I hear you. I'm glad you share all this because I am about to start my journey and it's nice to see a real world example and calibrate my expectations. Right now I'm sorta stuck in the mud because I am buying a parcel of land from my neighbor so I can make the theater full size (and garage full sized) and still do a mudroom/breezway and add on to our second floor. My theater will be new construction, but it's only part of a larger home remodel project. It won't be my only focus and truth be told it's lower in priority than the master bedroom and bath, or the kitchen/breezeway/pantry add on. The saving grace I think is that my passion and motivation are very high so I hope that carries me home. I'll probably do the theater step by step along side the other parts of the house, but it's certainly going to be finished last. I probably have a years worth of finish work, woodworking, and bar area planned in my head after the room is basically built.
I'm really enjoying watching you work through your build, your space is somewhat similar to mine. I've followed a lot of threads, but I can't say I've followed step by step over time as much as I have with a few of the current ones (like this). Lurking and researching for more than a month or two should be a requirement, it's really a helpful thing. Especially if you are going to try to go at it without professional design.
I'm actually trying my hardest to wait for a plan or making a plan until the room is framed and open studded walls. The way I work is I'm better when I am standing inside and looking around, than when I am on the PC or with a piece of graph paper and pencil. I'm not going to have the framers frame the inside walls of my second floor either, I'll frame them myself because I want to be able to move a wall or make a room a few feet bigger or smaller or closet myself and make the final decision standing inside the room. I have a long list of ideas and "wants" but until I have a room it's really pointless to take things too far. Perhaps it's just me but it seems like a lot of people jump the gun on plans before they should and only need to revise or change things later. I know it's nice to know the size screen, feet from it for first row, where speakers go.. and all that. But really is there any reason you can't figure that out as you go? It's not until you start making columns, risers and screen walls that it actually matters. I'd say half the theaters I've followed had changes during construction for various reasons that did not become apparent until it was time to do it. The end results are all that matter! Keep chasing the goal, you are doing a great job. I really like seeing the progress.
BTW- I PM you a link to the speaker get together with the 1099 and FUSION 12 vs JTR and FUNK audio you might like to see.
"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."