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The "Illumination Theatre" Build / As of January 2013 NOW BEGINNING VERSION 2.0 Please come on in!

post #1 of 120
Thread Starter 



The Illumination Theatre is about to undergo some significant changes and I am going to need the forums help and knowledge on a few things! I thought about starting a new thread but instead I will post a link below to the start of what I'll call "Version 2.0"











Below is my original first post.


Ok, here it is after Lurking the AVS Forum for about two years I am finally posting my build thread now that I am making some physical forward progress instead of just building my theatre in my head!!

Here are the details:

The primary purpose of the room will be watching movies in a totally light controlled environment, primarily Blu-Ray. Also the room will be used for reading and listening to music. I came up with the name "Illumination Theatre" based upon the sconces and chandelier I am using that look like candles.

Room Dimensions are 17.5' long by 12.5' wide 9' ceilings.

Seating will be a sectional sofa which will arrive today and eventually a second row bar. I struggled with seating but felt this was the best budget compromise and I wanted to be able to stretch out and lay down on the seating while reading or listening to music. distance will be 11' from screen.

The primary architectural additions will be a soffit over the screen wall, a light tray with crown, and six columns which will each have a sconce and the back four providing placement for the surround speakers.

The rear of the room will have an Ikea Expedit bookcase between the rear columns, this is about 73" tall and will be where I place the projector.

Lighting will be controlled by a six zone Grafik eye.

Zone 1 - Chandelier
Zone 2 - Rope light in light tray
Zone 3 - Screen Cans
Zone 4,5,6 - Sconces in pairs (Front, Middle, Rear)


Projector - Epson 8700UB   Now Epson 5010
Screen - Jamestown 120" white

AVR - Pioneer Elite VSX-21  Denon 4311ci!
Blu-Ray - Panasonic DMP-BD60
Speakers - Energy (C-300 Mains, CC-100 Center, CR-10 Sides, C-100 Wides, C-50 Rears)

All equipment will be in a central equipment closet including the AVR, Ps3, Wii, etc.. for the rest of the house. Everything will be controlled through Irule.

Colors will be all Black with Gold trim, Black shades for the windows.

As you can see the windows on one side are in the locations of two of the columns, I will be placing the columns in the middle of the window and I think it will look good considering the compromise.

I am currently building the columns and have all the wood I need to finish the room and will posting progress pictures and more details.

Edited by cheezit73 - 1/22/13 at 8:30pm
post #2 of 120
Thread Starter 
Rough layout and more pictures.
post #3 of 120
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 120
Thread Starter 
Progress made on the columns today!

The plan for the columns is they will be MDF sides and Birch faces. I am going to dye the birch black with Transtint "Ebony" dye. I am then going to "Frame the edges 2" on each side with .75 MDF so that the Birch will be inset.

Yesterday I ripped the sides for four of the columns as well as the corner supports. The columns are .75 MDF, the supports I used 1x4's ripped in half.

I took the 1x4 halves and used Titebond wood glue and 1.25" brads to attach them to the MDF sides.

I then made a jig with some scrap wood and assembled all the pieces of the first column again using woodglue and this time two inch brads through the face of the Birch ply into the corner supports.

Needless to say I am very excited that I have one of the six columns rough assembled!
post #5 of 120
Those candle lights are killer!
post #6 of 120
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lucas! I am so happy I got them, I kept looking at them and then told myself I had better by these before they don't carry them anymore. It was a good decision because now that I am building my room they indeed do not have them!!
post #7 of 120
Looking at the floorplan, I have a small suggestion. Slide the sofa back a couple feet so that the main seats are even with the Ls/Rs speakers. It will help the sense of envelopment. With a 120" screen, it will not be a problem. Probably can just experiment with this after the room is built, since there's nothing preventing some shifting of the seating.
post #8 of 120
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestion! I am definitely going to play around with the placement a bit on that one. For one I am not sure whether I will prefer 11' or 12' or so for the viewing distance. As well as I have no idea what the CR-10's are going to sound like. In my previous setup I had the C-100's as side surrounds just slightly behind and above, and C-50's for rear surrounds. By the way I really like your theatre, it has resided in my bookmarks folder for over a year now!
post #9 of 120
Thread Starter 
I have been making progress over the last few days, here are some pics. All of the columns are built, just need to put in electrical boxes and speaker mounts and trim. Light tray and soffit bottom are up minus the crown molding.

I am going to take down the columns and work on finishing them up tonight. Tomorrow my goal is to prep and paint most everything and run wiring, we will see how that goes.

Also just received my Jamestown screen, I posted some pics and info about that in the screen thread.

post #10 of 120
Thread Starter 
Well I have not received very many comments on my room so far, so hopefully some updates will peak some interest, let me know what you guys think so far.

So some good progress has been made with the help of my Father and Father In-law today. We have put up the first coat of paint on the ceiling and walls and two coats of primer on the Mdf surfaces! I changed my mind on the color and have gone with Mouse Ears black on the ceiling, screen wall and tomorrow the light tray. The side and back walls I painted "Dark Granite" from Lowes in an eggshell, it is actually more of a dark brown which will match the bookcase, couch, and lights. In looking at Gold trim I saw a thread recommending to use Valspar spray paint, while looking at this at Lowes I noticed they have a color called "Oil rubbed bronze" which I am going to try as I think it may match the lights well.

So tomorrow before the game we are going to:

Second coat of paint.

Run to new dedicated 20A circuits to the equipment closet and an 15A circuit to the graphic eye. (Father In-Law is an electrician by trade so that will be huge benefit!)

Assemble and hang screen.

Assemble bookcase.

And if there is time run some of the wiring.

If not at the very least I will temporarily set up the equipment in the room and we will be watching the super bowl on the 120" screen!!!!!

Later this week as I have time I will finish the columns, properly run the speaker wires, and do the finish trim work and crown molding.

Hope everyone enjoys the game!!

post #11 of 120
Zipping right along!

If it were mine, I would either build flush mount plugs for the windows, or at least hang curtains behind the columns. To me the columns over the windows looks, I dunno, unfinished.
post #12 of 120
Thread Starter 

I have not taken pictures of them yet, but I do have Dark Black Cellular shades for the windows that I think will blend well enough with the wall paint to be a good compromise. I thought about plugs, but this will also be a music listening, reading room and I still wanted to be able to have light. The columns over the window came about since I needed a place to put that side surround and was not going to compromise on its placement I do like the idea of curtains on either side of both columns though. I will see how the shades look and I could always do curtains in front of them later if I don't like it.
post #13 of 120
Your room is nearly the same size as mine, but with the advantage of a higher ceiling (lucky you!). Kudos to you for being brave enough to ruin a perfectly good window sill! That creeped me out. But, I still don't have any sills in my new construction.

I'm interested to see how the porportions come out with the seating and all.

Keep up the good work.
post #14 of 120
Thread Starter 
A couple of setbacks and a slightly new direction for the theatre have come about.

#1 I am not happy with the way the Brown walls are looking, the paint sample seemed much darker and the finished color almost has a maroon/purplish hue to it, my wife says it looks like a raisin!!! I kept leaving the room and coming back thinking my perspective might change but it has not. So I will be repainting the brown to black at ready for it.....my wifes suggestion

#2 I attempted dyeing the first column black with Transtint dye, I have never used dyes or stains, but it took almost half of the dye to get the entire birch face dark and then once I placed the column in the now darkly painted room the grain is hardly distinguishable and it basically looks like I painted the column black!

So I will now be painting the entire room black, will be painting the columns black instead of dying them and I will be doing all the trim and crown molding a bronze color to match the sconces.

I am happy with the changes and will be posting some more pics soon.

Also I temporarily setup the projector and put some Blurays in to test out the Jamestown screen. All I can say is wow it looks amazing especially compared to projecting on the tan wall!!!!
post #15 of 120
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply, yeah I figured worst case I could splice some wood back in to repair the window sill, but it is working out well with the columns! I have been watching your build for a while and like what you have done, I almost ordered the carpet you have based off your thread as well, but decided to budget that money elsewhere.
post #16 of 120
Thread Starter 
Some more progress and the theatre is starting to look more like how I envisioned it! Finished painting over the brown with black and am much happier with the overall look. The brown really clashed with the black ceiling, screen wall, and cellular shades.

I cut the strips of MDF for the facing of the columns and found some trim that I really liked at Lowes that will be in the insets. The pictures show it running the length of the columns but I will be cutting some more MDF facing to create two long rectangles for the trim to fit in.

Here are is the room with one small shade lamp on and and no flash:

And here is the room with a small amount of flash. You can see the chandelier is back up, I have installed the screen cans and have painted most of the baseboards black. I have also hung the Jamestown screen (ended up a bit crooked but will fix that soon.)

I have the next few days off, so hopefully I can finish the columns so I can install them along with the sconces in the room.

After that I just need to assemble the ikea bookcase, and run a bunch of wires!!

Ohh and I need to finish the Flexy rack, I will post pics of that and the equipment closet once I complete it.
post #17 of 120
Originally Posted by cheezit73 View Post

#2 I attempted dyeing the first column black with Transtint dye, I have never used dyes or stains, but it took almost half of the dye to get the entire birch face dark and then once I placed the column in the now darkly painted room the grain is hardly distinguishable and it basically looks like I painted the column black!
Good timing! I am putting together my DVD built in today and want a black ebony look. Black with the grain showing. Bought some ebony stain and not even close to the desired look. After some research red oak is hard to get this effect, albeit not birch like yours, and came across a technique using rust! Basically you cook up steel wool, old nails, apple vinegar cider and salt. After a day or so you taken the rust and make a stain and the chemical reaction causes the wood to turn black. The process found here hmmmm hard to add nice links with the ipad

All this sounds good in theory but I decided to go with black paint as I can see the science experiment taking a week and after nearly 3 years I need this done now!

Keep the momentum going!
post #18 of 120
Thread Starter 

I am really liking your theatre, the red and black looks great and I love the columns!! After a day or so the dye on the column got a little darker, but it still had a purple sheen to it, which I read is common with black dye and stain. Also I think even if it did come out looking good, it would still not show up very well in the dark room any way!!
post #19 of 120
Thread Starter 
Good progress today,

I finished all the details on the columns except for the chair rail, I am really liking the way they look!! No I just need to fill and sand (Not looking forward to it and then I can paint them!!
post #20 of 120
Thread Starter 
Here are the pics of the column progress, these have sure turned out to be a lot more work than I expected but it is worth it!

post #21 of 120
The detail work here is amazing... nice work! Seems to be coming together nicely!!
post #22 of 120
Very nice!
post #23 of 120
cheezit73, I like the light trays and columns. I would like to do a light tray as well and this gives me a good idea of how to do it. Are you still planning to add crown moulding? Seems like the ones I've seen with it give the light tray more of a purpose.

Wish I could have started with a finished room like you...I've got a long way to go yet.

post #24 of 120
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the comments! Yes I am going to be doing the crown moulding and some trim at the light tray wall joint. I will be doing that last after I have the columns up and all the wiring done with rope lights installed.
post #25 of 120
I would like to columns after finished...may be i will copy
post #26 of 120
Thread Starter 
Well the columns are awaiting final sanding, but will have to wait as the whole family has been sick. So I have used the time indoors to assemble the Flexi Rack.

Here is the complete rack going into the "Equipment Closet" I originally planned to tuck it into one corner and have the equipment facing 90 degrees to the door, but I might face it out in the middle. Also here is a shot of the two dedicated 20 Amp circuits that my father in law wired in for me!

post #27 of 120
18 days and no updates??? This is painful!!
post #28 of 120
I am impressed with the columns
post #29 of 120
Thread Starter 
Ok there has been progress albeit slow because........Yes I setup the projector lol!!!! Watched so far Inception, Book of Eli, Wall E, and lots of little clips and am loving it!!!

Iusteve here are the requested pics of the CR-10's, Mfusick thanks for the compliments.

So progress updates:

Columns have proven to be the most time consuming part of the build but I am very happy with how they are turning out. After testing out several different colors for the trim I ended up going back to the original plan of Gold. The Bronze just did not really show up or add much character.

In the pictures you will see that two of the columns are setup with the energy Cr-10's on them and are primer white. These will be coming down to be painted tomorrow, but I just could not resist putting them up to test the audio!!!

I have three more of the columns done just need to fill them with insulation and put them up.

For now here are some pics with the first finished column up and the Ikea bookcase.

Still need to run a bit more electrical, run the HDMI cable through the attic install the rope light and biggest last piece the crown molding, then I will take my time doing all the little trim work and decorations.

I will try and update more frequently!!
post #30 of 120
My man the columns look great and so do those CR-10s. I am in the midst of deciding how to build the 4 columns that I will need and confused on which way I want to do it. If I can ask why did you inset the birch ply on the column faces if you were painting it all black anyway? I assumed when you used the birch that there was a two tone color plan? Just asking. I really like the insets and how they turned out but I am afraid of that much work....lol. Oh and those sconces ROCK!! Can we see a shot of them lit up?
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