After months of promising that I'd start a build thread, here, I've finally done it. This is a retrospective, the theater is complete, and no, I'm not going to change anything. I mean it, it's finished! So I'll try to point out the things I learned along the way, mistakes I made and stuff I would do differently if I did it again. There are plenty of threads here (I know, I read them!) that go into great detail about construction details, acoustic considerations, screen size, etc.- so I'm going to focus more on the functional decisions and planning. Overall, none of the mistakes I made were critical, the design changed quite a bit from my original thinking, but I'm very pleased with the final results.
So the specs in case you don't want to read any further:
- Room: 16'x22'x10', double 5/8" drywall with Green Glue, raised coffered ceiling with rope lights
- Screen: Carada BW 136" 2.35:1 Masquerade screen and motorized masking system
- Projector: JVC RS50, Panamorph U480 anamorphic lens w/motorized sled
- Speakers: Martin Logan Vantage (L/R), Stage (C), Depth/i (Sub), Definitive Tech 2x BPZ/A, 4x BP/A (surround)
- Electronics: Integra DHC40.2, Emotiva UPA-7, Oppo BDP93, Xbox 360, Aton HDR44 providing DirecTV remotely
- Rack: Middle Atlantic AXS-20 32U
- Power: (2) 20A dedicated circuits, Panamax line conditioner, Middle Atlantic light/power bar
- Lighting: Lutron Grafik Eye QS 6-zone, seeTouch control pads, remote IR interface
- Control: iDevices, Global Cache GC100, iTach, iRule app
- Seating: (8) Berkline 45094 'Hollywood', (4) Pier 1 Mason Club chairs
- Furniture: Ikea 'Stockholm' console table, site-built 12'x12" bar table, BD storage area with glass shelves
- Acoustic Treatments: Acoustical Solutions SoundSuede 'Cordovan' 1" wall panels, 2" corner Bass Traps
- Paint: Benjamin Moore 'Hasbrouck Brown' (Walls), Sherwin-Williams 'Golden Maple' (stain)
And the "after" photos...
Index to the posts that follow:
1) Initial Design Work
2) Framing and Ceiling Design
3) Columns and Rack Area Framing
4) Media Storage Bookshelf
5) Theater Style
6) Electrical Rough-in
7) Wiring for Lighting and Planning the Grafik Eye
8) Low-volt Wiring
10) Insulation and Drywall
11) Woodwork and Surround Speaker Placement
12) Color, Stain, Paint and Carpet
13) Lighting and Electrical trim-out
14) Rack Installation
15) Acoustic Panels
17) Projector and Screen Selection
18) Front Speaker Placement
19) Projector Installation
20) Screen and Masquerade Installation
23) Grand Opening!
24) The Bottom Line...
25) What I Would Do Different
My home theater journey finally began in 2008, when I decided to bite the bullet a build a new home. After doing a lot of searching and pricing, it became clear that if I wanted a dedicated theater, I was going to have to build new and custom. The fact that we don't have basements in Houston is the primary reason you have to go custom (or at least, a custom addition).
The home site is in a quiet subdivision, so I knew that while I'd be doing "extra" to the space for sound isolation, it wasn't going to be critical. I also planned to put the theater over the garage bays to help isolate it from the bedrooms (which would all be on the opposite end of the house). And most importantly, I knew I would do a lot of the "work" myself, and that the actual theater construction would occur after I had moved in. The builder typically has "unfinished, bonus space" in their spec designs, so the concept was not new to them.
So the home was constructed with the unfinished space of 16x22, with 12" risers constructed as part of the room. A 3'x2' niche was put in the back of the room to allow for a rack and a small countertop (for drinks or a popcorn machine). The hallway enters on the side, coming from the gameroom/bar/poker area.
The scary moment was doing a budget. A quick spreadsheet with rough guesses for each line item (essentially the room spec categories shown above) plus construction costs, gave me serious pause. How did that $$$ happen? What could I do to bring it more in line? The answer was (1) take your time to spread out the pain, (2) do what you can yourself where it makes sense, (3) shop wisely, and (4) use eBay, Monoprice, Audiogon and Craigslist. I figured ways to cut 20-30% off my original estimate - but in the end, with smart shopping over a 15 month period and some good luck, I met my original budget almost exactly (actually a bit under) - even though I significantly underpriced a lot of construction costs, and of course, scope creep...
Next up, design...
Edited by jautor - 6/6/12 at 5:50pm