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New Basement Theater (Planning Phase)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

Let me start off by saying that I have been lurking on the Home Theater section of AVS for the last couple of months and I am overwhelmed by the amount of information on here. The HT that I have seen on here are truly amazing and this has inspired me to build my own. I recently bought a home in November and have been living there ever since. I have a finished basement area but it definitely needs a modernizing renovation in order to match the rest of the house.

I must admit that I have become somewhat of a compulsive follower of numerous threads trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible before beginning my own HT. I plan to start the demolition of my basement in the coming weeks and will have pictures posted soon to show you the current condition (70's style basement with wood paneling walls) as well as completely stripped down (when I get there). What I basically need is guidance along the way in order to do the work correctly and avoid any pitfalls. I have never even attempted to do any construction/renovation before and therefore probably not too handy but I am an engineer for crying out loud so this is nothing I cannot tackle (even for the first time).

As for my background in A/V, I have always been obsessed (mostly with video) and bought a Pioneer Elite Pro 101-FD 1.5 years ago when I still used to live in my condo. However, now that we are in a bigger home, the 50" display, although a truly excellent set, does not cut it in my larger living space. The Pioneer plasma now sits in the family room and will remain there for normal viewing on a daily basis (even though this space can easily accommodate a 60"+ screen, however I would not trade my Elite). That means that the basement is left open to make a monster viewing screen for movies, parties and special occasion/family viewings.

As for equipment, I do not have anything as of yet. Since my Pioneer Elite plasma was a monitor and I lived in a condo, I simply got a surround bar from Sony and that is what I am still using. That means that I will have to get speakers (most likely in-walls), a projector (Panasonic AE4000U but open to other suggestions), a screen (really open to suggestions) and anything else that will be placed in the basement.

I have made a rough draft of what the floor plan should look like but the dimensions are not set in stone since I do not know what I will find once the old walls and floors are ripped out (maybe more room). I based myself on the current finished dimensions of the basement in its present state. I have also put a bathroom/laundry room in there since there is already one there now and the wife absolutely wants to keep that but make it nice.

Here are a few details about what is around the drawn walls (but not shown), at least until I update it on my drawing. The space below the bottom wall is a crawl space beneath the family room and office (it stretches till the left end wall of the bathroom). The space between the bottom wall of the bathroom and the bottom wall of the HT is the furnace room with the hot water tank and electrical panel. The little notch to the right of the bar is not an empty space, it is a concrete wall that goes till the right side end wall of the HT (kind of like a concrete cube, this is the entrance stairs right above with vestibule). I have also included some 3D images of my plan for a better comprehension of the space. In this plan I have included all I could think of right down to lighting, furniture, etc. Please let me know if you do not know what certain elements represent, I have tried to identify them with different colors for clarity.

OK, that is long enough for a first post. I will await your comments and suggestions to get this thread started.

Thank you
LL
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post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
Because I don't think that is is indicated anywhere on the images attached, the height of the riser (which is also the level of the bathroom floor) is 10" above the HT floor level. The attached steps (indicated in a lighter gray than the riser) are at 5" height.
post #3 of 8
Are the black circles on the ceiling speakers? Also the black spots on the back wall are those speakers also?

Are you planning on any soundproofing - I would be concerned with the washer and dryer there. If you do not care about sound getting out that is fine - but I would be concerned about sound coming from the laundry room - I would try to soundproof that room if you are not doing the theater.

I don't have much input at this point, but if it were me I would remove the tables in front of the seating - It seems like they would be in the way. It might also allow you to get the rear seating a little further away from the rear wall. Also its purely a matter of preference, but I think I would find a way to utilize the width of the room to do a larger screen instead of the bar area. It would also allow you to have more seating
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments stockmonkey2000. Yes, the black circles are ceiling recessed surround speakers and the black spots on the back wall are recessed rear speakers.

I do plan to do soundproofing and will likely go with a staggered stud wall between the HT and the laundry/bathroom as well as with the furnace room. I plan to do soundproofing for the whole basement as I find that sound gets out pretty easily in its current state.

The tables for the seating were just an initial thought but I am by no means dead set on keeping them. As for the suggestion of using the width a little better, I understand what you mean but I also don't want to lose the 2' I currently have behind the screen wall. as well, the ceiling height starting from the bottom wall up to the the beginning of the screen wall is only 84" (large soffit) whereas the rest of the basement is at 96". I assume there is ducting under there but will only be able to know what is really happening and if I can change it when I get to the demolition. I also assume that the wife would not be too happy with using the whole width for the screen.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, as per stockmonkey's suggestion, I have modified my basement plan, here now is version 2 for everyone to view and comment.
LL
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Some more (minor) changes to the floor plan. The riser is now at 12" and the step at 6". The projector has been pulled further back so as to not interfere with people getting up from back row couch. Screen has been pushed further back towards right end wall. Comments and suggestions appreciated.
LL
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
OK everyone, I have made some more modifications (which the wife may not be totally on board with right now) that I find make the whole basement/theater area more functional. Let me know what you all think and if you would change anything. The riser is 14" high with the steps at 7".
LL
LL
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
OK, it has been a long time I haven't posted in this thread and I thought it was time to revive it now that I am just about ready to start the work. I have spent the last 11 months basically ripping the basement apart down to the concrete walls. I also got sidetracked a bit while updating the home heating system to dual energy and other various projects in the backyard so that is why the HT project was on hold for a while. Now that I have a completely open space, I am ready to start serious work.

I have updated my floor plan to a design that is more realistic and pleasing for the whole family while still keeping a theater room. You can all have a look at my floor plan and let me know what you think before I get back into the details about what needs to be done. I will have a contractor come by the house this weekend to look at all this with me because I primarily want him to do the bathroom/laundry room area (since he will need to break the concrete to add a drain for the new shower) but I will also have him quote me for the work in the HT area because I have time constraints to do the work (with my job, I can only work on the project on weekends and at that rate, it will take forever) and maybe it would be a good option to have him do some of the work.

If anyone has questions or concerns that they notice off the bat, please let me know so that I can adjust myself accordingly.
LL
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