Basement Project - Creating Living/Theater Room, Need Help! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 02-21-2010, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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After 4 years in our house, my wife and I are finally stretched for space and decided to finish our basement. With twin 2 year olds, space got tight quick!

The space is very open, but has some quirks. I have already decided that I am going to build in office in a small area behind the stairs so I can free up a bedroom upstairs for guests. We also had the bathroom plumbing stubbed in during initial construction, so the placement of the bathroom/closet is also a given. That leaves a very large area intended for a family room/home theater area/play area. I am struggling with the layout, best equipment setup for the area, and speaker placement due to the support posts.

Anyone have ideas before we start framing in the walls? Suggestions? I am all ears, have never taken on a project this big before. BTW, budget is not a factor at this point...

Blank Layout:


Layout with LCD and built in cabinets (not sure I want to go this route yet):
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post #2 of 51 Old 02-22-2010, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE:


Came up with another layout that may suit us better. This allows for standard speakers to be hidden in the wall behind acoustically transparent cloth. Also allows for a projector screen to be hidden away in a soffit in front of the LCD.

Need some thoughts, any challenges or benefits with this? I know what I like from a picture/sound quality perspective, but am not an expert...
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post #3 of 51 Old 02-22-2010, 12:15 PM
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just curious, what software did you use to create those layout plans?
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post #4 of 51 Old 02-22-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Punch Home and Landscape Suite, works well for rough drawings and 3D representation. Hasn't been easy to work with soffits and the like, though.
I am not a CAD expert by any stretch, so creating the custom cabinetry and speaker enclosures is not on my to do list...

For reference, I have not decided on specific equipment for this build yet.
Hoping to use existing equipment initially since a significant portion of the budget is going towards construction, but want flexibility for future upgrades.
Equipment I plan to use initially is:

2 x Polk RT600i (L/R)
1 x Polk CD245i (center)
2 x Polk RT25i (surrounds)
Sony KDL46V5100 LCD TV
Sony BDP-S350 BluRay Player
TiVo HD
Still need to purchase 2 x 10" subs (need to purchase to replace single Polk PSW450) and a new AV receiver (looking at Denon CI series).

Image below is a rough 3D representation of the HT area, but planning to add a soffit in front of the HT bump out for the PJ screen and also plan to build in the cabinet below the screen or frame it in and drywall/paint it.


Counting on the experts here to poke holes in my plans before we go beyond the point of no return. While this isn't a dedicated theater area, want to create a "wow" experience once we install the PJ and screen. LCD will be used intially and then only for TV viewing during the day/with kids.
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post #5 of 51 Old 02-23-2010, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar26 View Post

Image below is a rough 3D representation of the HT area...

You need to make the picture smaller so it will fit on a standard sized screen - at that size it's impossible to read your post.

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post #6 of 51 Old 02-23-2010, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerParty View Post

You need to make the picture smaller so it will fit on a standard sized screen - at that size it's impossible to read your post.

Done. Now can we get some constructive feedback on the project please?
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post #7 of 51 Old 02-23-2010, 06:29 PM
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I'm am guilty of being a "broken record" re the theater thing but you appear to have space to implement a true "theater" experience instead of having to settle for watching television.

We have a 60in HDTV but it's just a little television in the scheme of Theater in the Home so we also have a projector and screen and when we dim the lights and light up the Theater sized screen we know we are having the WOW of a theater experience.

Even if you have to project across just the 13 ft. width of the room you can still achieve a near 120 inch diagonal movie image and just take our word that you will never regret having a Home Theater for movies instead of a television.
Best of Luck
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post #8 of 51 Old 02-23-2010, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar26 View Post

Done. Now can we get some constructive feedback on the project please?

Better yet, use the direct link from imageshack in the insert image tool instead of the one you are using, so that the big picture shows up here. With so many threads to read through and differences in everyone's project, if you want constructive feedback, and a lot of it, it will help to make it easier for people to take it in quickly.

For instance (except they need to be edited for about 7-800pix width):

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
My Basement HT/Family Hang Out
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post #9 of 51 Old 02-23-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imjay View Post

I'm am guilty of being a "broken record" re the theater thing but you appear to have space to implement a true "theater" experience instead of having to settle for watching television.

We have a 60in HDTV but it's just a little television in the scheme of Theater in the Home so we also have a projector and screen and when we dim the lights and light up the Theater sized screen we know we are having the WOW of a theater experience.

Even if you have to project across just the 13 ft. width of the room you can still achieve a near 120 inch diagonal movie image and just take our word that you will never regret having a Home Theater for movies instead of a television.
Best of Luck

If it weren't for my 2 year old twin boys, I would say absolutely. Unfortunately, we need the space to be versatile and mostly destruction-proof... I do, however, have the Office area slated for a future small theater room. First things first, need to finish the main family room. Here are some new screenshots of the ideas as they evolve...



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post #10 of 51 Old 02-23-2010, 06:40 PM
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As for the constructive feedback, I think you are orienting the room the wrong way. In my opinion, you aren't using the dimensions appropriately. I would be putting the screen on the left wall and utilizing the width of that room to get a couple rows of seating, or building something behind the seating to complement the area...for instance kind of play area for the kids to hang out while something is on the screen. Otherwise, I think you are going to have a lot of wasted space on the sides.

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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post #11 of 51 Old 02-28-2010, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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This past week, we made a ton of progress on our project.
Settled on our paint colors, most of the flooring, wood stains, cabinet designs finalized... Walkthrough with the subs is tomorrow, and then we go full speed ahead!

We have made some compromises on the home theater side of the project due to our young children and the need for as much "usable" space as possible. The upside: my wife is warming to the idea of a projector. I can always rip up the office later and build a small dedicated theater in that room.
That said, the layout is not bad and the equipment upgrades will be a welcome change. Planning on replacements below:

Harman Kardon AVR 146 ---> Denon 2310CI or Marantz 6004 (yes, I know about the POD)
Polk PSW202 ----> 2x Martin Logan Dynamo 10"
2x Polk RT25i surrounds ----> 2x DCM TP2525LCR for surrounds

"Before" pics coming in the next 24 hours now that things are cleaned and moved. I'll do my best to chart progress throughout the project!
So excited about a new, larger HT area I can already taste the popcorn that will accompany my first run after construction is done. Any ideas on best movie to watch first in the new setup?

Updated renderings below:




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post #12 of 51 Old 03-01-2010, 07:44 AM
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Why is the viewing area in the middle of the space? Like jpdeuce said, it seems like an odd way to break up the room. Do you have plans for the sides already? If not, could you try drawing up the theater moved to the right (up against the stairs) so the space to the left could be left open for the kids? Maybe even install a railing between the theater area and that space to make "two" rooms?

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post #13 of 51 Old 03-01-2010, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Short answer? WAF. I couldn't sell that layout to the wife, it was my first proposal.
Part of her reasoning is seating. She refuses to have risersin the "family" room and the space would be too narrow for more than a love seat and a chair (sofas will not fit through the door). It also would mean that anyone going to the office would have to walk past the screen or all the way around the basement.

I also attempted the wall with the electricalnpanep and window to no avail.
Upside is, the office would make a nice cozy 4 seat theater sometime down the road.
Spending virtually noting on the office so I can tear it down later and build a small theater room (could comfortably do a 100-110" screen there with 4 theater seats).
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post #14 of 51 Old 03-02-2010, 07:36 AM
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Actually, I was not talking about using the room on the far right in the picture, I was talking about using the space immediately to the left of the stairs. Instead of having the room centered in the large space, shift it to the right about 4 feet so the "leftover space" is all to the left (in the picture) of the seating area.

This would get the theater space further away from the windows and leave a large space over there for other uses. The downside is you would have to walk around the seating when you came down the stairs if you wanted to get to the bathroom and unfinished area.

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post #15 of 51 Old 03-02-2010, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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So you are saying flip the screen to the opposite wall?
Our concern there was that natural light would be more prevalent in the screen area.

We did our walkthrough last night and now m wife is thinking about how nice it would be to convert the office space into a very cozy theater with 4-5 seats.
Again, with WAF a major consideration, the screen area will have to be on the wall it was placed on in the acreenshots above.

Framing started this morning, will post some pics soon...
Starting to think the cozy little dedicated theater in the "office" space will be a go as a DIY project in the near future, which I would love.
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post #16 of 51 Old 03-02-2010, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Before pics here:
http://img24.imageshack.us/slideshow...=img0950pt.jpg

Framing will be done tomorrow, more pics coming later this week as we begin wiring etc...
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post #17 of 51 Old 03-03-2010, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar26 View Post

So you are saying flip the screen to the opposite wall?

No, what I was suggesting is to take your current layout, as is, and just shift the screen and the couches to the right. If you look at your floor plan, there is about 6 feet of space between the couch on the right and the stairs. Move your screen and your couches to the right (keeping your orientation).

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post #18 of 51 Old 03-03-2010, 12:48 PM
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It's entirely your call, but if you really want more feedback try posting full size photos so all people need to do is look. It's not easy to see the little thumbs, and you lose lots of us if you don't make it easy to see what you're doing, right here - without bouncing to another site. With the thousands and thousands of posts on this forum every day, that's just the reality. Just a friendly suggestion.

Good luck!

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post #19 of 51 Old 03-03-2010, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Framing is 95% complete, here are some pics:

New home for the our Sony LCD and (hopefully) soon a projector screen.


Long view of the new family room.


Tomorrow is a big day, plumbing and tricky electrical work will be done as well as the HVAC changes. Then I get to pull wires! Learning a lot from the folks who are expediting this project, and I am now firmly convinced that the office space in the basement will soon become a DIY theater project (small one, 4 seats). The more I learn, the more fun it looks like to do a DIY project.
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post #20 of 51 Old 03-07-2010, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, we are running behind schedule (shocking...).
Most of the plumbing, electrical, and A/V work is done for now. A few minor adjustments needed tomorrow, but no big deal.
HVAC folks are coming tomorrow as well. Things are really starting to take shape now and I have to start seriously considering what equipment I will purchase to drive my shiny new multi-purpose room...

Future wine/snack bar - plumbing is in! Just a little cement and then it will be time to tile in preparation for the arrival of the bar.



A few pictures of the proscenium as it continues to take shape. You can see, about 75% of the wiring has been pulled already and we have tubing in place for more down the road. There is also PVC running over the proscenium to the future site of a projector.




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post #21 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Been a while since I posted updates, so here goes...

3/10/2010
Insulation is in and complete. Drywall started going up and the rooms now have shape. You can see the new, wide windows installed. These will need some special BOC curtain treatment...







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post #22 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
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3/14/2010
Plastering is pretty well finished. Some touch ups needed in a couple of spots, but for the most part everything is ready for paint. The proscenium has really taken on a life of its own now that the plaster is up.














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post #23 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Lots of little details we are working on and now I need to make decisions about equipment. After much deliberation and lurking in many threads on the forums, here is my plan for the 2 zones (upstairs living room and lower level family room):

Living Room (all existing equipment)
Sony KDL-40S4100 hung over fireplace
Sonance S622TR x 2, one on either side (just purchased and installed)
Harman Kardon AVR 146 hidden in A/V cabinet in the basement directly below
Sony BDP-S300 BluRay Player (HDMI/Optical to AVR)
TiVo HD (HDMI/Coax to AVR)

Family Room in Lower Level
Existing Sony KDL-46V5100 hung inside proscenium
Existing Polk RT600i x 2 for Front L/R
Planned - Phase Tech PC33.1 Center Channel
Planned - Sonance S622T x 2 for in ceiling rear surround
Planned - Martin Logan 10" DYNAMO 500 (subwoofer) x 2
Planned - Pioneer Elite VSX-23TXH
Existing Sony BDP-S350 BluRay Player (HDMI)
Existing TiVo HD modded with 1.0TB HD (HDMI)
Existing XBOX 360 (HDMI)
Existing Nintendo Wii (Component)
Existing 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch



Some additional possibilities I am mulling over now and need to decide quickly are:
Possible - Sonance S622T x 2 for in ceiling side surround (wired in for this, would just need to cut in)
Possible - Panasonic PT-AE4000U 1080p Projector (really want one, but debating if it is worth damaging the WAF now or wait and convert the "office" into a nice little screening room with a 100+" screen)
Possible - If the Panasonic is a go for the LL Family Room, then I will be purchasing a 0.9-1.1 gain 96-100" manual pulldown screen. I refuse to invest heavily in a high end pull down/electric screen as I plan to go fixed screen as soon as the boss makes it feasible (read: the wife keeps the b!t¢h!ng to a dull roar).
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post #24 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, last update for today.
Been working so much most of these ideas had barely made scrap paper before I got caught up in something new, but here goes. The proscenium in the family room was designed with a projector in mind, but understanding that is not the optimum environment for a PJ. Remember, WAF was a significant factor in the design of this basement.

Now, having shopped locally and sat my wife down in front of an Espon 9500UB (she loved it, of course!), the wife is beginning to think about my early suggestion of a "screening room" in the space we have slated as the office.

The plans today look like this:


I am, however, beginning to draw up some preliminary plans for a screening room with a PJ, slightly larger screen, theater-type seating/lighting/audio etc...
The template I am working off of looks like this:


Would love to hear some ideas for a small theater room. Know they are more difficult to pull off (this room is essentially 13' 6" x 11' 10" as it stands today, but could be expanded a little with some minor effort).

That is all I can handle for now, off to bed and another long day of waiting to see progress...
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post #25 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 08:23 AM
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Great progress - way to go!

While a small dedicated theater is great, I don't see why you couldn't easily do a nice PJ & screen setup in your current space. If you look around at other threads you will find plenty of nice multi-purpose rooms with PJs with a similar configuration. Here's just one that quickly comes to mind - there are others! If you prefer an enclosed dedicated room, that's great. But there really doesn't seem to be any reason why you couldn't do something nice right in the space you're already creating.

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post #26 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

Great progress - way to go!

While a small dedicated theater is great, I don't see why you couldn't easily do a nice PJ & screen setup in your current space. If you look around at other threads you will find plenty of nice multi-purpose rooms with PJs with a similar configuration. Here's just one that quickly comes to mind - there are others! If you prefer an enclosed dedicated room, that's great. But there really doesn't seem to be any reason why you couldn't do something nice right in the space you're already creating.

Thanks! Wish I could take all the credit, but work has kept me so busy I have had little "DIY" involvement in the project. One reason why I am keen on creating the dedicated room, it would be an excuse to dedicate some time to something fun and learn.

This main family room should be a very functional theater area and I am planning on putting in a PJ/screen, so it will be a very nice space for watching HDTV and movies. That said, I am selfish and want my own little man cave!

The idea of CIH intrigues me and with a small dedicated room, I can pull that off without WAF being a concern. A couple of other benefits I see:
Longer throw distance for the PJ
Better acoustic isolation from the bedrooms upstairs (this small room is on the opposite side of the house)
Theater seating is a possibility (again, WAF)
More speaker options (once again, WAF played a big part in speaker selection for the family room and the upstairs living room now that our LCD upstairs is being mounted over our fireplace)

I guess the short story is, WAF annoys me and I want my own space the way I like it. I can still have a decent PJ in the lower level family room even with the screening room, but the family doesn't need (or appreciate) the nuances of higher-end equipment. I do... I definitely want a solid A/V experience in the family room, but want an opportunity to create a space that makes people say "WOW" when they walk in.
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post #27 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar26 View Post

Now, having shopped locally and sat my wife down in front of an Espon 9500UB (she loved it, of course!), the wife is beginning to think about my early suggestion of a "screening room" in the space we have slated as the office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar26 View Post

I guess the short story is, WAF annoys me and I want my own space the way I like it.

Ah ... now the real story emerges! Gotcha now!



Nudge nudge, wink wink ... say no more!!

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post #28 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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The debate is raging...
I have the buy in from the family (read: wife/boss/she-who-must-be-obeyed) on adding a projector out of the gate. Painting is in progress today and the room will likely be trimmed out and finished by end of day Friday.

Really want to open the room with a bang this weekend, especially with March Madness starting this week. The PJ options I am considering:

Epson Home Cinema 8500UB (best blacks/sharpness, longer life bulb)
Panasonic PT-AE4000U (good picture quality, lens memory for easy CIH)
Epson Home Cinema 8100 (low price, solid image quality, longer life bulb)

Have been lurking in the PJ threads for quite a while and it isn't making the decision any easier... I am sure any of these will be great in our space, but considering the potential for HDTV viewing with ambient light, I would assume the added brightness with the Epsons would be an advantage... Looking at the short throw and layout, does anyone have any thoughts or ideas? All 3 of these are within budget, but obviously bang-for-the-buck is a major consideration. Note that the screen will likely be a manual pull down as my wife continues to convince herself that our 46" Sony LCD will be better for every day HDTV viewing.
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post #29 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 12:43 PM
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Avatar,

Nice space - really like that proscenium design!!

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Check out a video of my theater here
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post #30 of 51 Old 03-15-2010, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

Avatar,

Nice space - really like that proscenium design!!

Thanks! I must admit, you will see some elements similar to your design once the colors and lighting get added CuznEddy!
I hunted and hunted for the sconces you used and almost had a heart attack once I found them and saw the price... Really wanted them, but couldn't justify the expense. I am going to be using a similar red tone on the proscenium, though. My wife and I saw your thread and really like your space.

Will take some new pics as soon as there is some color to speak of.
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