Design Dilemma: The Case of the Too Large TV


After an exhaustive search, my best friend met the man of her dreams. Their compatibility, officially measured by eHarmony, is undeniable. Julie and Eric share a love of life’s fine things: cooking, photography, architecture and interior design. In short order, she moved into his stylish SoMA loft. There was just one, not-so-small problem: this fantastic fella had a television as big as his heart. 

“As soon as you walked into the loft, you saw it. It was 50 inches wide and very deep, because it was a rear projection set,” says Julie. “It was an undesirable focal point and divided the main floor in half.”

Eric, a tech person and gadget lover, had purchased the set and mammoth speakers to go with it a few years before Julie came into his life. Although he agreed the piece acted as a wall that divided the sunny, open space, he liked his audio visual equipment and was reluctant to part with it. “I invested in the best technology I could afford at the time,” he says. “I couldn’t see the logic of getting rid of it.”

Trying to improve the aesthetic of the situation, Eric added a decorative screen behind the television and its accessories. This hid the set’s backside and the myriad of necessary wires from the kitchen and dining room. Although it did nothing to open up the space, at least the screen covered what Julie described as a “big, tangled, hot mess.”

Then disaster struck one spring morning: Julie woke up to find that a water filter hose had come loose and flooded the entire first floor. Everything had to be removed—including the offending television. After weeks of drying out and laying new flooring, the couple noticed something as they began putting the space back together. The loft looked fabulous sans a television set the size of the Great Wall of China. The improved design wasn’t lost on the Italian craftsman from Alto Design Solutions who was reinstalling the storage wall he’d designed for the couple. He commented on it and suggested a solution: invest in a new wall-hung television, add smaller wall speakers, put the equipment in cabinets and hide all the wires in the walls.

Of course, like many good things, the solution came at a price. The new equipment (including a pivoting and rotating bracket that would allow the TV to turn out from the wall in either direction and swivel 90 degrees on the wall and display a still image to create a digital “picture”) and the labor it required rang in at around $10,000.

“It’s true, I didn’t anticipate buying all new equipment so soon,” says Eric. “But technology had advanced, and everything is better about the new system—there’s improved clarity and sound and a universal remote. Plus, you can pivot the screen to the back of the loft and watch TV while you are cooking.”

And, although Eric had to sacrifice money, he didn’t have to cut back in size. The new wall-mounted television is still a whopping 50 inches wide. He and Julie gained space, openness and an improved floor plan—not to mention the peace that descends on a household when someone changes the channel on an offending design element.

Julie has advice for partners seeking to solve a design dilemma: “Tread lightly,” she says. “Eric, like many men, requires logic to make a decision. It works best to clearly state the problem, and then state the solution. Bitching isn’t going to solve the problem, but often reason will.”

Send your design dilemmas and photos to

More news: