to reach the OmniMount RSF rack, and separated into three bundles: power with coax, speaker wire, and data and Cat 5 or balun-extended cables.

The two DVD players are now networked LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, which are hard-wired to networking devices that are, ironically, located in the original closet. More suitable small kitchen appliances now reside on the former A/V component shelf. And the disaster that Amideo cooked up four years ago can now be illustrated as a recipe for success.

Click here to view a slideshow of the original, in-progress fix, and after installations.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

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