My theaters progressed from the living room to unused bedrooms after our kids left home. However, I never was able to figure out a way to create a dedicated theater space. About 3 years ago, my wife and I were standing on our 2nd story "catwalk", looking out over our 2 story living room when she says "too bad they wasted all of this space by having a 2 story living room instead of adding more square footage upstairs".
That got me thinking and doing some research on the structural design of our house. I'm a Mechanical Engineer, so I ran my own calculations and concluded that, in fact, a 2nd floor addition was possible. To be sure, I verified my numbers with a local Structural Engineer.
It took a little while to convince my wife that not only was this project doable, but she and I were capable of doing it ourselves. In fact, we ended up doing everything ourselves, except hanging the sheetrock on the newly created downstairs ceiling. At the end of the day, we added 300 square feet of space to the second floor while creating a new home theater.
Since the theater is complete, I've tried to structure this thread to show the progression of the work from start to finish. Hopefully, someone will find it useful. Enjoy!
A look from our living room floor towards the 2nd floor "catwalk" and then around the room
My construction crew reporting for work
Creating the Home Theater
Optoma HD80 projector.
Back-up projector Optoma H77.
120" Vapex fixed Screen.
Denon 2309ci 7.1 AV receiver.
Center channel: Klipsch Heresy.
Front L/R: Klipsch Heresy.
Subwoofers: B&W AWS 650 and NHT Supersub.
Rear Surround L/R: Klipsch RS3.
Side Surround L/R: Klipsch KSC-C1.
The entire project took about 3 months.
If you had increased your budget to $4180, you could have had yourself a nice pair of these and kept the wife and OSHA happy.