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post #1 of 316 Old 10-11-2011, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm thrilled to be starting construction on my DIY home theater. I present:



Completed!

Untitled-4%20%28Large%29.jpg

Untitled-10%20%28Large%29.jpg

Untitled-12%20%28Large%29.jpg

 

 

Currently Working on:

Columns

 

Next Up:

Three new doors to install

 

Remaining:

Baseboard, crown, and other wood trim

Accoustic panels

Carpeting

New seating

Audio/Video calibration

Touch ups

 

Links to updates:

Removing the drop ceiling and closets

 

 

Original Post

 

Background:
We live in a 4 level split level. The space on the 4th (lowest) level is used for playing. As many of you have experienced, the home theater beast has awaken inside of me, and sequestered my existence. I. Must. Build.

Home theaters cost money. Loads of it. I must complete mine in phases since I only have 1 load. As soon as more makes itself available to me through some miracle or time, I will move on. Phase one will get me up and running and set the infrastructure for greater things. Phases 2+ will add style, a kitchenette, more acoustic treatments, more architectural pzazz.

I am an IT guy, so much of this DIY stuff will be a learning process for me. At least I'm good with the AV and technical stuff.

I even have a project plan!

REQS for Phase 1:
1. Awesome movie viewing (2D only for now, please thx).
2. For now, kids will be play in the area, so it must be somewhat protected against 3yo and 6 yo boys.
3. Looks good, clean!
5. Sounds good! I don't care about sound proofing, but I want to have good enough speakers so I can achieve optimum sound in the future with acoustical treatments.
4. Ready for future phases
5. Cost less than $8,000  (LOL I hit that mark a long time ago, guessing I'm up to around 12k at this point - 12/5/2012)

Here're the BEFORE shots!



The room is 90" tall concrete to joists. The beam you see running across the middle carries the support beam and HVAC.

Here are my DESIGN images:


 


(EDIT: I've updated this design image) Here's the old version1, version2,
version3.


Projector
I'm buying an RS45 for 2D image quality and CIH comparability. I've done ridiculous amounts of research for a year coming to this choice. I'm very excited! I will also be mounting this from the ceiling and putting some sort of cage around it. Either I will go with nice wood trim, or I was thinking maybe a metal cage like you sometimes see on speaker grills custom built. I do this because of the boys.

Screen
Seymour AT 11' foot wide screen. I may scale that down to 10' if it's not bright enough. We'll see. I will be building the frame myself. I will also build the masks myself using wood, felt, GOM and magnets. I also will make a curtain to help protect the screen from flying objects.

Other AV Gear
CHT SHO-10's for LCR
HSU VTF-15H sub
Surrounds (not bought yet, but considering just getting monoprice in-walls)
Sony 3500ES
HTPC
Tivo HD
Wii
XBox 360
I have a bunch of av jack extension stuff to pull to a convenience jack in the room.
 


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post #2 of 316 Old 10-12-2011, 12:48 PM
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Good plan, good luck!

Another IT Guy here living the dream!

My "Resale Home Theater" build --- Last Update 10/10/11
My DIY 125 inch Laminate Screen --- Don't Build yours like this!!
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post #3 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 02:50 AM
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Just popping in to say hi and good luck! I'm in the middle of a very DIY theater myself. I'm not using anything special for surrounds either, I was told "nothing too special" works well, especially on a budget

Also, I don't think 11' will be too close. I'll have to re-measure my distance, but my front row is no more than 10' away from a ~8' screen width, looked like the perfect distance when I did a mock up. I'll note my exact dimensions tomorrow if I remember.

P.S. What, there wasn't a JVC projector option in the 2d floor plan software?
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post #4 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iced98lx View Post

Good plan, good luck!

Another IT Guy here living the dream!

Thanks iced! I used to be a huge flight sim nerd and had a Dell PJ and a bed sheet setup. I then took a seat out a cavalier and mounted my yoke and pedals to a wood frame. All kind of similar to your racing setup, except yours is cool.

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Originally Posted by Digital_Chris View Post

Just popping in to say hi and good luck! I'm in the middle of a very DIY theater myself. I'm not using anything special for surrounds either, I was told "nothing too special" works well, especially on a budget

Also, I don't think 11' will be too close. I'll have to re-measure my distance, but my front row is no more than 10' away from a ~8' screen width, looked like the perfect distance when I did a mock up. I'll note my exact dimensions tomorrow if I remember.

P.S. What, there wasn't a JVC projector option in the 2d floor plan software?

Ah yes, the ol' AE4000. How many hours did I spend researching THAT unit! I suppose I should probably swap out the Panny layer in photoshop with a JVC.

As to the distance, I love the fact that I can just play with it by moving the couch back and forth. No commitment! I tend to enjoy sitting a little closer then normal for extra immersion, but we'll see.

I'm glad to hear you got that advice on the surrounds. Honestly, I am OK with having lower end gear on the surrounds. I really just need my front firing stuff to be better grade. I will have the infrastructure built to upgrade them later anyway.

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post #5 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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So I've been busy!

Got to play with a sawzall for the first time last night. That was fun (and loud)!

Drop ceiling and front wall with the closet - GONE


If you notice, my water main comes in behind where the front stage will be. I will have to work around it when I build my stage and front wall.

Another shot of the ceiling gone in the back of the room

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post #6 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 08:51 AM
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Looks like a great project, I see in your renders that you stayed with white walls and ceiling. That is something to think about. It does make a difference in image quality.
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post #7 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Looks like a great project, I see in your renders that you stayed with white walls and ceiling. That is something to think about. It does make a difference in image quality.

I can't believe I left that out! DuH! Anyway, my wife and I came to a compromise about the color. I wanted it dark, and she light. We're going with medium to dark non-reflective. I just hadn't yet colored the walls in my renders.

I also should mention that I hate the color of the carpet I have. We will be replacing that as well, but not until after this phase is complete. So I will be painting the walls a temporary color to match the carpet. Then when we get new carpet, I'll paint again.

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post #8 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 09:33 AM
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Great project you got here! I will be snooping in and out checking this thread out.
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post #9 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 12:11 PM
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A few people that own SHO's have been very happy with these surrounds:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/qs8.html

The smaller eD cinema speaker, though less "wall friendly" seems like it would share some sonic character with your LCR including the same compression driver:

http://www.edesignaudio.com/product_...oducts_id=1007

Good luck!!!!

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post #10 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the encouragement, vschaos! Every little bit helps. I do my work at night after the kids go to bed from 8:30 until 10:30 or so. Let me tell ya, it's tough getting started some nights...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matman1970 View Post

A few people that own SHO's have been very happy with these surrounds:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/qs8.html

The smaller eD cinema speaker, though less "wall friendly" seems like it would share some sonic character with your LCR including the same compression driver:

http://www.edesignaudio.com/product_...oducts_id=1007

Good luck!!!!

Thanks for the advice! I had actually been looking for this info about 2 months ago but never asked right out. Those are far and away outside of the price range for now. But I will refer back when I'm ready to upgrade.

Those would be great if I wanted to run 5 or 7 channel stereo.

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post #11 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 02:57 PM
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With an opening graphic like that, I really hope you add some companion cubes to the room, maybe a turret or 2...

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post #12 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

With an opening graphic like that, I really hope you add some companion cubes to the room, maybe a turret or 2...

Hahaha, I was thinking the same thing! BRING ON LEVEL 4! I love it!

Your plan looks pretty sweet.

I'm planning for a 10' wide 2.35 Seymour acoustically transparent screen also. I'm going to have to look into the JVC you mentioned since it seems like we have similar goals. I don't care that much about 3D, I'm doing CIH, etc. I had been thinking seriously about the AE4000u but it's getting a little old now...

Are you planning to use an anamorphic lens or will you be doing zooming?

What's your throw distance?

Subscribed! Looks like fun!
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post #13 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 03:22 PM
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You guy's beat me to it, I was just going to make a crack about offering us cake if we help you out....

Try these speakers then:




PS My son is a Portal Nut!!!! He is 11 and once he played the first one on the Orange Box he was hooked. He must of reminded me every day for two months before Portal 2 came out...

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post #14 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

With an opening graphic like that, I really hope you add some companion cubes to the room, maybe a turret or 2...

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That thought has more than crossed my mind. Maybe, in a later phase, the projector is Wheatley and the accoustic panels are the testing panels (that move in the game, if you've played Portal 2). There are many options, especially with some cool carpet, color, and lighting choices.

Projector in disguise?


I will do my best to keep this in mind. I should probably get my wife to play Portal now, so when I bring it up a later the nostalgia of it will win her over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdanforth View Post

Hahaha, I was thinking the same thing! BRING ON LEVEL 4! I love it!

Your plan looks pretty sweet.

I'm planning for a 10' wide 2.35 Seymour acoustically transparent screen also. I'm going to have to look into the JVC you mentioned since it seems like we have similar goals. I don't care that much about 3D, I'm doing CIH, etc. I had been thinking seriously about the AE4000u but it's getting a little old now...

Are you planning to use an anamorphic lens or will you be doing zooming?

What's your throw distance?

Subscribed! Looks like fun!

It's funny how quickly current models become "old" as soon a new line rolls out. I saw one an AE4000 for about $1450 used and was tempted, but nooooooo. I have to have the latest and greatest.

I'm not even buying the 3D emitter/glasses until later. My throw is flexible. I will go for the closest throw for my width, which will be about 15'. The projector will be about 12 down from the ceiling to clear that large soffit running down the middle of the room. So, the bottom of it will be about 6' 2" off of the floor.

I will also be building some sort of structure around it to protect A) my head B) the PJ from the kids! (still working on this design)

Oh, and I'm doing the zoom method for now. If I feel the added brightness from an anamorphic lens is worth the cost, I'll upgrade. The RS45 has vertical stretching, so it's "ready" for a lens...

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post #15 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matman1970 View Post

You guy's beat me to it, I was just going to make a crack about offering us cake if we help you out....

Try these speakers then:

PS My son is a Portal Nut!!!! He is 11 and once he played the first one on the Orange Box he was hooked. He must of reminded me every day for two months before Portal 2 came out...

Holy Hanna, those would be sweet surrounds!

I love the games, too, but I especially enjoy the story and setting of Portal.

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post #16 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought it might be fun to show you guys some of the other designs that I came up with for the space.

Aaarrgh! (the wife wants a Master & Commander theme) theme

Coffered ceiling fancy pants theme

Initial design (on the opposite wall!)

I don't intent to go any of these routes as designed, but of course, parts of any of them may make it into later phases.

EDIT: Made these links so they speed the page load up.

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post #17 of 316 Old 10-13-2011, 03:57 PM
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I don't want to derail your thread, but I have never played Portal and saw this movie. It's lots of good fun from a low-budget independant film-maker.

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post #18 of 316 Old 10-14-2011, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I updated my mock-ups so that the walls are painted a medium color. This is more indicative of what my room should look like after I'm finished.

Before


After


To be perfectly honest, I'm a little color blind. I was going for tan, but who knows where I landed! Anyway, most importantly the shade of the color is about what I'd like to see in the room.

Update: Green...my wife tells me it's green. Ah well, we'll try again later. :P

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post #19 of 316 Old 10-14-2011, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I took down the old shelving that used to be on the front wall.

No More Shelves!


The Water Main


I'm not exactly sure what to do about this water main. The current plan is to leave it as is, build my stage around it, and try to get the sheet rocking behind and over it. I'm not quite yet sure how that's going to work out.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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post #20 of 316 Old 10-15-2011, 08:52 AM
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I'd say you want to retain easy access to the water valves - it may even be required by code. Not sure if that's part of what you're imagining.
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post #21 of 316 Old 10-15-2011, 12:34 PM
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Looks like a good plan, I'll be following along. I made some similar choices, so I like your taste.

In particular:
- CHT speakers all around: 6 PRO-10s, 1 SHO-10 for center (per Craig's recommendation - works great). They were returns, so I got them for $200 each. Before that deal came around, I was considering using PRO-10s or SHO-10s for LCR, and Hsu in walls for surrounds - I think they'd be a good match, and are pretty cheap.
- Seymour A/V AT screen - 136" wide, custom 2.125 aspect ratio; Jamestown frame.
- my first row seating is at 12'
- JVC RS-20 projector (purchased used)
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post #22 of 316 Old 10-18-2011, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

I'd say you want to retain easy access to the water valves - it may even be required by code. Not sure if that's part of what you're imagining.

Definitely will keep it accessible. It will be behind my screen wall with removable panels and screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

Looks like a good plan, I'll be following along. I made some similar choices, so I like your taste.

In particular:
- CHT speakers all around: 6 PRO-10s, 1 SHO-10 for center (per Craig's recommendation - works great). They were returns, so I got them for $200 each. Before that deal came around, I was considering using PRO-10s or SHO-10s for LCR, and Hsu in walls for surrounds - I think they'd be a good match, and are pretty cheap.
- Seymour A/V AT screen - 136" wide, custom 2.125 aspect ratio; Jamestown frame.
- my first row seating is at 12'
- JVC RS-20 projector (purchased used)

Brad, as a former lurker, I followed your thread very closely, especially since you had those CHT speakers. Your room is amazing! I'm encouraged to see you using that wide of a screen with an RS20. I had my doubts about the RS45 being able to light it up well enough on my screen, which is 11' (132") wide.

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post #23 of 316 Old 10-18-2011, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I had a conversation with the wifey and we (she) decided to up the design of the room a bit.

Here's a mockup:


We are going to be adding a star ceiling to the room. I'm more inclined to do a painted star ceiling rather than the fiber optic, but I'm still deciding if that's a valid option for us.

My concern with a painted ceiling is that I won't have enough evenly distributed light on the starred surface to charge it up properly. If you take a look at the design I've mocked up below, you'll see that I've added a two tier soffit around the room. There will be a tray for rope lights, but it will only be a few inches lower than the highest part of the ceiling.

UPDATE
I've decided to build the room like in the picture above. I will hold off on painting the stars on the ceiling for now. The reason being I am not putting the carpet in during this phase. I will take that dark blue rectangle inset in the ceiling and paint it to match the future color of the carpet. I don't want to have to redo the stars.

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post #24 of 316 Old 10-19-2011, 06:57 AM
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I like that choice the best. The darker color looks really good.

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post #25 of 316 Old 10-21-2011, 07:21 PM
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I like that design also. Would like to see the soffits a darker color, so that they do not reflect so much light back onto the screen. You will be surprised at how much difference that it makes. I talked to Brad about those CHT speakers back when he was doing his theater. At that time I was MJG100. I like compression driver speakers for HT use. They have the ability to hit the peaks cleanly. Also if you can, wire so that you can place subs around the room. Your size room should have multiple subs. They are an easy add later on. Keep up the good work and ask plenty of questions. There are a lot of guys here with experience building nice HT's. My room is a no thrills, black hole, but with lots of performance, especially on the audio end.

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post #26 of 316 Old 10-26-2011, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matman1970 View Post

I like that choice the best. The darker color looks really good.

Thanks! I may go even darker.

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Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 05 View Post

I like that design also. Would like to see the soffits a darker color, so that they do not reflect so much light back onto the screen. You will be surprised at how much difference that it makes. I talked to Brad about those CHT speakers back when he was doing his theater. At that time I was MJG100. I like compression driver speakers for HT use. They have the ability to hit the peaks cleanly. Also if you can, wire so that you can place subs around the room. Your size room should have multiple subs. They are an easy add later on. Keep up the good work and ask plenty of questions. There are a lot of guys here with experience building nice HT's. My room is a no thrills, black hole, but with lots of performance, especially on the audio end.

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I will probably take your advice and find a way to get the soffits, or at least the front soffits, painted black. I think this is especially important considering that I will be running my 2.35 images using the zoomed function, and this may end up running into the soffit.

I've been using the CHT SHO-10's for a couple months now for non-theater listening; tv and some music. My impression is that they are super clean and very consistent. I'm very excited to try these out in an actual surround sound environment in my theater. I don't haven't had the best demo so far, and yet, I'm already very happy with them.

I'd love more subs, someday perhaps. I will wire the front with two lines and one in the back.

Thanks for spending the time to review my build! (you too matman)

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post #27 of 316 Old 10-26-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I will post pictures next week, but I wanted to do a quick update as long as I had already bumped the thread.

1. Started wiring. I should be done next week.

2. Someone donated a nice oak shelf/cabinet. It's 9 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. I will be re-purposing this unit to fit into my closet as a built-in. It will be my media rack. I started rebuilding the closet wall to fit my needs last night. Pictures coming later.

3. I went ahead and bought the nicer 6.5inch in-wall speakers for my surrounds from monoprice. I know they're not ideal, but for $130 or so, I've got "good enough for now" speakers.

4. My mitre saw broke! I was going to make some soffits to test how they looked in the room, but I'll have to wait. I need to finish the wiring and closet first anyway. After that, I'll have to either buy a new one or *gulp* borrow one. Yuck either way.

5. I bought a blu-ray 3D burner drive and Happauge dual tuner card for my HTPC. I'll build that this weekend. I need to start reconfiguring my home computer for the HT application. I think I will backup all of stuff to bluray and rebuild; just to have a clean slate.

I've been working after the kids go to bed, usually from about 9pm to around 11pm or sometimes later. It's tough, but when I have an awesome home theater as a carrot on a stick, I seem to find a way to get up and get going. I hope I can keep it up!

My home theater build thread
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post #28 of 316 Old 10-28-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I started cabling. I ran a few lines back into my closet and realized I should probably do some of the messy closet demolition before I got any further.

Here is my closet before and after:


Here are the top and bottom parts of the shelves I inherited:


My plan for these shelves:
-Take off the trim
-Saw 3" off of the back of the bottom unit fit into the space
-Remove top plate on top half, saw off 8" from the height of the unit, replace plate
-Sand, stain, and finish the wood in the color I want
-Install into 76h" x 42w" x 26d cavity
-Attach trim

I have just have to frame in that closet and I can finish my cabling!

My home theater build thread
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post #29 of 316 Old 10-28-2011, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegravley View Post


We are going to be adding a star ceiling to the room. I'm more inclined to do a painted star ceiling rather than the fiber optic, but I'm still deciding if that's a valid option for us.

My concern with a painted ceiling is that I won't have enough evenly distributed light on the starred surface to charge it up properly. If you take a look at the design I've mocked up below, you'll see that I've added a two tier soffit around the room. There will be a tray for rope lights, but it will only be a few inches lower than the highest part of the ceiling.
)

I debated the painted star ceiling also. I think they look more realistic than the fiber and almost went that route. Painted was also half the cost (to hire it done) than to do the fiber optic ceiling myself (tons of labor). In the end it came down to wanting to be able to control the light, and having animated shooting stars and such. I wanted to be able to dim or turn off the stars through the grafik eye. Painted seems like a great option and I think we are going to start seeing lots more of them here.
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post #30 of 316 Old 10-28-2011, 02:25 PM
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Chiming in with my first post. I am also an IT guy, who lives in a 4 level split, and just started my HT journey. I have been thinking of a name, and never even thought about the fact that we call ours the 4th floor all the time ! Too funny. Looking good so far. Mine is only partially finished, so I have quite a bit of framing to do.
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Hsu Vtf 15h Subwoofer , Sony Strda3500es 7 1 Channel Home Theater Receiver , Xbox 360 250gb Console With Kinect



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