A/B Theater Pre-Build Thread - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, the miracle has happened.
Even in this economy I somehow received an acceptable offer on my house, which means I need to get serious about the next house, which of course must include a theater - eventually.

I have been reading this forum for about a year now - tons of great info and a lot of ideas I plan to steal.

This house will be built in North Carolina (in case that matters for the advice I will be asking in this thread). I hope to start working on the theater within one year of the house construction completing. This is a "semi-custom" house - meaning there are 8 different house plans with 4 elevations each. Once we choose our house and elevation - they seem fairly open to modifications. We talked to a family that built in their and they let them push one outside wall out about 3 feet. So - as long as you are willing to pay, and it won't modify the structure to a large degree, it seems we have some freedom. These guys are a regional builder, not national, and we have been impressed with their workmanship and quality materials.

In my theater I would like 3 rows of seating. One row of theater chairs, a second row of theater chairs(maybe a sofa instead) on a riser and a final row of stools with a bar behind that second row. I don't know if I will have enough room - however.


Questions:
1) Any preparation work I should have done to the foundation? Not sure what that would be - some sort of wrap on it to keep moisture out?
2) People seem to mention waiting a year before they start on the theater is there a reason for that (besides financial) ? This builder offers a finished basement option so I wouldn't think there is a structural reason (settling?) - but I noticed that in a bunch of threads people mentioned waiting a 1 year period.
3) Looking at the floorplan, do people think I could fit in those three rows of seating? I haven't selected a final orientation for the room. What do people think the best orientation would be?
4) The builder told me he could stager stud that one wall - Since that is a structural wall would I want to do that? Or would I want to build my own interior wall anyway so that it isn't coupled to the ceiling/holding up the house?
5) Should I ask for them to put a space or a crack on the foundation pour for that room?
6) HVAC - I am not sure what to even ask for the builder on this. There are two zones for the first and second level - but I don't know what to ask for to insure that I have what I need for the basement for the future.
7) Any comments on the floorplan in general would be great - I might try to retain an architect to help me make sure I pre-plumb all the right areas.
8) What questions have I forgotten to ask? :-)



The walls shown on the diagram are structural - I am not sure if they can be moved. I would really like there to not be a wall between the Bar/TV room and the unlabled room - it is a bit off topic but are there suggestions I could give to the builder on how to accomplish that? I could walk in and ask him how to do this, but wouldn't mind having a few suggestions and/or knowing the different options upfront.

Hopefully, this thread will be able to help others getting ready to build with an eye towards a home theater.

Here is the full floorplan:



Here is a cropped floorplan making the interior numbers easier to read:

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post #2 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 07:59 AM
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my theater is 22'x15'x11'celing i find it perfect for 2 rows of theater chairs. you will need at least 2 more feet for what you want to do. I see the room next to the theater is 26'4" mabey the contractor will square that off for you.
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by osofast240sx View Post

my theater is 22'x15'x11'celing i find it perfect for 2 rows of theater chairs. you will need at least 2 more feet for what you want to do. I see the room next to the theater is 26'4" mabey the contractor will square that off for you.

Thanks for the reply. I agree the middle room offers some more possibilities and that is something to think about. I feel like, I could really maximize my space if I can use it or join it to the bar/tv room - put in a pool table, etc.

I also like how the other room is in the corner to help with sound isolation and is in general already pretty dark. I might ask if I can push that wall out two more feet - above it will be a screened in deck. I also have some concerns about that space in the back where the wall juts in (I don't know why it does that) - I was hoping to put the stools back there.

Thanks for the advice I will see if I can get another 2 feet.

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post #4 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Went over to the model they have (of my same floorplan) and measured that room. It ended up being 20.5 by 14.5. That is at the longest part not counting the part that juts out a bit.

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post #5 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broconne View Post

Went over to the model they have (of my same floorplan) and measured that room. It ended up being 20.5 by 14.5. That is at the longest part not counting the part that juts out a bit.

your going to want a little more room on both length and width it should be easy for them to change. my side walls have double studs also you can fit a speaker 7 5/8" thick. as far as wiring make sure you buy at least 350' of 12awg wire from monoprice to pre wire for 7.2 surround. you will need floor outlets for the top row, mabey even speaker wire if you plan to use buttkickers.
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osofast240sx View Post

As far as wiring make sure you buy at least 350' of 12awg wire from monoprice to pre wire for 7.2 surround. you will need floor outlets for the top row, mabey even speaker wire if you plan to use buttkickers.

I think your a little ahead of the game but that should be noted.

As for the layout, i'd try to join the two rooms on the left and make the top of the 26' room into an AV closet yielding a room ~~ 28'wide x 20'tall according to the plans.

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post #7 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osofast240sx View Post

your going to want a little more room on both length and width it should be easy for them to change. my side walls have double studs also you can fit a speaker 7 5/8" thick. as far as wiring make sure you buy at least 350' of 12awg wire from monoprice to pre wire for 7.2 surround. you will need floor outlets for the top row, mabey even speaker wire if you plan to use buttkickers.

Well - I am not sure how much they will be willing to push walls around. It is semi-custom not full custom.. But it does sound like I will need a few extra feet - at least in length.

I am not sure what it does to the structure above when that wall gets moved out - also not sure what it does to the cost too.

Thanks for the tips on wiring!

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post #8 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malovich View Post

I think your a little ahead of the game but that should be noted.

As for the layout, i'd try to join the two rooms on the left and make the top of the 26' room into an AV closet yielding a room ~~ 28'wide x 20'tall according to the plans.

Thanks for the tip on joining the rooms. Those walls are load bearing so we will see what happens with moving them in any direction.

My preference is to not take that room or at least not all of it, as I would rather join it to the other room for non theater purposes.
I am guessing, however that compromises will have to be made.

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post #9 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 05:31 PM
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I am going to guess that the reason for the bump in on the theater room is due to a door in the garage above. If you overlay the main floor onto the basement I bet you get into the house from the garage in that area.

Now, I think it would be fairly easy to extend the theater wall to line up with the room next to it. That would appear to be an additional 4' in length. Now you just need some extra width so the left wall would need to go out if you don't/can't take any from the adjacent room.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Photos View Post

I am going to guess that the reason for the bump in on the theater room is due to a door in the garage above. If you overlay the main floor onto the basement I bet you get into the house from the garage in that area.

Now, I think it would be fairly easy to extend the theater wall to line up with the room next to it. That would appear to be an additional 4' in length. Now you just need some extra width so the left wall would need to go out if you don't/can't take any from the adjacent room.

Do you think 14.5 won't be wide enough? I am looking for 3 across seating (I think at least)

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post #11 of 30 Old 12-07-2008, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broconne View Post

Do you think 14.5 won't be wide enough? I am looking for 3 across seating (I think at least)

That should be wide enough for 3 seats across so you could be good there.

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post #12 of 30 Old 12-16-2008, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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In an effort to get answers to questions 1,2,4,5,6 in my first post. I figured I would trade some pictures, since everybody loves pictures.

These are pictures of the model home.

This is looking from the back of theater near the alcove created by the stairs:


This is looking from the front back directly into the alcove. I would have to make sure the circuit breakers, etc are run to the mechanical room and NOT over here.


Here is looking to the window on where I have "Gym" labeled on the structural drawing:


One last picture looking from the window to the back of the room in the "Gym" area:


I need to talk to the builder because this "gym" room is much longer than on the diagram and basically extends to the end of the adjacent room.

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post #13 of 30 Old 12-16-2008, 01:08 PM
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Questions:
1) Any preparation work I should have done to the foundation? Not sure what that would be - some sort of wrap on it to keep moisture out?

This should have been performed from the outside when they built your house. Use 1" rigid foam glued to the concrete on the inside walls. You will then have to build a new wall with a 1" gap between the foam and new wall.


2) People seem to mention waiting a year before they start on the theater is there a reason for that (besides financial) ? This builder offers a finished basement option so I wouldn't think there is a structural reason (settling?) - but I noticed that in a bunch of threads people mentioned waiting a 1 year period.

Moving into a new house means lots of work. The first year is usually spent getting acclimated and doing minor things to aid in everyday life. And money is tight since there is stuff that still needs to be purchased.

4) The builder told me he could stager stud that one wall - Since that is a structural wall would I want to do that? Or would I want to build my own interior wall anyway so that it isn't coupled to the ceiling/holding up the house?

Either way. A staggered wall or double wall will both be decoupled from the adjacent room wall. But only the double wall could be decoupled from the ceiling in this case.

5) Should I ask for them to put a space or a crack on the foundation pour for that room?

Not sure what you are asking here.

6) HVAC - I am not sure what to even ask for the builder on this. There are two zones for the first and second level - but I don't know what to ask for to insure that I have what I need for the basement for the future.

I am no HVAC guy, so I can't comment. My thinking would be that you should have a system that is larger enough to accommodate finishing the basement installed. Then once you add to it the system should handle it just fine. If you have two systems for three floors though you may need some type of device (I don't recall the name) that diverts the air to the appropriate floor.


And yes I would ask that the electric panels be moved to another location. Can they put it into the mechanical room? Might not because of code, I don't know.

Mike
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post #14 of 30 Old 12-16-2008, 02:24 PM
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You need to remember plans or just, that plans. The home pictured has I-beam floor joist above which means the lower load bearing walls or not always needed that are drawn on the plans. Blueprints or typically drawn for standard stick built construction. The I-beam supplier will take those and draw up there own floor system plans. If you get involved early enough you maybe be able to do away with alot of the basement walls on the blueprints.
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post #15 of 30 Old 12-16-2008, 02:25 PM
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The biggest benefit for waiting to finish your basement is to make sure you have all possible water issues detected and resolved. Settling can cause cracks and cracks can cause leaks.

In the 2+ years we found and resolved two potential water issues.... a large crack and water seepage through the block under the chimney. We fixed the crack with an injection kit and the chimney issue with a chimney cap and sealant on the block.
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post #16 of 30 Old 12-16-2008, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


Questions:
1) Any preparation work I should have done to the foundation? Not sure what that would be - some sort of wrap on it to keep moisture out?

This should have been performed from the outside when they built your house. Use 1" rigid foam glued to the concrete on the inside walls. You will then have to build a new wall with a 1" gap between the foam and new wall.

Sure, what type of wrap should I ask for on the outside of the house? I am guessing they will do code, anything else is up to me requesting it. Is rigid foam better than spray foam? Would I drylock it first?


Quote:


2) People seem to mention waiting a year before they start on the theater is there a reason for that (besides financial) ? This builder offers a finished basement option so I wouldn't think there is a structural reason (settling?) - but I noticed that in a bunch of threads people mentioned waiting a 1 year period.

Moving into a new house means lots of work. The first year is usually spent getting acclimated and doing minor things to aid in everyday life. And money is tight since there is stuff that still needs to be purchased.

Makes sense - good points.


Quote:


4) The builder told me he could stager stud that one wall - Since that is a structural wall would I want to do that? Or would I want to build my own interior wall anyway so that it isn't coupled to the ceiling/holding up the house?

Either way. A staggered wall or double wall will both be decoupled from the adjacent room wall. But only the double wall could be decoupled from the ceiling in this case.

Good point - might as well not ask for the staggered studded wall then. As I want to limit sound transfer.


Quote:


5) Should I ask for them to put a space or a crack on the foundation pour for that room?

Not sure what you are asking here.

My understanding is that there is almost like a rubber expansion strip that you can put down when laying concrete that would separate the pour. Wondered if that would be worthwhile to decouple the concrete floor from the other room.

Quote:


6) HVAC - I am not sure what to even ask for the builder on this. There are two zones for the first and second level - but I don't know what to ask for to insure that I have what I need for the basement for the future.

I am no HVAC guy, so I can't comment. My thinking would be that you should have a system that is larger enough to accommodate finishing the basement installed. Then once you add to it the system should handle it just fine. If you have two systems for three floors though you may need some type of device (I don't recall the name) that diverts the air to the appropriate floor.

Sounds like I need to talk to the HVAC sub.

Quote:


And yes I would ask that the electric panels be moved to another location. Can they put it into the mechanical room? Might not because of code, I don't know.

Yeah - I am worried about if there is code keeping the furnace away from the main breaker panel. I will have to check into that.

Thanks for the advice!

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post #17 of 30 Old 12-16-2008, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jntart View Post

You need to remember plans or just, that plans. The home pictured has I-beam floor joist above which means the lower load bearing walls or not always needed that are drawn on the plans. Blueprints or typically drawn for standard stick built construction. The I-beam supplier will take those and draw up there own floor system plans. If you get involved early enough you maybe be able to do away with alot of the basement walls on the blueprints.

Good point. I will ask the builder if that middle wall is needed. I am hoping not. I may try and bring an engineer in and see what I can do up front to avoid removing a wall later.

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post #18 of 30 Old 02-06-2009, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick Update -
We consulted with an architect and recently got back some plans for the basement from her. Here is the first stab - we may iterate and change some things in the bar area.

We were unable to push out the wall to get any extra length in the theater. The kitchen is directly above that space and the builder told me that it would be prohibitively expensive to make that change - extra kitchen cabinetry, etc.

So - I will probably only be able to get 2 rows of seating. Any feedback on the plans is more than appreciated!

Note: Sorry for the big "DRAFT" across the plans - but I imagine that will be there until the final and the architect gets paid her balance due. I think we are leaning towards the bar configuration that is on the top of the diagram, not the one drawn in.





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post #19 of 30 Old 02-11-2009, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Time to call on the wisdom of the crowds here. I plan to go to contract next week. I went back to the model and did some measurements. Because of the bump out for the garage door - it seems the usable space in that room is only 18'2" I stood where I though the first row would be for a large screen (I am not sure where I am going with but I would like to go with a 110" or 135" 2.35 screen. I figure that would give me a usable size for 16:9 content as well when I was viewing that.

When I stood where I thought the first row would be.. it was too close. I think I really need to get those 2'4" back from the bump out back - that should be perfect. So I have two questions.

A) I searched the forum but couldn't find a THX calculator to figure out for that screen size how far back the first row should be - or conversely with that size room - how large the screen can be.

B) Any building experts have an idea how to remove that bump out? I would rather go to the builder with ideas rather than asking him to just "figure it out". I would rather not move the stairs to the left as that will then take the stairs out of the mudroom - which would not make a lot of sense. Can that bump out be moved back? Is there a reason the concrete has to go to a certain level in the garage - could it just be flush to the floor for that segment? Any other ideas are welcome.

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post #20 of 30 Old 02-11-2009, 05:45 PM
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1) that is a bit subjective ... if you goto the CIH forums and do a search there are a few discussions as to what the optimal distance is ... I have tested my first row at 10' 11' & 12' with 136" 2.37.1 screen and it is fine YMMV

2) is there a reason why the concrete is jogged in like that into the theater ? ( is it supporting something on the main floor ? )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScruffyHT View Post

1) that is a bit subjective ... if you goto the CIH forums and do a search there are a few discussions as to what the optimal distance is ... I have tested my first row at 10' 11' & 12' with 136" 2.37.1 screen and it is fine YMMV

2) is there a reason why the concrete is jogged in like that into the theater ? ( is it supporting something on the main floor ? )

1) Thanks for the tip on 1. I will go dig around.

2) Well that is where the stairs from the garage into the mudroom are.. The stairs end right where that jog ends. To be honest, I am not sure how they would do it without that jog. I would think you need concrete up to wall of the mudroom - or is there a way that I can't think of where it could stop with the rest of the garage - but be level with the floor and then something else could cover under the stairs and up to the mudroom wall?

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post #22 of 30 Old 02-13-2009, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Met with the builder. News was not good. There is no way to prevent that bump-in. Could make the garage longer and push stairs out into the garage - but the price would be "a lot".

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post #23 of 30 Old 02-13-2009, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok -
I did a quick sketch up and am getting really concerned about the length in the room here.

Does anyone have a setup like this? 135 inch 2.35:1 - is it viewable from 10.4 feet out or is it just too much screen for the space?


Any thoughts appreciated.


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post #24 of 30 Old 02-13-2009, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broconne View Post

Ok -
I did a quick sketch up and am getting really concerned about the length in the room here.

Does anyone have a setup like this? 135 inch 2.35:1 - is it viewable from 10.4 feet out or is it just too much screen for the space?


Any thoughts appreciated.


When I was asking a question similar to this about my room McCall mentioned that she had her front row at 8.5' from a 120" wide 2.35 screen. So 10.4' from 135 probably won't be too bad.

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post #25 of 30 Old 02-13-2009, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well at least I am not the only one. Anyone with experience in sitting 10' back from a 135 - I would appreciate some input.

Also - I have allowed 16inch for behind the screen - plan was to go AT on the screen. However, thinking I could now but the subwoofer in the back of the theater - I have that 2'4" alcove back there that will basically be "dead" space. I could put the sub, projector, and rack back there - although, not sure if I could fit the rack in 2'4" probably not.

To sum up the questions here.

1) Anyone experienced 10' from 135 2.35:1? How was it? McCall feel free to chime in here :-)

2) If you are doing A/T without a sub up front, what is the minimum size you can make that wall? If I could get another 8 inches, I would feel better.

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post #26 of 30 Old 02-14-2009, 07:03 PM
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1. Sitting 10' from a 135" wide screen equates to about a 58 degree viewing angle, which is pretty wide. If you like being "immersed" into the movie, then that viewing angle may work for you. The viewing angle with my screen/seating arrangement in my theater is 48 degrees, but I feel I could go a little wider.

2. If you are going with in-wall LCR speakers behind the AT screen (and the sub in the back of the theater), then you can literally have the screen surface a mere 4"-6" from the speakers.
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post #27 of 30 Old 02-14-2009, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by phisch View Post

1. Sitting 10' from a 135" wide screen equates to about a 58 degree viewing angle, which is pretty wide. If you like being "immersed" into the movie, then that viewing angle may work for you. The viewing angle with my screen/seating arrangement in my theater is 48 degrees, but I feel I could go a little wider.

2. If you are going with in-wall LCR speakers behind the AT screen (and the sub in the back of the theater), then you can literally have the screen surface a mere 4"-6" from the speakers.


1) Not sure I like to be immersed. I may have to go smaller. What size is your screen and what are your seating distances?

2) In-Wall seem to have a depth of 4" to 5" (Feels like it should be 4 max considering how thick a standard wall is, but the klipsh claim to be 4.5) - plus another 6" puts me at less than a foot. That could get my viewing distance to 11'. I would feel a bit more comfortable there. I know people say that you can place the sub almost anywhere - but I do wonder if things would feel unnatrual with the sub behind me.

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A/B Pre-Build Thread
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post #28 of 30 Old 02-18-2009, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Have the final picture for the basement layout. Some minor door changes for the workshop.



I am also going to flip the home theater around so that 2.5 ft indent is behind the screen wall. Not sure why I didn't do that to begin with. I can fit a sub behind there and two of the three speakers.. I will still need to go with in-wall for the speakers but I should only lose 4 inches total in the room space doing that. Getting me up to 11' for the first row.. Which should be more comfortable.

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post #29 of 30 Old 02-18-2009, 07:32 PM
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Great plans, I look forward to watching your build. uh!...now get building! It will look great....excellent layout.
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post #30 of 30 Old 02-27-2009, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Went to contract on Tuesday (2/24/2009). They expect to deliver and close the home by October 29th. Which means on October 30th, I can transform this from a pre-build to a build a thread. It also probably means I will be ahead of Logan by December 15th.

I went by yesterday and they already started regrade the lot!


Here is a picture of the lot, the theater part will start on the far right side.

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