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The "widow maker" theater build

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Hello all!

After lurking around here for a long time and being amazed by the fantastic theaters that are built and documented on this forum; I have been inspired to bring my dream of a dedicated theater to fruition. This community of folks truly has a passion that I hope to be able to tap into when the going gets tough and I am about to get “Loganed”.

There are WAY too many folks on here that I should probably mention as my inspiration but I am sure they will notice the different pieces parts that I stole…err borrowed for my space.

Since building a dedicated theater is not enough work, I decided to tackle the entire basement at the same time (yes I am a glutton for punishment). My plans include a bar area w/ an old Irish Pub theme, TV area, storage room, full bath, game area and of course the theater. To help with the theater design I reached out to the Erskine Group (thanks Shawn a.k.a. SierraMikeBravo, hopefully I do your design justice!) and purchased the “select” package; Shawn was great to work with and really knows his stuff!

My tread’s name actually came from my wife (I could not come up with a catchy name myself) as she says that she is a “basement widow” due to the amount of time I have been spending down there building out the space. If she thinks it is bad now, just wait until it is complete, I will have a theater, bar and full bathroom….she may never see me again! biggrin.gif

Finally, for those of you that play the market, I have two words (or is it three) – Band-Aids and Advil. I have been going through A LOT of both so their parent companies may be a good investment. wink.gif

And now to the main event…

My theater is 21’ 7” x 13’ 5” (yes its width challenged)

Room Layout 1 photo 1d8a77ef.jpg
Room Layout 2 photo 6fd296de.jpg

Entire basement layout - It's changed a little as there is no longer a slanted wall in the TV viewing area.
Basement design photo scan0001.jpg

Theater build details:
Double drywall with GG, clips and acoustical sealant - I already have been in contact with John and Ted @ The Soundproofing Company and as it has been said many times on here, they are great to work with. I purchased the clips, sealant, GG, putty pads, door-sills and door bottom already.
photo IMG_7242.jpg
I was in the garage "staging" the goodies from John and Ted to take this picture when my wife walks through and sees what I am doing and just shakes her head and says "AVS" as she walks away...

Insulation in ceiling and walls
Soffit all the way around
Painted star ceiling from Night Sky Murals
Two rows of seating with a single riser
Stage (filled with all that heavy sand)
Door with Zero International door-sills and bottom
Room treatments

Equipment details:
Yet to be purchased
7.1 sound just not sure which speakers yet…I am all over the place on this one, been looking at Procella, Triad, JTR, Ascend and possibility even DIY (Wayne P’s PI speakers)
2.35.1 AT screen (not sure which screen yet)
Oppo 103 Blu-Ray player (not purchased yet)
Projector – Another area I am all over the place – been looking at Runco, JVC, Sony and Wolf
HTPC

Purchased but sitting in the box and mocking me
Arcam FMJ AV888 – http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,fmj,AV-Amplifiers,AV888.htm
Arcam FMJ P777 - http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,FMJ,Power-Amplifiers,P777.htm
6-zone Lutron Grafik eye (GRX-3106)
photo IMG_7669_zps5e87dee7.jpg
photo IMG_7670_zps1b133fb3.jpg

I started construction in September and thus far I have the following completed;

Two coats of Drylock - boy that was fun… if you like painting with pancake batter

Egress window installed - I paid a contractor to do this as it was really more work than I wanted to take on and my wife gets nervous when I start poking large holes in the side of the house.

This is the "old" window before they started cutting
Old window 2 photo 30b3237d.jpg

I set up some plastic to keep the dust down while they were cutting
dust protector photo c9623d31.jpg

Finished egress window
egress window photo f4b037d0.jpg

I moved the plumbing rough in for the bathroom and installed bar drain – another fun task; however, rather than kill myself with a sledgehammer I decided to rent a wet saw with the diamond blade. The wetsaw worked great and kept the dust down; however, it was gas powered and that usually does not work too well in closed spaces as you can imagine. So, I set a fan in my new egress window to help pull out the gases but it was still pretty bad. I was able to cut the cement into large chunks, which saved a ton of work with a sledgehammer and worked out really well.

cement pieces photo 82dad4d2.jpg
cement cut photo 4f84f7af.jpg
more cement cut photo e7485016.jpg
bathroom drain lines photo 58dca87d.jpg
drain lines photo 4f9d4c41.jpg
bar drain lines (not leaning) photo a7c953af.jpg
finished bar drain line cement photo f89b8b38.jpg

Radon system installed - I never really thought about performing the home test until one of my neighbors did it and their results came back extremely high, so I did the test and my results were off the charts as well. The EPA states that any level above 4 pCi/L is bad and that a Radon mitigation system should be installed; my levels were 27 pCi/L so needless to say I had a system installed and my levels are now less than 1 pCi/L. I do not have any pictures of the system but it is basically a 4” PVC pipe that is installed in your sump pump pit or drilled into your slab until you hit gravel; a fan is installed outside the home to create a vacuum and pull out the Radon gas. My system is installed into the slab for aesthetic reasons as I did not want that 4” pipe and fan showing on the front of my home (sump pump located toward front of home); the downside is the pipe is now on the wall where my screen will be located. It is extremely quiet but I will most likely wrap the pipe in some kind of insulation just in case. There is some question as to whether Radon is dangerous or not but for the $700 installation charge, I figured it was a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Installed a Watchdog battery backup sump pump system – I figured if I was going to spend all this money to finish my basement, I needed to take every possible precaution and this system fits my needs. It actually has two separate sump pumps in it; there is an AC pump as the primary and a secondary pump that is tied to a battery system. It works really well and has an alarm system that lets you know if something is wrong with the pumps, AC or battery. We have been in the house for about six years and while I have never had an issue with water (knocking on wood as I type this), I just do not want to take the chance that something bad will happen (see Logan’s tread of what I mean).

photo IMG_7672_zpsf3acaca5.jpg

Spray foamed my rim joists throughout the basement – I used a product from a company called Spray Foam Direct, I figured it was the last opportunity I had to insulate my rim joists and might as well do it right. It was extremely easy to do but a little hot as you are covered from head to toe in a protective suit with air mask and goggles. I am one that wears shorts all year long and not a fan of being hot; however, on the up side I think I lost several pounds through sweating my butt off in that suit. biggrin.gif

photo IMG_77341_zps4e36ee2e.jpg

Latest in weight loss technology
photo IMG_7206.jpg

Installed a zone system for the house HVAC

Installed Dri-core throughout basement and in case you ever wondered what 400 pieces stacked looks like...here you go.
400 dri-core panels photo IMG_7212.jpg

I also decided to install it prior to my framing and I know that there has been tons of discussion around the best time to install it, before or after framing - obviously I chose to install it prior to framing.
Dri-core finished photo IMG_7219.jpg

Framing complete for entire basement
lumber photo IMG_7213.jpg

I set up this "lazy mans elevator" to help get the 2x4's into the basement through the egress window; I used the same setup for the cement for my drains and will use it for the sand in the stage as well. It saved so much time and allowed me to stand relatively straight up by the end of the day. I had a friend help and we were able to unload and stack all the wood in less than 30-minutes
Back saver photo IMG_7215.jpg

full "skid" of 2x4's from HD
photo IMG_7222.jpg

Installed barrel vault ceiling in the hallway to my theater from a company called Archways and Ceilings, while I could have framed this myself it was just so much easier to spend the 130 bucks and get it shipped to me all ready to install.
Started with a framed in hallway
photo IMG_77271_zps42bfbd95.jpg

barrel vault ceiling parts
photo IMG_77311_zpsaf7d85c4.jpg

The individual "ribs" are actually 4 pieces laminated together with the correct rise.
photo IMG_77301_zps46e0929a.jpg

A short time later you end up with this....
photo IMG_77321_zps1fa998e0.jpg
Edited by mjmitchell1970 - 2/28/13 at 11:35am
post #2 of 54
This looks like a cool build! Subscribed!
post #3 of 54

Welcome!

 

That Barrel Vault ceiling is very cool! Can not wait to see the progress!!! 

post #4 of 54
Nice suit! Saving that pic!

Looks great Mike!
post #5 of 54
Looks great! I'm in for sure. Now I bet you're just all afludder with that little tidbit aren't you.


Regards,


RTROSE
post #6 of 54
I don't think I've ever subscribed halfway through the first post.. this looks like it's going to be an awesome build biggrin.gif
post #7 of 54
This all looks really good. It's always good to see someone has his priorities straight and is trying to get it right form the beginning.

I know that the details of designs are sometimes proprietary as the designer's intellectual property, but I see a few unusual details I wanted to ask you about. Basically, can you explain how these elements came to be included and what is the rationale, if you know? 1 - the in-ceiling rears, 2 - the two subs front and center, 3 - the triangular shape in the wall behind the screen, 4 - the array of side surrounds (is that settled and will you go with the QSC processors that Mike probably recommended?), 5 - L and R outside the screen. (Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions)


Thanks, and I'm subscribed as well. Good luck with the build!

Fred
post #8 of 54
Subscribed as well, looks like a good plan.
post #9 of 54
Wow you have really completed a lot of work already...in just one post! HVAC zoning, drylok, egress, Dri-core, plumbing...well done! Looking forward to watching your progress. Good luck!
post #10 of 54
Fred, I thought the triangle was just a brace for the center channel? As far as the L/R speaker placement, without dimensions I'm just guessing, but for a width constrained space, wouldn't you need to move the speakers forward to get them in the right place (22-30 degrees IIRC)? I am surprised they're not shown as being toed in, though.

I'm also curious about the subs. Two subs in the center is certainly something I haven't seen. Place holders maybe?
post #11 of 54
cool looking build. love the name! i noticed the back row is offset a bit. is that for better viewing angles? or some other reason?
post #12 of 54
Quote:
I am about to get “Loganed”.

Dude....WAAAAY too much progress to worry about that.
post #13 of 54
i like the look/idea of that barrel vault. Will be excited to see this progress cool.gif
post #14 of 54
I do hope there's going to be plenty of ridges on that rounded ceiling, otherwise it'll be focusing the ceiling reflex even stronger...
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightlord View Post

I do hope there's going to be plenty of ridges on that rounded ceiling, otherwise it'll be focusing the ceiling reflex even stronger...

Is that a problem for a hallway outside the theater?
post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

As far as the L/R speaker placement, without dimensions I'm just guessing, but for a width constrained space, wouldn't you need to move the speakers forward to get them in the right place (22-30 degrees IIRC)? I am surprised they're not shown as being toed in, though.

I'm curious about this as well. Not sure I would consider this width constrained for speaker placement. My room is one foot narrower, and all are behind a 120" wide screen with L&R toed in. There must be something that we aren't seeing just yet.

Looking good so far. Will be fun to follow this one!
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Is that a problem for a hallway outside the theater?

If it will be showing commercials with sound, yes. wink.gif

( sorry, I missed it was the corridor )
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by GWCR View Post

I'm curious about this as well. Not sure I would consider this width constrained for speaker placement. My room is one foot narrower, and all are behind a 120" wide screen with L&R toed in. There must be something that we aren't seeing just yet........

It will depend on how close the seats are to the screen. If you are closer then 30 degrees might put the speakers behind the screen. As you move further away, the speakers move further apart, and at some point you need to start moving them down the walls to get the correct placement.

Of course, this is all speculation without dimensions biggrin.gif
post #19 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

This looks like a cool build! Subscribed!

Thanks J_P_A and welcome aboard! I will be seeking out your advice on which are the best screws when I go to install my clips/channel since it looks like you are now the resident expert. wink.gif
post #20 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezit73 View Post

Welcome!

That Barrel Vault ceiling is very cool! Can not wait to see the progress!!! 

Thanks Cheezit, I am looking forward to getting the drywall up on it, my plans are to have some kind of crown molding below it with some sort of lighting concealed to light up on the barrel vault. I think it will turn up pretty cool if it comes out like a hope.

I see you are keeping yourself busy with V 2.0, I just hope to get V 1.0 complete at some point....
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

Of course, this is all speculation without dimensions biggrin.gif

So true...We'll see how good Mitch is at picking up on subtle hints...tongue.gif
post #22 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

Looks great! I'm in for sure. Now I bet you're just all afludder with that little tidbit aren't you.


Regards,


RTROSE

LOL, I sure am thanks for stopping in RTROSE! I may have to hit you up for an audition of your Ascends at some point since they are one of the speakers I am looking at. My job takes me to IN a few times a month so maybe I can bribe you somehow?....as long as you do not install a lock like Vic's on your theater anytime soon . biggrin.gif
post #23 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dRwOOD73 View Post

I don't think I've ever subscribed halfway through the first post.. this looks like it's going to be an awesome build biggrin.gif

Now that is just not fair putting all that pressure on the new guy...the plan is great but I just worry about my execution. wink.gif
post #24 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

This all looks really good. It's always good to see someone has his priorities straight and is trying to get it right form the beginning.

I know that the details of designs are sometimes proprietary as the designer's intellectual property, but I see a few unusual details I wanted to ask you about. Basically, can you explain how these elements came to be included and what is the rationale, if you know? 1 - the in-ceiling rears, 2 - the two subs front and center, 3 - the triangular shape in the wall behind the screen, 4 - the array of side surrounds (is that settled and will you go with the QSC processors that Mike probably recommended?), 5 - L and R outside the screen. (Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions)


Thanks, and I'm subscribed as well. Good luck with the build!

Fred

Thanks for stopping by Fred!

1. the in-ceiling rears are needed since my theater door is on the back wall (only access to the theater since the three other walls are all foundation walls) and the way the plan came together a column falls right were my door is. The plan actually has the column attached to my door and rather than try to hide a speaker in it, it was just easier to have the speaker in the ceiling.

2. I know there was a reason for this but cannot recall the details at the moment (it's hell getting old) as these plans were actually drawn up last summer. Maybe Shawn will see this and chime in...

3. The triangular shape is just a shelf for my center channel speaker

4. The array of side surrounds - I will not say it is locked in stone at this point but the QSC's are an option; I have not dug too far into it yet but I will definitely wire up for 7.1 and look into the various options available. Do you have any experience with the QSC processors and if so, how do you like them?

5. The L and R outside the screen - That will depend on the final dimension of my screen as I would obviously like to go as big as possible, I believe the screen in my drawing is ~120 inches diagonal. Whether it sites outside the screen or not, the speakers will sit behind some kind of AT material. I will have to dig back through my notes from Shawn as to the exact reasons since once again it sucks to get older....
post #25 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by design1stcode2nd View Post

Subscribed as well, looks like a good plan.

Thanks design1stcode2nd! Although I have to say...it's was tough for me to respond to a Ravens fan (huge Steelers fan here) but I am a big enough man (at least that is what the scale tells me) to say congrats on the SB win. That was really a hard game for me to watch as I really did not want either team to win; I did not want SF to tie Pitt with 6 SB wins and with the Ravens being the Steelers biggest rival it was hard for me to cheer them on. However, when all is said and done, I am glad the AFC won. All I can say is "wait til next year!" biggrin.gif

Seriously....congrats.
post #26 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AirBenji View Post

Wow you have really completed a lot of work already...in just one post! HVAC zoning, drylok, egress, Dri-core, plumbing...well done! Looking forward to watching your progress. Good luck!

Thanks AirBenji, yea it's been a lot of work but I enjoy it and it keeps me out of trouble...mostly. BTW, beautiful theater, I really like your carpet! The family and I are headed to Universal the end of March for spring break; I have heard nothing but good thing about the place and your pictures look amazing!
post #27 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

Fred, I thought the triangle was just a brace for the center channel? As far as the L/R speaker placement, without dimensions I'm just guessing, but for a width constrained space, wouldn't you need to move the speakers forward to get them in the right place (22-30 degrees IIRC)? I am surprised they're not shown as being toed in, though.

I'm also curious about the subs. Two subs in the center is certainly something I haven't seen. Place holders maybe?

Yep, its a shelf for the center channel....as I mentioned earlier, I will dig through my notes from Shawn as to why that was done. As you can probably tell, I still struggle with some of the concepts behind a good sounding theater, which is why I paid for the design. smile.gif
post #28 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grubadub View Post

cool looking build. love the name! i noticed the back row is offset a bit. is that for better viewing angles? or some other reason?

Thanks Grubadub welcome to my build thread! The back row is offset a bit for viewing angles but mostly since the door to the theater is on the back wall and it will open into the theater and the clearance is needed.
post #29 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

Dude....WAAAAY too much progress to worry about that.

Thanks Logan....I was just planning ahead. biggrin.gif
post #30 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post

i like the look/idea of that barrel vault. Will be excited to see this progress cool.gif

Thanks NickTheGreat! I hope it turns out like I hope as well.
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