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New house...room for a theater!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
First post here, been a long time lurker.

My girlfriend and I recently took the leap and bought a home. It was one of the first homes we saw, and after visiting over 30 other houses, we finally came back to the one we really loved. The best part for me...HUGE basement space! So after some convincing, the girlfriend allowed me to take the space and turn it into a theater. She knew it was inevitable, the first time we viewed this home, I told her exactly what was going to happen. Once we decided on the home, i started my quest to find all the components i would need for my setup. Her stipulation was that it not be TOO crazy, basically that it still be a comfortable living area, but i could do what i wanted. And the basement celing was already finished out, so running wires around the room was an issue. But it's all done, and i've been enjoying it for about 2 months now. I even made her Dad theater-crazy...when he came over and got to watch the NBA playoffs on the screen, he was blown away and immediately started planning for a theater in his own home.

Pics:

How the room looked before we moved in. It's a truly enormous space. The room is a big L shape, and i made the theater out of the long end. There's still room for a snack bar, pool table, fish tank...that's undecided right now, but down the road.

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You can kinda get a feel for the layout. It was all recently renovated, so new carpet, drywall, celing, etc.


Then the pieces. First, I lucked out and found a projector (Epson Home Theater 8100) and screen on Craigslist. I ended up paying less for the pair than i would have for a big flat screen..alot less. The bulb was dead in the proj, but I replaced and still came out under $1100.

Next was a receiver. I already owned a Pioneer VSX820 in my living room, and thought something similar would suit just fine. The VSX-821 was on sale at NewEgg for $170, so I went ahead and bought one before we even moved in. Then i found a set of Paradigms...another craigslist score! Titans and a center for the front, Atoms for the rear channels and a big sub. I already had my PS3, HDDVD, and I bought a new XBOX that had an HDMI out so everything could feed to the receiver and then to the Proj with just one HDMI.

But where to put it all? This was the big sticking point with my girlfriend, because it involved cutting a hole in her newly purchased home. Lemme splain. On the outside of the theater room was a long hall way with a linen closet at the end. That linen closet became my media closet. I had direcTV run a hookup to that closet. Then I had a contractor cut a hole in the wall, and finish the hole with a wood frame and cabinet door with glass. Then i built the shelf to hold all the components, and voila! No media stack in the room, and wires are all hidden away. I LOVE the way it turned out, it looks really professional and keeps the room clutter free.

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Door Open, added a little tap light at the top in case i need to see in the dark.

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The same contractor also mounted my projector in the ceiling, and dropped an outlet in the ceiling so the proj power was just a foot away.

I ran wires for the 5.1 surround sound around the room just below the crown molding. I used plastic raceway that i found at Lowes, and it sticks pretty well so far. With them all in place, you barely notice them, and it hides the wires great.

So here's how it sits now. Big sectional couch we already had, curtains and blackout shades for the window and doors. My neighbor is a handyman and I had him put the speaker stands together for me, so they're at the proper height.

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Still more room to grow!

I'll get some more pics soon, if you'd like to see something in particular or if you have any questions let me know! Also, I'm looking for ideas. I've thought about pulling the curtains and instead doing floor-to ceiling fabric panels or something to make it a bit more 'theater-y'. Any ideas, comments, criticisms would be appreciated.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm bringing my thread back from the dead!

Update. I decided that the room was deep enough to allow for a riser. After convincing my fiancee that it would be a finished piece and not a big carpeted box, I was given the OK to start construction.

First to the riser calculator. Based on the distance from the screen, and the height of the couch in front of it, my riser needed to be 21" tall. Didnt expect that!

Construction starts:

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Trim detail:

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Final outcome. Not a bad seat in the house!

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post #3 of 10
And to think, at work, the Safety dudes and OSHA dudes won't let people get on a stepladder without a harness, helmet and parachute. biggrin.gif

Looks good, actually. Almost looks like it's been there all along smile.gif
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post

And to think, at work, the Safety dudes and OSHA dudes won't let people get on a stepladder without a harness, helmet and parachute. biggrin.gif

Looks good, actually. Almost looks like it's been there all along smile.gif

They'd probably want hard hats and steel-toed shoes for people seated beneath the projector, too. tongue.gif
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddR 
They'd probably want hard hats and steel-toed shoes for people seated beneath the projector, too.

You can't see the official home theater hard hats hanging on the opposite wall haha.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat 
Looks good, actually. Almost looks like it's been there all along.

Thanks, I wanted the riser to look like it belonged there. I matched the sides and the top with the existing trim color and carpet already in the room. I also laid down carpet pad under the carpet, so sitting on the riser itself is actually very comfortable as well.

To finish it off, i wanted to find a table for people sitting on the riser. Because of the space restrictions, it needed to be long, low, and narrow so it wasnt in the way but also so people at both ends of the couch could use it. Finding a table that fit those requirements wasn't easy. Then, I happened across someone selling a tall locker on craigslist that turned out to be just the right size.

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Wish i had a better pic right now. The locker is actually about 6 ft tall. I laid the locker on it's side, then took some stubby legs i bought at ikea a while back and bolted them on. The locker already had holes drilled in the side, so adding the legs was easy. It's the perfect size for the riser, and there's even storage inside for dvds etc. I think it's perfect for a man-cave.
post #6 of 10
Riser looks awesome! Well done. Paint the locker? wink.gif
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskerOmaha View Post

Riser looks awesome! Well done. Paint the locker? wink.gif

Thanks! Probably won't paint it, the accent pillows on my couches are browns and reds, so it all matches.

The next big project will be to install a soffit around the room and install recessed lighting. Anybody have any experience with that? Or know of any good threads that discuss soffit builds?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Another update....Lights!

The lighting for my theater was less than ideal. There were just two square recessed light fixtures on the center line of the room, one in the front near the screen, and one in the back over the riser. Bright, non-directional lighting is the enemy of a projector, so i needed better solution. My quick fix was a dimmer switch for the room, which helped. Then i decided to remove the lightbulb up front near the screen to preserve the darkness near the image. But that meant only a single light bulb in the back over the riser for the entire room. When dimmed, it made moving around in the dark very difficult. It also meant sitting on the riser put a light right over your head. No good. There must be a better way!

Because the ceiling is already finished, there's no way for me to wire up recessed lights without a major renovation. And while a soffit with recessed lights installed would be ideal, it's a very expensive undertaking. So walking around Lowes last week, I stumbled upon a quick and cheap solution: track lighting! After drawing up the room, i decided on a U-shaped track. I would tap into the existing light over the riser, and run my track down the sides of the room. I actually planned on running long tracks all the way up near the screen, but as i worked, i realized that would be foolish, as keeping light focused AWAY from the screen is best. So I shortened the arms of my U, and instead i lit the seating area only.

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These pics are with the lights turned up about 2/3 of the dimmer switch. While the seating area is well lit, you can see how the area near the screen is MUCH darker for the projection.

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Here is the room with the dimmer at it's lowest setting. With a much more even lighting pattern, you can get up and move around in the darkness much better. I'm very happy with this new setup.
post #9 of 10
I just replaced my lighting last week, and I can't believe the difference it makes. Your room looks great!
post #10 of 10
I pulled a bunch of wires for recessed lights in my finished ceiling. It was about as ideal as you could get for that type of thing and it was still a PITA.

Your solution seems like a good one! cool.gif
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