My project is just about finished, but I did want to start a thread ("The Highland Basement") to share pictures of the progress that was made. This is a 2-story house with a full walk-out basement. We love the finishes that were selected for the first and second floors (casing, doors, cabinets, etc.) so everything in the basement was to match. Our goal was to have the basement feel exactly like another floor of the house instead of just a "basement".
The image below is of the floor plan that we designed which includes a theater room, wet bar, A/V closet, 3 additional storage closets, a family room, bedroom and a full bathroom. This website was an invaluable resource when it came to research topics for soffit design, lighting, A/V equipment and even color selection. We've never been through a project quite this large so there were many items that we didn't fully prepare for which required some quick decisions and on-the-feet thinking.
Projector: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350
Mount: Peerless PRGUNV
AV Receiver: Yamaha RX-V673
Front Speakers: Definitive Technology RLS-III
Surround Speakers: Definitive Technology RSS-III
Subwoofer: Hsu Research VTF-2 MK4
Screen: Jamestown Seymour AT 130" 16:9
Carpet: Shaw See the World III
Trim/Casing/Doors: Hard Maple - dark cherry stain
Bathroom Quartz: Aberdeen
Wet Bar Quartz: Laneshaw
Projector Screen Install: http://imgur.com/a/oe7N7#0
The floor plan
One item to note here is to have a very good idea of the layout you want beforehand. Think of how you would use the room; where seating will go and even start to think of lighting schemes. This will help with cost estimates and reduce any extra costs associated with changes made at a future date. We ended up making decisions that were costly during the framing process (added tiered seating and a soffit around the theater).
Below is a picture of the theater room facing where the screen will hang and the family room on the other side of the stairwell. At this point in time I was convinced that I was going to be buying floorstanding speakers, but found out after framing was done that my wife wanted in-wall speakers to make the room more child-proof. If you find yourself in this situation make sure you know the speakers you'll be buying before framing is finished in case the studs need to be modified.
This is a view from the family room towards the direction of the 2 storage areas that'll be framed out from the rest of the basement. Note to self: remove everything from the basement before framing and drywalling because it will be perpetually covered in a layer of dust. The ceilings in the basement are 9' in height and go down to ~8' where the bulkhead is eventually framed.
A view into the family room from the bottom of the stairwell. The back-right corner is also where the bedroom will be and the bathroom will be behind the furnace.
Framing took about a week and the end result was a quality job. The longest part was building the bulkhead for the HVAC that was run along the east side of the basement. This only affected the wet bar, A/V closet and the storage spaces. Knee walls also needed to be framed in order to account for the walkout basement.
A view from the wet bar into the future A/V closet. The theater would be to the right as well. My only regret with the A/V closet is that I didn't have my contractor frame or build a rack for all of the components. I'm going to be building some type of shelving system myself, but it would've been easier (and probably better looking) having it built right into the wall.
Here is a view from the family room that shows the bedroom (left side) framed and the bathroom (back-right) framed. The ceiling here is 9' high and has a 6' sliding patio door and 3 full windows so it stays nice and bright.
This is a view from inside the theater room into the wet bar.
Another view from inside the theater room, but now looking at the screen wall.
We changed our seating arrangement in the middle of framing and decided to go with tiered seating which would hold a sectional couch. The soffit was also added after the fact, but is a great place for additional lighting to make the room a little different than the rest of the basement.
Another view of the family room looking towards the theater and the wet bar area.
See all that nice insulation you see in the pictures above? Well, we decided to remove all of that and re-insulate with a polyurethane foam. I was going back and forth between insulating the ceiling of the theater room to further dampen any sound that could travel up, but ended up not doing that. I wasn't going to be going crazy with the audio equipment and all bedrooms (except the master) are 2 levels above anyways.
I'm not very handy, but doing the insulation yourself is an easy way to save money. I bought a few bundles of R-13 and insulated the interior bedroom walls, the bedroom ceiling (since our master is above this room), bathroom walls and the wall where the speakers would be myself.
Image of the theater room (yes, we have many windows here) after insulation was sprayed on the exterior walls. They ended up doing 6" of the polyurethane foam on the exterior wood walls and 3" on the exterior cement walls. They said, "We used too much". Yes, you probably did.
Family room is now insulated.
Close-up of the polyurethane foam
Electrical and Low-voltage
View from inside theater room to the wet bar. This is showing the electrical wiring that was installed along with the low-voltage (right side). I bought all of my cables from monoprice and ended up using about 200' to run 7 speakers. I ran 2 (35' and 25') RCA cables to complete the 7.2 setup. If I could do this over again, I would've ran 2 more RCA cables for subwoofers to possibly be in the front of the room. Right now I'm limited to back-left and back-right and hopefully the sound quality from those positions are good.
Tip: Give yourself much more extra speaker wire at the end of each run - speaker wire is cheap. I only gave each speaker about 2' of extra wire and I should've ended up doing much more than that.
Sheetrock, mudding and taping took about a week and a half. I didn't plan very well since I had yet to purchase my left and right surround speakers (Definitive Technology RSS-III), but going to their website gave me the dimensions needed to create a cutout template.
Sheetrock is here! Time to start the next part of the project.
Theater room view showing the in-wall speakers and finished entry and soffit. The front speakers are the Definitive Technology RLS-III.
Another view of the left side of the theater and all those glorious windows that I'll need to buy window treatments for.
We ended up doing a 45 edge on the soffit to make it a little less boxy. Another idea we had here was to do LED lighting, but I was sick of spending money and going over budget.
A view of the living room with the patio door and the knee wall.
A view from the family room into the storage areas.
Sheetrocking quickly wrapped up and we were told to be prepared to select paint colors - we were not. I should've delayed the project a few days to really nail down our colors. We went with Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert for the main living areas and Sherwin Williams Rookwood Jade (green) for the theater. I absolutely hate the theater color so that'll be repainted.
During this time of paint selection we were also choosing colors for tile, counter tops, and carpet. Everything was looking great - except the green. We busted the budget by going with quartz countertops where laminate was the original choice.
Word of advice: plan well ahead for the color schemes you would like to select.
Front theater wall with the green paint - we did end up painting the soffit in a Sherwin Williams Sealskin, which will be shown further below.
A view into the family room with Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert.
A view from the wetbar peering into the AV closet and the theater. Sconces were added to the entrance to make it less boring. This is also where we got the idea to go with an oil-rubbed bronze theme for fixtures and door levers.
Full bathroom now painted.
The trim and casing was delivered one day after the paint dried and having the electrician put in all the lighting. The next step is to install the trim, casing, doors, cabinets and tile the areas we selected. It turned into an entirely different living area in less than 10 days - what a difference!
We ended up adding more tiled areas that originally thought: bathroom, in front of the patio doors and in the wet bar room. The trim and casing was special ordered to match exactly what we have on the first and second stories and took about 10 days to stain and finish. I was looking forward to how it would come out and love the finished product. It is a dark cherry stain applied to the hard maple doors, casing and trim pieces.
Trim, Casing, Tile and Doors
Back of the theater showing the Sealskin Sherwin Williams paint on the soffit.
A closeup view of the knee wall 16' ledge added to match our trim.
I was able to FINALLY put the speakers in the wall and test them out!
A view into the wet bar from the theater room.
The wet bar had tile installed. This is Mannington's Serengeti Slate Midnight mist color.
A door has been installed and now the AV closet is complete - except for all the components that need to go in there.
A view from the family room into the storage areas.
A (dark) family room view. The same tile from the wetbar is used throughout the basement.
One more view of the family room looking into storage under the stairs and towards the wet bar entrance.
The almost finished bedroom
2/6/14 - Carpet will be completed today and I've brought my AV components downstairs to be hooked up. I'll add some pictures of the install later.
The upper cabinets are being returned and re-delivered due to some runs in the stain. It was barely noticeable, but my contractor pointed it out and the manufacturer did good by fixing the issue. The countertops will be in within the week.
I'm also waiting on my AT 130" screen by Jamestown Home Theater Screens. Yes, I've gotten the runaround quite a bit over the last week - since we're now a week late. I've pushed him for information and he's done well keeping me up-to-date. The latest issue was the aluminum shipment was delayed due to the snow that the south received. It now will be shipped Monday (2/10/14).
We went with Cambria quartz and did the following colors:
Below is a closeup of the electrical panel area that I'm currently trying to find ideas to either have it look nicer or completely cover it up. The easiest thing at this point would be to unhook everything - except the electrical panel - and sheetrock around it and then place it all back on the wall. This closet is only going to be used for storage for blurays, DVDs, AV equipment, etc. so it doesn't have to be perfect.
Right now things seem to be in order, but I'm open to ideas as to what others have done. What do you have in mind for your own project?
Carpet took two days to install. We went with Shaw's See the World III line of carpet to give us a little extra padding under our feet and to hopefully give an additional layer of warmth throughout.
Carpet - Shaw See the World III (color 108)
View into the theater, with the projector hanging now, from the wet bar.
My HDMI cables from monoprice come in today so no more long, hanging HDMI cables will be seen from the ceiling and the rest of the cables I've stolen from around the house can go back. The projector is the Epson 8350. Since this was my first theater project, I kept things simple and went with what was highly reviewed and rated. We put on the Hobbit last night on the green walls and the picture was amazing. It was roughly a 130" image (diagonally).
Front theater wall - I want my screen.
An image of the Hsu Research VTF-2 MK4 subwoofer. I did not think it would be that big!
Back wall of the theater.
Family room carpet
Storage area view from the family room - hi dog!
I sheetrocked around all the equipment, which sits against the foundation wall and 10" from the edge of my sheetrocked wall. I'm going to use some thin luan wood around the opening and then put a wood framed picture on hinges to cover the opening. The idea is for it to just look like a framed picture vs a door for the equipment. So far, that's the best idea I have. I will start executing it this coming week once I get the custom frame from Michael's. I'll post some pictures before - during - after once I start a thread (been slacking).
My Jamestown 130" AT 16:9 screen finally arrived this Wednesday. I ordered on 1/13/2014 so it took about a month - just a tad over his expected shipping date of 13-17 business days. The issue was that the ice storm that rolled through the south delaying the aluminum he needed for the frame support. I kept in touch with James almost twice a week and got regular updates so my experience went well.
The directions were aimed more towards a non-AT screen and I'm not very handy when it comes to constructing items, but I was able to manage. I'll most likely create a post in the projector screen forum since a few people may be interested in his new technique for putting the screen together. I took pictures of each step in case anyone gets confused so hopefully it'll help others if they run into issues.
Unboxing the projector screen. It came with 6 pieces (top right, top left, left, right, bottom right and bottom left) for the frame, 2 french cleats, instructions and various hardware.
Image of the frame put together
Screen material added to the frame - behind the center posts of course.
Attaching the screen material to the frame.
The process of making every tie tight.
Finished product - without my blinds installed (there are 5 large windows in this room. I've since this picture was taken re-hung the frame to center it and cut the ties shorter that hold the material to the frame.