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Mizedog's Theater build thread

post #1 of 141
Thread Starter 
Hey all. I've been lurking for a while but haven't antied up because I've been stalled out for a while (don't tell Logan). Plus, I wasn't sure my HT would wow anyone - yet. When I got a quote from a contractor three years ago to finish the basement (about 800 sqft.), I convinced my wife I could do it much cheaper myself (never done this before ) so we can upgrade to better furnishings (and HT gear - shhhh). Well, it's been three years now and I've put the HT on the back burner to accomodate the other areas. Now my wonderful wife says she wants to have a LOST series finale party in May in the HT!! Plus, my parents have volunteered some used furnature to use until we buy new.

So, facts:
Approximately 800 sq ft basement with low ceilings (92"). The builder set it up for three bedrooms and bath. We designed it for a full bath, one small bedroom, a 14'x16' craft/play room, and of course, my home theater room which is approximately 13'x17.5'. Here's the basic layout:


I'll post what pictures I have from start to finish. Right now, all drywall is up textured and painted. All electrical is installed and working. Bathroom is done (except baseboards). Carpet tile in bedroom and craftroom (won't do this again!). "Two-story" playhouse for my 4 and 6 year old daughters is done. Recycled kitchen cabinets are installed across from playhouse. Next step is to build the countertop for the craftoom/office area. Home theater has the wetbar sink top and sink installed, working. Here's an old picture before the paint, wetbar counter, and switch plates were installed:


I'll go over the demensions, structure, soundproofing efforts, cable routing, and challenges of the HT soon. Any thoughts, or nuggets of wisdom are always appreciated. Next step is deciding on carpet for the HT.

Thanks.
post #2 of 141
Thread Starter 
Here's a picture of the diagram submitted to Regional for the permit.

Here are pictures of the basement as it was when we bought it. You can see the previous owners started with 24" on center. The contracter we had complete the framing (yes, we paid for the pros on this)used 16" on center when possible.
Looking from the bottom of the stairs past the craftroom to the theater room

From the craftroom past the furnace room to the screen wall (crawl space behind)

From the theater room back through the craftroom to where the bathroom and spare bedroom (officially an office) will be.
post #3 of 141
Thread Starter 
Here's a picture of the wetbar framing with the fridge and convection/micro sitting there in their boxes (sink on top). These two made a great tool holding surface for months. I ran 4" PVC pipe as a cable run through the ceiling over the wetbar, then 90* left over the door into the furnace room. I'm glad I left a few ropes in ther to assist in future cable changes. Note that the PVC in this picture is the drain from the kitchen sink upstairs. I don't have the cable run in yet.

I used both clear and white caulk on the stubs as a budget isolation method. The clear was a little softer, and went on white, dried clear. The white went on...white, but was much easier to see after it dried. I used at least a case or two. Directly on the studs below the Celotex, then all over the Celotex sound board under the drywall. I didn't use isolation brackets so I was liberal with the caulk. This was a first pass. I realized the straight run down the middle got in the way of the drywall screws and got pulled away from the stud in a clump. So I went with a wavey pattern and a whole lot more than this:

My Dad and I started putting up drywall on the ceiling without this jack. Foolish. The jack was rented from Home Depot and was worth the money since I could work on the it by myself when Dad wasn't available.

This is the screen wall. To the right is where the built in book/media shelf/cabinets will be built under the soffit. If you look closely you can see the floating walls that my area requires to allow the floor to rise without knocking the house off the foundation. You can also see the caulking on the studs. Since this is a basement, 2 1/2 walls are below ground with a thick layer of diaper insulation applied by the builder. So the wall studs are at least 3-4" away from the cement. Then I added more insulation inbetween the wall studs for at least 6-7" of insulation. One upper half of the screen wall, there is more two layers of the R-13 JM and I can add more from the crawl space area if needed. This design also gives me easy access to the back of the wall to build recesses for speakers, or boxes around in-wall speakers if I go that route (haven't decided yet).

There is 2" inches of continuous gap under the hanging walls which will make future cable running an option. Our lovely contractors did a horrible job on the framing. I had to take down and move a couple walls. Plus, they started pulling out of the joists and sagging. So I had to jack them back up and add more screws and nail strips to keep them together. The studs just starting pulling away. Also, the studs were rarely on center so I had to custom cut EVERY piece of drywall!!!

Below you see a piece of soundboard leaning up against the stud. Cheap and effective.
post #4 of 141
Thread Starter 
As you can see, I'm done with the electrical, plumbing rough in and had someone else add the ducting as I didn't have the time, and my hands are just too big to get in the tight areas.

For electrical, I ran the following:

Run 1 - 14g/15 amp to seven or eight outlets along the lower walls (easy to add sconces later)
Run 2 - 14g/ 15 amp to the can lights (eight), outlet for rope light
Run 3 - 14g/15 amp run just for the projector
Run 4 - 14g/15 amp for wetbar microwave, over-sink outlet, under-cabinet light (easily accesses through the cabinet hole on the right. GFI-protected.
Run 5 - 12g/20 amp outlet for the refrigerator only (per code)
Run 6 - 12g/20 amp dedicated for media equipment (accessible from furnace room for futuer changes)
Run 7 - 12g/30 amp dedicated to electric fire place to go under crawl space door.
This may seem like over kill, but I wanted to isolate some circuits, and figured better put more in that I need. The guy who wired up the circuit box laughed and said he'd never seen that much into on room before. Oh, forget the neat little purpose-built wire stripper/crimp tools for making up outlets. A small pair of needle-nose pliars are much quicker and easier and make easy, round loops in the wire.
---------------
Drywall -
1/2" drywall over 1/2" Celotex soundboard
Bullnose corners - attached with mud - not nails/screws to more support behind, and eliminate hollow spaces
Knockdown texturing - done by a contractor.
Again, because there was nothing close to a 90* angle, I had to measure and custom cut EVERY piece of drywall. The studs were not perpendicular to the floor, the walls were at an angle (as much as 2" over 8-9 feet).

Close up of a bullnose corner:

Colors I used. Very dark blue for the ceiling, dark, dusty blue for the walls - all flat. You can see I taped up what Klipsch bookshelf speakers would look like. I'm still not sure what I'll do for main speakers in the end. I will probably build cabinets to the right and left of the fireplace for storage, and to hide tall tower speakers. All would will be cherry. (edit: fireplace sold, went with a oak wood instead of cherry, stain is Zinser "Gunstock" color)


This drywalling took me forever to complete. Yes, there was a certain sense of satisfaction, but if I had to do it all over again I would have a contractor do it.
post #5 of 141
Thread Starter 
Here's the wetbar area. The counter top will have the black/grayish blue/white glass tile on it to give a mono-chromatic look, which will also tip a hat to the Route 66/Drive-in theater/car theme. I won't go overboard with theme though. I don't want the glaring 50's diner look. Under the counter will be a refridgerator on the left, and a cherry-finish cabinet on the right. Above the counter will be a hanging cabinet on the right for glasses, etc., and a shelf for a convection over/microwave on the left. I've got an outlet in the corner to supply under-cabinet lighting. Both appliances are stainless steel.


The underlayment for the tile:

In this more recent pic you can see some of the outlets, and dimmers
post #6 of 141
mizedog - Thanks for commenting on my thread! I listed some questions for you regarding your HVAC.

Just found your thread - looking good!!!

Can you detail what you did for HVAC?
post #7 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtwi View Post

mizedog - Thanks for commenting on my thread! I listed some questions for you regarding your HVAC.

Just found your thread - looking good!!!

Can you detail what you did for HVAC?

Mornin'!
Here's the trunk line and ducts added in blue:

The trunk line runs through the HUGE soffit in the craftroom. The three ducts run between the joists and are round 6" hard lines terminating in a boot vent. I stuffed copious amounts of insulation around the duct line for sound proofing. I did not put anythin inside the duct, however. It's very quiet when the heater is on. I know some sound will get out of the theater through the duct, but it shouldn't be overwhelming since it's a basement.
post #8 of 141
Thread Starter 
Here is the place I will put a door to the back of the media shelf for easy access to the wiring. You can also see the cabling hanging from the run that goes to the projector mounting area in the HT room ceiling. The blue ropes are to facilitate future cable runs.
post #9 of 141
Thread Starter 
This is what I've been working on instead of the home theater room. I want browny points from my daughters and wife.
Here's the playhouse that takes advantage of the space under the stairs so it's deeper than what you see here. I've run rope light throughout. There are built in bins to store puppets, and books.

Here's my wife's craftroom/office space. I bought some used kitchen cabinets from Habitat For Humanity's Restore for next to nothing. Seven upper cabs, four below all for about $350. I will be putting in the 14' long counter top that has 4' and 8' returns soon. The left corner will be for the computer, and the right corner for her sewing, scrapbooking, and for the girls to do their homework on.
post #10 of 141
Thread Starter 
Ok. Now that I've posted the basics of this room I'd like to encourage and thank you for any feedback or suggestions you might have. I've learned alot from this forum already and it has helped me plan so far.

Since I'm trying to keep my wife at home with the kids for a while, this has become a budget build. Because of that, I'm going to be dusting off my ten year old system and use that until I can upgrade.

Here's what I've got:
Head unit: Denon AVR2800 - has optical outputs, no HD video support, though.
Center speaker: Klipsch Synergy sc-1
Rear speakers: Klipsch Synergy ss-1s
Main speakers: Fisher 3-ways w/ 15" woofers. Dad just gave 'em to, never heard them.
Sub: Klipsch KSW-12 (don't care for down-firing subs as they miss some punch in the upper bass range. Will probably put this on a hard surface for more transient impact.)
DVD player: LG DVD-r w/ VHS and upscaling. DVD just stopped reading discs. Will probably replace with blu-ray. (edit: Sony BDS270 is used for discs. LG will still play VHS stapes)
Projector: None yet - will consider used to keep the price down (edit: bought a Viewsonic. Big but great picture)
Screen: None yet - will probably make my own until I can get a pull down (temporary Do Able board from HD. Give a screen about 98" diagonally).

Speaker placement:
I have run wires through the walls for 9.1. However, since I only have 5.1 speakers, and the couch will be against the back wall, I'll probably put the rear speakers on the back wall (edit: put them on the sides, will build concealing oak columns). If I put them on the sides, they'll actually be ahead of the rear listeners reducing the surround effect. In the future, I'll probably go with in-walls for the surrounds. This will put the speakers as far back as possible, and keep them from protruding into the room.

Center speaker in the fireplace:
I bought a large electric fireplace that looks alot like this (edit: now gone as it was too big):

But, it has half-round columns on the sides which will complement the bass traps I plan on making. I plan on routing out the panel just above the insert, adding a shelf for the center speaker and covering with black GOM to hide the center speaker. The fireplace is 46" high, 53" wide. this would put the center speaker just above 3' high. Unfortunately, the height of the fireplace acts as a limiting factor for screen size unless I put in a hanging, perf screen that can be pulled down in front of the fire place. This would improve the viewing angle. However, the center speaker may be tough to hear. Plus, the first row would be only 10-12" from the screen which may be close enough to see the perferations.
Thoughts?
post #11 of 141
Thread Starter 
Oops, just read the box. The fireplace is only 43" high. This gives me a max of about 48" of screen height (or less with carpet installed).
post #12 of 141
Thread Starter 
My Dad helped me add two layers of plywood countertop to the craftroom. The back wall is 14', with a 4' return on the left for the computer, and an 8' return on the right for "Renee's Corner" where she'll do scrapbooking, sewing and the girls can do crafts and homework. It's not part of the HT, but it earns browny points that I can apply to the HT! Here's the countertop before the formica goes on:
post #13 of 141
Thread Starter 
We ordered carpet from Lowes. Bill was a great help and had lots of experience - great guy. I told him I was going for a hint of Route 66/Drive-in theater theme and he told great stories of driving his '71 hot rod Corvette, and his friend's '57 Corvette. I wanted a dark blue, but he and my wife talked me into going near black (Ruby Hill in Ebony). It's a combo of cut pile and loop that will give a sutble pattern of little rectangles. Here's the color combo without the carpet (the black spot is the camera strap):


I've asked that the curve the transition to the vinyl floor under the wetbar to match the curve of the wetbar countertop. (edit: they did this well)
post #14 of 141
Craftroom's lookin' good! I like the deal you got on the cabinets from Restore. I've also been buying things from there - low cost and great cause!

An idea for your Denon - I have an older Denon 4802, with no HDMI. I can't afford to upgrade that for awhile, so I plan to use this HDMI switch with optical out, which will pass all digital sound to the Denon from any HDMI source.

For a DIY screen, many guys are using the Seymour AV solution. You will not see the perf at 10'. I wouldn't go with a pull down, I had one in my 1st HT, and they suck.

I'd also rethink that fireplace on the stage below the screen, even tho it may look cool. The screen height should be according to your 1st row - eye level is 1/3 distance from the bottom of the screen. If your fireplace is 46", the bottom of the screen will be above eye height - not good.
post #15 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtwi View Post

An idea for your Denon - I have an older Denon 4802, with no HDMI. I can't afford to upgrade that for awhile, so I plan to use this HDMI switch with optical out, which will pass all digital sound to the Denon from any HDMI source.

For a DIY screen, many guys are using the Seymour AV solution. You will not see the perf at 10'. I wouldn't go with a pull down, I had one in my 1st HT, and they suck.

I'd also rethink that fireplace on the stage below the screen, even tho it may look cool. The screen height should be according to your 1st row - eye level is 1/3 distance from the bottom of the screen. If your fireplace is 46", the bottom of the screen will be above eye height - not good.

Thanks for the info! I was wondering how I would get the Denon in line with a newer blu-ray! The screen idea is a good one as it may have to drop infront of the fireplace to get the picture down to eye level. If I frame it and mount it in a way that will allow it to flip up for access to the crawl space I might be in good shape. I have to admit, I've considered taking the fireplace back and applying that $$ to a projector...
post #16 of 141
What, no updates?

I was going to order one of the HDMI with optical out boxes, but Monoprice is sold out with no restock date. That was probably a good thing. I bought a Harmony 890 remote (good deals on ebay), which is very easy to program via PC. So for any video device I choose from the remote, the Denon will switch the optical input - no need for a HDMI switch with optical out. I just ordered more optical cables. Gotta love technology.
post #17 of 141
Thread Starter 
The HT carpet went in today! I haven't been home yet to see in person so my wife took these. It looks like the transition below the wetbar went well. However, I see they didn't use a transition between the HT room black carpet and the craftroom carpet tile that holds down the edge of the carpet tile. So, it looks like the raw edge of the carpet tile is exposed. I'll talk to the installer about getting that changed.


Here's the wall to the left of the screen wall (oposite the door). I still have some baseboard work to do here. Plus, I won't keep them white. I'm thinking of a dark burgandy to "match" the cherry wood finish of the fireplace. I may use a sponging technique to give it more of an aged look. (edit: with the change to oak for the cabinets, will replace this with oak baseboards)


Next step (after the entry way transition issue), moving the couches in. I'm using my parents' hand-me-downs for a while and will recover them to match the room.
post #18 of 141
Love the Carpet. What Brand and style is that?
post #19 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KERMIE View Post

Love the Carpet. What Brand and style is that?

Thanks! The carpet is from Lowe's. The style is Ruby Hill, color is Ebony. Unfortunately, I don't remember the make. I do know it's not Stainmaster. It is a polyester instead of nylon. However, because this is not a through-traffic area but a place to go and sit, I think it will hold up fine.

Tonight, I plan on dragging down the fireplace that's taken up a huge amount of space in my garage for three years!!!
post #20 of 141
Thread Starter 
You can see they didn't tack down the carpet tile!


This was my chance to assemble the fireplace:


It's higher than I would have liked (43") and may cause me to use a screen that pulls down in front of the fireplace. I'll start with a cheap DIY screen that's above the fireplace and see how it goes. The wood panel above the fireplace insert has nothing behind it. My plan was to cut an opening and put the center speaker in there.
Now that the cherry color is in there I really don't like the white switch plates, and baseboards. Any thoughts on whether to paint the baseboards black, the same color as the ceiling, or the to match the fireplace? Keep in mind I'll be adding much more of the cherry woodwork and cabinetry.
I'm also going to change that darn crawl space door because it's too low. One option is to create a framed and drywalled door that's flush with the wall. If I go this route, I could create an opening for a center speaker there and hide it behind some GOM and use a perfed screen.
post #21 of 141
Mizedog,

I just ordered the same carpet from Lowes, the Ruby Hill. I ordered the "ThunderCloud" color for my main area and I got the Ebony for the stage. I wanted the stage to have some sort of pop from the rest of the floor.

In your images the Ebony looks brighter than what it looked like at the store, is that perhaps from Camera flash? Was there alot of natural light in the room when you took the pictures? My cave is rather dark, so I was concerned about having Ebony over the whole floor as the carpet would just appear to be a black-hole, but from your pics I'm concerned as it appears much brighter than I anticipated.
post #22 of 141
Thread Starter 
Scuba,
I think you'll like your choice! The pattern is a nice balance between plain, and overdone (couldn't spend $5/sqft on fancy stuff). The carpet isn't as dark as we thought it would be and almost has a little blue in it (of course this might be just the effect of the wall color). What I found is that this carpet definitely has a grain, or direction to the way the fibers are oriented. Looking toward the screen wall, the carpet is much lighter and the pattern is harder to see. Looking at the back wall, the carpet is much darker and the contrast between the background and the loop/squares is much greater. If you're splitting hairs, I'd say turning it 180* could decrease light reflection from the screen. So, work with your installer to get the orientation you want. However, since mine is the dark Ebony, I think this will be minimal and I want guests to see the richer color when the walk in and move toward the seating. Oh, lastly, the Dyson vacumm we have downstairs is not robust enough to get out footprints. The beat head is very light weight and doesn't have a deadicated motor. I think a better vacuum would make the color darker, and bring out the pattern.
post #23 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by mizedog View Post

You can see they didn't tack down the carpet tile!
It's higher than I would have liked (43") and may cause me to use a screen that pulls down in front of the fireplace.

I really like your carpet!!!! I don't like the installer not tacking down the carpet - that sucks... You paid them to do the job, and they didn't. Make sure you check everything out before you call them to correct the problems.

I'd still reconsider the fireplace, but maybe it's just me. If this a family/gathering area you'll spend a great deal of time in front of the fireplace, OK. But if you're trying to add it as a "coolness factor" to your HT, it may not be worth it. Pull down screens are not good. Perhaps the fireplace can go somewhere else?

But it's your HT, and what you say rules (except for WAF).

You're making great progress, I'm sure you're excited to finish!
post #24 of 141
Thread Starter 
I went to Home Depot and asked if they'd take the fireplace back after it sat in the box three years. They said yes, if they still carried that model. Unfortunately, I don't think they do. The receipt I showed them is so faded that it's tough to see the sku number. I'll have to disassemble it, repack it, try to get it back, then they can pass down a judgement. My Dad was over to help with routing the craftroom countertop and agreed that the fireplace is too high. We'll see.

I unpacked the fridge and pushed it under the wetbar. Hearing that little hum as it started up kind of gave a little life to the room. Cold drink anyone?

Have you noticed rough spots or holes in the drywall at the base of the walls (like in the wetbar nook)? They were originally intended to be cut out for the floating wall. One note about Colorado. Due to the high cray content of the soil, basement wall must be floating. This means they are suspended from the joists with slip joints at the bottom to allow the floor to rise and fall as the clay absorbs moisture. So, there's about 2" of space at the bottom of walls. The drywall is "supposed" to be cut out and the space hidden by higher baseboards. I found out after installing the drywall that cutting out this waste is actually an option and now have decided not to cut out the space. I'd rather keep the load bearing advantages and risk later drywall cracking. I had to do major rework of the framing after the contractors left because the walls started pulling apart and sagging. I'm just concerned that without gypsum from floor to ceiling, the wall will pull down again. Here's a pic of the space:
post #25 of 141
Thread Starter 
Tried sku on the HD site, no luck. Looks like it's Craig's list for the fireplace. Here's a pic w/o flash that shows the colors better:

Fridge is now under the wetbar keeping drinks cold:
post #26 of 141
Thread Starter 
Since this is a budget build, we're starting out with a love seat and hide-a-bed couch my parents don't need any longer. I know, I know... But, I'd rather sink the money into a projector, sound treatment, and better speakers. Later on we'll upgrade. Besides, it'll be nice to have the sleeping option for visitors.

So, how do you put a hide-a-bed couch on a riser, get a table in front, and still use the bed when needed? How about this idea?
post #27 of 141
Why not just put the hide-a-bed in the front row?
post #28 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adammb View Post

Why not just put the hide-a-bed in the front row?

Thanks for the input Adammb! Yes, this would make sense. But, I'm being selfish here. We're getting one full size couch (has the bed), and a love seat. I wanted the love seat up in the sweet spot so any guests will be in the back row on the couch. Besides, the entry door will swing in and make it tough to avoid hitting a full sized couch if it was up front. The door will swing in for two reasons. First, because it's normal for a bedroom and if we ever convert it to a bedroom, it will be right. Second, I plan on building a ticket booth facade on the outside of the theater door which will stick out at least a foot or more. The door would quickly hit the mechanical room door.

Keep the input coming - I'm new to building a dedicated room.
post #29 of 141
I think we all know why you want a bed in your theater so bad. Kinda like owning a van when your younger. LOL
post #30 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adammb View Post

I think we all know why you want a bed in your theater so bad. Kinda like owning a van when your younger. LOL

Nice! I will be sharing your post with my wife as soon as I get home...

By the way, my family's from NW Indiana = Corn and steel mills, baby!
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