The jokes on me (new home buyer! Fireplaces ruin Home Theaters! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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It's a buyers market. I'm young (30) have the $ for a down payment, a solid job and a great pre-approved loan. Now to find the house.... and there's tons of them in my area in my price range!

But the joke's on me. Without exaggeration, every single home that we've looked at has a G#@D@#M FIREPLACE in the ideal location of our screen (currently a 65 inch unes8000 but that's going to a side room or sold for a projector asap).

Alright, I understand that "buying a home is the most expensive and important investment I'll ever make". i get it. But why do I have to sacrifice the one thing I love about being home? We are easy to please, no children (or future of them) so schools and extra rooms are irrelevant, we are terrible cooks so who cares about the kitchen, we only need room for a bed in our bedroom... the one thing that we want is a good sized living room (or other room) for our home theater. Tons of them around.... with f#@king fire places dead smack center of the ideal screen location.

Alright enough with the crying. I'm sure you guys get it, im sure many of you have combatted fireplaces (BTW there's a better chance of me winning the mega-millions and personally designing my own place then doing that trashy "tv above the fireplace" thing)

So what do people recommend for the situation. I realize how geeky my fiancé and I are to make this a priority but it is what it is.

Do you eat the cost of ripping out the fireplace? Build a false wall (thus shrinking the room) to cover it? Cap the chimney and just put the screen in front of the dead hearth?


What are your guys thoughts and what have others done (if anyone exists in our situation) to resolve the issue ?






(we're not terribly high end mind you, we use RC70s with two RC10s and hopefully soon an RC-LCR center)
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post #2 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 03:27 PM
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It is really easy to cover over a fireplace and pretend it doesn't exist. You would need to cap it off up on the roof so that the flue doesn't become a wildlife refuge. You could do it in a manner that would make it easy to return for resale purposes.
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post #3 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post

I realize how geeky my fiancé and I are to make this a priority but it is what it is.

I guarantee most of us would be jealous to be in that position. What state are you in?
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post #4 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 05:32 PM
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I can relate - I had the same constraints and generally the same priorities two years ago. The difference is that I was looking for a space for a dedicated theater. The plasma could get relocated anywhere once the projector is up and running and I wouldn't care. I'll grant that you it has already taken nearly two years and will take a while longer yet, but if the plasma goes into the guest room and I never use it, that's fine by me. In the mean time I have made do with the TV in the horrible "nook" next to the fireplace - off-center in the room and with horrendous acoustics - my wife actually insisted I re-integrate the garbage HTIB we bought ten years ago after we had to turn on subtitles to understand what was being said at the academy award ceremony last year.

If you really want the main living area to be better suited to your TV, you'll need to look at houses built in different eras, most likely. Get an agent to help you identify the features you want in the layout, and he or she can probably direct you to the neighborhoods in your town where that can be found.
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post #5 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 11:54 PM
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Do what Big says, cover and cap it. It's quick, simple, pretty cheap, and unlike most home alterations - UNDOABLE. LOL

What's the most your gunna lose, 2 maybe 3 feet tops? If that will make a diff in your home theater plan, then your looking
to build in the wrong room to begin with.

Sure, a 2-3 foot change can make a dramatic difference in a theater that's already in use, but your still in the planning stage
so that should be a pretty easy measurement to either work around or incorporate into your plans.

If you found your dream house, it'd be kinda silly to pass it up just because of a fireplace, that you could hide anyway, donchya think?

Just a thought.
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post #6 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 01:21 AM
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Put cloth over the opening, fill it with loose insulation from the top, cap it and hope you got a good bass trap out of it. cool.gif
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post #7 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 07:12 AM
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The fastest and easiest fix is to use a drop down screen. Personally, I hate these. But this may be a good choice for you.
That way you keep the aesthetics of the fireplace and when you are ready for a movie, down comes the screen.

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post #8 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 07:37 AM
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Easy. Buy a different house. Why compromise when you have few constraints?


If most all have this floor plan with the fireplace, it's likely that you are looking in the cookie cutter developments where everything is beige and the floor plans are almost all alike. Likely, you'll have to spend more money or check different areas... but no kids, a wife who's on board, I wouldn't even think of buying something I don't absolutely love - and again, no kids on the horizon, you can certainly afford to double your budget!

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post #9 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 09:06 AM
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Sounds to me like you should build a house. It'd be a simple design really. Small room for a bed. Small room with a toilet and shower. And the rest a big room for the theater.

You would save loads of money since you don't need to buy appliances or countertops or anything. Probably even windows, too! biggrin.gif
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post #10 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Easy. Buy a different house. Why compromise when you have few constraints?


If most all have this floor plan with the fireplace, it's likely that you are looking in the cookie cutter developments where everything is beige and the floor plans are almost all alike. Likely, you'll have to spend more money or check different areas... but no kids, a wife who's on board, I wouldn't even think of buying something I don't absolutely love - and again, no kids on the horizon, you can certainly afford to double your budget!
He said that every house he looked at has the same problem.

My advise, don't let a TV hold up your home buying plans. You will never get everything you want unless you build.
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post #11 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefdvr27 View Post

He said that every house he looked at has the same problem.


My advise, don't let a TV hold up your home buying plans. You will never get everything you want unless you build.

If everything is the same, time to step up to the next level of home. Subdivisions notoriously make everything the same... Or as suggested, build.

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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #12 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Im looking at a very wide range of different houses and they still all have fireplaces in the primary/most home-theater fitting rooms. Everything from classic victorians to more modern contemporary, hell even a couple of "special designed" homes have these dang thing. I hate fireplaces.

(We live in the Hudson Valley of New York state by the way)
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post #13 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

It is really easy to cover over a fireplace and pretend it doesn't exist. You would need to cap it off up on the roof so that the flue doesn't become a wildlife refuge. You could do it in a manner that would make it easy to return for resale purposes.

Can you link me any pictures or guides of this kind of project? I'm curious to see how that really works out.


Three feet can be the difference between a small but workable HT room... and impossible though.
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post #14 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 11:21 AM
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If your not having kids ever use a bedroom for a designated theater and use your living room for just regular TV watching. A bedroom would allow for more control over your sound anyway since lots of new houses have open floor plans that make really fine tuning your system much more difficult.

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post #15 of 34 Old 09-11-2013, 11:26 AM
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When I was 30 I loved my fireplace (and currently am playing the trashy role with my flat screen on the mantle). Now that I'm a bit older I love my theater room in the basement. You are only 30. Things change. Soon you will be like me and keeping in mind "resale". With every renovation smile.gif Trust me when I say "things change". Don't plan your house around a theater room. Find a house where you can add your dream theater room to what exists. I don't know, just my 2 cents
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post #16 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Ive had fireplaces my entire life, can count the amount of times ive used them on one hand. I find them to be of little or no value to me, and it was the same with my parents growing up. They can look nice, thats a fact. And the very rare event of power outage or boiler meltdown- they are nice for some light and heat. But the simple fact that they are in the "prime" screen/tv location in every goram house in the Hudson Valley is driving me nuts.

If any of you guys have done a semi-temporary fireplace coverup so that you can mount your bigscreen led (or projector screen) would you kindly post an image or two? I'm having trouble with my google-fu in finding anything but total fireplace removal (expensive, and if the fireplace was functional it reduces home value somewhat).

On a second, somewhat unrelated note: Finding a livingroom (or appropriate other room) of a size im happy with is proving tough too. How difficult is it, in general, to remove a wall to extend a room? I hate to have my couch against the wall as we love our bar-height table behind it for overflow seating, a place to toss keys or whatever and for eating casual meals. One home I'm very interested in has a fireplace i'de have to hide and a wall (that doesnt appear load bearing or to have much power run in it) that would have to be blown out.


One funny thing is that finding townhouses with huge theater-like living rooms is really easy. Too bad other people exist.
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post #17 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 09:50 AM
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One problem I always encountered was finding poles in basements that ruined the whole space. I guess most people would rather have a bunch of little rooms than a large one.

"Engineers aren't boring people, we just get excited over boring things".
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post #18 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 10:03 AM
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If you can afford to build, that's the way to go. I built and added a reference theater on the main floor with three rows of seating and acoustically treated. No basement, no poles, no dampness, and no fireplaces!!

My Home Theater of the Month- Le Petit Trianon

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #19 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 10:16 AM
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Removing walls is pretty easy - BUT you have to know if the wall is supporting other parts of the house. Also, you naturally have to be willing and able to fix the other systems that were in that wall: electrical is guaranteed, as is flooring, wall and ceiling repair, but also potentially plumbing and HVAC, or other (network, whole home vacuum, who knows - look carefully).
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post #20 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I hate my best, longest, most trusted, army buddy so much rite now. He found a home with a HUGE living room, 2 bedrooms + office, 1.5 bath, with 2 acres surround by woods, so easily and built his home theater with no effort at all (i know, i helped). Why should this numb nuts get a gold mine while i have to struggle for a single nugget!

sonofabitch!


uggggg this whole process is so difficult. Is it sad that a solid home theater is my top priority ? (well 4th priority. after good neighborhood, good roof+boiler+foundation, double down on the neighborhood, near work)
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post #21 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

If you can afford to build, that's the way to go. I built and added a reference theater on the main floor with three rows of seating and acoustically treated. No basement, no poles, no dampness, and no fireplaces!!

Didn't you buy an older house, then add an addition? I thought I remember reading that you got your HT on the 1st floor, and the wife a new master bedroom on the 2nd floor above.

Anyway, that's what I was going to suggest to OP as another option. Find a house you like, but make sure you can build an addition. Having it slightly detached from the main house can help with sound proofing as well.

I had same requirements for house as OP, but wanted something within the woods, but also within city limits. There is an older post from me in this forum complaining about the same thing (lack of options). Very few houses are built with a large enough clear space for a nice sized HT. I also tried to find homes that we liked that we could put an addition on, but couldn't find anything suitable. Either set back requirements would have prevented a permit, or often lots are larger because they need septic tanks, and the tanks are often where an addition would go, or permeable soil restrictions meant 2300sqft was the largest structure that could be built on 8 acres, etc. It was always something. Inside there were poles, rooms were cut up by roof lines, good size but too open, etc. I searched for almost 5 years before giving up, taking out a loan, and building. Even then, I didn't get everything I wanted. I would have preferred HT on the 1st floor, but that would have meant other trade offs.
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Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post

Is it sad that a solid home theater is my top priority ? (well 4th priority. after good neighborhood, good roof+boiler+foundation, double down on the neighborhood, near work)

Edit: people joke about HT with attached house. So lots of people in this forum do it, but on the whole, yes, you are crazy to build a home with HT as top priority.

 

 

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post #22 of 34 Old 09-21-2013, 08:16 PM
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kids or no kids, the schools are still important. In my area, the properties in good school districts have bounced back nicely. The others, not so much. I guess they don't have walk-out basements in your area?
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post #23 of 34 Old 09-22-2013, 07:45 AM
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/996973/small-theater-build-threads/90

-post 90 is an example of an open concept room with the fireplace left alone.


Another thought is an acoustically transparent front wall and screen, if you have some depth.
And just leave the fireplace alone.
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post #24 of 34 Old 09-22-2013, 11:41 AM
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I hate fireplaces. They're just energy sucking holes in your building's envelope. Of course, I also hate massive tubs and two story foyers. Nonetheless, I bought a house with a massive tub, two story foyer, and a fireplace. It's hard not to do so, if you're looking for a house built in a certain time period. And throw in a need for an in-law apartment suitable for 9 cats, and you're down to very few houses.

Bob
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post #25 of 34 Old 09-22-2013, 01:22 PM
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Can't you use the wall opposite the fireplace to mount the TV at your preferred height? This way, the fireplace is behind the seating and you don't even have to look at it.

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post #26 of 34 Old 09-22-2013, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefdvr27 View Post

He said that every house he looked at has the same problem.

My advise, don't let a TV hold up your home buying plans. You will never get everything you want unless you build.

Giving the contrary viewpoint...

I spent about 6 months looking for a house and actually had similar modest expectations of a room suitable for a theater or a modest existing theater room. When I finally found one it had a home theater beyond my dreams. There are such places out there, though they may be few and far between.

I'm sure this also depends on the price range you are looking at - some sort of theater/game/media room seems pretty common these days on fairly modern homes at a premium price range, but very rare in a starter-ish home category.
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post #27 of 34 Old 11-05-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone have any idea how difficult it is to remove those old 60s "preway" prefab'd freestanding wood burners? Not perminent roof repair, just removal of the fireplace so that it can be put back/upgraded at a later time? At a glance it looks easy. The tube looks like 4 separate pieces that could be lifted apart, but i cant tell what it does up in the ceiling and if it supports anything else.

Could the tubes be removed, fireplace dragged out and some insulation be crammed up in the chimney as a reasonable, reversible option?





one of these fugly things.

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post #28 of 34 Old 11-05-2013, 02:26 PM
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one of these fugly things.


That's not fugly, that's "VINTAGE". Folks pay good money for that stuff in good shape. Quick eBay search for Sold Items will show you... eek.gif

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post #29 of 34 Old 11-05-2013, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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thats a stock image. what im dealing with is white, with chipped enamel and truly is fugly.

none the less... personal taste aside... thoughts on its removal?
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post #30 of 34 Old 11-05-2013, 02:47 PM
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What's it look like up at the ceiling? My gut tells me it should be pretty easy to pop out of there. Seems to me in past experiences I have walked by such things too briskly and the exhaust pipe falls out!
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