Building My Theater/Bar/Gameroom (digging a giant hole in my basement!) - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 60 Old 01-10-2013, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GG386 View Post

Where are you going to be at s.f. wise (cost) when all is said and done? Are those foundation seats/ledges there to catch a slab? Not too many HT room additions going on these days........

So sqft. wise the room in the picture will be finished at 22.5' x 15' (337.5 sqft.) and then behind the blue tarp (in the existing basement) there is another 12.5' x 13' space that I'll have (162.5 sqft.). Everything is completely open (no support poles or anything) and this does not count my utility room, laundry room and a potential equipment closet. The total 500 sqft. is a blank canvas for me to do whatever I want with.

The foundation ledges are to accept a staircase off of the back of the house. This is a 3 story addition (4 if you count the finished walk-up attic). The basement is going to be the home theater/gaming/bar area and we are getting a living room on the first floor and a master bedroom/master bathroom on the second floor.
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"...it is going to be a little different than I originally planned based on the way things worked out..."

It's the way it worked out for me too. I changed and tweaked my plans right up to the last minute quite a few times. Some things look good on paper no matter how good the plans, but got changed at the last minute.

Good luck and looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.

Thanks - I'm sure once the walls go up and it starts looking more like a house I'll be running through a million different designs.
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post #32 of 60 Old 01-11-2013, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, so this is the near-final layout. The oil tank is being removed and we are relocating the washer/dryer/sink to where the oil tank currently sits but otherwise this is what I've got to work with. It's not a ton of space but I think I'll be able to make due. The thing I'm most excited about it that I can pretty much do what I want. Any suggestions as to layout, etc.?

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post #33 of 60 Old 01-12-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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The first floor is going in...



I stuck the camera between the joists to get this one.

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post #34 of 60 Old 01-14-2013, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I was able to get into my basement finally (where they dug a giant hole to bring the floor level with the addition). Check out this craziness!

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post #35 of 60 Old 01-25-2013, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Small update... things are progressing slowly but they are moving. The second floor walls go up today and the roof should be on by the end of next week. They have been working hard to try and get the house weatherproof because of the cold. It's been in the teens for a week now.



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post #36 of 60 Old 01-25-2013, 11:52 AM
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What's that plumbing picking up? Laundry? Just curious if that was an unknown condition or something that was planned. It's been fun to watch you moving along, not quite like those TV "reality" shows where they bomb it out in a weekend......rolleyes.gif

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post #37 of 60 Old 01-25-2013, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GG386 View Post

What's that plumbing picking up? Laundry? Just curious if that was an unknown condition or something that was planned. It's been fun to watch you moving along, not quite like those TV "reality" shows where they bomb it out in a weekend......rolleyes.gif

Are you talking about the white pipe in the ceiling of the new basement? That was my kitchen sink drain which has since been removed completely.

There was a 4 foot bump out along the back of the kitchen that had no basement underneath (which now has the new basement) that they completely removed last Monday. They took all of my kitchen cabinets, the dishwasher, the kitchen sink and the oven to the basement temporarily and demoed the bump out completely (that part of the kitchen floor is now outside). They moved the fridge and installed a temporary plywood wall in the kitchen to keep out the weather but it is freaking freezing in there right now!

I wish it was going faster but I keep telling myself slow and steady wins the race. smile.gif
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post #38 of 60 Old 01-25-2013, 06:17 PM
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I was actually referring to the new underground in the slab going past your column. Once they get you weathered in, things will improve for you and the family- keep the faith.

Speaking of weather,what's your insulation package consist of? One of the new energy ordinances adopted here last year mandates either 2x6 exterior walls (fiberglass batt) or ~ an inch and a half of closed cell spray with the balance filled w/batt or dense pack cellulose (2x4 walls). Another variant allowed is 1" of poly iso board over the ext. sheathing (2x4 walls). IIRC, they also kicked the ceiling insulation up to a r44. More of the collective wisdom of Big Brother at it's finest.

Enough of that, let's see some pics with your new roof and glass soon!

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post #39 of 60 Old 01-27-2013, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GG386 View Post

I was actually referring to the new underground in the slab going past your column. Once they get you weathered in, things will improve for you and the family- keep the faith.

Speaking of weather,what's your insulation package consist of? One of the new energy ordinances adopted here last year mandates either 2x6 exterior walls (fiberglass batt) or ~ an inch and a half of closed cell spray with the balance filled w/batt or dense pack cellulose (2x4 walls). Another variant allowed is 1" of poly iso board over the ext. sheathing (2x4 walls). IIRC, they also kicked the ceiling insulation up to a r44. More of the collective wisdom of Big Brother at it's finest.

Enough of that, let's see some pics with your new roof and glass soon!

Oh, that was the sewer pipe that they had to reroute. When they dug the hole in the existing slab the old pipe cut across the basement on a diagonal so they rerouted it. I'm not sure they did such a good job because the toilet upstairs seems to clog a bit easier... of course this could be my imagination.

I'm not sure about the insulation - I don't know much about construction (but I am trying to pay attention and ask questions - I am learning a ton). Exterior walls are 2x4 so I don't think the rules on that are as strict as yours (I'm in northern New Jersey near NYC). We did have to jump through a ton of hoops to get the variance though so I'm sure it is just as convoluted in other areas.

Second floor joists and plywood floor are in - they even laid out the interior walls on the second floor which go up tomorrow... we should have a roof soon!
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post #40 of 60 Old 01-27-2013, 05:41 PM
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With all the time that passed from the beginning of the thread, you must have your new family addition by now!
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post #41 of 60 Old 01-28-2013, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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With all the time that passed from the beginning of the thread, you must have your new family addition by now!

Yup - she's 8 months old already! I can't believe it. I was going to start a new thread once construction started but I thought it would be better to have everything in one place from start to finish.
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post #42 of 60 Old 03-11-2013, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Small update... we are getting closer to having the addition completed. Probably looking at about 2 more months of construction at this rate. There were a lot of unforeseen things to deal with since the house is so old but it "should be" smooth sailing from here on out. I'm also starting to get a good idea of the exact amount of space I'll have to work with in the basement for my media room which is exciting. The finished ceilings will be about 8'4" and there is only one space along the back wall where they have to drop a soffit for HVAC so the room will be completely open. I think I can make that work!

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post #43 of 60 Old 03-15-2013, 08:48 AM
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If it's not too late I'd recommend not putting that screen off to the side in the corner like that. Place the screen on the East (right) wall so the entire room can be in a good position to view it.
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post #44 of 60 Old 03-15-2013, 06:30 PM
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looking good!!
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post #45 of 60 Old 03-17-2013, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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If it's not too late I'd recommend not putting that screen off to the side in the corner like that. Place the screen on the East (right) wall so the entire room can be in a good position to view it.

Thanks - it is not too late and after thinking about it forever I'm 100% sure I'm going to put the screen on that wall like you suggest.

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looking good!!

Thanks! Things are moving slow but steady...
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post #46 of 60 Old 04-11-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright... finally got the slab poured in the basement. It has come out nice so far and with 8'4" ceilings I think I'm going to have plenty of headroom (even with having to frame a soffit around an HVAC duct that divides the old space from the new space). You can see in the last picture how far down the new slab is from where the old floor used to be in the existing basement - of course there will eventually be a finished wall along there so you will never be able to tell. I'm excited to go down there with a tape measure to get accurate dimensions so I can really start laying everything out!





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post #47 of 60 Old 04-22-2013, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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So I've noticed that in one corner of the basement the wall gets damp every time it rains. Is this fixable from the inside? My fear is that once I put up the drywall that water will get in behind it over time. The contractor is still working on the house and I'm going to mention it to him but what is the best way to keep the moisture out?
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post #48 of 60 Old 04-22-2013, 07:41 PM
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Since your general is not done, things like downspouts, positive grading, flashings may not be 100%, but it wouldn't hurt to bring this up to his attention. 'do you recall what waterproof system that was installed on your below grade walls as well as the footing/walll assembly? Block walls can be slightly more problematic due to their inherent porousness, but a correctly installed waterproof system would be able to handle it no problem. Trying to repair from the interior is sketchy at best, the moisture/water hydraulics is relentless.

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post #49 of 60 Old 06-05-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Since your general is not done, things like downspouts, positive grading, flashings may not be 100%, but it wouldn't hurt to bring this up to his attention. 'do you recall what waterproof system that was installed on your below grade walls as well as the footing/walll assembly? Block walls can be slightly more problematic due to their inherent porousness, but a correctly installed waterproof system would be able to handle it no problem. Trying to repair from the interior is sketchy at best, the moisture/water hydraulics is relentless.

The footings were poured and I have blocks for the walls. The moisture is still there though. No water actually comes through the wall but it is definitely damp. My contractor is STILL not finished but he said once the gutters are installed it should take care of most of the moisture. He says it is actually coming up from underneath - he also says not to worry. He is getting the excavator back onsite to dig down around the problematic corner and they are going to install some sort of system to feed the water in that corner to the piping system that is in place around the perimeter. There is a 1/2" of rubber that was sprayed on the outside of the foundation. I trust the guy but it is still a little unsettling. I want it to be bone dry down there.

In other news... we are about 90% complete with construction. It is coming out great although moving at a snail's pace. In about another week or two I'm going to FINALLY start laying out the basement (on paper) for real. I'm pretty much set on an acoustically transparent screen being in front of the east wall about 18" to hide the speakers and the equipment closet/rack being hidden as well but that's about it. I'm hoping to fit in a kitchenette, comfy seating for 5 plus some extra seats for guests (bar chairs) and my arcade machines. It will be cozy but doable, I think.
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post #50 of 60 Old 06-10-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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So it POURED over the weekend and the problem remains - damp walls in the corners and along the base where they meet the floor (well, the walls change color due to wetness) but ZERO water actually getting inside. I have a fan blowing on the affected area and as of this morning it was 75% dry... so I don't think this is a huge deal and I also don't have gutters yet (they are being installed tomorrow), which I'm sure will alleviate a lot of the water. The excavator is coming back this week to dig outside and hopefully implement a solution. I am nervous though.
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post #51 of 60 Old 08-14-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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So small update... my contractor skipped town and I'm still trying to get things finished up in the main part of the house so I haven't focused on the theater/game room at all. The excavator came back and they fixed the water issue in the basement which is a huge relief. I'm in the process of trying to get accurate dimensions down there so I know exactly what I have to work with.
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post #52 of 60 Old 08-15-2013, 08:10 PM
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"Skipped town",that's not a good thing. The project may very well been above his pay grade, unfortunately. Has your inspectors signed off and given you your cert. of occupancy? Your going to need that if you plan on ever selling your house or even just to occupy the new space. Hopefully you're beyond that and you can get the HT/Bar/Gameroom going and live the dream!

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post #53 of 60 Old 08-16-2013, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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"Skipped town",that's not a good thing. The project may very well been above his pay grade, unfortunately. Has your inspectors signed off and given you your cert. of occupancy? Your going to need that if you plan on ever selling your house or even just to occupy the new space. Hopefully you're beyond that and you can get the HT/Bar/Gameroom going and live the dream!

yeah - we got the CO and everything and the inspectors have signed off. We are waiting for some built-ins and for someone to finish the drywall patching so we can paint and that's all that is left. The contractor issue has been a nightmare - he moved his family to South Carolina at the end of June.

Born and raised in town and in business for 15+ years. It is the last thing I would have expected and I do wonder if he mismanaged my project and some others - he didn't seem to be the best with the business side of things. He was about 90% done when he left and the subs have been great in finishing up - without being paid. We withheld a little money from the final payment in order to finish but he didn't pay any of his subs in full. They have been calling and asking us to pay them directly, etc. which we have refused to do. Some of them have threatened to put a contractor's lien on the house but I'm pretty sure they aren't allowed since we used a GC (and we are paid up minus the punch list items).

If there is one saving grace it is that the addition came out great and I'm happy with all of the work - I just wish it had ended differently. I would have used the GC again if he had stayed. Anyway, we are ready to move on and after we have the exterior of the house painted in the fall and then some landscaping done in the spring I will be off to the races with the basement. I've got a ton of research to do between now and then as well as settle on a final design. I'm almost ready to start living the dream!

smile.gif
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post #54 of 60 Old 08-16-2013, 07:07 AM
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That sucks. Sounds like you should be able to make it useable anyway. smile.gif
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post #55 of 60 Old 08-16-2013, 08:13 AM
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Some of them have threatened to put a contractor's lien on the house but I'm pretty sure they aren't allowed since we used a GC (and we are paid up minus the punch list items).

Sorry to hear about your contractor issues. Unfortunately, this still may turn out to be a hassle for you should one or more of the subs decide to file a lien on your property. It doesn't matter that you contracted with a GC and paid him in full (or almost in full). If he didn't pay his subs, those subs can file a lien assuming they have filed the appropriate papers during the course of the project. Laws vary by state, but they usually require the sub to file specific paperwork at key times during the course of the project. An important one is the preliminary notice, which must be filed at the beginning of the project and simply gives the sub the right to file a future lien. Many states will not allow the filing of a lien without the sub being able to prove they first sent a preliminary notice. Perhaps your subs haven't done this.

If this involves a significant amount of money, I would suggest contacting an attorney familiar with construction law in your state.
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post #56 of 60 Old 08-16-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Ugh. I don't really know how much the subs are owed. We owe $9K ($5K of which is earmarked for the punch-list) to the GC. I'm reasonably sure he owes more than that to them and in any event he isn't getting the full $9K from us because of the unfinished work. It seems nuts that I could fully pay for a job yet a sub could still file a lien - we kept pretty good records so we can prove we have paid everything. We are planning on refinancing in the near future but would obviously have trouble if someone has filed a lien on the property.
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post #57 of 60 Old 08-19-2013, 07:27 AM
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Without waivers from the subs, suppliers and misc. vendors (dumpsters, portable toilets, etc.), it will be difficult to determine what you actually owe. If I understand correctly, the payments were made to the general, then he dispersed to the vendors?

For the life of me, how can an established company go south like that mad.gif. Your project has been under construction for an inordinate length of time which always throws a red flag up. Typically if someone is not getting paid for a job, they will let the owner know what's going on and try to stop the bleeding ASAP. Not sure in your case, but if everyone seemed OK working there, than hopefully your guy skipped out on the latest payout....

For those that may be following this, there's alternate methods of delivery for work that insure that this won't happen. Like Ronald Reagan said- TRUST BUT VERIFY-

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post #58 of 60 Old 09-03-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GG386 View Post

Without waivers from the subs, suppliers and misc. vendors (dumpsters, portable toilets, etc.), it will be difficult to determine what you actually owe. If I understand correctly, the payments were made to the general, then he dispersed to the vendors?

For the life of me, how can an established company go south like that mad.gif. Your project has been under construction for an inordinate length of time which always throws a red flag up. Typically if someone is not getting paid for a job, they will let the owner know what's going on and try to stop the bleeding ASAP. Not sure in your case, but if everyone seemed OK working there, than hopefully your guy skipped out on the latest payout....

For those that may be following this, there's alternate methods of delivery for work that insure that this won't happen. Like Ronald Reagan said- TRUST BUT VERIFY-

Yes - payments were made through the GC and disbursed to the subs. We are pretty much finished with construction now. The built-ins went in and look amazing. I'm actually going to have the carpenter do some more work at the house in the fall. We haven't heard from anyone on the job for about 2 weeks now, including the GC who had been emailing fairly regularly when he wanted payment. We still owe about $7k but there are a few miscellaneous things that need to be completed in the fall (relocating the air compressor on the outside of the house, sealing up a small leak in the basement and replacing the garage door opener which crapped out in less than a month). I don't think that will cost the full $7k but I'm wondering if he is just walking away completely at this point. We are on very good terms with all of the subs so I'm not too worried about something blowing up.

As for how it could all go south, I really don't know. The more we dig into things the more I think we got the bargain of the century with the total cost of our job relative other projects we are learning about around town. I think he was poor at managing the business side of things. The most surprising thing is that most of the subs were people he went to high school with and has known for 30+ years. The subs have all told us that their wives are all friends and their kids all know each other, etc. I know he never intended to screw anyone over because he was genuinely a nice guy but I think things just got away from him at the end. It's pretty sad.

Anyway, my 65" plasma should be here in about 2 weeks for my new TV room on the first floor - I'm really excited! We have some interior painting to do over the course of the next few months and then I'll finally be able to concentrate on the next project - the basement!

EDIT: here's a pic of the first floor built-ins. The entire room is new. Getting there...

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post #59 of 60 Old 09-05-2013, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright! Finally some actual basement-related stuff to start thinking about. I had a talk with the wife last night and she suggested starting this project sooner rather than later to spread out some of the cost and get the kids a space to play in (woo hoo!). I am fairly handy (I think - I've only really built a few arcade machines) but I don't know anything about building a room - I'm patient and willing to learn though. I went downstairs to measure and came up with this drawing:



This represents the "usable" space that I have available to finish with 8'-4" ceilings (all dimensions are unfinished). It is completely open with no interior support poles to worry about. There is only one beam in the ceiling that hangs lower than 8'-4" and that is exactly where the small bottom square meets the larger top rectangle (so it will be easy to hide). There is some more usable space in the basement that surrounds the bottom square the ceilings are only 6'-6" there so I'm probably going to be using most of it for storage (and utilities). I will try to lay that out as well but it is going to be tricky to accurately convey what is going on in a drawing due to random pipes and utilities all over the place.

So, first order of business - where should the screen go? I'm leaning towards a false wall along the wall marked 16' for the screen which will also help hide the sump pump. I'd like to get two rows of seating with at least 4 seats in each row (I have a family of 5).
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post #60 of 60 Old 09-09-2013, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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OK - I played around with sketch-up and came up with a reasonably accurate model of my weird shaped basement. The gray floors sit about 2' deeper than the rest of the basement (and will make up the "finished" space). Check it out:









In order to "hide" the sump pump area I'm thinking of a 24" false wall for the screen. The sump pump is below grade but I'll need access to it somehow. I'd like to fit 2 rows of 4 seats in the "theater" space which I think is doable. There has to be enough seating for my family of 5 to watch a movie together. Ideally I'd have a back bar for larger gatherings but I don't think there is enough room for that (right?). The wife doesn't want to see any speakers so the false wall is a definite and I'll be hiding the other speakers in columns or something.

Any thoughts? I'm open to all suggestions but I think that wall would work best for the screen and I need to nail that down prior to designing anything else.
javeryh is offline  
Reply General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms

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