Rant: PSA to builders, housewives, and general complaint

In our search for a new house, I’m seeing some disturbing and annoying trends, mainly, living rooms where the ONLY place to put a TV is way high above a fireplace. This leaves zero flexibility for tv placement, additional audio components etc. Most don’t even have plugs. I'm also in Texas and there's ZERO need for a fireplace.

Not to mention all the "open concepts" we’re seeing where the living room is strangely shaped and the kitchen is basically in the room where you hear all the kitchen noise and you’re 100% accessible to your spouse and their conversation (ramblings).

This isn’t a problem if you have $2m to spend but for most of us, we’re limited in where we can set up our toys and this does not help.

Thank you for listening.


@mhemusic - that's a great idea; I'd not heard of that - thank you! I'll check out the link, but I hope one can use one's own artwork? 

@stuartk - yes, I totally agree with you on that; I misunderstood the point. 

I’m not anti fireplace, just anti most $400k-900k homes build the fireplace right in the main entertainment spot of the house, right where my system should go

I guess that we all differ in terms of “should”. I would never place my primary two channel, nor home theater setup in “the main entertainment spot”. I understanding supporting video and audio in such a room, but talking, crowds and busy environments are not where I want to listen to music, or watch a movie.  Room acoustics are critical, whereas an entertainment area has much different priorities.     Also, expensive speakers and delicate turntable, arm and cartridges should not be exposed to such traffic and potential damage.

@larsman you can absolutely add your own artwork or use their's. You can purchase the frame and commission your own art or picture to be used.

I rebuilt my home about 12 years ago and added a wood-burning fireplace before I got into hi-fi. Luckily, I placed it in the corner of the room (large rectangle family/kitchen plan). What I had planned in a 12’ space on the short front wall (9’ceilings), was a built-in entertainment center, which I never built (funds ran-out-thank God!). It was a godsend because that space is now occupied by a hybrid system for TV and music. The only fixed piece is the 77” Oled which occupies the center space, just a tad above eye-level. Below that is an low cabinet housing all the gear (you can have a look on my description). It’s certainly not ideal, but I was all HT at that time. The walls house 12g speaker cable all around the room for surround speakers. But my hi-fi odyssey didn’t really get going until 3 years ago, but eventually, moved from an AV receiver-centered system to a 2.2 stereo system of separates, adding all this to the cabinet. A pair of modified (gr-research), 1.7i Magnepans replaced flagship DefTech towers for the fronts, (I kept the DefTech center-used for movies). I use a PrimaLuna Evo 300 preamp with a HT pass through for multi-channel TV with the receiver, and the rest is pure stereo powered with a Parasound A21+. 9 ft from the system we sit on a plush sectional that’s centered right in front which sits on top of a thick shag area rug. Even with wood floors, the sound is good (though I will soon do treatments to the rear of the speakers. The fireplace is 5ft from all this, in the corner and on cold nights when I burn wood, I move the Maggies a bit closer together, away from the heat. The overall effect is almost (the Maggies can get a bit of unusual attention), conventional/modern looking open family room, not too gear centered.  But I can certify everything works well together. Sometimes, when people are over they want to hear music, and they are floored. And with movies, same thing. When I’m alone, I have this incredible space to crank-up the sound and its truly blissful. Headphones help too late at night. Good luck on finding your way around that’s fireplace. My in-laws all have modern homes like what you have, but they ALL think it’s the cats-pajamas to have that TV perched way up on the wall over their beautiful gas fireplace. I just rub the back of my neck, nod and smile.

When we moved from NY to Texas, our original goal was a minimalist modern design- did not exist without a custom build that would have cost big money. A lot of expensive "modern" houses in town are just boxes that are cheaply made, with IKEA like finishes for a few mill plus. We wound up in a Victorian Queen Anne that had been restored by a preservationist over the course of 20 years- the quality of construction is unparalleled --

Though the house is "historic" downstairs- upstairs it is more like a modern loft and that’s where I put the main system. We put a small "home theatre" (flat screen) in the downstairs front parlor. On the TV mounting, my wife found an old heavy artist's easel- thing weighs about 200 lbs- made of oak. It required only minor repair- and the TV got mounted to the easel using a standard mount. It looks good, and is very sturdy. 

I guess my experience, wherever you are house shopping, is to get the feeds from the multilist from your broker (good to have a buy side broker) and do your due diligence- many of the houses in Austin had unpermitted additions from back in the day. These don’t show up on the tax rolls, either. But the first time you need an inspection for, say a kitchen upgrade, they might flag you for that unpermitted garage/guest house/whatever. Our broker would pull the permit file on any house we were serious about.

FWIW, it is hotter than hell here right now--I don’t run the big system when the grid is under strain. You might use a furnace two or three months a year and most of the time, it’s not very cold in the winter. Summers, though, place heavy demands on your air-conditioning.

Where in Texas are you house shopping?