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post #1 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have a very small (10x10 or smaller) theater? I'm working on building a dedicated room in what used to be a kitchen in a 2nd floor apartment that's now all one house. I have practically zero budget but I set up a "proof of concept" in this room using a Vivitek Qumi and a DIY 82" 16:9 screen and it worked great. I've managed to accumulate some other equipment (Pioneer 921k and SW-8 sub and 5 surround speakers from another system) and an XBMC machine built from spare parts (like I said, this is a very low budget system compared to anything else I've seen here). I know most people don't build dedicated rooms around such equipment but it is what it is.

I'm really just curious to see what other people have done with very small rooms. Only my wife and I will be using this room so it's really a theater built for 2. I'll post some pics when I get time showing what it was and what it's become so far.
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post #2 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 10:10 AM
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There will be a lot of reflections frequency peaks wind valleys in a 10 X 10 space. In a room that small there will be many reflections all around you. So sound absorption will be a must - carpet on the floor and absorption on the ceiling and side walls. Start with first reflection points. Ideally you want your dimensions to be varied rather than a square, but there may be little you can do short of adding a false wall to mix up the dimensions. Get thick absorption all about the front wall then chase down those primary reflections. Diffusion on the rear wall and portions of the side walls is something to try as well

Absorption materials are cheap and a 10 X10 ft carpet remnant would be cheap as well.

It can be done!

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post #3 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a couple of pics - as you can see this room is not at all ideal and to be honest I've had reservations about even putting in the time and effort needed to make this workable but I've always wanted a dedicated theater, this is our first house and it's what I've got to work with. It's all lath and plaster too (house built in 1908) so I'm sure most people would just gut this room and start over but given the budget constraints I don't think that's an option.
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post #4 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 12:49 PM
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Its set up with a pj screen and sound so I would guess you are already using it...?

What are your thoughts so far and what would you like to focus on to improve? Ambient light, lighting, picture quality, sound, ect...

I consider my dedicated room small 16x13.5

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post #5 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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The screen and sound was my proof of concept - to make sure that a) it would work in a room so small and b) that we would use it enough to warrant making it better. We used it for a few months and really enjoyed it. This was really low budget stuff, the pj was <$500, the Samsung HTIB was donated by a friend, we had an old futon (in front of the sink so maybe 7ft from the screen) for seating but you know what - with the lights off and a BD playing on the 82" screen (even though the pj is only 720p) it was a great experience.

So now we want to make that experience better - we ripped out the sink/counter to let us move the seating back but left some cabinets and counter space on one wall for storage and a snack bar, ran the rear speaker wires and HDMI through that old plaster wall then put drywall over the plaster (never done drywall before, what an experience that was). The Qumi projector doesn't have a remote control for the power (WTF Vivitek) so I replaced the soffit light with a recessed media box (2 outlets + space for cables) so I can control the PJ with the old light switch - wiring is all new romex with ground etc so no worries there and since the PJ is LED there is no cool-down period needed.

So that's where we are as of today - we need to figure out something for the floor and deal with the obnoxious fake tile board that is halfway up every wall, and the even worse wallpaper that covers the rest. The floor right now is green and black carpet tiles but as thebland said I can probably get a remnant big enough for quite cheap. For the walls I've pulled off that tile board and it left behind a mess of construction adhesive and broken plaster.

I guess I'm really looking for ideas of what I can do to make it more theater-like and less 70s kitchen-like Ambient light is under control, I have 100% blackout curtains for both windows (and they are needed since the Qumi is only 300 lumens). Any thoughts of what I can do with the walls (specifically the crap behind the tile and the wallpaper which won't come off easily)?? Drywalling every surface really isn't an option although I know that would probably solve a lot of my problems. I thought about carpeting the bottom half of the walls....I know movie theaters do it and it would certainly hide the crap that's there now

Any help or ideas would be appreciated, I know this forum is usually geared more towards people who need help with sound reflections/dampening, risers, stages etc but hopefully there's a place here for people like me...
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post #6 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 01:44 PM
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Here is the Small Theater Build thread... lots of great ones here.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=996973

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post #7 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 04:47 PM
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I am currently building a room that is 11'x12'. Trust me it can be done.

There are lots of things you can do to make the room more "theater like". You could build a small stage in the front under the screen. You could do rope lights in crown molding along the ceiling to give a cool effect. Consider covering your walls in GOM fabric. This would also be a great time to add some absorptive materials on the walls underneath the GOM to help with room acoustics. Try to go with a darker color scheme (I personally like red and black Ã* la the bacon race theater).

There's lots of options to make it look nice.

Let me know if you have any questions as I have had experience designing and building my small room.

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post #8 of 77 Old 03-01-2012, 07:46 PM
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JuanFlaco's budget build might be one to check out. 9x13.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1303660
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post #9 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, those links are very helpful. I took down every measurement I could last night and will try to get a sketchup done today if work is slow I like the idea of fabric-wrapping some panels to cover the nasty walls. We were already thinking of a dark color scheme (burgundy and black most likely) so will start looking for some appropriate fabric (GOM looks nice but something cheaper would work better for me).
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post #10 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 09:34 AM
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GOM isn't required but do give considertion to fire ratings of the fabric. Lots of electronics+lights in a room covered with non-fire rated fabic .... just a thought.

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post #11 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alittletank View Post

GOM isn't required but do give considertion to fire ratings of the fabric. Lots of electronics+lights in a room covered with non-fire rated fabic .... just a thought.

Good point, thanks for the reminder. You'd think I would know that having realized I ran non CL-2 rated speaker wire in the walls, so I had to redo it.
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post #12 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 11:30 AM
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With that wall to the right of the screen, plan on applying some triple black velvet to eliminate the major light reflections what will trash your picture. Does not need to be the entire wall but at least 5' out from the screen.. I use it in my makeshift up and down every night theater...

From my seat


From the hallway side before I set up


After velvet is applied.


That is all held in place with magnets sewn in and some tiny nails along the ceiling an grommets ..

It is about as makeshift as you can get! Your will turn out great, especially when you don't have to spend 5 minutes setting up and breaking down!
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post #13 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's a couple of sketchup pics to show what I'm working with - lots of strange angles. PJ is going just in front of the soffit.
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post #14 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 12:20 PM
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Silly question, but you do plan on taking our the sink, counter and tiles right? If so, I 100% think you can do a good enough job in there.
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post #15 of 77 Old 03-02-2012, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Silly question, but you do plan on taking our the sink, counter and tiles right? If so, I 100% think you can do a good enough job in there.

Right, we already removed the sink, counter and cabinets from the back wall but left the counter and cabinets on the left wall (facing the screen) to hold the fridge, popcorn maker, storage for media and to display some movie prop items etc.
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post #16 of 77 Old 03-03-2012, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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So, if I was to do fabric-covered panels around the whole room (black and burgundy I think) what can I wrap with the fabric that's cheap (especially if I go with GOM fabric)? It would need to be fairly light since I'd be attaching it to plaster walls. I found some nice fabric on sale today (burgundy kind of suede feeling) but didn't want to buy until I have a plan of attack. I keep waffling (so my wife says) between just drywalling the entire room over the plaster (which means days/weeks of taping and mudding which I suck at), covering the bottom half in carpet (something like they use for wrapping car subwoofers) and making fabric panels. Thoughts?
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post #17 of 77 Old 03-04-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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So after spending the weekend looking at ways to make this room look better, I've come to the conclusion that drywalling the whole room over the plaster is the right way to go. Once that's done I'll figure out where best to put some acoustic panels. Since its just me the drywalling is going to take a while though...we're not all spry college kids and I'm a complete novice at drywall . I was hoping to have the room functional for March 18th (first day of the Formula 1 season) so I might have to set everything up in temporary mode again - we'll see.
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post #18 of 77 Old 03-04-2012, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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The reason for the drywall is that these old plaster walls are in bad shape - stripping the wallpaper isn't an option without destroying the plaster anyway and to paint over the wallpaper would require cleaning up all of the bad seams, then an oil-based primer then paint over that - just seems that the time and money would be better suited to giving myself a blank canvas all round. It will also give me the opportunity to hide the front speaker wires and also redo some electrical work where the previous owners had added an extra outlet using a surface box and wire channel rather than running it behind the plaster.

I'm open to suggestions though - what would be a cheap way to cover up this ugly plaster? I figure I'm going to need 8 sheets of 8x4 board to finish this room @ about $10 per sheet, I already have enough mud and tape to do the rest of the room.
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post #19 of 77 Old 03-04-2012, 04:22 PM
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I think fresh drywall is your best option.

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post #20 of 77 Old 03-05-2012, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Drywall is coming tomorrow (holiday here in VT) so I hope to make some progress. It's fun finding studs behind plaster/lath when they're not 16" on-center - as my friend put it, it's whatever the builder felt like doing that day.
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post #21 of 77 Old 03-05-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera2345 View Post

Drywall is coming tomorrow (holiday here in VT) so I hope to make some progress. It's fun finding studs behind plaster/lath when they're not 16" on-center - as my friend put it, it's whatever the builder felt like doing that day.

Awesome! Ahhhh the joy of finding studs. I feel your pain. I always recommend going through with a hammer and nail and locating them before putting up the drywall. That way you're not guessing and putting lot of unnecessary holes in the sheets.

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post #22 of 77 Old 03-11-2012, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Got some work done this weekend - working in old construction and wanted to replace all of the electrical boxes with new ones (the wiring is new, but they use old metal boxes and outlets/switches). Today my buddy Lawrence came over and helped me install the new dimmer (single light in this room) and replaced some outlets with new ones. Also got 3 1/2 sheets of drywall up, hoping to put in a few hours after work this week and get the rest up. Luckily I realized that my self-imposed deadline of March 18th isn't such a big deal since the Formula 1 race that weekend is in Australia so 3AM EST start - no way I'm getting up to watch that live That gives me 2 weeks longer to finish and hopefully get Dish Network's new Hopper/Joey system in place so I'll have true HD in the theater rather than a Sling (slung?) signal from the HTPC.
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post #23 of 77 Old 03-11-2012, 04:14 PM
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And what a great Formula One party us Aussies will throw for the rest of the world.... Least you can do is wake up for it!

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post #24 of 77 Old 03-11-2012, 06:36 PM
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Keep up the good work! And don't forget to take pictures.

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post #25 of 77 Old 04-13-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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ok so I've been slacking! The drywall was finished 2 or so weeks ago and I've been taping/mudding slowly since then. I'm going to try and at least get the first coat of mud finished and sanded this weekend, but thought I'd go through and post some pics from the demolition up till now.
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post #26 of 77 Old 04-13-2012, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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A few more pics - yes I know my drywall skills suck, I told my wife this is practice for when she asks me to do the rest of the house
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post #27 of 77 Old 04-13-2012, 05:21 PM
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Looking good!

You'll be happy that you went with that fresh drywall. It's going to make the room look brand new.

You might want to remove that casing to make it easier to do the finishing and painting around the door. Then you can tack it back up later.

Keep up the great work!

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post #28 of 77 Old 04-13-2012, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Looking good!

You'll be happy that you went with that fresh drywall. It's going to make the room look brand new.

You might want to remove that casing to make it easier to do the finishing and painting around the door. Then you can tack it back up later.

Keep up the great work!

We had tried removing the door trim on another place in the house, and it's so old and so well attached that it just falls apart. So it's gotta stay on. It's ok, it'll probably be flat black to match the screen wall anyway.
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post #29 of 77 Old 04-21-2012, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Progress today! My buddy Lawrence came over and showed me the correct way to mud. He cleaned up my terrible corners and left me with just the sanding and final touch-ups to do. I'm going to owe him a lot of hours when his new house is finished and he starts on the man cave.
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post #30 of 77 Old 04-22-2012, 07:49 PM
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See you've got great friends too! Looks great!

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