SGolko Theater and Basement Build Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I was going to name this thread The "How much can I get away with before my wife puts a stop to this" Theater Build, but it's just too long of a name.
After nearly a year of thinking and planning (and negotiating) my home theater, I am finally getting started on it.
The link here is all of the questions I have had to date, just to give you a bit of background.
Pretty much every aspect of the theater has changed since my initial thoughts, and I'm sure most of it will change again, but here are the details as they stand:
After reading back through what I initially planned, I realized that virtually everything has changed. That is the one thing I was right about. So all of the red text in this opening post is what has been updated since I initially posted it.

The Goal: I want a dedicated Home Theater Room as good as I can possibly get it. My wife also wants one (or is allowing me to have one), but in no way wants it to impair the re-sale of our house in the future, or for it to cost alot more than just finishing the room regularly and hanging a TV in it. So perhaps we can think of this as a Compromise Theater.
Compromise Theater would definitely have been a good name. The goal remains mainly the same, to get as good of a viewing room as possible without breaking the bank and with keeping resale value/appeal.
The Room: 18'x11' in an unfinished basement. 8' ceiling for most of it, with a 7'4 ceiling for the back 6 feet
Floor: Going to install DriCore sub-flooring, with underlay and probably a burbor carpet on top.
Changed burbor carpet to a short shag carpet. It is more plush, more comfortable, better looking....
Walls: Good ole fashioned 2x4 stud walls, all filled with R12 insulation. The exterior walls (to the cement walls) will just have regular drywall. The inside walls, especially to the stairs, the furnace room, and the bedroom, will have some sort of sound treatment. Still need to price up my options, whether they be DD, or DD+GG, or QuietRock Drywall. This is one of those Compromise issues.
EDIT: We have "compromised" that I will DD the furnace room, and pack all the walls with insulation. Thought being that we are the only 2 in the house and do not need to keep the sound in the room (theres no one else to disturb). The DD on the furnace room and insulation came from my argument that we still need to try to keep some of the sound out of the room, especially from HVAC.
EDIT2: Realized that in general it is all or none as far as sound isolation goes. Ditched the DD and GG ideas, but still stuffed all the walls around the theater and furnace room with insulation.
Ceiling: Another Compromise issue. Original plan is to do a suspended ceiling throughout the basement, with joists packed with R12. I am going to have to try and work to get at least drywall on the ceiling, and maybe DD or QuietRock. We'll see on this one...
This has changed the most times out of anything... In the end, we are going with a drop ceiling throughout the main rooms (drywalled the storage rooms and bathrooms). The bedroom and laundry room will have typical white acoustic tiles, the theater will have Taupe colored tiles and grid, which will match the room colors nicely and get away from the dreaded white ceiling tiles.
Screen: Going to be a DIY screen, painted grey. Still not sure if I am going to paint it right on the wall, or do up a fixed screen on MDF or some other board. Lots of time for that decision
Plan is to paint a 100" or so screen on a piece of Lite MDF and hang it on the wall.
Projector: Right now I am leaning towards the Epson 1080UB. But the purchase is still a ways away, so we'll see what comes out and what prices look like then.
Got it down to Epson 6500 UB, Panny AE 3000 or Sony HW10. Not going to purchase until at least July, we'll see what prices do.
Equipment Rack: Will be located above a mini-fridge, built into the elbow of the stairway. Will be accessible through a door in the stairs.
Same plan, but access will be from below the stairs. It should work better AND be easier this way. This is basically same plan as originally. As a finishing touch, I plan to build faceplates for each component out of some type of thin wood sheet, but we'll see how ambitious I get, and how well it actually works...
Other Equipment: PS3, Wii, Starchoice HD Satellite, going to buy an AV receiver (perhaps the Pioneer Elite VSX-92THX), and going to buy a 7.1 speaker setup. Also down the road, not too worried yet.
Again, not until July. Still not worried
Timing: As we are also building a Garage, Fence, Deck, and landscaping this summer, I expect to get the Framing, Wiring, and insulating done by fall. Then with a busy winter at work, I expect to pick it up again in the spring, and finish it off by end of summer 2009.
Pre-winter timing went well. But we now need to be done by May 1 (aside from actually getting the equipment in there) due to sister-in-law moving in to the basement for a while.

Here is a blueprint of what I plan to do (revised, many thanks to Tedd and DC):


Old layout, for reference
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post #2 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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In prep mode for the build.
I have a lot of stuff sitting in my basement, so I have tried to clean some of it out. Without a garage yet, It makes it hard to find space for everything. Here are some pics to start us off:

Empty basement, looking towards the future screen wall:


Empty basement, looking away from the future screen wall:


Basement as it is today, looking towards screen wall:


Basement as it is today, looking away from screen wall:


Future AV Rack location:


As you can see, I haven't really done anything yet aside from move some stuff around and buy the studs needed to frame the outside walls. I will let them sit for about a week to warp like crazy, then get started on the framing.

More to come....
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post #3 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 12:40 PM
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Are the washer/Dryer and bathroom already plumbed? If not I would move the theater over there and use the full 20 ft. for the length. Your present plan looks like as soon as you step off the bottom step you will be in the theater.
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post #4 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jntart View Post

Are the washer/Dryer and bathroom already plumbed? If not I would move the theater over there and use the full 20 ft. for the length. Your present plan looks like as soon as you step off the bottom step you will be in the theater.

Yes, they are already plumbed. We considered this is planning where to have the rough-in, and here was our thought process:
- Bedroom needs to have a window by law, and we could have the window wherever we wanted.
- Can either have the bedroom where it is now, or where the theater is now, or where the laundry/bathroom is now.
- To have it at the bottom of the stairs, you are either a) entering the basement through the bedroom, which does not work, or b) you are cutting off too much of the bedroom by having the necessary hallway from the stairs to the rest of the basement. This option is out.
- To have it where the the laundry is would have worked, but this wouldn't have affected the theater at all. We chose the way it is over this option.

We have mulled over the layout for a very long time, and after talking with a lot of people, we figure this is the best possible layout.
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post #5 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 02:47 PM
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Looks good so far. Looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.

An Aspen Woods Theater - Under Construction

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post #6 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 07:46 PM
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I am going to give this a shot....

Combine the bedroom storage closet and the bathroom into one larger space by extending the back wall straight to the left wall. The south bedroom wall will be the furnance wall, as drawn, extended to the right wall (with the angled wall gone).

The bedroom closet would be on the left hand wall, wall to wall. The lower most part of the closet would simply be entry space into the furnance room. I am thinking along the lines of a multi door built in closet. Lots of storage and a good sized size rectangular bedroom.

Now extend the stair wall straight over to the right wall. The freezer could go in between the bedroom wall and the stair wall, backing onto the furnance room, or a closet there. This makes the laundryroom as a pass through space. It could have double bifold doors or simply be finished nice. The dryer is right close to the electrical panel now, and the water lines could be run over to the new laundryroom location easily enough. The washer drain line would be built into the right side wall and run to the waste line, mid theater. The dryer would then be vented out the right side wall.

The av rack would be built under the stairs, and your dvd rack would be expanded wider, in the V space. If the freezer went in the laundyroom, the storage area would be more suited to a less accessed storage area.
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post #7 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 07:57 PM
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A second suggestion is to get BigMouthinDC in this thread.

here's a quickie "Sharpie" hack sketch picture....
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post #8 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 09:24 PM
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Hmm, I'm going to sharpen my pencil and find a napkin. The top half of your layout sucks big time. I'd like to think there are alternatives but It is not just jumping out at me. I just see so much wasted space and the trek to the bathroom from the bedroom is odd.
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post #9 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 09:35 PM
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Had a brain fart. Move the door to the bedroom to the angled wall. It relives the congestion in that hallway off the theater space and shortens the trek from the BR to the Pisser.

If you do a good visual job on the hallway and laundry space you might not even need the door off the theater. How about tucking the laundry center behind folding doors. so that area can have some multiple uses.
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post #10 of 62 Old 05-15-2008, 09:38 PM
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Another design issue. It's generally a good idea not to be able to see the toilet when the door is open from any position in the outer room.

It should have been on the left wall.
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post #11 of 62 Old 05-16-2008, 05:20 AM
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As Big mentions (and I mentioned in a pm), there's just too many doors and they are grouped too tightly.

A few more ideas came to me, some a little wild, but I'll throw them out there....

I'm curious as to how much length is between where the lower staircase wall ends, and where that wall extended to meet the storage door wall? That whole left hand theater wall is very busy so I was thinking if the stair wall was extended straight, would there be room for a hidden door that swings into the storage space there? (It could be 24" or custom width....) This would eliminate the access door as drawn, and eliminate that ackward angle at the end of the staircase.

If the av rack goes in under the stairs, a small access door/panel could be built in the common furnance wall, for easy cabling of the av gear.

You could also build small soffits for the side walls to blend the two ceiling heights in the theater space. I'd extend the soffit into the stair landing area. I have a side entry into my theater space and the soffit is only 6' 4" high. It actually fools the eye into thinking the 7' 1" high ceiling is slightly taller. The side soffit would also be good to hide a conduit (or 2), from the av closet, to the front of the room.

The ductwork running down the center of the theater is also a challenge. How much clerance is under it? Any chance it could be rerouted into the side soffits? I also see there's a few short lengths of ductwork on both theater side walls, that'd could be tucked away into the soffit and wall cavity if redone.

Is the bedroom a guest bedroom? If so, why not just build the washer/dryer into a double into a closet (french doors or bifolds)? I'd be thinking multi-function spaces to keep the rooms larger.

Why a small corner shower when you have the room for a larger wall to wall shower?
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post #12 of 62 Old 05-16-2008, 06:31 AM
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Another thought...

Why not combine the bathroom with the storage closet, and put the washer and dryer on the 6' wall in the bathroom? The electrical junction box area would become a walk in closet for the bedroom and give you about a 10.5' by 19' rectangular bedroom.

And I was just thinking, if you build your av rack where you proposed, an access panel in the understair storage closet side wall could give you wiring access to the back of the av rack.
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post #13 of 62 Old 05-16-2008, 06:33 AM
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Just noticed that it looks like in the picture that the toilet is actually plumbed for a different location then your plan.
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post #14 of 62 Old 05-16-2008, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgolko View Post

I will let them sit for about a week to warp like crazy,


1) If you could get them off the floor the bottom ones would do better

2) I had great success wrapping my piles of wood in a waterproof tarp. It slows the drying (aka warping) at least until you get them banged in the wall. Then there are more resistive forces at play.
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post #15 of 62 Old 05-18-2008, 08:26 AM
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a few more ideas....

rotated the washer/dryer ninety degrees, and expanded the bathroom. bedroom closet to buffer theater noise (or the closet placed there could be expanded to a walk in at the expense of bedroom square footage).

If you wanted to eliminate the bedroom being used as a passage way, the front storage space could become a half bathroom (and the small room off the master bath could function as a storage room) or simply be added to the bathroom square footage. A floor to ceiling wall of cabinets or a nice amoire might work as storage in there.

Personally, I'd go for larger rooms with less square footage being wasted on halls. I'm sure it would be a smart decision come resale time.
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post #16 of 62 Old 05-18-2008, 09:45 AM
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A little tweaking and messing around on take 3. Opened up the stair landing area. Back wall of theater pushed back slightly. Bedroom theater wall closet eliminated, and a nice sized amoire or large dresser placed on that wall. Looking at pushing the dvd rack area back a few inches along with the av rack and understair closet. Trim off the stair "wing" a bit too since the backside is open and easy to reframe.

I'd look to bury the support post in the wall, just skimming the backside of the drywall. Or the post could be hidden in a small column perhaps, to gain a few extra inches of theater width.

I really like the idea of a half bathroom instead of a storage closet. I don't know about your budget, but the full back bathroom could be pushed off down the road if finances are tight.
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post #17 of 62 Old 05-19-2008, 09:30 AM
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How about the laundry and the bathroom combined? Open concept or bifold doors on the laundry room?

Pretty open concept basement now. Less walls, less work, less expense. More square footage
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post #18 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 05:37 AM
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A few more ideas tossed out.

-potential bedroom furniture placement added
-even more open concept floorplan with home office alcove. (Not
sure where to stick the freezer but I sure like the idea of an upright
freezer in the understair closet. Easily accessible but out of sight.)
-a wall of storage added to the bathroom/laundryroom



I feel like a thread killer...
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post #19 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

I am going to give this a shot....

Combine the bedroom storage closet and the bathroom into one larger space by extending the back wall straight to the left wall. The south bedroom wall will be the furnance wall, as drawn, extended to the right wall (with the angled wall gone).

The bedroom closet would be on the left hand wall, wall to wall. The lower most part of the closet would simply be entry space into the furnance room. I am thinking along the lines of a multi door built in closet. Lots of storage and a good sized size rectangular bedroom.

Now extend the stair wall straight over to the right wall. The freezer could go in between the bedroom wall and the stair wall, backing onto the furnance room, or a closet there. This makes the laundryroom as a pass through space. It could have double bifold doors or simply be finished nice. The dryer is right close to the electrical panel now, and the water lines could be run over to the new laundryroom location easily enough. The washer drain line would be built into the right side wall and run to the waste line, mid theater. The dryer would then be vented out the right side wall.

The av rack would be built under the stairs, and your dvd rack would be expanded wider, in the V space. If the freezer went in the laundyroom, the storage area would be more suited to a less accessed storage area.

Thanks for all the ideas. Just got back from an extended long weekend, and there's lots of stuff to go through here. I will try and address each suggestion, but am likely going to miss a couple.
Bath/storage: Not a bad idea. I don't know if this gets us anything in our particular case though. We are looking for a good functioning 3 pc bath, so the extra space is not critical for us. I think in our case, a room to store boxes or storage tubs would be more useful. plus...
New wall layout: I do like this idea, and is definitely a better use of the space. we had played around with all kinds of similar things, trying to eliminate the hallway, but we kept coming back to one thing... do we want people to have to go through someone's bedroom to take a piss? ie, does someone want people trekking through their bedroom while they are trying to do homework or sleep or spend time with a bf/gf? We decided no.
The main purpose for the bedroom when we are the owners is going to be a spare bedroom, but we fully expect it to be a teenager's bedroom when we sell it. Perhaps some more insight on this topic could be given, but I think i am going to need a very compelling argument to the wife the turn the bedroom into a pass-thru for the bathroom.
AV Rack: Would putting it under the stairs cut off your access to under the stairs? As it is right now, it would be a fairly sizable less-accessed storage room. I dont see anything wrong with where the av rack is right now. It has back-access, fits nicely between the stair wall and post, and leaves plenty of room for a tall 2' wide DVD rack.

On to the next post...
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post #20 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Hmm, I'm going to sharpen my pencil and find a napkin. The top half of your layout sucks big time. I'd like to think there are alternatives but It is not just jumping out at me. I just see so much wasted space and the trek to the bathroom from the bedroom is odd.

That's why i am on here, to get suggestions from all the knowledgeable folks out there!!
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post #21 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Had a brain fart. Move the door to the bedroom to the angled wall. It relives the congestion in that hallway off the theater space and shortens the trek from the BR to the Pisser.

If you do a good visual job on the hallway and laundry space you might not even need the door off the theater. How about tucking the laundry center behind folding doors. so that area can have some multiple uses.

Door to BR: I like that idea. Done.

Door off theater: what about acoustics? I would rather not put a door there either, but acoustically I don't see that I have a choice.

Laundry: Plan on having multiple uses, ie laundry, ironing, sewing, etc. uses that don't require the laundry to be hidden tho.
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post #22 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Another design issue. It's generally a good idea not to be able to see the toilet when the door is open from any position in the outer room.

It should have been on the left wall.

absolutely correct, and it is. the rough-in for the toilet is on the left wall, and that is where it will be. sink will be where the 2 are currently drawn.
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post #23 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

As Big mentions (and I mentioned in a pm), there's just too many doors and they are grouped too tightly.

A few more ideas came to me, some a little wild, but I'll throw them out there....

I'm curious as to how much length is between where the lower staircase wall ends, and where that wall extended to meet the storage door wall? That whole left hand theater wall is very busy so I was thinking if the stair wall was extended straight, would there be room for a hidden door that swings into the storage space there? (It could be 24" or custom width....) This would eliminate the access door as drawn, and eliminate that ackward angle at the end of the staircase.

If the av rack goes in under the stairs, a small access door/panel could be built in the common furnance wall, for easy cabling of the av gear.

You could also build small soffits for the side walls to blend the two ceiling heights in the theater space. I'd extend the soffit into the stair landing area. I have a side entry into my theater space and the soffit is only 6' 4" high. It actually fools the eye into thinking the 7' 1" high ceiling is slightly taller. The side soffit would also be good to hide a conduit (or 2), from the av closet, to the front of the room.

The ductwork running down the center of the theater is also a challenge. How much clerance is under it? Any chance it could be rerouted into the side soffits? I also see there's a few short lengths of ductwork on both theater side walls, that'd could be tucked away into the soffit and wall cavity if redone.

Is the bedroom a guest bedroom? If so, why not just build the washer/dryer into a double into a closet (french doors or bifolds)? I'd be thinking multi-function spaces to keep the rooms larger.

Why a small corner shower when you have the room for a larger wall to wall shower?

Too many doors: See reply to Big, I think the angeled wall door should help this out.
Hidden storage door: Also a good idea. I'll have to play around with this to see if it is feasible. My concern would be the swing of the door (dont think a slider is possible there) getting in the way of the stairs or taking away storage space. But I will look at it when i get home.
AV Rack: Putting it under the stairs kills storage space under the stairs. Access from the furnace room would be very tight.
Soffit: I had been considering that. I was thinking of framing a triangular soffit along the top corners, will likely do it. As for the conduit, I will be running it either way.
Ducktwork: not an issue. we must be interpreting the drawing different. The only ducktwork in the way, is at the back of the theater, where the roof has to drop down 8". Any ductwork in the front 2/3 of the theater is tucked away in the joists, so they are non-issues.
Bedroom: Guest room for now. Likely a real bedroom in the future. Don think wife can be convinced otherwise.
Bathroom: Dont' need a big shower is the short answer i guess. Cheap, easy to install.
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post #24 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Another thought...

Why not combine the bathroom with the storage closet, and put the washer and dryer on the 6' wall in the bathroom? The electrical junction box area would become a walk in closet for the bedroom and give you about a 10.5' by 19' rectangular bedroom.

And I was just thinking, if you build your av rack where you proposed, an access panel in the understair storage closet side wall could give you wiring access to the back of the av rack.

Good thoughts, but again the thing about going through the bedroom to the bathroom.
Rack: yeah, access panel either from under the stairs, or fromthe stairs themselves.
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post #25 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Comments for several of the posts:

Stair landing: i'm gonna look and see how we can play around with that when the time comes. not a big fan of how it sits as is.

theater wall closet: by code, cant have electrical panel in a closet.

half bath: not moving the rough-in. especially not that far.

av/dvd rack: could look at moving it back as far as possible. good idea.

closet to furnace room: not sure if that is an issue with code... would have to check.

smaller freezer: wife's parents are farmers, we have ALOT of meat, smaller freezer not going to happen.

pretty much all other sugesstions: relates back to the eternal going through the bedroom to the bathroom question... going to have to have a discussion about this with the wife.
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post #26 of 62 Old 05-20-2008, 05:26 PM
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I wonder how much it would cost to relocate the hw tank and furnance? And whether it could be set on the outside wall and have access doors via the hallway.

Too bad the builder didn't stick it there in the first place....
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post #27 of 62 Old 05-21-2008, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, thanks to the many suggestions, here is a new layout. Thoughts and/or suggestions?
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post #28 of 62 Old 05-21-2008, 05:22 PM
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how is the washer/electrical panel location per code?

I have no idea how long a dryer vent can be, but here's another rough idea.
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post #29 of 62 Old 06-13-2008, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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So maybe I should have called it "The Incredibly Slow Progress Theater".

Anyways, here's an update of what has been done (or not done) so far:

Framed the exterior walls


Moved the vacuum into the furnace room, but not tied in yet. Need to make another trip to HD.


Moved the washer and dryer to below the electrical panel. no leaks!!!


Moved stuff around (or got my wife to) way too many times. I wish the garage was built already so i could just get this junk out of the way.


Now I have started laying the DriCore, I have 65 of about 130 pieces down already. Sorry, no pics of that yet. After this is done, on to the framing of interior walls.

Note I have made some changes to the original post.
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post #30 of 62 Old 06-26-2008, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick question for anyone who cares to reply:
I am now at the point where I can start thinking about wiring. I am going to go with monoprice for all of my audio and video cables, but not sure about the electrical. Does anyone know of a place that I can order the Romex electical wire online, and whether it is any cheaper than just picking up a roll at Home Depot?

Thanks!
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