Nearly time to stop dreaming - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 122 Old 09-28-2015, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
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The Rabbit Hole

...but before I can stop dreaming, I'd like some advice from peeps on this forum, as there is a wealth of knowledge here, and it'd be a crime not to use it!


Due to a budget over-run on a previous building project, this is currently running around 2 years in arrears already, and our budget for this is considerably tighter than I'd have liked - but hey-ho! - such is life.


Hopefully, if I can figure out how to display images, you'll be able to see my proposed floorplan for my home cinema. But I'd appreciate critique and suggestions for improvement before I go to our local builders to start quoting.


Basically, what I have to play with is the Northern end of our house, a stone-built 18th century grain store, that was converted into residential accommodation in the eighties. The area I have to play with is 9.35 x 6.4m (roughly 31ft x 21ft) - out of that I need to create the cinema, a gym, and a utility room.


At the moment the space is an (unused) dining area, kitchen and utility. Only the utility is in regular use as we extended the property a couple of years ago and added a kitchen/diner elsewhere.


In the plans as drawn, there is one window that I plan to plug/cover, with other windows (and an external door) elsewhere limiting my choice of location for the various rooms.


So, I appear to be 'length' constrained within the cinema, and even then end up with a couple of 'bump ins' either side of the screen wall due to an external window to the West (top of plan) and needing somewhere to put my equipment rack to the East (bottom right of room).


The good news is, that although I only have 235 cms of head height (7'7") from the doorway area and to the left, to the right of the doorway the solid core floor gives way to a suspended floor with nearly a metre of crawl space underneath (over 3ft!) and there is a solid concrete base to that space. I should be able to remove the floor joists and drop the floor by around 30" even after allowing for creating an insulated floating, or suspended, floor. So, towards the screen wall, I'll end up with just shy of 10' ceiling height!







So, any better ideas for the layout? Suggestions? Comments? etc.
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post #2 of 122 Old 09-28-2015, 05:46 AM
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Assuming you can lower the floor check the exact dimension of the divide, If the chair backs for a front row are up against the divide what is the viewing distance to the screen wall? It looks like the front wall to the door is 3 1/2m Your length constrained space almost prevents the use of an acoustically transparent screen and false front wall unless you can do in wall speakers for the front.

One of my favorite theaters that I worked on is Swizzle Stick, you entered at the highter level and there was a 2 ft drop to the front row, The effect of the much higher second row made for a dramatic feel to the room.

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Swizzle Stick Theater







If you do this you really need to buy your seating and check the dimensions so you can build the riser with no gaps that your foot could slip in and break a leg.
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post #3 of 122 Old 09-28-2015, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks for chiming in Big, I really value your input, having been a big (no pun intended) fan of your work for a while now.


Initial measurements give me 3.5m (11'6") from the divide to the front wall itself, but I've only been able to get a single measurement in one channel (between two of the dwarf walls supporting the floor joists), hopefully the solid core floor runs square.


I already have the speakers I intend using (MK 851's for LCR), as I've been busy collecting stuff for this project for a few years now ( a bit like Jvoth's B-Stock theatre), they're just shy of 9" deep, so I'll effectively lose just over a foot including the screen, giving me 10'6"-ish from the back of the chairs/sofa - so eyes somewhere around 9'6"-ish from the screen. Hopefully, just about do-able.


At a push, we could build backer boxes for the LCR's and set them in to the inner skin - alternatively, I've thought about asking the guys if they can do steel studwork, we'd save a few inches of depth there - but not sure a. whether the guys I hope to use have any experience of steel studwork, and b. whether there is a reason I shouldn't even be thinking about steel studwork! Indeed, this was one of the many random thoughts I'm trying to collate that I'd appreciate advice from the forum on!


(The guys I plan on using built our extension and are primarily joiners, they do have experience of isolated room building though, as they built several recording studios for our local radio station, albeit several decades ago!)


Certainly, the plan is for an AT screen; at the moment leaning towards 16:9, as 2.35:1 will make the 16:9 images tiny if I'm going to be limited screen-size wise anyway due to eye-distance.


Planning for 7.1.4, but as 5.1.4 + wides, rather than back surrounds, as the rear row (I think) is going to be too close to the rear wall. (I appreciate DSU doesn't utilise wides, but pure Atmos does.)


Inspiration has come from so many builds here on AVS, including, but not limited to Mario'c Cinemar, Moggie's Old Vic, Granroth's Phoenix Theater, CJO's Dark Knight, and, of course, all of the threads in your own Signature! (just about to read through Swizzle again!)


Having said that, I was pretty set on a facsimile of Mario's build (in miniature!) until just recently, when I came across KBlaw2010's cinema, and figured I could do a mini version of that. Indeed, for me, the attraction of putting all the speakers behind fabric panelling like that means that 'tweaking' speaker positions becomes easier (assuming you've made the panels removable!) and the running of extra wire etc. becomes pretty straightforward too. So that is now the direction I'm leaning towards.


My budget for equipment, however, is a fraction of what others have spent. I want to get the room right first. Upgrade-itis comes later! So for me, at present, I'm planning on 851's up front, MK K7's for all surround duties, and K4's for Atmos. I have all these already. A couple (or more) self-build subs will provide the 'ooomph'.


I'll try and get some pictures up of the space I'll be working with.


Thanks again.
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post #4 of 122 Old 09-28-2015, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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They say pictures are worth.....



Arrow shows viewpoint of next picture. Blue walls are those that need removing.



View into dining area.



Future cinema space.



View from old kitchen area.



The crawl space.



Underneath the floor.
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post #5 of 122 Old 09-28-2015, 08:39 AM
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It looks like the walls may be built on top of the floor joists, I've never sliced off the joists at the foundation but you will need to do it such that you don't weaken the support for the exterior walls. I suspect the new walls for the lowered portion will be well inside the existing walls. That will need to be factored into the plan.
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post #6 of 122 Old 09-28-2015, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Big,


not sure what you can see in that picture above. The wall on the right is one of the 5 or 6 dwarf walls supporting the joists running from left to right. Pretty sure the joists end before the external walls; the external walls are 200+ years old and solid stone - about 2ft thick. From what I remember, I think there is a dwarf wall just inside the external stone wall that the joists sit on (I imagine they're tied there somehow, but can't get in to take a look at the moment - and probably not for the next week, as I'm about to go to work.)


The stone facing the camera with blockwork on top is the 'divide'.


Or am I missing something? I have zero building experience, and my DIY skills amount to the sort of raggedy hole you can see in one of the earlier pics of the hole in the floor - not really sure I should be let loose with a jigsaw!
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post #7 of 122 Old 10-09-2015, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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So I've been back down to take a look at the joists and walls.


The joists aren't tied in to anything as far as I can tell! I'm guessing this is bad from an integrity point of view, but good, in that we'll be able to chop them out without affecting anything structurally. I can't say it really surprises me, as this is an old grain store that was converted in the eighties, well before building regs (code?) was tightened up - there isn't even any insulation between the plasterboard and exterior walls.


In total, there are five dwarf walls supporting 2x5's on 16" (40cm) centres. A few odds and ends of piping (wet central heating system, as is the norm in the UK) and a few electrical cables - but nothing like the issues I've seen on so many builds with HVAC ducting etc.


Another picture....


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post #8 of 122 Old 10-09-2015, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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...and another showing the walls to be constructed over the underfloor stuff.


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post #9 of 122 Old 10-09-2015, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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So, a couple of questions for the experts.....


1. Is there any reason I shouldn't consider spec'ing metal studwork? I can save a few inches of wall depth by using 50mm (2") metal studs instead of the more normal 2x3 wooden studs, and it pretty much guarantees being straight! But is there anything acoustically I'm neglecting by heading in this direction?


2. What, as a builder/contractor, would you expect to be presented with in order to be able to quote for such a job? How detailed do I need to get in the drawings? Is there a recommended/recognised way of listing work to be done? What about stuff that will present itself along the way (pretty sure there'll always be something that wasn't thought of)?


For our last project, while I designed the initial build, we got someone else to draw up the plans to the point that we could get quotes - but I've never 'gone it alone' before, so any advice greatly received. The end result, as far as these rooms go, is just to bare plasterboard. I'll be doing all the fitting out once the room shells are complete.
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post #10 of 122 Old 10-10-2015, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking a little more about the limited length I had after @BIGmouthinDC pointed out I'd struggle to get an AT screen without using in-walls.


As I don't want to use in-walls (lack of upgrade-ability, or just to swap out if they malfunction), I thought I'd try and create a bit of extra space.


The result is below....







So, the 'alcove' created in the Utility room gets a little bit deeper, but with the angled wall, hopefully, it'll look alright. That gives about an extra 9" of space behind the screen - should be enough space for my current speakers, and future upgrades!


I've also pushed the door further towards the back of the room. This is to allow better placement of surrounds, given that I know a little more precisely where the seating will end up.


All comments, or better ideas welcome. Much easier and cheaper to change things at this stage than later!
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post #11 of 122 Old 10-12-2015, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Just in case anyone's 'listening'....



With the new layout, I've 'roughed in' where my speakers will be. I'll probably add another couple of smaller 'balancing subs' along the side walls, or in the rear corners. But does anyone see any problems with what I've got so far?


Another query is about the steps either side of my front seating. The final step down - would that be better as a 'landing'? I'm thinking, as it is, people will trip over the corner, being so close to the seat.


Thoughts?
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post #12 of 122 Old 10-14-2015, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Been playing with Sketchup - and am pretty excited that I think I can squeeze this quart into a pint pot. We shall see.
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post #13 of 122 Old 10-14-2015, 06:58 PM
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Very compact! Nice!

I see what you mean with that bottom step. I don't think it'll be a problem as long as you have step lights of some sort, though.
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post #14 of 122 Old 10-15-2015, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I think you may well be right. I have a few ideas on how I could light the steps - I think I'm getting ahead of myself though. I need to get the plans to the builders, and see what sort of figure we're talking to get the room as far as bare plasterboard - and when they can fit me in - they're well regarded, hence always busy.
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post #15 of 122 Old 10-15-2015, 06:58 AM
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Plans coming along nicely.
How tall is that riser that you need 5 steps? I looked back quick but did not see a measurement...
You might want to take a close look at the viewing angles from each row.... I suspect that the front row is close but the back row would be looking way down.
If the difference between the front and back is to large..... I can believe I am about to say this..... you could build a riser for your front row.... just a thought
I would be interested in seeing a profile view

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post #16 of 122 Old 10-15-2015, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Waterboy77,


At the moment - the riser, or rather, the drop, is showing as 80cm (31") - I think you're right, and this may well be excessive, but the actual space available underneath the floor is just shy of a metre (actually 38" )!


Profile view.




I will need to put some sort of floating, or suspended, floor over the lower space, as there is no insulation down there as yet. I believe Mario, in the Cinemar thread had a similar quandary, and looked at raising his whole lower floor section; in the end, he kept the step back up onto his lower seats. I'll probably do the same, indeed, as you suggest and build a riser for the front row. (Not an issue, and since my higher level is solid core, it'll give me an opportunity for some bass trapping, that I'm lacking.)


View from rear seating area (FOV was set at 55 degrees, is this about right? - it seemed reasonable to me)



This view looks pretty reasonable.


View from front seat area.



Yep, looks too high. So think you're right, a higher floor level is needed. There's also room to lower the screen a touch too.


Nothing is set in stone yet. Just emailed the builders with the plans and a basic 'work-list' - just waiting to hear back.
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post #17 of 122 Old 10-15-2015, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, a quick and dirty play around with Sketchup and this is the result. Obviously it'd need fine tuning, but I actually quite like the look of steps going all the way down to the lower floor, but the front seating level being halfway. The steps would also provide emergency seating for kids parties etc. Result!


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post #18 of 122 Old 10-16-2015, 06:55 AM
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I like the look of the stairs all the way down in front of the first row also UK Dreamer


Not sure how far the screen is from the ceiling but it might be possible to lower it a little also.
Keeping in mind the angles and front row heads of course.
Depending on your plans for the ceiling paint / coverings it might help for reflected light

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post #19 of 122 Old 10-16-2015, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy77 View Post
I like the look of the stairs all the way down in front of the first row also UK Dreamer


Not sure how far the screen is from the ceiling but it might be possible to lower it a little also.
Keeping in mind the angles and front row heads of course.
Depending on your plans for the ceiling paint / coverings it might help for reflected light
I agree with everything you've said.....


....and I've been playing with Sketchup some more. On your advice, and from others, the screen is a little lower, and I've raised the front row slightly - so just a two foot drop/riser between seating levels.


What do think? Still very much at the playing around with ideas stage at the moment - much cheaper to do it here, than in real-life. Oh, and I know I'm showing two rows of recliners, but pretty sure my rear row will just be a comfy sofa of some sort; the fronts may well be recliners - or not, we'll see how the finances and WAF are closer to the time!


View from rear wall...





Side profile.... The viewing angles are 4 degrees down from rear row to centre, and 6 degrees up from front row.







(any similarity between this and KBlaw2010's theatre is purely intentional! )
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post #20 of 122 Old 10-16-2015, 12:00 PM
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I LIKE IT!
Those front soffits will really draw your eye into the screen.
What are your plans for the projector mounting / location? You might have to keep it high to avoid a person shading the screen if they stood up and / or bonking there head.
Not sure you could get a projector with enough vertical shift to get it into the back soffit

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post #21 of 122 Old 10-16-2015, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, copying shamelessly from KBlaws/Dennis Erskine's design, I plan on putting a hush box into, and somewhat below the soffit over the middle-rear seat, as long as the front-most part is behind the front edge of the seat (it should be) then 'head-hitting' opportunities should be minimised.


Actually, this part of the design I've had in my head for a while, as I plan on running my return ventilation through the hush-box, providing a constant flow of air while the cinema is in use.


The cinema room won't be air-conditioned, but will have constant air changes with a neighbouring room (the gym) using a push-pull system. I plan on dumping expelled air into the equipment rack, so keeping the air moving there too. Dead-vents etc. to be employed. If I find the room still gets too warm, I can fit a mini-split system in the gym - and use the cooled air there to provide cooling. We live in Northumberland though, so cooling shouldn't be an issue!
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post #22 of 122 Old 10-16-2015, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UK Dreamer View Post
Well, copying shamelessly from KBlaws/Dennis Erskine's design, I plan on putting a hush box into, and somewhat below the soffit over the middle-rear seat, as long as the front-most part is behind the front edge of the seat (it should be) then 'head-hitting' opportunities should be minimised.
Hush box..... even better.
I keep toying around with one also.... maybe a far future upgrade

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post #23 of 122 Old 10-16-2015, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't really know if I'd need it or not, but figure again, it's easier to do it as part of the design, rather than trying to retro-fit...


...playing with Sketchup again.... (a shame I can't do this when at work, but we only have room for company ipads).


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post #24 of 122 Old 10-30-2015, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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So. Just had a meeting with our builders, and they gave me their first quote for the job.


This entails, all demolition work of existing kitchen, utility, dining area etc., back to bare stone walls. The gym (nee kitchen) and utility are then built back up, with insulation inside all walls and underneath the floor. A new set of utility cabinets installed, and all plumbing done (moving wet system radiators x3).


The cinema area is to be built as 'room in a room', the floor lowered throughout 2/3rds of the room, steps built etc. The walls to be OSB-GG-DW.


Bear in mind VAT is 20% over here, and you'll understand that after my first quote, it was lucky I was already sitting down! Just shy of £28K + VAT to get to bare walls in the cinema = £33,600 = $51,600.


This is some 50% more than I was expecting - I got the material costs about right (they're easy to figure out), but the job is going to take nigh on 7 weeks, rather than the 3-4 I was expecting. So it is labour costs pushing up the price.


I've already decided that I'll demo the kitchen myself, so should save a couple of days there. On top of that, I don't know where to begin to save costs - the chaps have gone away knowing that the project is a non-runner at these prices, so hopefully they'll come up with some ideas. They've already suggested I find my own plumber that isn't VAT registered to save 20% on those costs. (We have strange VAT rules, where, if a business is small enough, they don't charge VAT, but any materials bought will attract VAT at source. Since my project, plumbing wise, is more labour than gear, I'll save money).


If we can find solutions to these financial woes, I still hope to start sometime in January. We shall see!

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post #25 of 122 Old 10-30-2015, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by UK Dreamer View Post
Bear in mind VAT is 20% over here, and you'll understand that after my first quote, it was lucky I was already sitting down! Just shy of £28K + VAT to get to bare walls in the cinema = £33,600 = $51,600.
Oof! That's steep.

What kind of DIY laws are in effect on your side of the pond? Around here, a homeowner can do all of the above as long as he's handy enough (and has the right permits). Is that even an option for you?
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post #26 of 122 Old 10-31-2015, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
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All of it is DIYable, bar the electrics.

We now have something called Part P, which requires a PP qualified electrician (you can sometimes get a friendly one to sign off DIY, but very few will, unless they already know you and your standard of work) - a shame really, as electrics is one area I'm reasonably comfortable with. I can see why it's been introduced though, all of our electrics are 220-240v, with plenty of kick to kill, if you get it wrong. And arcing over poorly tightened joints is common enough to present a real fire hazard.

My main issues with DIY are, a. I work away from home, so am only around for a few days a month, b. I slipped a disc in my back last year L3-L4, so lifting a lot of heavy stuff is out, and c. my wife says NO!

Since 'Happy Dragon, Happy Castle' rules; DIY, as far as getting the rooms to a basic finish, is sadly out. She is letting me 'finish' the theatre, as she won't have to see the mess I create behind closed doors! - she obviously has every confidence in my abilities!

Anyway, that's where we're at. We'll see what their return visit comes up with.
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post #27 of 122 Old 11-11-2015, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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We're on!


$33,200 + electrics and plumbing. They should be around another $2000 a piece.


Not cheap, but do-able.


Initial nod from the 'financial director'; should confirm it with her tonight. But looks like we're on for a January start!
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post #28 of 122 Old 06-04-2016, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm.

Like many others taking on these cinema (x'cuse me, 'theater') builds, I seem to have been a little optimistic in my anticipated timeline. Work didn't start until early March, and has now, once more, come to a halt. The reason is twofold, firstly, the builders are no-longer in residence at The Old Granary, and secondly, now that it's all down to me, I have no time to work on the project. Hopefully, once I finish my career defining course I've just embarked on, I'll have some spare time to crack on and complete it. I'm not sure I want Mr Logan to make an appearance on this thread!

So, where have we got to? And where did we start from?

I think a few pictures of what we had to work with are in order.....


^^^part of the old kitchen


^^^another view of the old kitchen


^^^the old dining area


^^^view across the old dining area towards the old kitchen


^^^and finally, the view of the old dining area from the (nearly completed) new kitchen/diner

These photos are several years old, but are the best I have, showing 'before' images....
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post #29 of 122 Old 06-04-2016, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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So, the first week of March this year, and work begins in earnest. I was away for the first few days of the builders moving in, and already things look quite different!

Walls have been removed, the floor lifted and the lads are cracking on....


^^^first problem. A soil pipe running through the cinema area. The solution will be to raise the floor of the cinema a little and build a set of steps over it. This loses me about 1ft of ceiling height from the lower level - still, I had plenty to start with, I don't suppose I'll miss it too much!


^^^ceiling starting to come down too


^^^one of the requirements during the build was to keep the washing machine operational. We have a little chap with a lot of issues who tends to create quite a mess - much of it ending up over both him, and us! The washing machine is in use at least once a day.


^^^with the joists removed, affording a better view of the soil pipe. Other plumbing will need to be moved as well.


^^^a lot of stuff to be moved in the ceiling void too, but at least we can see what now needs to be done....
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post #30 of 122 Old 06-04-2016, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Things moved quickly.


^^^the dwarf walls that had supported the joists were taken down to just one block high and then topped with 4x2s. The original plan had called for a floating floor directly onto the concrete subfloor, but the soil-pipe scuppered that idea.


^^^new joists in place, with plenty of 'fluffy' to prevent too much resonance. Actually quite happy with a suspended floor, as it should provide a more 'tactile' experience for the front row.


^^^this is where detail starts to become important. The two 'returns' created will be outside of the cinema area, so they are supported by studwork that doesn't touch the joists beneath them, so preserving 'isolation' from the inside of the cinema.


^^^and at the end of play that day, there was still access to the washing machine - just!
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