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# I've got a blank slate....

I've got a blank slate and need some early direction on dimensions.

I've been on the board for years, following the progress of many here, anxiously waiting for when the time would be right that I would be ready to build a new home, and starting this Spring I plan on finally breaking ground. For the past couple months the wife and I have been working on our house plans, all with me keeping the home theater in the back of my mind. I've got my architect working on my structurals but I've still got some internal layout to finish up, primarily in the basement area. I don't have a theater designed yet, as I've been waiting to see how much room I'll have available to work with in the basement, but now I'm at a point that I've got to start picking out some dimensions.

I've been using the Terry Montlick's old Room Dimension Excel spreadsheet as a basic guide for my dimensions, but wanted to double check if I'm heading in the right direction. I'll be excavating down an extra 2 feet in the theater area, and will be ultimately shooting for a 10 to 11 foot ceiling in the theater. With that in mind I was looking at dimensions around 19' x 24', but maybe even 18' x 20', primarily because I want enough room for 2 rows of 5 seats and are expecting to need at least 14-15 feet for the width of the seats. That, with 2' of walkway bedside them makes me think I need at least 18' wide.

I've attached a copy of where I'm at now with the basement footprint. The theater is looking like it's going to have to go to the left of the stairs as the walkout portion of the basement is going to have to go to the right of them. I'm wondering if I'll be okay with just 18' x 20', or should I shoot it up to 18' x 24' (rotating it 90 degrees)?
A wise man once said, (BIG) the perfect size room is 17 x 25 x 11, So i would say go for the 18 x 24 configuration, leaves room for 2 rows of fully reclined seats plus acoustic treatments.

Would 18 x 24 be the inside room dimensions?
I started with truly blank slate... 1/2 acre basement lot, wife wanted a big kitchen, I wanted a big theater below. Hired a pro early on and was told HT dimensions really didn't matter. There was no recommended size, so the theater dimensions ended up being based on the kitchen dimensions above which was the complete opposite of what I had planned.

Later I talked to another couple designers. One said most of their theaters start around 20 x 30 x 12, but that seemed more for practical reasons of being able to comfortably fit things in the room. Another mainly did commercial work and suggested something much larger, but it would have been too expensive for me.

I would say go as big as you can reasonably afford. It's easy to bring a wall in or section a room off, but hard to go the other way. Ideally you're going to want a false wall for the screen which will take a minimum of 2' away from the length of the room. It's also nice to have a dedicated projector room in back, which can take another 3' - 5' or more.

Also, if you're going to soundproof, having extra space means you don't necessarily have to do some of the crazy complicated stuff people often do to save space. For example, double stud walls trump just about everything from a performance perspective. Plus they are relatively cheap, hard to screw up, and builder friendly. The downside is it reduces the interior dimensions which is a trade off most people are unwilling to make.
Looking at that plan i would put the screen on that wall at the bottom. The odd shapes there can be covered by the false wall and fit the speakers. That leaves the large alcove (the 8'6" wide bit) behind the seats which could be used as equipment storage/projector room/disc storage/IB sub/all of the above.
The best plan now is to get it well designed on paper with input from the people here - including any issues the design is running on to. There are no support poles marked on that plan - if that's true then great, but it would be unusual.
Thanks for the replies. I'm shooting for an interior dimension of at least 18' wide, and plan on doing double studs (room in a room). I'm thinking that the added cost of going an extra foot or two longer or wider wouldn't be as bad as having something not big enough from the start and being stuck with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gareth_alien

There are no support poles marked on that plan - if that's true then great, but it would be unusual.

I just wanted to +1 this comment and make sure it registers. I have 21' spans in my room. It took additional engineering and cost to get there. You have 28' spans. There isn't a snowballs chance... that they intend to make those spans without poles unless you've addressed it already.

If you haven't discussed support poles or structural support beams with your architect, you need to ASAP.

Also consider how HVAC, pipes, and utility lines will be run through the space. What will that do to your ceiling height? Will it cause any irregularities or protrusions into the room? I would highly recommend incorporating the a routing plan in your design and put it in the contract that the builder has to follow it. Have the architect or designer reroute as much as possible around the theater.

Consider your truss design. Do you want try to run things through the truss webbing, or use use metal or wooden I-beams. I did open web trusses and it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped mainly due to lack of route planning. But it still netted me ~12' ceilings. If I had it to do over, I would probably try conventional metal beams and dig down further to make up for the loss in ceiling height. But digging down can be expensive, especially if you hit rock which is typically lumped in with the "act of god" exclusions to the contract price. The more you dig, the more you roll the dice and if you hit a lot of rock it can be cost prohibitive to continue to dig.

You also need to consider the proximity of noise generating sources to your theater. Place your mechanical rooms far away from your theater room so you don't have to deal with the noise. Also think about where your external A/C compressors will sit relative to the theater.

If you want to sound proof your floor/ceilings you need to mass up the floor over the theater. The architect needs to take into account the additional thickness of the floor and drop the support walls (and poles) an inch or two so the top of your finished floor is all one level. Trying to retrofit ceiling soundproofing later within the theater is expensive, labor intensive, and not nearly as effective.

Watch the move "Mr Nobody" with your wife. It's on youtube for free. Don't rush. Get everything in writing, and put every last detail in the contract. If everyone remains friends to the end, no harm done. If things go south, it's all you've got.
Wow! Rabident - that's a fantastic amount of good advice in a single post!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident

I just wanted to +1 this comment and make sure it registers. I have 21' spans in my room. It took additional engineering and cost to get there. You have 28' spans. There isn't a snowballs chance... that they intend to make those spans without poles unless you've addressed it already.
If you haven't discussed support poles or structural support beams with your architect, you need to ASAP.
Also consider how HVAC, pipes, and utility lines will be run through the space. What will that do to your ceiling height? Will it cause any irregularities or protrusions into the room? I would highly recommend incorporating the a routing plan in your design and put it in the contract that the builder has to follow it. Have the architect or designer reroute as much as possible around the theater.
Consider your truss design. Do you want try to run things through the truss webbing, or use use metal or wooden I-beams. I did open web trusses and it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped mainly due to lack of route planning. But it still netted me ~12' ceilings. If I had it to do over, I would probably try conventional metal beams and dig down further to make up for the loss in ceiling height. But digging down can be expensive, especially if you hit rock which is typically lumped in with the "act of god" exclusions to the contract price. The more you dig, the more you roll the dice and if you hit a lot of rock it can be cost prohibitive to continue to dig.
You also need to consider the proximity of noise generating sources to your theater. Place your mechanical rooms far away from your theater room so you don't have to deal with the noise. Also think about where your external A/C compressors will sit relative to the theater.
If you want to sound proof your floor/ceilings you need to mass up the floor over the theater. The architect needs to take into account the additional thickness of the floor and drop the support walls (and poles) an inch or two so the top of your finished floor is all one level. Trying to retrofit ceiling soundproofing later within the theater is expensive, labor intensive, and not nearly as effective.
Watch the move "Mr Nobody" with your wife. It's on youtube for free. Don't rush. Get everything in writing, and put every last detail in the contract. If everyone remains friends to the end, no harm done. If things go south, it's all you've got.