Ames, IA remodel thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-14-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys...

Well, after many many years of having a pretty kick-@$$ surround system in my living room, a couple years ago I was finally able to set up a dedicated, 9x5' x 17.5' room. I had bought a house that had a makeshift screen on one end, so I picked up a cheap Epson 720p HD projector on craigslist and moved my existing surround system into the room.

That has served me well for a couple years. I've made some equipment upgrades, including going with a Marantz SR5005 AVR and upgrading to an Optoma HD20 projector.

But now it's time to upgrade.

• The screen was originally mounted on the wall perpendicular to 3 large floor to ceiling windows - obviously not great for daytime viewing. I hung curtains, which did a nice job of blacking out the room, but I like to have a little bit of natural light in the room while watching football on a Sunday.

• The makeshift 96" screen (a solid piece of white linoleum) was starting to sag in places. Not terrible, but watching sports was starting to make me seasick on quick pans.

• One of the floorboards was also starting to weaken. This is also our workout room (Nike+ Xbox 360 Training - down 45 lbs. this year) and the floorboard had taken a bit of a beating.

So over the last month or so, I've been making plans and we started this past weekend. We're spinning the room 180º. There's a narrow space on the other end of the room, and we're going to have to blackout 2 windows (they never let in much light and have no view, as they're under a deck) and use the soffits for L-R speakers. In between the two windows was an old non-functioning wall furnace which we removed, and the hole that left behind will be utilized for the center channel speaker.

The 96" piece of linoleum will be replaced with a 115" DIY screen made with Seymour AV's Center Stage AT material. Seymour is located right in town and they've been supremely helpful with my planning. Great people at that place. Smart, friendly, and helpful. I've invited Chris over for a beer and a movie when it's complete. He offered to swing by and help if needed, as he lives just around the corner. I'm trying to save him from that offer, but I haven't ruled it out yet, either. smile.gif

I removed the built-in cabinet along one side of the room to free up more room for working out (hoping to drop another 10-15 by the holidays, even with tailgating season upon us). The components will be housed under the screen, some behind the false wall. I can dim/turn off all the front display lights, so they won't bother us during viewing.

For now the seating will just live at the other end of the room. Eventually I plan on purchasing a pair of theater-style recliners for a front-row (which will be in the actual 'sweet spot') and I'll build a platform in the end of the room to raise the couch for sight-line.

I'm hoping to be done with this project relatively quickly. We've already made great progress over the weekend. Photos coming soon.

I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.


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post #2 of 14 Old 10-14-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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BEFORE PHOTOS

This is what it looked like last week. You can see the screen, the large windows, and the built-in equipment rack. The front speakers are NHT - VS-1's for LR and the center is an AC-1. The sub is a SW2Pi, the amp is inside the equipment rack. I picked these up back in the mid-90's when I lived in CA and can't justify upgrading them at this point - except perhaps the sub. The center channel sounds fantastic, and matches well with the LRs.

The surround speakers are Mission 77ds dipole speakers. There are currently only 2 mounted, but I've run cable to add in the other pair I have and upgrade to 7.1. Got them cheap, and they sound great in surround duty.

Also of note:

• Lighting has been moved away from the screen and placed on a dimmer (with remote, since the switch will be on the other side of the room).
• Extra light fixtures have been removed.
• The door to the backyard will be functional again, as it will no longer be blocked by a couch.
• All cabling has been run through the walls/ceilings and will no longer be visible.

This room was previously a theater, then a workshop. Before that it was outside. This room was hobbled together underneath a three season porch. The three season porch was upgraded to a full sunroom, and this was enclosed as a man cave, then repurposed into a workshop. I'm doing what I can to give it the modern/contemporary feel of the rest of the house.

I'm also on an extreme budget. So far I've spent $170 on speaker wire, a new dimmer switch, drywall, a new sheet of plywood for the floorboard, and a new hammer. Plus the cost of the screen and it's materials.














I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.


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post #3 of 14 Old 10-14-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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FIRST WEEKEND PROGRESS PHOTOS

Here are a couple photos of the progress we made over the weekend. We pulled out the wallboards and found a terrible mess of electrical wiring. It's a wonder the house hadn't burned down yet.

So we lost half a day deciphering what was coming and going where, pulled-out extra wiring, cleaned up and replaced the wiring we plan to use, and then ran the speaker cables, hdmi, etc.

Finally on Sunday we got half the drywall up. I'll post more photos during the week as we keep progressing. We're keeping the cedar on the back wall (oh yeah, there was a window behind the old screen), and the side walls will be drywalled, painted, and then "framed" with some of the cedar we took out to give it a pillared look, and to allow us to skip the mud/tape process - we're going to cover the seams with cedar.



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post #4 of 14 Old 10-14-2013, 01:15 PM
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Not ht related but i envy seasons....the trees and leaves on the ground...and the crisp air...i miss being up north...

As for the room it looks like a great space..what are your plans for the bank of windows


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post #5 of 14 Old 10-14-2013, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamjason View Post

Not ht related but i envy seasons....the trees and leaves on the ground...and the crisp air...i miss being up north...

As for the room it looks like a great space..what are your plans for the bank of windows

Yes, seasons rule. I grew up in Iowa, lived in San Francisco for 9 years after graduating from college, and now I'm back. I missed the seasons greatly, though SF can be seen as going through 3 seasons daily. smile.gif

For now I'll keep the same curtains in as I have been using, but I feel like I'll be able to keep them partly open with the screen at the other end of the room. I know it will wash out a little, but it will be tolerable for daytime viewing - sports, etc. Eventually I'd like to get some sort of blackout shades, I might try these, for the price --- definitely won't be blackout shades, but they also won't break the bank if they're a bust.

I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.


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post #6 of 14 Old 10-17-2013, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, have some more progress...the rewiring of the electrical is done, half the drywall is up, light fixtures are moved, and 3 of the 4 surround speakers are mounted.

I also have the component shelves mostly built, ready to paint, but I don't have the photos of those yet, they're up in the garage.



This little Lutron remote control dimmer is pretty sweet! It will come in handy, since our seating is across the room from the switch. And we'll be able to program the functionality into our AV remotes? Not bad for $40!

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post #7 of 14 Old 10-17-2013, 10:10 AM
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does the kinect actually work with a projector? I would think the light from the projector shining into the lens of the camera would render it essentially unusable.


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post #8 of 14 Old 10-17-2013, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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It actually works just fine. The light from the projector doesn't affect it, however I end up blocking some of the image based on where I'm standing - though for working out it's not really that big a deal. My 7-year old isn't tall enough to block the image, and any real gaming we do doesn't use the Kinect.

I had hoped to squeeze in a small row of diffused lighting just above the screen aimed back at the Kinect play area to make the Kinect's job a little easier, but alas, it was not meant to be. frown.gif I couldn't fit it into the plan and keep the desired screen size.

I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.


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post #9 of 14 Old 10-17-2013, 04:55 PM
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my kinect is garbage - doesn't recognize me sitting 12' away...


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post #10 of 14 Old 10-18-2013, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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6-9 feet is the sweet spot, always works better while standing.

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post #11 of 14 Old 10-19-2013, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillcat View Post

6-9 feet is the sweet spot, always works better while standing.

the part that annoys me with that is that one of their main selling points was that you could navigate menus and watch movies without a remote. That of course turned out to be garbage but whatever smile.gif

I don't hold any hope that the new Kinect will actually do any of the stuff that this one promised. Time will tell.


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post #12 of 14 Old 10-21-2013, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, made good progress this weekend.

Friday night I got the windows behind the screen boarded up and sealed off, speaker shelves in and some foam placed.




Then on Saturday morning, it was go time. I reconfigured the studs back to somewhat normal --- they had been altered for the furnace I removed, so I basically put in a piece of 2x8 to recreate the original stud, and built the shelf for the center channel. Then I framed out the false wall.



Then I rolled the carpet back in and brought the couch in. The carpet needed to be in before adding the component shelves, because it protrudes out from under the screen and the front sits on the carpet.



At this point I was pretty excited to get it up and running and I realized I would be able to watch my football game if I kept moving, so I didn't take any progress photos of the component shelves going in or anything being connected. But I got all the electronics in, mounted the screen to the frame and turned on the game.




Had I known we were going to get pounded by Baylor 71-7, I might have taken more photos. frown.gif

Yesterday was a day of cleaning things up, I ran a preliminary Audessey setup with the Marantz and we actually watched the first movie last night - Gatsby. Meh. Looked pretty good, though I wish they hadn't shot it for 3D, sounded fantastic.

Over the next couple weeks I just have to hang a couple more sheets of drywall and paint them, finish cutting and mount the cedar framing pieces, install the facade around the screen, add another media shelf, and choose a location for the sub and the room will be pretty much complete! I have some velvet left over from the frame, so I'm going to just put that above and to the left/right of the screen. Under the screen, flanking the component shelves, I'm planning on using some more of the cedar planks. It will be a nice continuation of the left wall, which, due to the original foundation, already has a kickplate of 12" cedar planks all the way down it.

So, I'm pretty happy. Getting that original cabinet taken out of the room makes it feel enormous. Being able to sit by the windows makes it much more cozy. And the Seymour AV screen is a huge improvement over the previous makeshift screen I was using. I love having the front speakers behind the screen, it makes the room feel so much more clean and tidy, even though it's still a bit of a mess.

Also, my TiVo and the sub amp now live behind the front wall, since the sub amp is set and forget, and the TiVo has a remote IR receiver that I have mounted under the screen. The component shelves look nice, and there are fewer components on display.

I'll keep posting as I make more progress.

I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.


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post #13 of 14 Old 10-28-2013, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Got the rest of the drywall up and painted this weekend. Now to finish trimming everything out.

Found a set of 3 Berkline theater recliners for a couple hundred bucks last week on Craigslist. Cheap because the owner was a heavy smoker. Two are in great shape, one was torn up by a dog. Working on getting the smoke smell out of the two good ones. Have it most of the way gone, but if anyone has any tips...I've used a vinegar solution, febreeze up on the undersides, saddle soap on the leather. Going to try Orange TKO tonight. Even if I spend $100 on cleaning supplies and another $100 on new padding, they're still a steal. If not, having cleaned them up this much I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to get my money back out of them.

Took a photo from behind the couch without anything on the screen for a bit more detail. The couch will be moved back and raised onto a platform if/when the recliners are deemed fit to bring in.


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post #14 of 14 Old 02-05-2014, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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For anyone who was following this, I've moved it to the General Theater and Media Room forum, seems a little better fit over there.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1515949/ames-ia-media-room-remodel-cinema-1858

I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.


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