Jason’s DIY DWR Muro and Shared A/V Living Space

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Name: Jason Yang Location: Bethesda, Maryland Size: 640 square feet rental condominium

Inspired by DWR’s attractive Muro Media Storage but not satisfied with the price tag, Jason took the opportunity to create something of his own. “The Muro is $650 for what’s essentially painted MDF.” His design is remarkably simple - a nice wood panel from IKEA, mounted to two 2x4s (painted black to stay hidden) as the main structural support. The whole thing is secured into the drywall with toggle bolts which should patch up relatively easily when his lease ends. Spacers to gap the distance created by the baseboard are a nice touch that makes for a clean and finished look for only $100 and a couple of hours. Jason shares a little more detail about his homemade entertainment setup below.

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The retail inspiration for Jason's DIY solution.

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This minimalist TV setup is just one component of an A/V setup that allows Jason and his live-in girlfriend Jinee to watch video from the cable box, Blu-ray player, or PC in both the living room and the bedroom. It’s a fairly inexpensive solution where each video source runs through a 4x2 HDMI switch which can send any four input sources to either of the two TVs.

The switch also sends digital audio out to the home theater system while a single HDMI cable runs through the wall, carrying both the video and audio for the bedroom TV. The setup has one-touch control via a Logitech Harmony 900 remote control.

“The Harmony is overpriced but I splurged on it anyway since the built-in RF was much preferred over many tried and broken devices.”

This solution cut the need for a separate cable box (with its expensive monthly fee) and Blu-ray player for the bedroom.

“It’s a nice little media setup for my cozy 640 square foot apartment. I can’t wait to actually own a place because then the fun really begins.”

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Unplggd Survey:

Biggest challenge in designing my space: There are so many things I’d like to do but as a renter it’s just not worth spending the time and money in modifying a temporary space. Everything I have done has been with the idea of easily (and cheaply) restoring to the original condition after I move out.

What friends say about my space: They seem to like it, or so they say. :)

Area where there is room for improvement: The HVAC outlet and return are big eye sores. I’ve been struggling with ideas to mask this area a bit but have given up for now until I figure out if I’m going to continue renting here.

Future projects: I’m looking for the perfect sideboard table for my dining room to set an old 42” plasma TV on. The plan is to connect it to my PC and run photos and other visualizations from it. I also have plans for a coffee table PC but am constantly tweaking my ideas so I don’t compromise the look and feel of a living area with too much tech.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: This would definitely be the TV mount I built. For only $100!

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: I’ve loved the Crate and Barrel Tate bed for quite a few years and when I moved into this apartment I finally broke down and bought it during a sale. I had always wanted white but was convinced to go a darker shade and at first the decision ate at me terribly so but it has since grown on me as a much more mature color.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: You don’t have to go out and buy all new gear to get the setup you want. It just takes a little bit of planning to create a setup around what you already have. Monoprice.com has amazing free technical support to help talk you through what you’re trying to do and what you’ll need for it.

Dream source for stuff: My brother’s girlfriend just recently moved to NYC and each time we go up to visit I just love checking out the furniture stores. Even if I can’t afford it, seeing different pieces and setups plants so many ideas for future projects.
Biggest embarrassment: It’s taken me over a year into my lease to finally get all the pieces together to set this up.

A/V Gear:

  • Pioneer KRP-500M “Kuro” 50” 1080p plasma monitor
  • Samsung Series 680 Series 50” 1080p plasma TV
  • Monoprice 6415 4x2 HDMI matrix
  • Sony BDP-S360 Blu-ray disc player
  • Verizon FIOS cable box
  • Logitech Harmony 900 universal remote control

Post and photos by Jason Yang.

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