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Old 04-01-2014, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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We just moved into a new house about a month ago. Its just a starter home, so its nothing big. I was planning on putting all my A/V equipment upstairs in the spare bedroom, then my wife found out she was pregnant again. So now I need to do something with the basement.

The basement is small, with shorter ceilings, so I don't know if my options are limited. I just need a room where I can set up my plasma tv and speakers for now. I might in the future plan to do a full projector install with screen. I might wait to go full out in our next home, as we only plan to stay here about 5 years or so.

I'm very new to building and designing home theaters, but I have read tons of info on it. I just don't even know where to begin. Basement is a full blank canvas right now. Any help or suggestions would be awesome. I've attached a sketch up drawing of my basement and tried using dimensions. This is my first time ever using sketch up so it's not the best I don't think. The room in the back corner is a bathroom that was there when we bought the house. It's no in the best shape, so I can demo or redo layout of it if needed.



I've listed two sets of measurement for the outside foundation walls. My father in law reinforced the basement walls and added drain tile. He used steel I beams to straighten out brick foundation on house. So I would need to use 2 x 6's to hide them behind the wall, that is why measurements are 5 1/2" shorter all around. I would also use insulation sheets between each I beam before sealing up. Not sure what else I would need.


I can also take actual pictures of basement if that will help as well. I can give other dimensions if needed. I'm not sure what other information I'm missing or that is needed. If theirs anything, let me know. Thanks for all the help
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:16 PM
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I see room for a 10x15 ft room between the stairs and the wall next to the bathroom. One row of three seats, door at the bottom of the stairs.

If you had the coin you might move the support pole on the right of the diagram, not sure about available head room. but you could get maybe a 12x20ish room
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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BigMouth. Yes, that rea would be about 12 x 20 when all done. I forgot to add that in the back corner of the basement, the top right hand corner of my drawing, is my sump pump pit. Ceiling height seems to vary in different spots of the basement. Average is about 82" but some spots are 86" some 83". I believe it being an older house that over time the joists probably settle and the middles start to sag a bit.

I'm not sure whether I want the room on the right side or the left side of the basement. I'm learning more towards the area by the bathroom as I can incorporate it into things, and leave other side open for storage and utility access?

I haven't thought about moving the support pole, didn't know that was an option. I could probably add one just to the right of the steps going out and one about 6 inches from foundation wall or so, and then incorporate it into a column that would match the rest of the room?

I was also thinking of somehow incorporating that bathroom into the layout and possibly a bar area? I know space is limited and the layout isn't the best.

I would be doing this on a budget also. Would have to do it in stages.

I haven't the slightest idea what the best layout would be to even begin framing it up or where to stick equipment. Make rack enclosure under the stairs with access to the back of it?
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:55 PM
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moving poles means increasing the span of the beam and usually requires beefing up the beam, a structural engineer should be involved in the process.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been experimenting some more with Sketch Up. I added some walls to my layout. I also added some room color and floors. I did one with poles showing, and one with the poles covered up, and converted into a half wall for a bar or lounge area.

I still am undecided on best layout and how to incorporate the bathroom the best. This layout shows me making the bathroom a bit larger and closing off the the appliances down there into a utility room. I also turned under the stairs into a media cabinet area and had it be accessible.

Any thoughts on this? I'm still going to make more adjustments and play around a bit and add furniture and some other items before attempting this build. Would you lay this out different? Turn half-wall I built and make that into a hallway somehow, that would lead from lounge/bar area to the bathroom?

Following are different views of layout to give a feel for how it would look







This is the layout if I hid pole and made it a half-wall

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Old 10-07-2014, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a pic of the area I'm intending to make into my Home theater room. Any ideas/tips would be great. I'm trying to find the best way to also incorporate the downstairs bathroom into the mix, without having it come off of the HT room.

Any ideas on what I can do? Ceiling height is the greatest, being an older, brick foundation home. I need to get this room built, as I'm losing my current room, due to a 2nd child coming any day now.

I will just be running a 61" dlp for awhile, until I'm able to get a nice projector, would still like room pre-wired for everything ahead of time though.

The first picture listed is a view from behind the stairs to the area I would be using.

The second pictures shows the bathroom that is in the back corner next to the area I'll be using. Looking for ways to coordinate this bathroom with the downstairs.

The third picture is the actual space I will be using for the HT room
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:53 PM
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I can give you some generic advice, which is work on the layout first - where the seats go, where the screen goes, where the speakers go, where the doors go. Try and find a layout which meets industry standards and works practically (i.e. you can get into and out of the room easily / safely, there is circulation space, etc). Take a look at some of the Home Theater Layout articles on my site http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/cat...heater/layout/

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Old 10-08-2014, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post
I can give you some generic advice, which is work on the layout first - where the seats go, where the screen goes, where the speakers go, where the doors go. Try and find a layout which meets industry standards and works practically (i.e. you can get into and out of the room easily / safely, there is circulation space, etc). Take a look at some of the Home Theater Layout articles on my site http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/cat...heater/layout/
What program do you use for creating your layouts? I will work on one and see what I can come up with.
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:35 PM
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this is the software I use:

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Old 10-08-2014, 07:17 PM
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Less walls, to visually open up the space. At the very least, I'd leave the non theater
side of the stairs open, if you are finishing most of the square footage.

If the furnace could be rotated behind the chimney, and if that would give you a
longer/wider theater, then the ductwork can be disguised by soffits.


DIY Seymour XD acoustically transparent screen would hide the sump area and
front speakers.
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Less walls, to visually open up the space. At the very least, I'd leave the non theater
side of the stairs open, if you are finishing most of the square footage.

If the furnace could be rotated behind the chimney, and if that would give you a
longer/wider theater, then the ductwork can be disguised by soffits.


DIY Seymour XD acoustically transparent screen would hide the sump area and
front speakers.
Awesome idea, and thanks for the drawing to go with. Unfortunately its a brand new furnace that was just put it, so moving it won't be an option. I like how you laid that out though.

Would you happen to have a link to that screen your referring too?

My only 2 options are, to leave theater in the original 12 x 16 area, or I could somehow incorporate it to the other side of the basement and use the full length to my benefit. Only 2 problems with this though.

1. I have a support pole right in the middle of the area.
2. The beam/ductwork running through is pretty low, as my ceiling are low to begin with. I would say its just over 6 feet from floor. Dk how that would affect projector throw or anything else.
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:55 PM
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The easiest links would be at the bottom of BigmouthinDC's post....


Otherwise, http://www.seymourav.com/screensDIY.asp


The projector could be recessed, or semi recessed, in a hush box, in the back wall.


Six foot kind of makes things maybe too low. I have 80" beneath soffits, and being 5'6", it
works out fine. Ceiling height is 85" overall. And me being 5'6", works in my favor.


As for the support pole, in the original location, why not a shallow column to gain a few inches
more room width? Of course that sticks you with some low soffits, but they wouldn't be large, and
would add some character.


That support post could be dealt with and moved, but that wouldn't be cheap. With five years there, I'd just
do a nice budget space in the original proposed area. That doesn't mean it can't be very nice. You have more
depth then JuanFlaco's room, but it's a dramatic budget build that might plant some ideas. Your depth would
also would allow you to move the seating off the back wall.


Mini Man Cave Phase 2 - Could use help planning!
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Old 10-09-2014, 05:16 AM
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Exactly how much space is below the ductwork? How much space is between the support posts
and the chimney? And how far is the durance from the outside wall?

You could simply do an open concept media room, and build the basement with an eye towards
maximum resale value and minimal expense. Treat it as a learning expensive to develop skills.


All those low ceiling sections could be treated as built in areas. Shelving, computer/desk area.
Expands the visual foot print and create sightlines while putting those spaces to good use.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:11 AM
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How about thinking resale, for five years down the road?


Built-ins, instead of walling off rooms. Expanded bath room.
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
How about thinking resale, for five years down the road?


Built-ins, instead of walling off rooms. Expanded bath room.

Thanks for taking the time to draw those maps. Greatly appreciated. Still new to this so trying to learn all I can. I really like that 2nd option map you designed.

How would it affect my theatre room though, since it would be open per say?


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Old 10-09-2014, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Tedd, Do you still need those measurements?
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Old 10-10-2014, 05:07 AM
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Yes. Trying to work in a hallway to connect the bath room to the rest of the basement, so a
closed off home theater needn't be the sole connective space.


The downside of a hallway is diminished storage space, and more finished square footage.


As for the open media room approach, I'd expect less room nodes and possibly smoother bass
response. Something along the lines of a smaller version of Pocoloco's room might be a nice
approach for you. Start with your hdtv, and later do a DIY acoustically transparent screen and
wall.


The Pocoloco Theater
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Old 10-10-2014, 05:32 AM
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If there's 3' of hall width, and the hallway height isn't too low. I was thinking something
along the lines of this. It would still give you lots of unfinished storage space. The side wall
could get some Gorilla racking, and the lower area of the desk area could be given doors and
be used as a seasonal clothes closet.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:41 AM
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Since you shored up a wall with steel beams, would installing 2 new support columns
be out of the realm of possibilities? It'd mean breaking the floor and pouring new support
pads.


SOWK inspired front layout. might then work.
SOWK's Home Theater Build
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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View of the back of basement by furnace and water heater. Their is a sewer pipe that sticks out further than the rest.



Corner view, showing bathroom/Media room. Toilet may interfere with redesigning layout for the room.



View of the space between the furnace/chimney and the support poles. Their is roughly 40 1/2" of space between them.



Printout of map Tedd drew for me, showing distances.



Furnace to outside wall is ~63 1/2", although sewer pipe sticks out a bit futher, limiting width to about 53 1/4"
Support Posts to chimney is ~ 40 1/2"
Ceiling height to ductwork is ~ 76", some spots are about an inch or so taller, 76" is the lowest
Distance between posts is 103"

Are there any other measurements you might need?

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Old 10-10-2014, 02:45 PM
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great thread, just bought my 2nd home new construction and this is insightful
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by saevox View Post
great thread, just bought my 2nd home new construction and this is insightful
Wish I was working with new construction, it would make things much easier for me haha. I have an older home, which has a block wall foundation. I had to support my walls with steel beams, which I need to build around now, plus my ceiling height is the tallest, nor is it the largest.

Need to work with what I have though.

Being your new construction you should have endless options and lots of great knowledge here on this forum. Very helpful people as well.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:18 AM
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New construction could still have the same issues as you. There'll still be waste stacks, support beams,
electrical panels, HVAC reducing headroom. Basement heights can also be lower then eight feet,
depending on water tables and bedrock. A lot of what you have there, I have with a poured concrete
basement. No beams shoring up the foundation but there's some exterior walls that aren't straight nor large
runs.

I have 7'1 " of basement height. I cheat with perspective a bit. Since there are two doors beneath a support
beam, all doors are cut down 4" in height. Keeps enough drywall above the top of the door frame, you don't
really get visually tipped off that the door is shorter. Enter the small theater space, you come in under an 80"
high soffit, then the ceiling is at 85". Another illusion that the room feels a little taller then it is.

I wouldn't worry much about the side bath room wall either. I have an alcove bite out of my small theater space.
This was hidden with an extra deep AT space (at a loss of room depth). Took awhile to wrap my head around the
fact I didn't need to finish every square foot of basement too. Finishing less square footage can mean more storage
and better finishes in what's finished.

I'll get you some more refined drawings to reflect the additional information in the photos. Likely be a couple of
days though.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
New construction could still have the same issues as you. There'll still be waste stacks, support beams,
electrical panels, HVAC reducing headroom. Basement heights can also be lower then eight feet,
depending on water tables and bedrock. A lot of what you have there, I have with a poured concrete
basement. No beams shoring up the foundation but there's some exterior walls that aren't straight nor large
runs.

I have 7'1 " of basement height. I cheat with perspective a bit. Since there are two doors beneath a support
beam, all doors are cut down 4" in height. Keeps enough drywall above the top of the door frame, you don't
really get visually tipped off that the door is shorter. Enter the small theater space, you come in under an 80"
high soffit, then the ceiling is at 85". Another illusion that the room feels a little taller then it is.

I wouldn't worry much about the side bath room wall either. I have an alcove bite out of my small theater space.
This was hidden with an extra deep AT space (at a loss of room depth). Took awhile to wrap my head around the
fact I didn't need to finish every square foot of basement too. Finishing less square footage can mean more storage
and better finishes in what's finished.

I'll get you some more refined drawings to reflect the additional information in the photos. Likely be a couple of
days though.
Tedd, keep in mind that I will lose outside wall space and those numbers dont reflect that. I measured from the brick foundation wall itself to get them number. In this first pic I posted yesterday, showing the furnace and sewage pipe, you can see the iron beams I had install to hold my walls straight.

I plan to fill each space between them with 2" XPS board, then taping whatever seams I need do with house wrap tape. I will then either caulk or spray foam (using great stuff) then cracks at the top and bottom of each XPS panel. The box sills in my basement are already spray foamed, so those shouldn't be a problem.

I will then build my 2x4 walls and butt them tight to the iron beams. Unless their is a better way of doing it, without losing as much space?

The route I'm thinking I will lose about rougly 7 1/2 to 8" from the actual foundation wall in.

Not a problem on the drawings, I just appreciate all the help. Getting excited as the baby is due next week, and I need to get an area done so I can have my hangout area back.
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:22 PM
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One option:


I like the bottom space for it's width. The ductwork and beam could be soffited, and the entire
front area could be blacked out. A DIY SeymourAV XD material acoustically transparent screen
and screen wall, would hide all the front speakers. In wall sides and rears, in backer boxes, mounted high,
would further the zero visible speaker footprint of the room. Darker colors also tend to make walls recede.


Since your father in law was able to pull off those beams, I expect he would be able to put in
two new support columns, with proper support pads, to be rid of the existing support column.
These new columns would be hidden in wood columns like SOWK did. His videos show the
problematic support post he had and disguised. SOWK's approach would let your deepen that space
and utilise the low height under the ductwork and put it to good use.


SOWK's Home Theater Build


The front of the room should be all blacked out, to capture light that will come off the screen. This will preserve a projector's contrast ratio, and give you a nice image floating in black space. The underside of the large soffit up front, could be treated for first reflection points off the ceiling too.


I also think the upper room has greater potential for being a family/media or kid's rumpus room.
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Old 10-12-2014, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
this is the software I use:

Wait...that's hardware.

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Theater Design Information
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:31 PM
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And that's the upgrade, used to be napkins....
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:13 PM
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A few more thoughts:


That family room niche under the beam could be given a built in console and house the 61" hdtv.
That would leave the end of the room as a play area for the kids.


The shadow boxed front could allow you to add another 2x (or steel channel) to the beam, to stiffen
the beam, in order to lose that problematic post. Shadowbox the front area, and you could do some sort of
fabric wall in the rest of the room. You could work in acoustical treatments behind the fabric, if you
strapped the walls.


I would consider four stadium style theater seats too.


And donnyp05, check your personal messages...
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:13 AM
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Another possible direction: Ever seen snowcarver's 2.0 build?


HT of the Month: Theater for Hobbits
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
I like the bottom space for it's width. The ductwork and beam could be soffited, and the entire
front area could be blacked out. A DIY SeymourAV XD material acoustically transparent screen
and screen wall, would hide all the front speakers. In wall sides and rears, in backer boxes, mounted high,
would further the zero visible speaker footprint of the room. Darker colors also tend to make walls recede.
I like all Ted's suggestions, especially this one. It seems a very nice use of the available space.

But based on that layout, couldn't the room be longer, extending the room 1 or 2 feet more? Unless the sump pump requires a large area and easy access (I'm not familiar with sump pumps, sorry).

If it's doable, it would allow to move the seats forward a bit, probably getting better sound, and remove from sight the 2 side columns when watching a movie, making the room feel slightly wider.

Last edited by Silva741; 10-17-2014 at 12:14 AM.
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