The Little "Big Man's" Toy Room Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 09-27-2009, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I've finally gotten to the point of compiling and processing the pictures taken throughout the build to put a thread together. Hopefully others will get some ideas from it. The idea throughout the work was to build a nice dedicated theater, without going overboard on the budget. Further, all of the build work was done myself except laying the carpet (my brother-in-law lays carpet for a living so he did it for me.)

First up, this is my 2 yr old son Nathan (my little "Big Man"), and the reason for the build:



His mother requested (read: ordered) that a dedicated toy room be created in the unfinished basement so that he and is sister (due to arrive next January) will have a place to play. Truth be told, I was hesitant to start the build as I valued the unfinished basement space, but the choice really wasn't up to me. As the basement was to be finished, and we already had a perfectly good livingroom up on the main floor, my request for a dedicated theater was hesitantly green lighted.

As the basement is 95% done, I'll put the finished picks first:







A view from the main chair, 11' back from screen to headrest:



Updated: 6/30/10 with new pictures showing acoustic treatments at first reflection points and custom black out shades over the window and doorway







I'll note that the black covered stage was originally a compromise between the Mrs. and me. She wanted light colored carpet I wanted dark brown (but not black) for the whole room. We compromised on light carpet with black on the stage (although the light carpet isn't really as light as the picture makes it look.) In hindsight, I like it a lot. It helps keep the room from being too sullen when the lights are on, and the black stage really helps keep the front dark. (With the footrests up, you can't see the light carpet at all.) Further, the rule for the 2 yr old is to stay off the black carpet, and he mostly adheres to it, ...mostly.

The dimensions are roughly 13.5'x24.5' with 8' ceilings except for the back area behind the second row of seats, which is closer to 7'2". The seating consists of 6 Berkline 13175 chairs. The PJ is a Panasonic 3000u with a 105" wide Wilsonart Designer White cinemascope screen.

The spacing of the theater is such that there is walking room around all sides of the chairs, including access to the sliding glass door in the back corner (I've been told I will be putting a new patio area on the outside of the door next spring... )

I'll spare you all but a couple of the more notable framing pictures as no-one really cares to look at those, except the poor sap who spent the time swinging the hammer...

Note the 3/4" plywood panels on the top center of the wall, reinforcing for possible center channel placement. Also, if you can make it out, the studs are doubled up on this wall, as 10 yrs from now may bring about display technology heavier than countertop laminate:



The back wall of the theater, with more plywood reinforcing for the surround back speakers:



Here is the riser, if anyone wants the dimensions, I can pull them out, sufice to say, it was designed specifically for 3 13175 berklines and they fit quite well. The construction was x12 green treated for the perimeter with x6 stringers inside, nailed flush to the tops of the x12s:



Drywall in and ready for paint. The layout of our house is such that the theater is on the opposite side of the house than the bedrooms plus the main floor is an added buffer in between. The construction is just normal sheetrock screwed directly to the studs with no real effort put into containing the sound.

I don't know if I listen to movies a lot quieter than most, but while the bass is noticeable upstairs in the bedrooms, it is not enough to wake my son, or prevent my wife from falling asleep, which is what was important. Further, it is not distracting in the livingroom above the theater as long as the TV is on up there. If a person were to try and read a book up there, it would get annoying.



Walls primed and doors hung. At first I had designed it so that the theater was open to the computer nook/stairway. Half way through framing I decided to add double doors to the entrance of the theater. Mostly so that I could use the computer in the nook without bothering anyone watching a movie (and vice versa.)

The tile in front of the sliding glass door:



"Sanding" the sections of the stage where the speakers sit. About 700lbs total for the two sections:



Trim in, walls painted, mostly just the ceiling to be installed before the carpet:



A view of the computer nook from the double doors, the open door on the right goes to a small, unfinished storage room (although it is roughed in for a bathroom) the door to the left is the furnace room/component closet :



The component rack... ...what no awards? In any case, the access to the back is great and ventilation for cooling is not a problem. With all functions handled by an RF remote, the rack isn't seen anyway.



Before installing the ceiling, the PJ mount needed to be installed. As the livingroom and the kitchen sit above the theater and their is a step down between the two (a perfect launching platform for my son) mounting directly to the ceiling was not an option as I don't want to watch a jittery movie and I don't want my PJ bounced mercilessly. So I installed a cross brace (two 2x4s cut so they spanned the 13.5' screwed on end into an 8' 2x6. The flat of the 2x6 is the mounting surface for the PJ mount:



The PJ support was then attached to the side walls with an ultra high performance polyamide/butanol co-polymer matrix that is reinforced with ultra strong nylon strands... otherwise known as an automotive belt. I've used sections of belt before to suspend/decouple things like the garage door opener, they hold up well and if you can "borrow" used ones from work... they don't cost much.



A shot of the ceiling going up. I used Ceilinglink track that allows the "drop" panels to be installed flush to the joists, and Ceilume ceiling tiles. Both came in black so I didn't need to spray paint.



For lighting all I wanted was the ability to light up the whole room well for cleaning/non-movie watching time, and the ability to light the seating specifically such that the seats could be illuminated without adversely effecting the screen. I personally didn't think spending money on a graphic eye was necessary as I don't need the extra zones (I don't need to light up the screen before the movie just for "wow" factor.) The lighting control I used for the 4 cans above the seats was a simple Lutron IR controlled dimmer. It's a double throw switch, one has an IR port, the other is just a "slave" to allow the cans do be controlled from either entry to the room, or the remote. The 4 wall sconce "house" lights are just on a regular 2 throw "on/off" switch setup so that they too can be controlled from either doorway.



The four cans can be ramped up or down to allow task lighting while seating without noticeable effect on the screen. This shot is actually a 15 second exposure with the cans on high, but you get the idea:



Just a shot with the doors open, showing the computer nook area outside the theater:



Lastly, the Little "Big Man's" new stomping ground:





Left to do:

1) window treatments (complete light blocking.) DONE!

2) acoustic treatments (mostly just hanging panels at first reflection points, and any amount of superchunk I can get authority for.) DONE!

3) Mount the center speaker (right now I'm just running a phantom center, but the imaging doesn't sound bad at all.) Decided not to do it. Going Phantom Center.

4) DIY IR controlled masking system (probably not till next spring.) Ehhh... make that Next next spring, got a patio on the honeydo list for this fall.

As I said, I hope it gives others ideas. Let me know if anyone has questions.

-Suntan
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post #2 of 30 Old 09-27-2009, 07:16 PM
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I think it looks GREAT! My only question would be that we have similar shaped rooms and projector, I went with a 133" screen, I think you could have gone larger. I'm now looking to make a riser for my rear 3 Berklines like yours and I like what you did and will try to copy.

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post #3 of 30 Old 09-27-2009, 07:22 PM
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Very impressive build you got there Suntan. Really like the colors and the black ceiling. Nice that you will be able to enjoy family movie time with the little one (s). Also glad you were allocated some basement area for your theater---isn't grudgingly the way 99% of us have started out
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post #4 of 30 Old 09-28-2009, 09:42 AM
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Hey, I just saw your construction slide show and it looked great, I got many idea's and tons of motivation to try something new. I was very impressed with your final results and not being all top of the line everything. I really thought your room had a warm open feeling, not so serious so that you cannot have fun and relax.

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post #5 of 30 Old 09-28-2009, 09:45 AM
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I love it, great build. Do your ceiling tiles ever rattle?

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post #6 of 30 Old 09-28-2009, 10:25 AM
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Beautiful theater! Enjoy. Looks really awesome. Congrats.

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post #7 of 30 Old 09-28-2009, 11:46 AM
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Very nice Suntan, you've been holding out on us... Very nice workmanship, I too didn't want to mess with the carpet and hired that part out.
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post #8 of 30 Old 09-28-2009, 12:18 PM
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Suntan,

Been waiting for these photos. Very Nice build > Congrats!
Enjoyed reading your thread.

Also see some similarities to my project:
I also did not feel the need to go with sound isolation. Therefore; also used the Ceilume Black tiles and black Ceiling-link. I went with Wilsonart DW screen, but in a 16:9 AR. As for dimensions - I wish I had that extra 6" in ceiling height and your room depth (mine is 7.5' tall, and 15.5'W x 19' deep

Again a Very Nice space you have created - be proud, and thanks for sharing

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Check out a video of my theater here
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post #9 of 30 Old 09-28-2009, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

tleavit - yes, I could have gone bigger. But I didn't want to. Wider would have meant moving the speakers even closer to the side walls, which i didn't want to do.

Further, the screen at its current size is just under the size where i start to get a headache from watching. Any bigger would have been past the point of diminishing returns.

energyfun - yes, she was a little indifferent in the beginning. But now that it is done, she likes it and agrees that we don't need a second livingroom. Further, she's already scheduling "girl's movie nights..."

whiskey - no, they don't rattle from what I can tell. But I only have one 12" sub at 200watts, so I don't rattle the fence posts out on the edge of the property either. If one of the doors gets slammed shut and the windows are closed, it will tend to lift/rattle them a little, but otherwise you wouldn't know they are just really thin pieces of plastic.

oman - A buddy offered to loan me the tools to lay the carpet, but truth be told my brother-in-law can use any extra work he can find. And since he was able to get the carpet for cost, it ended up being as cheap or cheaper than I would have been able to do myself. Plus he was able to do it all over a weakend. I am sure it would have taken me much longer.

-Suntan
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post #10 of 30 Old 09-29-2009, 06:12 AM
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Nice work on the theater. Everything turned out great, and it sounds like you were able to pull it off with very few compromises that mattered to you, excellent work.

I really like your Wilsonart DW screen, any build pics of that? Did you mount it to a backer board, or screw it directly to the frame? French cleat for mounting?
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post #11 of 30 Old 09-29-2009, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

I really like your Wilsonart DW screen, any build pics of that? Did you mount it to a backer board, or screw it directly to the frame? French cleat for mounting?

Sorry, no pics. I was in “get it done” mode, not “document it” mode at the time. The screen is just screwed directly to the wall. No frame or anything.

I cut the laminate to size (+2” on all sides beyond the intended final screen size.) Had the wife and father-in-law hold the screen up to the wall (which was measured and pre-marked to make sure it was in the right spot.) While they held it in place I drilled clearance holes inside this 2” perimeter “gutter” area where the wall studs were so I could screw screws directly into the studs behind. I then screwed the screws in along the top with crown washers such that the outside edge of the washer presses the laminate against the wall and not the screw head.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

(I didn’t use these exact washers, I got smaller ones that were sized to the screws I was using and were just regular zinc plated, but you get the idea from the picture.)

I would suggest hanging the screen by the top edge first, then letting it sit for a couple of days so it can relax and “stretch” a little before screwing in screws on the sides and bottom. Also, just try and “pull” the laminate tight with your hand (press your hand against the laminate and kind of pull it out towards the perimeter) while you screw in the remaining screws so the screen ends up tight and without any wavy undulations across it.

After that I built the surround out of 3 ¼” baseboard trim and covered it with black velvet. This was then held in place on the wall and nailed to the wall with a pneumatic brad gun (driving the nails in around the outside edge of the surround so that I didn’t end up hitting the screen laminate with a brad.) The brads sink right through the velvet leaving no trace behind. FWIW, this surround is documented pretty well in the DIY screen forum by Mississippi Man.

-Suntan
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post #12 of 30 Old 09-29-2009, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for the info. Hopefully I'll be working on a similar solution before the the end of the year (did I just curse myself?).

Enjoy the room, you've earned it!
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post #13 of 30 Old 09-29-2009, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

Thanks for the info. Hopefully I'll be working on a similar solution before the the end of the year

If you're going to be working with the laminate around the end of the year, be aware that it is much more fragile when it is cold. I was working with it late August/early September and the first thing I did was roll it out in the back yard to let the sun warm itup to minimize the change of cracking it.

Not to say that people don't work with this stuff all the time in the winter, but you need to be a little more careful when it is cold.

-Suntan
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post #14 of 30 Old 12-02-2009, 06:34 PM
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What?! That's it? No agony ... no screw ups, no procrastination ... no woodpiles?!

No fair! We demand our ounce of blood!

Very nice job, Suntan. And hope you're ready for the new little one next month!

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post #15 of 30 Old 12-03-2009, 04:09 AM
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I like your Son's toy storage shelf. Do you recall where you got it?

Rob

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post #16 of 30 Old 12-03-2009, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbec View Post

I like your Son's toy storage shelf. Do you recall where you got it?

Rob

Looks like it could be IKEA
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80071319
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post #17 of 30 Old 12-03-2009, 07:48 PM
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Looks really nice and clean. Thanks for sharing!
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post #18 of 30 Old 12-04-2009, 07:01 AM
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Just wondering how the ceilume tiles were to work with? Easy to cut? etc>?
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post #19 of 30 Old 12-07-2009, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbec View Post

I like your Son's toy storage shelf. Do you recall where you got it?

Rob

Yup, it was IKEA.

Not bad, except it weighs quite a lot.

The black fabric storage boxes were also from IKEA. They are designed to fit into the cubby holes.

-Suntan
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post #20 of 30 Old 12-07-2009, 09:44 AM
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Suntan,

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I showed the pics of the toy room to the wife and she loved it. A bedroom in our basement, adjecent to the theater, will be our little boys new toy room. thanks for posting those pics!
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post #21 of 30 Old 12-07-2009, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Goodcat View Post

Just wondering how the ceilume tiles were to work with? Easy to cut? etc>?

The tiles were pretty easy to work with. In truth it takes more effort to get them separated from one another (they are shipped all stacked tightly together) than to cut them and install them.

I cut the sides with a regular shop scissors (heavy duty pair of scissors) and cut the round cutouts for the light openings with a utility knife.

Ceilume used to be offering 3 tiles of your choice as samples, and there was a 5% (or something) discount card inside the sample box, I don't know if they still do. If you are thinking about using Ceilume tiles, I would highly suggest you get some samples before buying so you know what they are like.

-Suntan
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post #22 of 30 Old 12-07-2009, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Goodcat View Post

Suntan,

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I showed the pics of the toy room to the wife and she loved it. A bedroom in our basement, adjecent to the theater, will be our little boys new toy room. thanks for posting those pics!

Glad to hear you got some ideas off it.

The only thing I wish I had done differently was to put stainless steel plating on the bottom 4 feet of the walls... there are already a good number of dings, matching his Tonka Dumptruck, in the drywall that I took too many hours getting smooth. Ah well, I new that would happen.

-Suntan
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post #23 of 30 Old 12-07-2009, 10:03 AM
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We are thinking or a chair rail and then painting the bottom in the "chalkboard" paint. Go ahead kid, draw all you want!
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post #24 of 30 Old 12-07-2009, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post


tleavit - yes, I could have gone bigger. But I didn't want to. Wider would have meant moving the speakers even closer to the side walls, which i didn't want to do.

Further, the screen at its current size is just under the size where i start to get a headache from watching. Any bigger would have been past the point of diminishing returns.

If you ever do decide to go larger, I would suggest going acoustically transparent and putting the speakers BEHIND the screen as opposed to the sides.

You have very similar room dimensions to me and we both use the same projector. Should you ever choose to go bigger, your setup could definitely accommodate it. We love our 129" wide AT screen.
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post #25 of 30 Old 06-30-2010, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Shameless bump due to new pictures added to the first post. The blackout curtains have been hung for some time. I finally got around to doing the sound treatments the other weekend.

Otherwise, the basement is doing good. Hope you active hammer swingers are having a good go of it and get to power back that berkline some time soon!

-Suntan
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post #26 of 30 Old 07-01-2010, 06:33 AM
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New improvements look good. Did you notice much difference in sound quality after putting up the acoustic panels?

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post #27 of 30 Old 07-01-2010, 08:27 AM
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Very nice rooms!

I plan on using the same seating as you and would appreciate if you could dig up the dimensions of your riser. Also, when in the recline position, do you still have room to walk in front of the seats?

Thx,

GTA
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post #28 of 30 Old 07-04-2010, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

New improvements look good. Did you notice much difference in sound quality after putting up the acoustic panels?

I wouldn't say it is night and day, but yes the improvements are noticeable to me (my wife, not so much.) Mostly, the voices are clearer and more detailed.

-Suntan
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post #29 of 30 Old 07-04-2010, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtbuzzzz View Post

Very nice rooms!

I plan on using the same seating as you and would appreciate if you could dig up the dimensions of your riser. Also, when in the recline position, do you still have room to walk in front of the seats?

Thx,

GTA

I'll have to measure it some time as the plans are buried away. Have the in laws here all weekend for the 4th.


-Suntan
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post #30 of 30 Old 08-01-2010, 07:52 AM
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Suntan,

Very nice build. Congrats.

From your pics, it looks like those ceiling tiles are actually quite shiny. It looks like there's obvious light reflection coming from them. How are they during movie watching? The reason I ask is that I've been considering the exact same tiles but I wouldn't want to make the investment and still have light scatter as a problem. I currently have plain old white drop ceiling tiles.

Also, where did you get your acoustic panels from?

Thanks.

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