A Blank Slate - Design my theater room!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 12-02-2013, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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This is my first post here and I am just getting started. I moved into a new to me old house a year ago and think I have convinced the wife to let me convert a downstairs tv area into a dedicated theater room! So, I have no idea where to start. Here's the space I have to work with:

9yza4eme.jpg
uvuturab.jpg
zetahezu.jpg

This will be a very long project with planned purchase of one to two components a year until complete. Current sound equipment is as follows:
Receiver: pioneer vsx-30 elite
Sub: Sony SA-WM20
Center: Sony cheapo
Fronts: Infinity Reference 2000.2
Back surround: Sony SS-SR290

I plan to gut the space and start from scratch, run wires in the ceiling and recessed lighting. Also I want speakers in the ceiling or on the back wall for the backs and in the walls for the mids. Also I plan to build out the front wall and install an audio transparent screen with a projector and hide the front and center speakers as well as the sub behind the screen. The wife does not want stadium seating nor does she want the whole space closed off so I plan to black it out and use a curtain to close it off. Also I will rip out the built in and extend the front wall to the right to the beam and then to the post you see in the picture so it creates an area for the screen. Those are my initial ideas and I am open to suggestions.

So, you have a blank slate. Please suggest away. It would be great to get suggestions from cheap to mid level and to high level.
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post #2 of 40 Old 12-03-2013, 02:45 AM
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You'll probably get more responses if you post a floorplan

You might want to consider the Erskine Group layout service.....it'll give you a good base to start with and build.

Best of luck!

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post #3 of 40 Old 12-03-2013, 07:29 AM
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I have been in the planning stages similar to you for a while now.  After months of research I have finally put down a floor plan design.  I used sweet home 3d to sketch up my design. I have seen others use sketch up from google as well.  I suggest you do this if you don't have some one professionally design it for you.  It is nice to see on paper to spec distances and sizes.  It will bring new problems and solutions, but better to have them before the build starts. Good luck!


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post #4 of 40 Old 12-03-2013, 09:32 AM
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+1 to a floor plan with dimensions and obstructions.

Been surfing on the AVS for awhile before you registered, I gather? Most people
have zero clue to what an acoustically transparent screen and front wall is. smile.gif That is a
great start for a narrow room.

Keeping the room open concept also means a high noise floor, and noise going
throughout the house. Has the Mrs considered those points? The higher noise floor will
mean the volume will also be turned up to hear the quietest passages of a movie.
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post #5 of 40 Old 12-03-2013, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I will start taking some solid measurements and lay out a floor plan and post it. 

 

I do want to avoid adjusting speaker volume all of the time when things get quiet in movies....will the "curtain" concept not allow this?  I don't want the room to be open when watching movies.  I want to "close it down" to watch movies and then have it open when we are not....unless....

 

We have another room that we were going to use as a game room that is bigger than the area I posted...maybe that would be a better theater room?!?   Oh the wife won't like this idea as that is her storage space!  Can you all provide some reasons for me to pursue a closed off room verses the open concept?  Thanks!

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post #6 of 40 Old 12-03-2013, 03:29 PM
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Easy - soundproofing, curtains wont help with this at all, you need a room you can seal

No point in having a theater is you cant use it when (a) other people are in the house and (b) your neighbours dont like the noise

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post #7 of 40 Old 12-04-2013, 07:40 AM
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+1 on soundproofing.  My future dedicated movie room right now has one open wall,  It is difficult to watch tv in the loft (movie room) and watch tv in the great room.  The sound travels too well between the two.  So I will build a wall to seal the room.  Of course to keep the sound in the room, I will not cut corners on soundproofing.  If you really want a room for movies, one of the biggest factors is not disturbing others while watching movies, and also not hearing exterior sounds when enjoying the movie.  Search soundproofing company, as they have great advice on this.

 

Curtains IMO are worthless for soundproofing.   I speak at seminars and one room that I speak in has curtains.  You can still hear the sounds from other rooms as if there were no curtains at all.

 

Here are my opinions on getting the wife "on board"...I kept telling my wife what we will do to the room and involved her on every little detail in the planning process.  She liked the idea of a movie theater, but was getting annoyed with the play by play.  I saw my visions of the theater I wanted, evaporating.  It wasn't until I had my theater drawing and used examples of other theaters on here to get her back on board.  Perhaps place the idea in her head that you want the bigger space but you will turn her storage space into a new and improved space for her.  Do this before you build your theater and she won't have anything to argue about.  


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post #8 of 40 Old 12-04-2013, 08:22 AM
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Someone asked a similar question about closed vs. open rooms a few weeks ago. Here's the link

And a few of my thoughts, copied over:

A fully enclosed room has several advantages. If defines an acoustic space in which you can mold the sound. Much (most?) of what you will listen to in the theater will be sound reflected from the walls and ceiling of the room. Your brain is very sensitive to the nature of the reflected sound. For your brain to work with the sound encoded on the track to recreate the "space" of the soundtrack, symmetry and consistency are important. If there is no wall in the rear, your brain will know it, and the sounds from behind you will never have the same character as others. It's hard to put a finger on, and you can enjoy the soundtrack and experience in either case, but how about this: this is one of the few things that BIGmouthinDC has said he would change about his theater if you were to rebuild it.

The second major advantage to an enclosed space is the possibilities for sound isolation. A larger open space invites windows, appliances, and foot traffic - all of which bring in unwanted sound (and heat) and let out nuisance sound to other areas. Your requirements for this are your own, but overcoming these challenges is one of the most significant design/engineering hurdles in dedicate theater building. Be realistic about your uses and needs (as well as your neighbors' and the rest of your household's).
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post #9 of 40 Old 12-07-2013, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, the bigger room is a no-go. But, I think I will be able to close off the area that I originally planned to use (see above pictures). The space measures 15'8" deep x 11' 3" wide x 7'6" high.

Here is a floor plan:



7yganu8u.jpg



The plan is to wall it all in and put in French doors and sound proof the whole thing. Now the questions!
1. Can someone tell me about this green glue and what it does?
2. Also I am assuming I need to double sheet rock for sound proofing?
3. I don't think I will be able to give up the space to get an AT screen in there either. What do you think?
4. I would like a 2.35 screen. Can I do it?
5. What can i do cool with the ceiling in this small of space?
6. What is too much audio for this room? What speakers do you recommend for this space?
7. What should I do about the window? It is below ground.

Suggest away!!!
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post #10 of 40 Old 12-07-2013, 04:01 PM
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Wow!  Your room is very close to mine....16'9"x11'4"x8'.  My design is the same as yours with double doors.

 

1 & 2) Soundproofingcompany.com has a lot of great resources to use.  Read up and then come back with more questions, as I am sure they will arise. 

 

3) You need to be about 10' plus away from an AT screen or you may see the stitching.   How back will your seating be?

 

4) Sure can.  What is the purpose of your viewing?  

 

5) With your ceiling height it will be difficult to use soffits or any drop down designs.  You can use crown moulding with rope lighting.   This will keep the room from feeling too small but give it a cool look.

 

6) Others can chime in as this is not my specialty.   What is your budget?  5.1 or 7.1?

 

7) Window plug.  You can make them removable so you can still access the window.

 

You have some great questions.  Keep reading and researching.  Use the template for your room and show us how your seating will be....where the screen will be... more details.  


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post #11 of 40 Old 12-07-2013, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are a few designs I was thinking about. The primary purpose of the theater will be to watch movies and football, primarily movies.





I really like the Berkline recliners but I don't think there is enough room for 2 rows. We have 4 we need to seat for movies and the wife would like a couch so we can have guest sleep there as well. I might add Berkines when the kids move out in 15 years!

Also, I put the bathroom on there so everyone knew what was behind the front wall. The space for the audio closet will have to be built and I don't know if it is the best location.
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post #12 of 40 Old 12-07-2013, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claybe View Post

The plan is to wall it all in and put in French doors and sound proof the whole thing. Now the questions!
1. Can someone tell me about this green glue and what it does?
2. Also I am assuming I need to double sheet rock for sound proofing?
3. I don't think I will be able to give up the space to get an AT screen in there either. What do you think?
4. I would like a 2.35 screen. Can I do it?
5. What can i do cool with the ceiling in this small of space?
6. What is too much audio for this room? What speakers do you recommend for this space?
7. What should I do about the window? It is below ground.

Suggest away!!!
1. Green Glue - the engineering concept is called constrained layer damping. It's viscoelastic compound custom designed at great expense and with great care specifically to make wall less good at transmitting sound. The patent is held by forum member and home theater builder Ted White, of soundproofingcompany.com In a nutshell: the vibrational energy of sound is transferred into walls, where GG constrained within the wall structure absorbs that energy (disipating it as heat) - thus the energy is unavailable to be transmitted as sound in adjacent spaces.

2. It is impossible to use constrained layer damping without having at least two layers of wall material - so yes. Further, the more mass you can add, the better the sound isolation. To that end, 5/8" drywall is recommended - and specify with your supplier that you don't want the new lightweight variety.

4. I'm a fan of 'scope screens - but you should be aware of the reasoning and consequences. First, movies developed in a constant height sort of evolution: the wider formats were never intended to be shorter in height - always wider at the same height. From a director's point of view, 'scope gives them a wider canvas for the more epic scenes and adventures - they expect it to be bigger in your field of view compared to flat (1.85:1) projection. However, depending on room size - you can end up with a situation where 16:9 images are too small if the screen height is limited to what is practical for 235. Also, as the screen edges are pushed toward the side walls speakers are pressed toward the walls (which is probably not a problem, per se) and light reflected off the screen is more likely to distractingly illuminate the side wall and reflect back again onto the screen, washing out the black areas of the image - care should be taken to use dark surfaces to absorb that scattered light. Alternatives include 16:9 screens, but also other aspects that can be masked down in both directions for different ratio images - what might be called constant area screens or similar.

6. Too much audio is a matter of budget and floor space. Calibrated, each home theater should have the same loudness at the same master volume setting. All you need is enough sensitivity and amplification to achieve the sound pressure levels you need (presumably reference level) at your seats. Further decisions and priority setting will be required here, but this is really cart-before-the-horse territory. Assuming direct radiating speakers (not bipolar or open baffle or whatever else), you still need to decide on layout and placement before you can know the SPL requirements and amplification requirements.

Fred
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post #13 of 40 Old 12-07-2013, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Fred! Just spent an hour going through your thread yesterday!

Where does one acquire said GG?
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post #14 of 40 Old 12-07-2013, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claybe View Post

Where does one acquire said GG?
I'd suggest you read the whole website (I mean that). http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/
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post #15 of 40 Old 12-08-2013, 06:40 AM
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If you are firm on a French door and don't do a plug for the window, don't bother with
sound proofing because these will waste your effort and dollars spent on sound proofing.

Have you considered how poor the audio will be, burying seating on the back wall and
into the corners of the room? And have you given thought to how the screen is going to force
your left and right main speakers into the front corners of the room.

I am of the opinion that a DIY SeymourAV XD screen is an excellent tool for a narrow room.
Using one might cost you a second row of seating, but you get improved front speaker layout,
and a larger screen, plus you keep seating off the back wall and out of the rear corners. (Are you
getting any real value out of the cost of such seats? Will they be used much at all? My argument would
be that maybe those budget dollars might be better placed into the projector, or screen masking, or into
the design cost for a baffle wall with an AT screen up front.)

Using in wall speakers, these could be given back boxes in a 6" deep staggered front wall. Plant the AT
screen 6" in front of this, with stand alone subs out front , and you keep most of your room depth which
would allow for a single row of seating 3' off the back wall.
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post #16 of 40 Old 12-08-2013, 06:54 AM
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A smaller dedicated room like this won't have any real serious need for wattage. Powered subs will
basically bi-amp the speakers. And the throw distance to seating with a one row configuration would
also mean reference levels are achievable by speakers with dome tweeters. A low noise floor would also
work in your favor. On the budget end of things, you could wring a lot of performance out of carefully selected
lower end gear.

That said, more serious selection of speakers with serious wattage, can ramp up the tactile feedback.

As for football and movies, if your projector has the zoom and memory lense capability, a constant area setup
with four way manual masking, might be a superior setup to a scope screen with side masking.

A very cool ceiling for your room would be some soffits, and anaglypta wallpaper which is 3D patterned thick paper.
Paint it in a metallic color and add some soffit LED rope up lighting. I saw one done like this years ago, in red metallic.
Instantly knew what it was, since I had just done my kitchen in a press tin look anaglypta wallpaper, painted out in cream.
Huge WOW factor for little dollars. Might light up with a woven AT screen though...

A design feature I use, is a Lutron Grafic Eye 3504 lighting controller with a 1S entry controller. An Ebay find, but I
could have got away with an even cheaper 3503 three zone model.
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post #17 of 40 Old 12-08-2013, 08:04 AM
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If you can live with the single row option for seating, and want a highly performing space,
I'd recommend reading up some of Nylor's blogs:

http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/home-theater-blog/


Something along these lines would be the basis for a high performance room.

X.jpg 54k .jpg file
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post #18 of 40 Old 12-08-2013, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

If you are firm on a French door and don't do a plug for the window, don't bother with
sound proofing because these will waste your effort and dollars spent on sound proofing.

Have you considered how poor the audio will be, burying seating on the back wall and
into the corners of the room? And have you given thought to how the screen is going to force
your left and right main speakers into the front corners of the room.

I am of the opinion that a DIY SeymourAV XD screen is an excellent tool for a narrow room.
Using one might cost you a second row of seating, but you get improved front speaker layout,
and a larger screen, plus you keep seating off the back wall and out of the rear corners. (Are you
getting any real value out of the cost of such seats? Will they be used much at all? My argument would
be that maybe those budget dollars might be better placed into the projector, or screen masking, or into
the design cost for a baffle wall with an AT screen up front.)

Using in wall speakers, these could be given back boxes in a 6" deep staggered front wall. Plant the AT
screen 6" in front of this, with stand alone subs out front , and you keep most of your room depth which
would allow for a single row of seating 3' off the back wall.

I am going to plug the window and just figured the French doors would give it a more open feel, but now realize that is not what I need. I am fine with a normal door. I want it to be soundproofed so that others in the house won't be bothered. I don't have neighbors to worry about. I like the baffle wall idea but need to find some speakers I can afford to put in the baffle wall. I really would like to use an AT screen an hide the speakers in the front of the room and then use in wall speakers for the sides and backs.
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post #19 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 04:45 AM
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French doors look great. But you need mass and you need gaskets to seal the door, to
maintain the sound proof envelope. You also need to think about how you bring electrical
into the room and how you handle heating, cooling, and air changes.
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post #20 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 10:12 AM
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If you are concerned about the sound, then placing the listeners ears 1/3 of room length from the back wall will give you smoother response frequency (fewer/smaller peaks & dips). That will then give you enough separation between your side speakers and back speakers to make for an effective 7.1-speaker layout.

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post #21 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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We have no HVAC in the house. I will run a 220 line to this area for baseboard heat. The room stays cool enough for summer because it is in the basement. Also, the garage is behind the back wall and I have a sub panel in there that has a lot of room, so electrical should not be a problem.

I was originally thinking of keeping it at a 5.1 system to save money, but it would rather go 7.1 and use in wall speakers.
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post #22 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claybe View Post

The room stays cool enough for summer because it is in the basement.

Not knowing your overall final construction plans but the fact is that once you build an airtight insulated and soundproof theater room fill it with people, projector and equipement, you will discover this is a tragic flaw in your planning.
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post #23 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I understand what you are saying, but I can not install HVAC for this theater room.  We have no air conditioning and no heat in the house.  No duct work at all.  Do you have any other suggestions?  Maybe some kind of fan circulating system pushing air in and out?  How would I isolate the sound of fans?  Boy, this presents a whole other dilemma. 

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post #24 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 12:44 PM
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Simple solution - mini split air conditioner. It doesn't promote fresh air into the room unfortunately but it will keep you nice and cool.
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post #25 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

If you can live with the single row option for seating, and want a highly performing space,
I'd recommend reading up some of Nylor's blogs:

http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/home-theater-blog/


Something along these lines would be the basis for a high performance room.

X.jpg 54k .jpg file

Should I have any bass traps in this set up? Also, should the recliners be on a riser?

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post #26 of 40 Old 12-09-2013, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kromkamp View Post

Simple solution - mini split air conditioner. It doesn't promote fresh air into the room unfortunately but it will keep you nice and cool.

Don't you need to have air circulating in and out of a sealed room? So, I need to design some way to flow air in and then back out and then cool the space with a mini split AC which I will somehow need to vent outside?!?
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post #27 of 40 Old 12-10-2013, 06:18 AM
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Much of your heating/cooling and air changes needs, will be based on the number of bodies in the room.
Ideally you want a minimum of 2.5 air changes per hour. You could build soffits to create a sound proofing opportunity for air
exchanges, and you could also consider a dead vent.

You don't need your recliners on a riser with one row. If you are trying to stuff the room with seating, then recliners
are out of the equation.

http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/ might be worth spending some time researching what is involved. I'd also recommend
you have a look at BIGmouthinDC's projects on his bottom tagline.

Bass traps would be nice but that's a limited room in terms of what can go in there.
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post #28 of 40 Old 12-10-2013, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Again Tedd!  I will look into Dead vents and am assuming they are just an opening at the bottom or top of a wall?

 

I think I am going with 1 row of recliners and bean bags as suggested.

 

I went through soundproofingcompany.com and am on board for GG and clips and they are in the plan.  Also, I will do the same for the ceiling as the HT will be right below the upstairs living room.

 

Can you put bass traps just in the back of the room?  Would that help?  I don't think I will have room in the front...

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post #29 of 40 Old 12-10-2013, 08:04 AM
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Assuming anything will likely equate to a waste of money spent on soundproofing.
You need to be very detail orientated so one mistake doesn't undermine all your efforts.


A dead vent is basically a sound proofed closet with power venting fan, exterior to the room.

I just did a quick AVS search and there's now a Show Me your Dead vent thread. biggrin.gif

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1503283/a-blank-slate-design-my-theater-room#post_24056134

With one row of seating there's room for some bass traps in the back corners. What you don't want to do
is to absorb too much high frequency information out of the room. You could treat the first reflection points
on the side walls and ceiling.

Take some time to look at BIGmouthinDC's project threads. Stuff like building the room shell and then
using soffits to route electrical and venting along with solid construction methods.
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post #30 of 40 Old 12-12-2013, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, new plan. Wife now thinks the room would be better. But she wants to be able to access the closet. I told her I would make her a new closet in the open room but she said she wants the closet in the HT. I haven't seen any others like this. Any ideas???

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