rprice54 Basement Media Room Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 100 Old 11-04-2009, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I've been researching and asking questions long enough. I've purchased my receiver and speakers, I'm THIS close to a PJ, and the basement is about to get drywall. I figured it was time to start a build thread.

We are not just doing a media room, we are finishing our basement as well, which globally slows down the process. I meant to get some more pics of my conduit runs, etc but the insulation guys showed up early this morning.

I've posted more detailed thoughts at my Picasa web albums, which is where the pics are hosted.

The main idea is a 20 x 15.5 ft basement room, no windows, fully controlled light, but we wanted a family/media room, not just a theater. I also do woodworking as a hobby (see my picasa albums) so I wanted to incorporate that into an entertainment center and matching columns around the room.

My equip will be an Onkyo 3007 9.2 receiver, Axiom Speakers (The "in-cabinet version" M60's, EP500 sub, Qs8 surrounds, and VP150 center). I'm strongly leaning towards a Panny AE4000 PJ, and once I get that I will figure out what size motorized screen to get. We will move our 50" Plasma into the center of the cabinet for everyday viewing, and then the screen will drop down in front for movies/games/etc. The wife has given me freedom on the budget and what I get, in exchange for a clean, built in system. A fair compromise. (Side note, this whole thing took off, when I was trying to figure out if my old Panny HTIB setup would be enough of a sound system for that room. My wife replied "Oh, I just assumed we would need a new system down stairs." I love her...)

Enough talk here are the pics.



Here's the blank slate. The trunk of cables coming down is my current setup. The plasma is on the next floor up, over a fireplace. the cables run down to my makeshift AV rack (read: old sewing table). I control everything with an IR blaster and RF remote for Dish Network. The only thing you see upstairs is the screen.



This is the back wall of the room. The table with the drop cloth was orinally going to be a craft room for the wife. But at her suggestion, we decided to make it a kitchenette, and add a window through the wall. It opens up the media room, and allows for more seating in the room proper instead of an island/bar eating up precious room. Notice all the HVAC and ductwork we need to work around.



The front wall with framing and rockwool insulation. Behind the rockwool is 1/2 Dupont foam board which creates a vapor barrier. I also filled up the soffit with insulation. in the middle, I ran a 1 3/4 conduit over to the right, so I can run the HDMI cables in the wall. there is a power box above it. I'm using a Power Link product to run power from my surge protector in the AV rack to the Plasma and the Projector.
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post #2 of 100 Old 11-04-2009, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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This will be behind the AV rack. The blue box has 3/4 smurf tube running from it to the rear speakers. A wall plate with binding posts will go there. To the right is the orange conduit that will carry HDMI to the TV and Projector. Then cable/cat 5, a 4 plug 20A receptacle, and the powerlink end of run on the right.



Here's what the back wall looks like now. If you look closely, you'll see the orange boxes, these are connected with 3/4 smurf tube and will be the side and back surround speakers. I also double stuffed the ceilng with R19. There will be a bar underneath the window in the back wall, with a dedicated can light over it.



Here's the other back corner. Along the walls will be columns I will build to match the entertainment center. On each column will be a dimming sconce. The middle columns will also have my side surrounds mounted to them.
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post #3 of 100 Old 11-08-2009, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, add this to the "What I would do next time" file. The 3/4 smurf tube has ended up being much more difficult to pull through than I anticipated. Even with generous lube. Part of the problem is the cable I bought, 12G wire with the clear (and grippy) insulation. I should have gone with a round wire with more of a romex type coating on it. I tried to pull all four surround speaker wires through the smurf tube. No go, with lube I can get 2 with much grunting and sweating.

Meanwhile, the 1 1/4 orange tube I bought from a local installation guy works beautifully for my 22AWG HDMI cable. I should have bought more for the speaker runs to make things simple. They terminate in the same orange low voltage boxes I got from the retail box store. Would have been much easier.


Also, when I installed the boxes for the HDMI and power for the PJ I worked around a light that I have since removed, so the boxes have a bit of a space between them. No big deal, but not as pretty. I may move them closer to each other.


Now I'm sitting on my hands waiting for the inspection before I can hang drywall.
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post #4 of 100 Old 11-08-2009, 06:43 PM
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Dude - if the drywall still isn't up, why not take the time NOW to put in conduit runs that won't be a pain to pull wire through? I mean, if you're already struggling and the drywall isn't up yet it seems like cheap insurance ...

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post #5 of 100 Old 11-08-2009, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I hear you. The speaker wire is run already. I had to add a second run of smurf tube after failing the first time. One does the right side, and one the left. I can get the wires in and out now, so I think I'm good. The problem was trying to run all four through one conduit, so I ran another one. I'm just glad I tried it all now and not later.

If I were starting over, I would do one run of the orange conduit. but the two smurf runs work, it just meant drilling another set of holes through the joists.
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post #6 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 05:10 AM
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Looks impressive. Can you show us a floorplan and/or Sketch Up or what you're aiming for?

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post #7 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 09:41 AM
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RP,

This will be a NICE space. A few comments:

1) I second Hanes; on upsizing the LV conduit runs.

2) For speaker wire; you should consider replacing that clear stuff with some proper in-wall CL2 or CL3 rated wire. An additional benefit > it should also pull easier

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post #8 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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the clear stuff does say CL2 listed on it.

At this point, as the speaker wires are run, I don't want to pull them out and re-run them just because. If I have problems I can pull them out and re-run down the road. I can get the 2 wires in and out okay when it's just two.

I will post a google sketchup model when I get a chance.
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post #9 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 11:05 AM
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I'll have to bookmark this thread. Looks similar in layout and scope to what I'm doing in my basement.

I like what you've done so far. I was suprised to read the clear jacketed wire is CL rated.

Why did you choose to run conduit? In my instalaltion I ran all the wire for speakers, etc and stapled it to the framing as I went, mostly up in the soffits and dropped into the walls into low voltage boxes.

Some questions if you don't mind sharing:

Whats the height of the soffits?

Have you made any decisions on the HVAC for the room?

What is the height from the floor to joists?

and, I was wondering what the square framing is in the first pic, center of the future celing?

Thanks

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post #10 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rprice54 View Post

the clear stuff does say CL2 listed on it.

At this point, as the speaker wires are run, I don't want to pull them out and re-run them just because. If I have problems I can pull them out and re-run down the road. I can get the 2 wires in and out okay when it's just two.

I will post a google sketchup model when I get a chance.

My bad > I had no idea the clear stuff was rated for in-wall use.
With that said: I understand why you are staying put with what you have.

I see you have used a lot of mineral wool for wall insulation - this should perform well! One of my ideas for bass trapping is to (someday) open up my rear wall (an interior wall) and then fill the spaces with the MW. Then covering that cavity with a GOM covered frame with several inches of semi-rigid fiberglass...

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post #11 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneypit View Post

Why did you choose to run conduit? In my instalaltion I ran all the wire for speakers, etc and stapled it to the framing as I went, mostly up in the soffits and dropped into the walls into low voltage boxes.

Some questions if you don't mind sharing:

Whats the height of the soffits?

Have you made any decisions on the HVAC for the room?

What is the height from the floor to joists?

and, I was wondering what the square framing is in the first pic, center of the future celing?

Thanks

1.) Conduit was for any future runs or changes that need to be made. Chances are, I'll never use them again, but for some reason I felt like I needed to. Maybe speakers of the future will use different cables? I was suprised to find CL2 on the jacket, monoprice doesn't mention it, they specifically sell romex type stuff for more listed as CL2 rated. It certainly would be easier to pull.

2) Soffits are 12" tall. The front wall where the screen will be the soffit is 15" deep. You'll never see it though, it will be covered by the built in entertainment center. The back wall soffit had to be 24" deep, which moves my surround backs forward a bit, but it was unavoidable. I'll be starting with a 5.1 setup anyways, so it may not matter.

3) This is really part of an entire basement job. We put a dedicated HVAC unit downstairs (we live in Georgia, it gets hot in the summer, even in the basement). The thermostat is in the media room, so I can keep it as cool as I need to. The rockwool actually heats it up in there- we used to enjoy cool air coming off the concrete walls. The only exposed wall we have faces east- so it gets full sun for the first half of the day and heats the place up. The register in the media room is on the ceiling opposite from the thermostat, and part of it blows directly on the right front wall, where the AV rack will be. I thought (am thinking) about tapping into the upstairs HVAC system that runs along the front wall and letting some of that blow down- except in the winter, when the heat runs all the time, which is why I don't think I will do that. I can keep the basement cool pretty well.

4) Floor to joists is 8'. What I would pay to have had 9' ceilings in the basement... We didn't build it though.

5) I'm not sure which first pic you're talking about? If you're talking about the last pic, I put up some 2x6's in the center of the room to mount the PJ to. Gives me a big solid target.

I'm counting on the rockwool to help. I couldn't drop the ceiling down with isolation brackets, I didn't want to re-frame the room, it was the next best thing I could build in. I'm hoping to keep as much sound out of the soffits as well- the ductwork carries sound upstairs very efficiently.
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post #12 of 100 Old 11-09-2009, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's a rough schematic. We haven't picked the furniture yet, but here's a basic idea.

The entertaiment center up front. A sectional sofa on the right (of this picture) and another sofa on the left wall. A skinny table behind the sectional with some stools for second row seating/eating area. The back wall has a window to the kitchen area with a bar under it and some more stools.

We're not going with theater seating so the room can be used for other social events.

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post #13 of 100 Old 11-10-2009, 05:01 AM
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Looking at the drawing of the space you added, my first thought is if the screen is going to be centered in the room, your center/prime viewing position is an aisle, and all viewing positions are either a bit off center or a lot off center. This may not bother you, depending on your screen and how much you use the area for viewing, but it's worth considering.

P.S. When I suggested a floorplan for more feedback, I meant a floorplan of the entire basement, not just the room, but if you really aren't looking for any more feedback it's fine as is.

EDIT: My point being - if I actually have one - is that sometimes the room or place we start out thinking is best for the HT area turns out to be different from the final product. That has been my case, and others as well. Showing the entire basement might produce a suggestion you hadn't considered that just may change your mind - especially if you get BIG to weigh in with ideas.

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post #14 of 100 Old 11-10-2009, 05:51 AM
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Thank you for answering all my questions. It looks like your a bit ahead of me with your build so it will provide me with added motivation. I'm looking forward to seeing your updates.

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post #15 of 100 Old 11-10-2009, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneypit View Post

It looks like your a bit ahead of me with your build so it will provide me with added motivation.





Excuse me while I recover from the shock of hearing those words uttered to me, of all people!

Hope you don't mind if I quote you far and wide, as that should give lots of folks a good laugh today!

Imagine it ... me ... ahead of someone in their build!

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post #16 of 100 Old 11-10-2009, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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This was the biggest room in the basement. To the right is a 12x12 room that will serve as a study with a connected bathroom. To the left is another 12x12 room with a window and a door to the outside, so this was the largest room by far, with no ambient light. Plus the plumbing/etc is done. No changes.

The sectional will actually go out past midline, I just quickly drew up a sectional for schematic purposes. What we are shooting for is a sectional with a chaise lounge on the end. Like This. I will have seat front and center, no worries, even if it means a sofa with smaller chairs on the sides.

Inspection passed today, sheet rock starts tomorrow. Woohoo!!!

Now I can order my PJ. I wanted to be sure the sheetrock would be up, then I can project the image on the wall and see what size screen I want. Once I know that, I can start building the entertainment center. If only Epson would release the 8500. I'm torn between that and the Panny 4000... My family will be in town for Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to give them a preview with the speakers and PJ set up... but I don't want to rush into the Panny until I know how much the Epson will be.

Speakers supposed to arrive today (fingers crossed)...
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post #17 of 100 Old 11-13-2009, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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no new pics, but man, how nice is it watching someone else hang drywall...
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post #18 of 100 Old 11-15-2009, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, drywall is up, waiting for mud... then the fun begins- building the entertainment center. Hopefully my PJ will come in this week or next, I need to figure out how big of a screen I can get, and then finish the design of the entertainment center. I'm going to put solid panel doors on either side of the room to help contain the sound. I'm itching to get down there with the speakers and give the room a run...


Front wall


Rear Wall


And for fun, my 5 year old wrote this on the wall that backs up to my woodshop. I've had this drywall up for a while, trying to keep the dust in. I told him he could write in chalk whatever he wanted. It's hard to read, but it says, "Do not go in. Dad's Shop."
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post #19 of 100 Old 11-16-2009, 06:34 AM
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Hey - it's shaping up quite nice, gotta love having that drywall phase behind you!

Sorry if I missed it earlier in your thread > but a question:
What will be in the room behind your rear wall to the right of the stairwell (in the above photo)?

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post #20 of 100 Old 11-16-2009, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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there was a wall there originally, it was going to be a seperate room for the Mrs. We were going to have a little wet/bar/minifridge area in the back of the media room, but that quickly eats into sitting room. We decided to put a window in, open the room up, and put a kitchenette back there. We'll have a bar directly under the window on this side, and behind it will be a sink. We'll have room for a full sized fridge and some cabinets back there. To the right is the mechanical room, I think I will put a microwave flush in the wall sticking out into the mechanical room. I can post pics of that area if people want.

Mud this week...
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post #21 of 100 Old 11-16-2009, 10:13 AM
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Drywall is looking good, you can really see the room start to take shape. Do you see a need to screw down the drywall edges more frequently? It looks like the edges have screws placed 16" OC. I just started my dryawall over the weekend and I was told to screw the edges down about every 4" (in practice, I think I did it every 2-3").

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post #22 of 100 Old 11-16-2009, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I hired a crew. People are hungry for work, I don't think I could have bought supplies (remember, this is part of an entire basement job) for the price these guys gave me.

The drywall was nailed up around the edges, glued to the walls underneath, and screwed in the middle. I don't think it's going anywhere. I think putting screws in every 2-3" is just going to chew up the edge- at some point you could weaken the joint if the entire edge of the drywall is ragged.
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post #23 of 100 Old 11-16-2009, 05:53 PM
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I think you and I are almost at identical stages in our builds. My drywall ceiling just went up today, and mudding and taping is going on this week. Also have to repair all the holes made to run wiring...

And I am using a contractor and tradespeople as well. It came down to getting it done at a snail's pace (me doing it all), or paying guys that do it all the time to get it done quickly and properly.
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post #24 of 100 Old 12-07-2009, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Drywall done. Doors hung, but the supply house sent the wrong doors, twice. Waiting on the correct doors. Then trim/crown/and paint.

We found a great sectional on clearance. It's HUGE!!!. Forget the table behind the sofa. Now it's just big, oversized sofa, with the bar/counter in the back. This moves my main seating spot back a few feet as well, which means- bigger screen. Joy. Downside, the surrounds were initially going to be just behind the main seating position. Now they are pretty much at 90 degrees. I got the Axiom Qs8 which are quadrapolar, so hopefully they will be a bit forgiving.

Probably still have room on the other side of the wall for a chair/recliner. We're going to wait though, until the room is finished, so we're not moving a bunch of furniture around over and over again.

Bought the sconces, now I just need to design the columns they will go on. I'm thinking shallow columns coming out just 2-3" with chair rail in the middle (to match some columns in our dining room upstairs) and some type of decorative trim on the bottom. The top will have surround speakers and sconces.

With the holidaze coming up, probably not much progress or pics until new year.
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post #25 of 100 Old 12-10-2009, 11:11 AM
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Any pictures of the room mudded?

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post #26 of 100 Old 12-13-2009, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry it's been so long. We had some other issues come up (life happens).

I will try to get some shots up this week. All the trim is delivered, waiting to go up. Doors are hung. I've finished the design for the columns, and those need to go up next before the trim.

Unfortunately, I only have two days off between now and the 28th when I start vacation. Updates will follow after the new year.
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post #27 of 100 Old 01-05-2010, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, we're up and running. Since my last update, I have trimmed out the adjacent soon to be school room and painted it. Now I can turn my attention to the media room again. Turns out I had a fingerprint on my lens, so a few of the pics are fuzzy.

So now it's time for the columns. I debated solid mahogany (which is what the entertainment center will be) but decided a)lots of $$$ and b) I don't want these to be the focal point. So we're going with brown walls and very dark brown trim. Samples below (dark brown still a little wet).



With family in town, I did go ahead and set up the AV equip. Since I'm building the entertainment center around them, I need to the speakers and the screen in hand so I know exactly how big they are, and so I don't change my mind after I build the center. So I'm locked in. I went with a 110" screen. It's the largest I could fit vertically with the sub and center under it. Everything looks/sounds great, but the white walls definitely wash out the image in light scenes. I ended up going with the Epson 8500. A large part of my viewing will be football with some ambient light and this gives me a little more juice than the Panny 4000. Even on the lowest possible light setting, this thing looks great with some lights on.



The columns are 3/4 MDF, 2" thick (beveled joints on the edge for a razor sharp edge- that will be sanded back a hair). The holes are for the sconces that will be mounted on them. The middle column in each row is also wired for 7.1 sound. If I ever upgrade, I just poke a hole in the column and fish out the wire.


I determined my surrounds sound better up on the soffitt behind the listening area. Due to the shape of the Axiom surrounds, I get sound from behind me and bouncing off the side walls, at times I swear it sounds like I have 7.1 setup.



The trim around the columns is modeled after some columns we have upstairs in our dining room. I used my laser level mounted on a temporary stand to line everything up.





That's it for now. Hopefully crown tomorrow. Then I need to trim out the other rooms in the basement (kitchenette, study, bathroom) and then I'm done working. Labor is so cheap right now, I'm going to hire someone to paint for me, I hate painting. Then floors, then I build the entertainment center, which will be a whole 'nother project on it's own. I'll post the sketchup model when I finish it.

Thanks for reading.
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post #28 of 100 Old 01-06-2010, 08:55 AM
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rprice,

Nice progress - these columns a very sharp - the trim detail (about waist high) is a very nice touch!

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post #29 of 100 Old 01-06-2010, 09:51 AM
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Very nice wall detail and I really like the color contrast. You're right about the Ent. center being another project, but that will be the enjoyable...and clean part. In fact, everthing was more enjoyable once you get past the sheetrocking and taping.
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post #30 of 100 Old 01-06-2010, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh yea, fortunate mistake... look between columns 2 and 3- I put the box for the light and the box for the speaker wire in the wrong place!!! Somehow I goofed and put them on the wrong joist. So now I have a hole to fill- but the fortunate part is that I can still get to the speaker wires. That box has all four wires coming in from the entertainment center, one stays put and the other three go on their merry way to the other speakers. Had I closed this up with a column, it would have made any future changes very difficult- not that I plan on changing them. But this will get a blank faceplate that will get painted with the rest of the room. But I need to patch the light box.

The other fortunate part is that behind that wall is my unfinished shop- the only unfinished wall of the media room- so all I had to do was go back there, pull the wires out, and run them through the joist and back out the wall. I'll add a retrofit box from behind if I get the urge to. the sconce will mount directly to the column so I really don't need it.

At least it was on that wall and not the other, which would have meant a lot more re-work.
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