Ok guys, I can't thank you enough for all of the feedback! These posts have really shaken my brother up and they are getting him to consider other options. He has been persuaded to focus on the 5.1, kitchen/dining room, and patio for now and will install/purchase the rest later when he has the money.
To answer a few of the questions posed:
His living room (where he wants to put in the 5.1) is 2187 cubic feet, but it is open in back with a kitchen/dining area behind it for a total of 5670 cubic feet.
He has multiple cat 5 or 6 wires as well as audio cords going to each room. (he also has redundancy in case of an issue later on)
He is planning on having the main floor and downstairs be on one zone (I think that is what it is called.) That includes the kitchen/dining room, entertainment room, living room (5.1), patio, laundry room. He wants them to be able to uses different sources. As for the upstairs there are control panels in each bedroom. I am not exactly sure on the details, but he has discussed them with a friend (the pro who wants him to use speakercraft.)
I don't think he had any idea about the necessity for an amp nor the cost of a whole house audio system so cheers for the heads-up on those issues.
His budget for the much alluded to nebulous 5.1 system is being upped from 1.5k to +3k and I am glad to have learned that I we should avoid in-wall/in-ceiling speakers for that system.
This weekend we are going to try and get out and listen to some speakers. Are there any other specific models or vendors you guys recommend for:
5.1 system (I guess it could be 7.1 if that is 'better') $3,000 Also, is the cinema-stick a good idea for this setup?
2.0 Weatherproof outside speakers $400-550
2.0 In wall speakers for the kitchen/dining room $400-450
Lastly, I would like to add that my brother is a recent college grad with humble tastes when it comes to speakers. We aren't audiophiles (yet) but we are music nuts! Up until now we have gotten by with logitech Z-2300's and sennheiser hd-600's, but he is looking for a significant upgrade...
Once again thank you all so much for your patience and expertise. I am confident that your responses have helped us out immeasurably!
This is also a response to my mirror post at: forums.audioholics.com/forums/showthread.php?p=782373#post782373
(I can't post URL's because I am a noob...