Water Valley Sunken Theater Build - AVS Forum
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I am new to the Forum and this is my first thread. I thought that this would be a good place to get some good ideas and feedback on the HT project we are doing in Winsor, CO.

To give you a little history on the project. We bought this house in October of 08. It was bank owned from a forclosure. We are looking to fix it up and flip it. It has about 7500 total square feet including the basement. Pretty much all footage is unfinished. The basement has about 2000 square feet of which about 1500 of that only has a 7' 2" ceiling included in that was 2 store rooms one bedroom one bath room and 2 other small rooms (about 225 sf) a piece that I don't even know what you would classify them as.

We have done two other houses in the same area that are bigger than 4500 sf and have done HT in both of them. We wanted to do one in this house as well, but with a majority of the basement being only 7' 2" and all of the existing walls in the basement being support wall for the two upper floors we didn't really see how that was going to be possible.

Well after a couple of weeks of brainstorming and talking about it, we decided that the only thing that we could really do to make our HT possible was to take out the support wall between the two misc. rooms and to lower the floor.

So begins our journey..........
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I am sorry but somehow I didn't get a picture of the two rooms before we began. We started with a meeting with the engineer to spec out the beam that was to replace the 23' support wall that separated the rooms. He came back with a beam that was 1600 pounds. Which worried me a little because it need to be brought in by hand, and then lifted into place without any thing else besides however many guys we could get ahold of. So back to the engineer and ended up with 2 800 pound beams, which took us the better part of a day to get inside and lifted into place.

At this point with the wall gone and the beams in place I do have a pic.
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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With the wall gone and the beams in place. It was time for the really hard work to begin. We brought in a crew to cut, jack hammer, and remove the concrete. Then they had to dig down 40" and remove the dirt. This was all done by hand and took a little over a week. We calculated about 32 yards of material was removed. I'm really glad I did have to do it.

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Old 02-20-2009, 11:59 AM
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Your comment of "We are looking to fix it up and flip it." makes it more of a business adventure than the typical homeowner who hangs out here looking for advice and sharing their experiences.

If you are looking for help, I suggest you hire one of the many consultants on here. But that's JMHO.

Bud

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2nd Run Cinema - A fabric frame theater
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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The rebar was put in, I did have to do that part, and the concrete guys came and poured the new slab. At this point we are about 31" lower than we were before. I don't know why I didn't get any pictures at this stage, was probably too tired. We started framing Monday morning and after three long days most of the interior walls are up and we are set to pour the founding walls on Monday.





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Old 02-20-2009, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budk View Post

Your comment of "We are looking to fix it up and flip it." makes it more of a business adventure than the typical homeowner who hangs out here looking for advice and sharing their experiences.

If you are looking for help, I suggest you hire one of the many consultants on here. But that's JMHO.

Bud

Thanks for your HO. I have already hired a local "expert." As well as having done 3 other theater rooms myself. We are the home owner, even though we are not planning on living in this house when we get done with it. By posting I am looking for nothing more than to share my experence in doing this project, for no other reason than I think it is going to be really cool and I thought some of the other people in this forum would too. And if someone else has some ideas that I had not thought of, I would love to hear them as well. If I am somehow in violation of the rules of this forum, or even the spirit of this forum, please let me know and I will find somewhere else to post.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:22 PM
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That's some flip if you are excavating. Hope the HT comes out nice. One of our popular topics here is whether a HT adds value. Given you are including them in a for resale property would you care to comment on what impact the HT had on your prior sales? Do you only build them in higher end properties?

Also, if you'd take a moment to get a photobucket account, every one would prefer that way to see pictures. See the link in my thread.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

That's some flip if you are excavating. Hope the HT comes out nice. One of our popular topics here is whether a HT adds value. Given you are including them in a for resale property would you care to comment on what impact the HT had on your prior sales? Do you only build them in higher end properties?

Also, if you'd take a moment to get a photobucket account, every one would prefer that way to see pictures. See the link in my thread.

Pilgrim

That as I am sure that you know is a very hard question to answer. We do only put them in higher end properties. I would say $750k and higher and about 5000 sq ft or better. The housing market really sucks out here right now. We have been buying mostly unfinished properties in Northern Colorado, with the understanding that we may have to sit on them for 2-3 years before we can sell them. I believe that a standard home theater will not sell a house for you, but if you have a buyer that is on the fence I think it does do alot to push them in the right direction. Our realitor says that the HTs that we have put in the other two houses are definate assets and as far as the construction goes they don't cost much more than any other types of square footage. If you have the space in your basement I would say you should definately add a HT, but if it takes away from something else that would be standard in a house like a family room I would have to think twice about it or consider a dual purpose room instead of a dedicated HT.

We have not sold any of our high end properties yet, but when we do I will let you know

We do include all our HT hardware with our sales(i.e. PJ, screen, Speakers, Amp) and we usually Spend about $3500 on that hardware. I believe that most people are uneducated on how much HT equipment has come down in price, so the preceived value of the home theater from the buyers point of view is often 2 to 4 times what it actually cost. Everyone who has walked into one of our home theaters has been shocked to learn that we only have $3500 worth of equipment and if you ask them before they are told most of them guess between $10k and 15k.

As far as this build is concerned, I believe that this home theater will sell this house. And I am betting $25k that it will. You just don't find something like this in a house that will probably sell for $900k to $1.1M. at least not around here.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:46 PM
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I don't have a problem that you're flippin the house. I'm really interested to see how this turns out, so keep the pics coming. I'll never be able to afford a 750k house, but that doesn't mean I don't like looking at them. I have an old farm house that I'll need to excavate the basement floor to gain some headroom, so I'll be watching this thread.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:16 PM
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Very nice. I have always thought a sunken ht would be cool to do. I am from Ft. Collins but I moved to North Carolina two years ago, man time goes by quick. Anyways good luck with the room looks really good now cant wait to see the end result!
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:56 AM
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Nice, I'm really interested to see the finished product. Flip or not, it's an interesting build with the excavation.
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Just got home after a long day of pouring concrete for the walls of the pit. Took about 6 yards. Lots of 5 gallon buckets. Will post some pics tomorrow.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:47 PM
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This is a very cool project. It was only recently that we saw the first sunken ht room design and that guy posted like crazy around here till the show was aired on HGTV then never bothered to post again. So I for one don't mind seeing this thread develop so long as you continue to post plenty more pics and responding to our questions

Anyhow, do you have a floorplan design or sketch of the planned layout. I'm having trouble trying to envision what the room will ultimately look like. Good Luck.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:38 PM
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Are the forms that you used for the walls you just poured are they staying in place?

Scott

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Old 02-24-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by W00lly View Post

Are the forms that you used for the walls you just poured are they staying in place?

W00lly

We actually talked the inspector to letting us put our concrete form boards on the out side of our framed walls. It kept us from having to build both the forms and the stud walls. The forms will stay in place. I screwed eye bolts on the out side of my framed walls, with the idea that the concrete will form around them and hold the walls in place. I did run into 3 places, where the weight of the concrete actually pushed out my walls, but I was able to push them back and re-support them before the concrete set up.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

This is a very cool project. It was only recently that we saw the first sunken ht room design and that guy posted like crazy around here till the show was aired on HGTV then never bothered to post again. So I for one don't mind seeing this thread develop so long as you continue to post plenty more pics and responding to our questions

Anyhow, do you have a floorplan design or sketch of the planned layout. I'm having trouble trying to envision what the room will ultimately look like. Good Luck.

Oman

I will do my best to post as much as possible, and I will promise to post final pics of the finished room, no matter how famous I become (yeah right). Read your post on your custom screen, very cool as well. I would love to do a curved screen in this theater if I can cheaply over come the whole barreling problem.

As requested here is an aprox. layout of the HT. I did it in microsoft paint, so it is not the greatest, but it will do.


So basically you come into the double doors in the back, at this point you have a 7' 2" ceiling height. Go through the walkway to the right, you have a full wall on the right and a 37" pony wall on the left looking down into the pit. Down the 3 steps, about 23" to the height of the back row, then down one more step, about 7.75" to the level of the front row. Then you can go back up the stairs on the other side to a small area level with the entrance and the other side. Plans for this will be a small table in the middle and seating for three at a bartop on top of the pony wall. From screenwall to the step up to the back row is about 12.5 feet with another 7.5 feet to the back wall. I am trying to talk the investors into laying the carpet in this room like the superman symbol, but haven't heard back on that one.
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:37 PM
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Nice concept and design. I'm looking foward to seeing your progress and finished product.

The curved screen turned out to be a fun project and easily done. With DIY prism and a DIY screen the cost was pretty minimal. Good luck
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I am taking a couple of weeks off on the actual build for this HT, but I will be checking in from time to time on the forum.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:27 PM
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Loving this thread. Definitely keep us posted on how it turns out, as I'm looking to lower my own floor 12-18" (provided the water table cooperates).
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:58 AM
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Now there are some super sweet/awesome/great theater on here, but I will certainly say this is one of the more insane ones I have seen. I mean to excavate under the house is just crazy, but it does look cool as hell so far. Many often talk about pricing, I will just guess that the work done to just this point hasn't been cheap...

Thread subscribed, cant wait to see how things turn out.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smakovits View Post

Many often talk about pricing, I will just guess that the work done to just this point hasn't been cheap...

smakovits

Thanks for the positive feedback.

$2000 for concrete
$1000 for steel beams and rebar
$1500 for excavation labor
$1000 for concrete labor
$3000 for framing and project management
$1000 for lumber

so I think as it sits right now we are at just below 10 grand. A great price considering what we have done.
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I just got back from a three day work week at our little project up north and I have some new pics.

We finished the framing in the HT. We framed out the screen wall and the opening for the equipment rack. We also ran all of the low voltage cable. As soon as sparky come and finishes the electrical we will be ready for drywall.




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Old 04-30-2009, 07:42 AM
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I really like the angles on the screen wall. It gives a nice shadow box effect. Is that going to be covered by the screen, or will the screen sit back into that recess? Where are the front speakers going? Is the screen going to be acoustically transparent? Are you planning a row of bar stools behind that railing?

Has the budget increased? Unless there is a lot of DIY involved and used electronics I don't see how you could do all of the equipment, speakers, curved screen and anamorphic lens for $3500.

You have a very unique design and I really look forward to the finished product!
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I really like the angles on the screen wall. It gives a nice shadow box effect. Is that going to be covered by the screen, or will the screen sit back into that recess? Where are the front speakers going? Is the screen going to be acoustically transparent? Are you planning a row of bar stools behind that railing?

Has the budget increased? Unless there is a lot of DIY involved and used electronics I don't see how you could do all of the equipment, speakers, curved screen and anamorphic lens for $3500.

You have a very unique design and I really look forward to the finished product!

Screen will sit back into the recess. Speakers will go on the sides and below. We didn't have the room to put the speakers behind the screen.

I have pretty much given up on the idea of putting in a curved screen, I am just going to throw in a 100" fixed frame flat screen.

As far as the equipment..

Projector Sanyo PLV-Z60 $800 - New
Speakers Pradigm Cinema 110 - 7.1 $1100 - New
AV Receiver Yamaha $500 - New
Screen DaLite Permwall 100" $550 - New
Cables Off Ebay $100 - New

That puts me at a little over $3K, I would agree with you that it would have been hard to come in under 3500 with a curved screen and lens.
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:33 AM
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So ah… …What would you have done if you had hit a 3 ton rock after only digging the first 12” of that excavation?

-Suntan
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:29 AM
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I wonder if I'm the only one a little shocked that you would put so much effort and work into the project and then sit an $800 PJ in place...wow.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:38 AM
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I wonder if I'm the only one a little shocked that you would put so much effort and work into the project and then sit an $800 PJ in place...wow.

Electronics are always the last investment. The build for the room comes first. Electronics gets upgraded as you go. He is doing it right.
Besides, I think he is just flipping the house. If he is including the projector in the sale that is all I would be putting too.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:44 AM
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I wonder if I'm the only one a little shocked that you would put so much effort and work into the project and then sit an $800 PJ in place...wow.

IMHO a buyer is going to buy the room not the equipment. A true enthusiast would have a preference picking their own $10,000 projector. What if they are a DLP fan and you put in something else, they would place no value on it. The equipment is just enough to demo the space. I actually think If I was the investor I would get slightly cheaper electronics and speakers. I think you are leaving $4-500 profit on the table. Need to add a disk player for demo. There is an upscaling Phillips DVD player up for sale on Woot today for $20. I would jump on that.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:20 AM
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I agree with Biggie (I get to say that a LOT). You're buying the room, not another person's equipment choices.

Put in cheap but servicable equipment that can show a glimpse of the true potential of the room...the buyer will do the rest.

Great thread. We don't get to see excavations too often and I appreciate the detailed pics.

John
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