Custom Cabinetry

Tech-friendly furniture combines form and functionality to conceal your A/V gear.

TUCKING A/V EQUIPMENT into stylish cabinets has been a common approach of many design-conscious home systems integrators and homeowners. It’s still widely practiced today, and thanks to the development of prefabricated tech-friendly cabinet designs from companies including Sanus, BDI and Salamander, many of the issues traditionally associated with stowing gear inside the tight confines of a cabinet have been largely mitigated. If you’re in the market for a new piece of furniture, you’re sure to find a prefab style to complement your home’s interior, prevent your electronic components from overheating, keep the cabling neat and organized and accommodate future additions of components.

New Life for an Antique Cabinet

An antique hutch was fitted with new shelving. Design and installation by CBA Technology, South Pasadena, Calif. and Innerspace Electronics, Port Chester, N.Y., respectively.

An antique hutch was fitted with new shelving. Design and installation by CBA Technology, South Pasadena, Calif. and Innerspace Electronics, Port Chester, N.Y., respectively.

The craftsman who designed and built this beautiful cabinet was surely not thinking about speakers, TVs and other technology when he put it together. It’s way too old for that. Still, as the owners of the cherished piece of antique furniture discovered, anything is possible when you apply some creativity and ingenuity.

In this case, it was the home systems integrators at Innerspace Electronics, Port Chester, N.Y, that devised a plan that would enable several components to be installed neatly inside the cabinet without compromising its original design. This meant no holes would be drilled, no screws would be added, and the lacquered finish would remain unmarred, says Innerspace Electronics president Barry Reiner. The solution was to build a freestanding insert that would attach to the cabinet’s existing cleats. The configuration of the shelves was based on the A/V equipment specified by Innerspace Electronics, which includes a 63-inch Pioneer plasma TV, three Triad speakers, Denon A/V receiver, Pioneer Blu-ray Disc player and cable box.

Still, there are many situations where custom-built cabinetry can offer a more attractive storage solution. In this case, it’s crucial to know the exact dimensions of every component that’ll go inside. You’ll need to determine, for example, the width and height of the display plus the dimensions of any speakers. The three front speakers of a surround-sound system can be stowed out of sight inside the cabinet; speaker grilles that match the color of the cabinet can be applied to allow the sound from the speakers to filter into the room without any degradation.

 Whether you buy a cabinet pre-assembled or have one custom made, technology can be easily incorporated into the its design. In this upper level recreation room, a motorized lift was add so that the flat-panel TV appears only  when the owners want to watch a program.

Whether you buy a cabinet pre-assembled or have one custom made, technology can be easily incorporated into the its design. In this upper level recreation room, a motorized lift was add so that the flat-panel TV appears only when the owners want to watch a program.

As for the TV, the most covert of all solutions is to attach it to a motorized assembly that lifts the screen out of the cabinet and into view when you’re ready to watch a program or movie. You can buy preassembled units from companies including Auton and Nexus21, or have qualified a home systems integrator add a lift to a standard cabinet. The lifts can be controlled from the same remote that operates the A/V gear, and some can be swiveled so that the screen can face multiple viewing locations.

When you’re done watching the display, the cabinet can go back to being a natural part of the room decor, giving you the best of both worlds: a beautiful piece of furniture and cutting-edge technology.

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