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Johnson Family Theater in the design phase

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I feel very fortunate to finally be starting a thread related to my own theater room. I never thought the day would come

Brief history: Wife and I bought a house before the collapse. Good house, 1500 sq ft. Started getting crowded with 2 kids, and having family over was very crowded. Built (and I mean built, only outside contractor was for foundation and roof, rest was all me and friends) our first addition of 384 sq ft, single story. Doubled the size of our kitchen/living/dining room area. So worthwhile we want to build a second addition, which involves me getting a large garage bay for workshop, expanded second floor adding an office and larger master bedroom, and a HOME THEATER ROOM.

Here is my current config: CLICKY

The architect is busy drawing things up and want to start a thread now to get any possible issues ironed out now. Here is my basic design:


The actual room is 15x20 feet, but I want to build a non-structural wall to provide Infinite Baffle backspace and other accessibility/wiring opportunities. I figure 2 20 amp circuits up front and a couple outlets scattered around should cover me, with conduit/smurf tube running to all speaker/projector locations.

The architect is familiar with double-drywall, staggered studs, and other methods of sound deadening, however I am only concerned with the theater ceiling as it is below the master bedroom. Two other walls are exterior, one is shared by the new garage, and another to the play/rec room. I figure the ceiling will be clips/hat channel and double drywall with GG, filled with insulation. I will also double-drywall and insulate the walls as well. Figure that's about as good as I can get other than building the room out of concrete (which I did consider...).

Speaker layout so far uses the TLAR (That Looks About Right) method of approximate placement, or T.L.A.R.M.O.A.P., and sound panels/traps are for reference at this point.

We'll be building as we get the budget once the initial groundbreaking/slab pouring is done, which unfortunately requires moving the power meter AND natural gas meter, which we hope to get started within a few months. This is going to be a slow process, but will be a much enjoyed project and result.
post #2 of 27
Good to see another build with an IB. My dimensions are similar to yours for width.

I'm sure if I do not say it someone else will - If you are going to go to all the efforts to soundproof, the double door is going to be hard to deal with and will likely be the weak link in the soundproofing.
post #3 of 27
I'm not sure what your seating will be but the riser does not have enogh depth for reclining chairs- need at least 6.5 ft.
Also agree with double french door no-no- light from playroom noise, etc. Maybe a door one side of the back wall- will allow you to push chairs back?
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well, the room has changed a bit. The infinite baffle is out--for now. I'm going with a smaller sealed setup first. So the room has gained the 3 feet of depth back, and I did add some to the riser depth.

The soundproofing measures being taken involve decoupling the sheetrock from the framing, to prevent transmission to the rest of the house, not necessarily to stop all sound from leaving (though I know it serves a similar purpose). And I chose the french door knowing it would be a weaker link. But I chose it to open up the theater into the rest of the house for larger events and such. I will be getting a heavier exterior door, though and I'll do what I can. I'll upload a new floorplan view soon.

Thanks for looking,
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Well, here is the new plan:


OLD LAYOUT.  See post 21 for current plan.

I am foregoing the IB at this time. It's just too permanent and it reduces the room size a bit. Going for a sealed setup instead. It allows me to move things around to fine-tune the sound and I already have one of the drivers, so it's a money-saver (then once I get the sub locations finalized, I'll be ready for IB). Room did shrink a bit in size overall when the architect talked to the county and looked at setbacks and did a more final measure off the rest of the house.

I'd like to do some sort of soffit lighting, but we'll see what the wife thinks (she does get SOME input on this room...)

Edited by SilentJ20 - 11/7/12 at 10:37am
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
So it begins! The hole for the foundation is dug. Should have footings being poured by the end of this week.

post #7 of 27
Nice to see the dirt flying.
post #8 of 27
Just wondering if you have the IB Drivers yet? If not you should keep your eye out and pick them up while you have a chance. There is a real shortage of drivers right now so get them while you can.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 

I decided not to go the route of infinite baffle due to 2 concerns: availability which you hit on and space (permanence came in to play a bit as well).

I was going to do a false wall and lose some room length to create the backspace for the IB (very much like your build. Reading it now, looks good!), but I figured I would rather have the larger room for easier seating arrangement. I may to an IB in the future when I figure out where the best sub placement is and future parts availability. I will likely start with 4 sealed subs I can enjoy for a while and find good placement.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Small update. Got a big pile of wood in front of the house for the first floor to start putting up.

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Some updates to the construction. It is moving along, albeit slowly.

August 14th:

September 10th:

And taken yesterday, November 1st:

I still have a bit of exterior work to do, but once that is done and I relocate the power and gas meters, I will be starting the inside and things will get a bit more interesting.
post #12 of 27
Lookin' good!
post #13 of 27
Is your gas meter staying in the garage? If so, I would install a pipe bollard so that a car can't hit it. Though a pipe bollard can be hard on a car. You have come to the right place to get help answering your questions. If I can help you, give me a shout.
post #14 of 27
I think you made the right decision with keeping the extra room depth. If you still yearn for IB in the future, you can put them in the attic.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ok, I've ran into a bit of a snag. I'm beginning to prepare my electrical supply perchase list and I have a question about lighting.

Unfortunately, I was required to put a window in the media room for fire escape reasons and I went ahead and made it a good sized window for future room possibilities. Now, however, my lighting ideas may have paid the price. I was planning on having 6 evenly spaced wall sconces--3 on each wall--for lighting. This puts one of the sconces right in the middle of the window. I was planning on plugging the window and hiding it, but this still leaves the issue of the light fixture. Has anyone ever put light fixtures in a slim wall column before? Could this be done over a plugged window?

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
So, smurf tube, or not? I'm tempted to run 14 gauge in-wall everywhere and call it good. With doing that, I can't see myself ever changing the cables for anything. Any thoughts? Have you smurf-tubed and then never changed the wire, or didn't smurf-tube but wish you had?
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Made a bit more progress lately. Things are moving, albeit slowly.

Here is the front wall:

The smurf tube is for surround speakers (3/4 inch) and the projector (1 inch). The outlets up front I had some fun with. The far left and far right are just regular room outlets. However, the 2nd and 4th ones are dedicated 20 amps. As in each outlet box has its own 20 amp breaker. Likely use will likely be sub amps. The center box has its own dedicated 15 amp breaker. This will be for the Receiver, htpc, xbox, etc. The power is a bit overkill for my room size, but if I have the opportunity, I want to plan for a bit of excess.

Where the smurf tube leaves the front wall and enters the floor joist space.

Showing the side surround smurf tube (left on pic) and the rear surround (right on pic). Also one of the pocket light fixtures.

I have done everything so far without having the slab poured. Though I am now seeing as how it will be the primary holdup. I was needing to move the natural gas and power meters first, and it was taking time. Well, the gas meter has been moved (not cheap, oy), but now the power has to be moved. So that is my next focus. Move the power meter, pour the slab, THEN finish the wiring and other mechanical aspects.

More updates to come as things progress.
post #18 of 27
Looking good. Really impresses your willingness and ability to take this beast on yourself.

Did you ever solve the window/light issue?


post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks Cory. It has been a ton of work, especially with this being the second addition to the house I have built myself. But the money being saved over paying someone else to do it cannot be ignored.

The window and lighting issue will be solved by making a tightly fitting window plug covered with the same material/colors as the walls. I will then construct 6 slim fake columns with LED lighting integrated into the top portions (thanks to my brother for that idea). The columns will be powered by a switched outlet on either side of the room, with the columns wiring connected and hidden behind the base trim along the walls.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Wow, has it really been so long since I've updated this thread? Unfortunately, there hasn't been a huge amount of progress. A few months ago, we (my wife and I) decided that I needed a break from the constant work and money-spending that this project was making. BUT, just the other day I got the slab poured and work is resuming!


The missing studs in the wall were merely for access while pouring. The access to the theater will be through the wall on the far right (rear of room).

Cast in the slab are two independent runs of THESE BOXES. Each run is connected with 12 feet of 1 inch rigid conduit. I did not have the foresight to have wiring runs put into the footings when they were poured to run power directly to the riser, but these will allow me to run whatever I need from the front wall into the riser space. I figure one for power and one for audio/cat6/whatever, separated by 12 inches of concrete will hopefully eliminate any interference.

The next step is to finish the wiring in the garage and theater room, run some duct work and install a couple french doors.

More updates to come!
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
When replying to another thread, I realized I had not posted a pic of my current plan:

post #22 of 27
Been said many times before, but you may want to attempt a 'max screen size' before committing to a fixed width or ordering a screen. With today's projectors, blu-ray and good availability of hi-def TV, it appears you have the space to go much wider/bigger on screen. Get to a point where you can test the size, resolution and brightness and see if you like it.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
I agree. When I buy the material, I could very easily buy a bit extra to play with. Though I'll be running into height problems if I go too big. The room is actually a bit shorter than 8 feet and if it gets too low, the riser needs to get quite tall to see over the first row clearly. I have a 100 inch now that I sit about 11-12 feet from. Thanks for the recommendation.
post #24 of 27
I'm assuming the proposed screen is 115" wide, not diagonal. I'd be surprised if you decided to go larger than that with a front row at 9'.

Those look like standard couches instead of theater seats. Since your riser is fairly shallow, I'm assuming they don't recline.

What happened to the bass traps in the back corners? And what are the dark shaded areas in the front corners?
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
The screen size is tbd. I'll play with it when the room is ready. Easy to make a big screen smaller than it is to make a smaller screen bigger.

Standard couches for now, if for no other reason than saving money. We have a couch for the back row already (moving in from the current tv room) so I'll only need to buy one couch. Theater seats will likely come later, unless I score a killer deal or know someone selling some.

I left out the bass traps in the above sketch for no good reasons I guess. I was messing with placements and just never put them back in. I don't think I'll actually make any until I measure room response and listen to see if I even need them.

The 2x2 shaded squares up front corners are the subs. Each box will be 900 liters (huge, but I want a low Q) and will hold a FiCar Audio Q18. Best bang-for-the-buck sub I've seen so far. Being so big will help them become part of a pseudo false-wall.
post #26 of 27
Did you use any special software for the illustration with the reflections? I cant seem to find any software which automatically draws the correct outgoing angle.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post

Did you use any special software for the illustration with the reflections? I cant seem to find any software which automatically draws the correct outgoing angle.

Well, you got me. Haha. That's actually drafted out in Visio using the office layout template. The reflections are done by drawing lines and matching angles of the before and after wall lines to find the reflection point. It was a tedious process, and not sure if I'd do it again. Just about any 2d cad program would be able to accomplish it much more simply by drawing the lines, displaying the angles and then moving the vertex along the wall to where the angles matched matched.

*nerd moment*

OR, if you used a more powerful modeling software capable of parametric modeling, you could create the lines and link them together such that the point on the wall is dependent on the location of the speaker and the listener while keeping both angles the same.

*end nerd moment*

Hope that helps.
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