California Integrator Adds Easy Revenue Hiding a TV with VisionArt Custom Framing

Some products take months to install, others go up in a matter of hours with a simple cut sheet taped to a wall. For integrator Sound Design Audio Video, custom artwork from VisionArt is the easiest part of an installation.


Job sites are pretty chaotic, especially if the site is a home that hasn’t quite been completed. You have to work around electricians, contractors, designers and half-finished walls, ceilings and floors. One job recently completed by California integrator Sound Design Audio Video even had to work around the idea of solar panels, which popped up about halfway through the installation.

“There’s a process to these things … but halfway through I start hearing things about solar,” says Brian Shaw, owner, Sound Design Audio Video. “Turns out every subcontractor on the project has to stop what they’re doing while the landscape guy and the solar guy are talking. Suddenly nothing’s working and they’re coming to me.”

“When those boxes showed up, my guys had never seen VisionArt before. I took it out of the box and left it at the job site overnight. When I came back in the morning, it was all done.”

— Brian Shaw, Sound Design Audio Video

Everything worked out, of course, but the process opened Shaw’s eyes to the importance of those product categories you don’t have to worry about – the ones that are delivered to the job site without a fuss and can be installed the very same day.

For Shaw and Sound Design, that product was a VisionArt custom framed piece of art designed to hide TVs out of site and enhance the aesthetics of a room.

The Design

It all started when the homeowner told Shaw his wife wanted to be able to hide the TV.

“I’d read about VisionArt and saw it, but never really installed it before,” says Shaw. “The house was still being built, so I’m thinking, I need [VisionArt] to hold my hand through this process. Even six-foot-seven Brian Shaw knows when to ask for help.”

First Shaw needed to figure out what equipment was going to go in the wall behind the VisionArt frame. He chose a 65-inch Sony XVR TV, Episode center channel speaker and SnapAV mount.

Shaw decided to place two TVs along with VisionArt artwork above a fireplace in the family room and master bedroom. However, the living room mantle was holding up the design of the fireplace in the unfinished home.

While the other aspects of each room came together, Shaw and the homeowner focused on design. The homeowner’s wife picked out the artwork, working directly with VisionArt, which freed Shaw up on the job site.

“It was great that this could all happen at the same time,” says Shaw. “When you’re working with designers and people who are sensitive to how everything is going to look, you realize what a different perspective that is. That mindset is very different than a contractor’s, who says, ‘Let’s just do it. Get it up there!’”

The team at VisionArt went “above and beyond,” says Shaw, to coordinate with the homeowners and make sure the artwork was right and delivered on time. “They understood that I’m a contractor,” he says. “I don’t know a leather frame from a pleather frame. But the homeowner will.”

The Installation

“While the designer and the wife are thinking about the picture, I’m thinking about the width, the depth and the encasing in stone,” says Shaw. “You have one chance to get it right.”

The back can, where all the gear lives, gives the TV its invisibility. The width of the VisionArt frame would decide exactly where the back can fits in relation to the mantle, and the equipment Shaw put behind the TV would decide the width and height of the back can. Suddenly the whole fireplace falls into place.

Once the two back cans arrived at the jobsite, Shaw put them up in both rooms and left cut sheets with frame dimensions, directions and sizes hammered to the wall.

“That way anyone can see it – the electricians, the phone and Internet guys, the stonemason, everyone – all their questions could be answered by the cut sheet VisionArt gave me,” explains Shaw.

Shaw was in the middle of dealing with the headache of solar when the VisionArt product arrived.  

“When those boxes showed up, my guys had never seen VisionArt,” says Shaw. “I took it out of the box and left it at the job site overnight. When I came back in the morning, it was all done.”

The job took about 320 man-hours in total for a $48,000 contract. When Shaw started the project, he had no plans to work with VisionArt – it wasn’t a necessity on the project. But it ended up being the easiest source of revenue he could have added along the way. And it was one less headache amidst all the chaos.

“It helped having someone at VisionArt on the phone who could take care of business,” adds Shaw. “It made figuring out a brand new product category a whole lot easier.”

About the Author

Chelsea Cafiero:

Chelsea Cafiero is Senior Web Editor of CE Pro. She also manages the corresponding websites of sister publications Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration, Campus Safety and Electronic House. Chelsea has previously covered politics, local news and consumer electronics. She joined the CE Pro family in 2012.