Well, I suppose it's time for my first update just so you don't think I totally dropped off the face of the earth. I was pretty happy with my slow but steady progress in June & August, but I didn't go down there to work once in July. We totally over-scheduled July, and it was torchure not being able to keep working. Anyway, here is the update:
HVAC: I hired this out and now have two sends and a return installed in the theater room. This should be all the HVAC work.
Electrical: My main 100A panel was full, so I hired an electrician to do a service upgrade. He upgraded my main panel in my garage to 200A. He only wanted $300 extra to install the 100A sub-panel for the theater (that I was planning on installing myself), so I had him do that too. He also installed the electrical for all house air conditioning that we hope to add soon. You don't need it very often in Colorado, but it will be nice to have for a few months of the year. I will do the rest of the electrical myself.
Framing: I have now completed framing and building soffits around exposed heating ducts. The previous homeowner had already framed about half the room which I originally thought was great, but it turned out to be the biggest problem I faced. In Colorado we have expansive clay soil, so you have to "float" the basement walls which means you hang the walls from the joists, and you must leave a 1 1/2" gap at the bottom to allow the slab to raise if the soil expands. Well, most of his framing didn't quite have a 1 1/2" gap, most likely because the slab must have raised over time. So I had to rip down every wall he framed and shorten the studs by a hair. That was WAY more work than the other walls I framed from scratch.
I am now learning about fire blocking, and will do that next so I can get my framing inspection.
Here are some pictures of how it currently looks:
Not a lot of description necessary at this stage I guess. The last picture shows a small soffit I built where I will put a 4" or so conduit between the AV closet in the middle of the picture & the projector. I will be building an in-wall rack for my components in the wall so they will face the theater and the back can be accessed from the AV closet. I'll probably put a cabinet door of some type to cover the components and use an IR repeater.