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.


@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?


@whart  currently in the Dallas area. Considering moving to Atlanta or maybe Nashville but it's really the same story there.  Same cookie cutter style that my wife loves.  We have young kids so we don't have the luxury of living just anywhere based on finding the perfect house.. It has to be in the right schools, in the right neighborhood, and all that.. that equals cookie cutter for the most part.  And for whatever reasons, housewives have demanded this open-concept fire place where my system should go look.  I swear it was by design by housewives everywhere.


I agree that when staging a house to sell, a lovely family portrait above fire place sells better than massive speakers a half mile of cables expertly hidden in the nooks and crannies..


Speaking of....  are you amazed at how many men come into your home and don't comment or even look twice at the system you're so proud of?


If I went into someones home and they had a pair of speakers as tall as me and a system with cool lights, I'd at least be attracted and give kudos!  Makes it easy cull friends at least.   

We had the exact same issue the last time we bought 22 years ago. A big factor in the house we bought was that it did not have this "forced" TV location.

A few years ago we decided we were ready to go and looked for a new house for a full year and never found anything we both liked, so I talked my wife into buying a nice, big, 5-acre lot and I got to work designing the house to go on it. Great room has the fireplace right in the middle of one of the long walls, flanked by double french doors on both sides that lead to a screened porch. I also don't like the TV being in a prominent location, i.e., it's the first thing you see when you enter a room, so I left one of the short walls (but only 4' shorter than the long ones) as a "blank canvas", meaning no doors or other interruptions and you have to be pretty much in the room to even see the TV. Pretty unique for an open concept (which we do still like after living in one all these years). I also have a dedicated media room (16'6" x 22'), designed just to my liking.

Covid, of course, made building nigh impossible for a while but we're within a couple weeks of getting started now, just in time to pay sky-high interest (comparatively)! We're just gonna have to suck it up and get this place built.

Another advantage of building is that you have control over how your house is built. The builder doesn't dictate to me, it's the other way around. I'm the customer. I'm doing lots of non-standard things including 2x6 exterior walls (virtually unheard of in the south) and geothermal HVAC. Yes, building can be quite an undertaking but it's the best way of getting what you want.