Let me start off by saying that I have been lurking on the Home Theater section of AVS for the last couple of months and I am overwhelmed by the amount of information on here. The HT that I have seen on here are truly amazing and this has inspired me to build my own. I recently bought a home in November and have been living there ever since. I have a finished basement area but it definitely needs a modernizing renovation in order to match the rest of the house.
I must admit that I have become somewhat of a compulsive follower of numerous threads trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible before beginning my own HT. I plan to start the demolition of my basement in the coming weeks and will have pictures posted soon to show you the current condition (70's style basement with wood paneling walls) as well as completely stripped down (when I get there). What I basically need is guidance along the way in order to do the work correctly and avoid any pitfalls. I have never even attempted to do any construction/renovation before and therefore probably not too handy but I am an engineer for crying out loud so this is nothing I cannot tackle (even for the first time).
As for my background in A/V, I have always been obsessed (mostly with video) and bought a Pioneer Elite Pro 101-FD 1.5 years ago when I still used to live in my condo. However, now that we are in a bigger home, the 50" display, although a truly excellent set, does not cut it in my larger living space. The Pioneer plasma now sits in the family room and will remain there for normal viewing on a daily basis (even though this space can easily accommodate a 60"+ screen, however I would not trade my Elite). That means that the basement is left open to make a monster viewing screen for movies, parties and special occasion/family viewings.
As for equipment, I do not have anything as of yet. Since my Pioneer Elite plasma was a monitor and I lived in a condo, I simply got a surround bar from Sony and that is what I am still using. That means that I will have to get speakers (most likely in-walls), a projector (Panasonic AE4000U but open to other suggestions), a screen (really open to suggestions) and anything else that will be placed in the basement.
I have made a rough draft of what the floor plan should look like but the dimensions are not set in stone since I do not know what I will find once the old walls and floors are ripped out (maybe more room). I based myself on the current finished dimensions of the basement in its present state. I have also put a bathroom/laundry room in there since there is already one there now and the wife absolutely wants to keep that but make it nice.
Here are a few details about what is around the drawn walls (but not shown), at least until I update it on my drawing. The space below the bottom wall is a crawl space beneath the family room and office (it stretches till the left end wall of the bathroom). The space between the bottom wall of the bathroom and the bottom wall of the HT is the furnace room with the hot water tank and electrical panel. The little notch to the right of the bar is not an empty space, it is a concrete wall that goes till the right side end wall of the HT (kind of like a concrete cube, this is the entrance stairs right above with vestibule). I have also included some 3D images of my plan for a better comprehension of the space. In this plan I have included all I could think of right down to lighting, furniture, etc. Please let me know if you do not know what certain elements represent, I have tried to identify them with different colors for clarity.
OK, that is long enough for a first post. I will await your comments and suggestions to get this thread started.