Two rooms, one theater...what to do. - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms > Two rooms, one theater...what to do.
Sidekicknichola's Avatar Sidekicknichola 09:17 AM 02-17-2012
So I am all of a home inspection away from buying a new home (screaming deal on a foreclosure)... the best part is the new home will cut my 100-mile round trip daily commute to 3 miles round trip.... that means a lot more time at home to enjoy the home theater.

... my question lies in this (assuming we go forward with the sale).... there are two rooms fully capable of holding a decent home theater setup.
1. Upstairs room
A large upstairs room - 23x15
already finished with dimming lights
large closet perfect for media storage/rack
one smaller window that is easily covered with blinds
next to a bathroom

Cons: Its upstairs so if I'm watching something the whole house hears it
drywall is already all up so running wires gets a little more tricky
Room shape/closet and window location mean I'll probably have to mount the projector and screen going across the 15" foot span and the seating... so it will be have narrow depth but a wide layout... oppposite of most layouts.

2. Basement
Pros: Completely blank slate - wide open besides supports
Easily to get all wired up and things where/how I want them
Basement will hide some of the noise from the rest of the house

Cons: Blank slate = $$$$ to finish
No bathroom on this floor, I could always add because of the blank slate but that equals more $$$
I love fresh air, basement does not have good airflow
It isn't finished and I would be doing it myself, so this would take some time to get up and running, meaning I am without my theater which I love so dearly now.

Any advice?
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Sonyad's Avatar Sonyad 01:17 PM 02-17-2012
Basement for sure. However nothing's stopping you from using your upstairs room as a temporary theater until you decide to redesign the downstairs.
Dan Hitchman's Avatar Dan Hitchman 03:16 PM 02-17-2012
Absolutely use the basement and do a temp. set up upstairs while finishing the basement.

Look in the dedicated theater section for tips on sound proofing, HVAC, wiring, etc.
dc_pilgrim's Avatar dc_pilgrim 09:05 PM 02-17-2012
You can always add more drywall (and green glue) to the finished space.

If you want to go the basement I'd avoid the temporary set up. It will greatly slow your progress.
tbraden32's Avatar tbraden32 08:36 AM 02-18-2012
I feel your pain on this decision as I have to make the same one. I have a unfinished basement too but also have a room above the garage that is completely finished out and almost ready to go.

My concern is also the cost of doing the basement like yours. My advantage to the room is that it is over the garage ONLY and is very far from any other part of my home, so sound should not be an issue.

I have been thinking of what to do now for almost 2 YEARS eek

Somebody help the OP so he can sleep at night unlike me thinking about this.
Sonyad's Avatar Sonyad 01:46 PM 02-18-2012
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

You can always add more drywall (and green glue) to the finished space.

If you want to go the basement I'd avoid the temporary set up. It will greatly slow your progress.

How can it slow his progress? And why should he not enjoy his current equipment because the basement's not finished and who knows what the time frame on that could be? At least when I talk about a temporary space, I mean that the OP should not bother tearing through walls for wiring. Just make it work and enjoy.
gainiac's Avatar gainiac 04:08 PM 02-18-2012
How Theater is this build realistically going to be?
I've seen some of the guys on this forum (most who I envy like mad!) who are YEARS into a DIY build, honing, materials for wall treatments, flooring, sinks, lighting, etc, you could spend a LIFETIME in the build if you get crazy... I think if you build a temp setup upstairs its that much more time in viewing than building, and that becomes the defacto theater till the basements completed, if ever. Id get into your new dwelling first, see what is Practical for your budget, and let the build/accessories/furnishings you intend to add be your guide as to which room will work for you.
gregzoll's Avatar gregzoll 04:35 PM 02-18-2012
For fresh air into the basement, you can use a "Energy Recovery" unit that will pull in fresh air, while at the same time filtering it to keep out containments.
Sidekicknichola's Avatar Sidekicknichola 08:36 AM 02-20-2012

How Theater is this build realistically going to be?

I certainly won't be taking to to the level of some of the setups on this site - don't have the time, money, or patience to get them there...

I honestly just would like "nice" (I know that can really change person to person) room/area where I can game/watch a movie/tv and enjoy the NFL on sundays.

As far as the DIY part my father is out of this world handy (build his last few houses from the ground up nearly by himself)... so he has every tool I would ever need and the know how (his is retiring in a few months too so he'll have time also!)... I feel confident I can do almost anything as long as I am shown how, which is where my father would come in.

... the problem is I am frugal as all hell when it comes to anything besides electronics, so buying a new house on top of having to pump in $$$$ to a basement will be hard for me mentally... unless I perform the ultimate lowball.

The "2nd bedroom" layout (don't mind the carpet stain - it isn't blood I swear)
... I'm picturing use the existing closet for all my media storage and popping a hole in the ceiling there for access for wiring. And in the photo looking at the window I think the screen and TV(s) could mount to the left wall, seating running along the right wall.

Basement FWIW is just a big open area with poured concrete walls - furnace/waterheater aren't in the way of any conventional layout of the room either... just would need basic framing, drywall, and a drop ceiling to suit me needs. Thinking using the wall where the flag (only thing previous owners left in the house was the flag)is as the screen wall ... in having to make a soffet for the HVAC I can have all the front speakers build/framed in then.

We're having the final showing tonight before we would write an offer, so we'll see how it goes.
gainiac's Avatar gainiac 11:55 AM 02-20-2012
I think as long as the basements moisture/flood/leak free, youre better off there if you intend to crank it up and you can build EXACTLY without limitations. soundproofing/treatments being equal, Upstairs you'll spend more $$ to keep the sound from shaking the rest of the house loose. Keep it in the Man-Cave downstairs!

Youve really GOT to establish a realistic budget, and a time frame, for a build. I think the 'pay as u build' way is what hangs some folks up, you never know what upcoming 'emergency' will pull funds from the project... If in-wall speakers/subs and tricked-out hidden projector screens isnt for you, then its fairly standard stuff around here, Clean, protected power to run your system, a large tv/projector+screen, big AV receiver or seperates, and drop coin into your speakers and you'd have a fantastic setup without having to redesign the house and irritate the wife... I think once you make your AV compontent selections, run your speaker layout and hide your wiring, youre in good shape, then on to room acoustics and finally accessories.
Are you building a bar/sink/bathroom downstairs? (now its a plumbing issue), so the direction you intend to go HAS to be established RIGHT AWAY.

Like anything it's really about how much work you want to put in for what your really getting out of it. You ABSOLUTELY must look at the work thats been done around here and pick a setup you'd like to emulate, that will help establish materials, time frame (your times worth $, too) and costs, most of the works been put in for you and you can pick and choose what parts of their design elements you'd like to ape.
And good luck on the offer, let us know how it goes and what you deceide
dc_pilgrim's Avatar dc_pilgrim 01:06 PM 02-20-2012
No drop ceilings in a basement theater if sound isolation is a goal.

If you have skilled (& willing) help, and you don't expect to have to sell in the near term, the basement is clearly the superior space.
Sidekicknichola's Avatar Sidekicknichola 02:27 PM 02-20-2012

No drop ceilings in a basement theater if sound isolation is a goal.

Not too worried about keep the sound out of the rest of the house, I rarely crank things up and if I am, its because everyone is in the room watching something... I am more concerned with keeping things budget friendly and ease of access to wires/components


If in-wall speakers/subs and tricked-out hidden projector screens isnt for you, then its fairly standard stuff around here,

For me I already have all the components I need, its just the room to put them all in.

The ideal end game room setup would be:
Components stored out of site:
2 direct tv boxes / PS3 / HTPC / receiver --- I have all of these already
Displays at the front of the room - 120" fixed frame screen with a optoma hd20 projector providing the image and a 55" LED tv next to it --the components will feed my displays in the folllwing way, each component will have its HDMI out split into two signals - 1 split will run to the receiver - that feeds the projector, the other split will feed the LCD.... with this I can have any combo of the sources on either display at any time....

Why you might ask... honestly I have it this way now and have been spoiled by it... its great to have a football/basketball game on next to the projector while the Mrs. and I watch a movie... or if she is watching some stupid show I can play video games without being in the doghouse.... or for NFL games sunday it is nice to have the game mix on the 120" screen and redzone or my favorite game on the 55".

Then my speaker setup could be exposed, no need for in wall or ceiling, just as long as that where they are sitting/standing there is minimal wire visibility, and I won't need/want surround sound for the 55" LED... since whatever is one there is basically "extra" or "supporting" my A.D.D. while something is on the main/big display.


and you don't expect to have to sell in the near term, the basement is clearly the superior space.

I don't plan on moving from this home for at least 7+ years... it is plenty big to have a family in if we have a whoopsie-baby or two so barring a major career shift, whatever we buy will be our nest for some time.
Sidekicknichola's Avatar Sidekicknichola 02:52 PM 02-20-2012
... a little background on my situation,
I graduated 8 months ago but have been working at my current job (engineer) for just about 2 years now (intern --> "Project Manager" could have engineer in the title because of not having my degree --> Full time engineer)... Where I work is 48 miles from my mother's house so I moved in there to save some money and wait for the fiance' to graduate... which just happened and now she works in the same town, perfect time to move out of Mom's place.

Looking around there are two rental choices in the area:
A - ****** awful college houses for cheap
B - New places that at minimum to rent and have a small dog costs $800+/mo.
... so looking around at houses I see that I can get a fairly "nice" (very subjective I know) for 125k +/- 15k.... which comes out to ~$800 mo. payment for loan taxes, insurance, pmi.... so for essentially the same money I could be buying a house and not just tossing money away.

The house we found seems like a great deal, its a foreclosure it was the "rich" part of town in the 80s.... so nice large homes some are just date (this one is not). 4 beds, 2.5 bath, 2 stall garage, 2200 sq. ft.... new roof and siding, everything in good shape (slightly date appliances but thats not biggie).... asking 129k. Awesome. Barring any major setbacks at tonights showing, I think we're going to put in the offer and see what happens... but I NEED a theater room because I've had a "jerry-rig" version on my mom's and at my school house for the last 3 years, I can't go back to not having one.

The thrown together college basement setup:

mn_hokie's Avatar mn_hokie 10:16 AM 02-21-2012
No brainer here. Go with the basement. You'll have no limitation and can control a lot more things down there.

How about a TV room for the other area? I have a loft in my house that I use for gaming and watching TV. We travel down to the basement however when we want the full movie theater experience.
Sidekicknichola's Avatar Sidekicknichola 11:38 AM 02-21-2012
... doesn't matter too much anymore, after going in a second time with a friend who is a inspector in the area, the list of "not to code" items that would fall to me as a buyer in a foreclosure situation were just too much. I will be passing on this home for sure.
Sonyad's Avatar Sonyad 08:31 PM 02-21-2012
Well that's sad news. Makes that 100 mile round trip especially bitter this week. House hunting can be miserable at times. Hope you find something better soon.
gregzoll's Avatar gregzoll 08:49 PM 02-21-2012
Mind asking, what was the list of not to code items, that were found?
NickTheGreat's Avatar NickTheGreat 08:26 AM 02-22-2012
Sorry to hear this. I went through my first homebuying experience over the summer and am glad it's done.
Sidekicknichola's Avatar Sidekicknichola 08:53 AM 02-22-2012

Mind asking, what was the list of not to code items, that were found?

Here is why some were missed the first walk-through... the house was originally built 50 years before stated by the list agent... it was added on more recently and that was the date they used as "build date" since they added more sq. footage than was existing... shady. It also had a great uniform look because of new siding and faux roof areas. At a glance, it looked great.

In the basement all the new addition area had the nice poured concrete walls - other "finshed" areas of the basement you couldn't see the foundation so I assumed poured (since I wasn't aware of the dates being off).... the inspector popped off an access panel in the back of this little closet and we found the rest of the basement was stone... uggg. The electrical behind some of the "finished" walls was certainly not legit and looked to be a handyman special... a poor handyman at that.

The second was when they added the addition they did a basement, main floor, and second floor (basically added a new house that connected to the old one)... when doing this they blew out a wall to open up a large living room, but the span between walls was huge and had no support... hard to 100% analyize because of the drywall but there should have been a support somewhere in the span.

The stairs were moved on the addition to creat a better flow, the stairs went up 3/4 of the level normally, then turned 90* to finish the final 1/4, that turn had an impoper rise/run.

Finally (not a huge deal to me but the city requires it) there was a detached garage that did not have its own 100amp service... so that would have had to b added.

... bottom line is a lot of strange things that if they had been communicated up front I would have been okay with, but the fact they seemed to "hide" these fairly important details made me weary... I thought about throwing out a reaaaaaal lowball but honestly don't even want to mess with it.

they'll be another, soon or later.
Thanks for the help everyone!
Dan Hitchman's Avatar Dan Hitchman 02:23 PM 02-22-2012
Well, there are other fish in the sea.

Good luck!

Do come back for further advice when you've chosen your house. Preferably with a nice open area for a man cave.
gainiac's Avatar gainiac 08:21 AM 03-02-2012
Good for you passing on a nightmare... and stay away from that agent!! who knows what other garbage you may have turned up later....
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