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Feedback on my drawings?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm about to file for the permit to begin construction in my basement and wanted to vet my plan with the community here.

Below are two images - one of the entire basement and one with a closeup of the theater that I (crudely) drew. The HVAC ducts running horizontally through the center and bottom (in drawing) of the basement pose a limitation in the overall width of the theater. The ceiling height throughout is around 7' 10".

So, the theater measures 15'11" deep by 9'10" wide. With door access to the theater coming from the rear, I think my only option is to put the second row of seating on a small island. I'm not interested in excavating down so I think this will have to do.

The riser/stage in the front will house the large Von Schweikert front towers along with the Rogue Audio tube amps to power them. The remaining theater A/V gear will be located on the right wall when walking into the theater and there will be a projector overhead as well. The room will be used for two channel audio as well as full surround sound and I plan on loading up on isolation clips, Green Glue, bass traps, etc... I'm not sure what to do yet for the subwoofer(s). Looking at some of the other builds on here leave me wishing for tray ceilings, rope lighting, etc... though we'll see where things end up!

Kindly let me know your thoughts/limitations/concerns. I recognize that the space isn't enormous and while I'm estimating that most of the listening/viewing will be done by myself, I don't see a need for physical seating of more than four and other kids can use bean bags. smile.gif

post #2 of 28
How do you plan on accessing the av rack? Could you put the door in the middle and move the rack to the rear of the room?
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I probably should have mentioned that - it will be a pull out & swivel rack.

There are two return ducts running width wise the whole width of the basement so the ceiling clearance is less beneath those ducts. I stuffed the wet bar, wine storage, and arcade stuff under that area so that it can at least be utilized in a productive manner. We measured the height and a door wouldn't fit height wise under the ducts on the side (bottom theater wall in the drawing).
post #4 of 28
You can't win with this space. The front row is extremely close to the screen, The back row is too far. Out of the four seats not a one is in the sweet spot, the middle. challenging!
The thought went through my head to rotate the theater and have a single row of 3-4 seats at 9 ft from the screen
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 10/3/13 at 7:59pm
post #5 of 28
Could the treadmill go in the storage area?

Could the sink be moved to the outside wall. beside the toilet, to narrow the bathroom and
lengthen the theater?

Could the ductwork be enclosed in a soffit, to widen the room?

Then place the entry on the side wall and do a single row of seating.
post #6 of 28
something like this?:

patterr 1a.jpg 98k .jpg file

Have you considered an DIY acoustically transparent screen? It'd give you a bigger screen, with improved speaker layout.
post #7 of 28
When it comes to working out the idea theater space, if you need a short door to fit under the ductwork, you get a short door (or cut a standard one down to size) I like Tedd's concept.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Great feedback - thanks to all! Yeah, I wholly realize that the space is not optimal and I welcome all of your opinions.

There is a toilet trap that is in place that prevents me from extending the depth of the theater. I took a stab at modifying the basement drawing and ended up with the drawing below:

The theater is wider (not sure by how much but it looks like ~2' or so and maybe 2' deeper. This layout yields just a single row but it will at least be at a better distance than the initial. I could go with a single or double entry door - doesn't really matter to me. Double clearly has a nicer presence. The HVAC vents running along the bottom part of the basement (above where I have the AV Rack) will force me to put soffits around the edges of the theater which is fine. I would prefer to have can lights there so we'll see how that works when I start construction. There will be a narrow "hallway" in the rear of the theater and on the left side that is dead space but my initial thoughts area that this new layout may work better... haven't slept on it though!

I could easiliy move the arcade/pinball stuff elsewhere, and make the theater deeper and have the pinball/arcade space as a path to the pool area though that is not in my crudely marked up sketch right now.

I just hope that the inspector doesn't bark at the egress window location being back next to the bathroom... there isn't a bedroom going in but it will all be classified as a living space so hopefully it will suffice.


post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sorry, there is another toilet/shower immediately above where the 1/2 bath is going in the basement - the trap from the one above it is the one that is interfering with me blowing the rear theater wall back in the original sketch. The second theater drawing seems to be sitting better with me but we'll see what the community thinks!
Edited by patterr - 10/4/13 at 9:20am
post #10 of 28
Couldn't you go even wider by putting the av rack in the back right corner of the theater, next to the sink? Have the fridge, dw & sink face the pool table and build a closet next to the sink that holds the av rack, with the rack facing into the theater. Also, why is there a gap between the front wall of the theater and the actual basement wall? I see your perimeter soffit label, but couldn't the soffit go in the theater?
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm realizing now that a 30 second video would have made this easier for all to ponder.

The water line and meter are in the bottom left of the drawing (where I initally) had a small utility "closet" so to speak. I could defeinilty move the AV rack to the left of the U.C. Refrigerator since that space is sort of odd anyways and widen the theater - the only issue is that there would be a giant soffit on the left of the theater (though it would be wider). I was just trying to come up with a way to use that otherwise wasted space. Having to mirror a giant soffit on the right side of the theater could be done - just not sure if it would look odd. Can measure it tonight. My guess is that the two main HVAC trunk lines are 4' wide x 10" deep (total)
post #12 of 28
A video or photos would narrow suggestions...

Is expanding the finished floor space an option?

patter 1b.jpg 73k .jpg file

The arcade and pinball machine could be recessed into the storage wall, and the home server rack could be moved beneath the stairs
or into the storage space.
post #13 of 28
Just dont forget to double check your clearances for the pool table. Not sure how important pool is to you, but the size of the pool room seems significantly smaller. Playing area of table + 58" x 2 (lenght of cue) + 4" x 2 (length of stroke). Just make sure you arnt compromising something you didnt intend to compromise or youll be right there with kramer and frank costanza in the struggles of a tight billiard room.
Edited by jasonsmithpharmd - 10/5/13 at 8:03am
post #14 of 28
patter expand.JPG 201k .JPG file

Would Gorilla racks in the storage area let you finish more space and still meet your storage needs?

Does that treadmill fold up? If so, it could go into a shallow storage closet.

How tall is that egress window?

Could the home server rack go under the stairs?
post #15 of 28
more ideas:

expand a.JPG 202k .JPG file

expand b.JPG 219k .JPG file

Both have acoustically transparent screens that could hide some of that short ductwork up front and hopefully
allow that ductwork to be rerouted, and/or tucked up further into the joist cavity. The fabric wing walls of the
front acoustically transparent wall, could be hinged panels to allow access to the utilities closet.
post #16 of 28
Based on your one row / wide layout. :

expand c.jpg 76k .jpg file

The staircase could be opened up, to create more open space.

The screen could be on a sliding track, for access to the closet. Squaring off the rest of that wall could house a large IB style subwoofer, or create an alcove
to recess subwoofers below the screen. Black fabric on the front wall could visually hide the doors to that closet.

You could plant the av rack outside the theater, so as to not waste square footage and theater width.

Rotated the home av rack. The rear access door could be disguised by a pool cue rack or artwork.

The added hallway could have some movie posters or artwork.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hello again -

What great ideas! I truly love and appreciate the feedback that time that each of you put into the updated drawings. I like the "ëxpand a" layout that evolved.

The HVAC ducts along the bottom wall run 42" wide. I can box them in and make that into a soffit around the whole room. In the "expand a" drawing, the soffit is narrower in the front/rear which shouldn't look too out of place, right? The 42"on the left/right are sizable...

I don't see a way around leaving a narrow "hallway" to access the main water line/meter into the house in the bottom left corner. Perhaps 3' wide with a door to access that space.

I love that the door to the theater could be between the front row and the screen and I think that I can live with a shorter door since it will be under the HVAC ducts just above the top wall of the theater. Those ducts are 31" wide but that doesn't matter since they are out of the theater That actually leaves a pretty good space for the pool/game area.

The theater can be 14' wide by 25' (already taking out 3'). This is way bigger than my initial plan where the theater was on top and only 10x16 so thank you! I'm not going to do an AT screen since I prefer to see the (beautiful) speakers. The subwoofers could go below the front theater wall in the dead space.

What's the average height of most risers for a second row?

Again, thanks for the help! I'll post an updated drwaing ASAP.

P.S. Too funny about the frank Costansa/Kramer pool table story.
post #18 of 28
That front closet (for the water access) could simply have the door done in black fabric, along with the whole screen wall. You could hide the door if you did
black floor to ceiling fabric panels in a repeating pattern. The screen could be mounted to slide over to the right, for door access. (That's what I was going for,
with expand c....) You could also use the depth of the rest of the wall, to recess any subwoofer/s below the screen, or create an IB subwoofer.

As for soffits, my front soffit over the AT screen, is about 1" deep. The back soffit is maybe 2" deep, while the side soffits are symmetrical. I thought you had
some HVAC sheet metal in the upper top corner of the theater, so my thinking was an AT screen with a deep soffit would eliminate the HVAC from the room.

Stage height varies. If you have your seating selected, a side view sight line drawing (with seated eyes placed in space), will give you the height needed, so
the second row sees the bottom of the screen. Screen size comes into play, where you need to make sure the screen doesn't force the center channel too low,
as the front row will block the center channel (and dialog). If your space is height challenged, you could do a shallower riser and a second riser on top, one
that is basically just seating sized, plus foot rest room.

I also have my doorway between the screen and seating, under a main joist. The door is cut down 4" to fit. The only other doorway in the basement is also
cut down, so they match.

expand a1.jpg 217k .jpg file
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright, so here's the latest and greatest after your feedback.

New theater room:
25' 6" deep by 15' wide by 7' tall

Perimeter sofit because of HVAC: 42" wide by 10" tall. It's a pretty sizable sofit but I'm driven to do so because of the HVAC ducts running the whole length of the theater on the left (bottom in drawing).

So here is a sketch after the feedback thus far. I have the front row about 12' away from the theater and the rear is just under 19' away. Using the "theater calculator 4.0"(which is a handy tool), it shows that the `front row is near enough to fall within recommendations. I'm pretty sure that I can fit a 96 inch screen and I just need to do a front wall drawing to verify though I'm pretty sure it's OK.

Behind the 2nd row of seating, I can either do nothing with it or put a bar and some stools though I'll need to measure to see if height is an issue or not since it's under a soffit. Quick math, the height under the riser and under the soffit is 5 1/2. That is probably not going to work unless for kids.... scrap it? I'm totally content with seating for six - it just seems like otherwise wasted space if nothing is there. Not a big deal...

There is a drain pipe that I can't move.... it's in an odd space that I can't incorporate into the room. What is the best of the worst things to do with this? I could mirror it on the other side to be symetrical.

Impressions? Thoughts? Anything terrible?


post #20 of 28
That's pretty darn nice.

The issues I see right off the bat, are:

The bar seating is right on top of the surround speakers. How do you plan
to set the rear surround level so those speakers aren't distracting and
draw undue attention to themselves, at the bar row? Bar stools aren't all
that comfortable for a 2 hour movie either. I'd skip the bar row and use the
cash savings elsewhere, like zoned lighting, or reworking the drain.

The advantage of having all that empty space is that no seats are on top of
surround speakers. And no seating is near wall boundaries. Great for audio.

Seating at ten feet for an 8' wide screen is pretty tame. (I consider those THX
specs a little long in the tooth, with 1080P and brighter projectors.) You could
pull all the seating forward a foot or so. Or widen the front "hallway" perhaps.
Maybe work in some gorilla racking for storage, to make that space more useful.

If you did a hidden access panel for the water and gas, pulled
the room forward, and went with a full width riser, could you reroute that drain
into the side wall and back to where it enters the floor, under a riser step?
Is that 7' of height under the soffit?

You could also do a single step height riser, wall to wall, and to the back of the room.
Put it to work as a broad bass absorber and then have an island style riser that is foot
room plus seating on top of the riser. Preserves headroom under the soffit and gives
you a way to run the plumbing over and into the wall.

Another thought is to break the floor and do a little plumbing extension to the side wall.
Might be money well spent to get the room right, and remove a noisy drain from the

The front row seats appear to be at the center of the room's length. Don't want that...

Your side surrounds as drawn, makes the second row the primary viewing row.

The entry door will need to swing inwards, to meet building code.
post #21 of 28
something like this?

patterr d.jpg 141k .jpg file

It also gives you back some of the storage space.

Using that hallway as a storage room with gorilla rack or similar, maybe
you could lengthen the upper room to full width?

reworked.jpg 161k .jpg file
post #22 of 28
Looks good,

Not up to date on all the issues of the room but I certainly second the following points.

Screen needs to be larger or viewing distance smaller or BOTH

Shortening the viewing distance would allow for a wider and more usable storage space, seems to make a lot of sense.

Side surrounds should be pushed forward some (maybe 120 deg from first row primary seat)

Front seats shouldnt be in center of room (since you can avoid it)

Although its tough knowing you could fit 8, I understand the headroom issues and think your making the right call, you can easily bring in chairs from the card table if needed, and im pretty confident that you will love putting a nice dent in that front center PRIMO SEAT!
post #23 of 28
Pitched an AT screen, to allow for a bigger screen...

Side surrounds work dead center between the seating rows if dipoles.
Direct radiators should be at the end of the primary seating row.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright, round #... well, who knows. It's progress. While I'm having the basement plumbing roughed in for the half bath and the wet bar, I suppose it wouldn't be more than a few hundred more dollars to route that drain pipe to get it out of the theater - clever thought! Thanks again. It'll probably rob me of a few inches on the right side but that's a non issue. The main "I" beam runs down the center of the basement and is where the right wall is. So, I've hidden that drain pipe in the drawing but the depth isn't changed for the theater as it'll be minor.

Yeah, I scrubbed the idea of an AT screen because the room will also be for 2 channel listening and I wish to see the speakers. They are Von Schweikert VR4 S/R towers that blew me away when I demo'd them. Here's a pic so perhaps you'l see why I don't want to hide them.

Just realized I didn't leave space for the subs... hmm.

I have my first row 9.5' away from the 100" screen and the second row 14' away. I think I should move the second row closer, no? In that case, I could (later) fit a bar stool area behind row #2 OR shave off 4' from the back of the theater and have that as the "hallway" to the other half of the basement. Then again, I'd have to move the rack to the right wall of the theater. Having 7-8' in the rear of the theater is dead space to me... what is typically done here? I don't have the soffit the rear of the theater the full 42" so it could be taller... hell, I guess I could put another row of seating...?

I have the front amps, preamp, CD, and turntable situated below the screen... perhaps not traditional for a theater but it will be a multipurpose theater/two channel room so it won't bother me. The only thing that I'll need to mitigate, I believe, would be the glow from the tube amps on the Rogue Audio M-150s from the projector screen

So many options... I just need to go down there with some 2x4s and start framing....

The treadmill does fold up, and can be stashed pretty easily in the basement. The egress window, while not currently there, will have to go on the left wall near the bathroom so that wall will be vacant. I can throw the wet bar on the opposite side of the wall from the sink in the bathroom (sorry, haven't drawn the rest of the basement in Visio yet. The home audio rack can be moved pretty much anywhere in the storage area (top right in basement layout) (though I'm kicking myself since I already started terminating wires) It won't fit under the stairs, no biggie - that's where the (small) theater rack will end up going.

Thanks, again!!
Edited by patterr - 10/24/13 at 7:27am
post #25 of 28

From your 2nd to last floorplan, why don't you work around the existing draining pipe?

Create floating shelves for decoration, DVD, glowing path lights, etc.

post #26 of 28
That "wall" is a stage.

I think those angled walls would create reflective side wall issues. And the decorations
might very well become stuff that needs to be rattle proofed with a system of this caliber.

Rob, I moved the storage doorway over, to fit in the refrigerator, and a cabinet beside. My thinking
was a cabinet could be a single drawer dishwasher down low, with a bar sink above. Above
the cabinet could be the egress window. Choose a tilt and turn style window. The ones we have,
tilt in and lock for ventilation and open inwards, like a door, for egress and cleaning. Our kitchen
window also has a disappearing screen option that rolls up. All four sides feature locking pins and
metal frames, and the window can't be pried open.

So I have to wonder how big/tall does that egress window need to be? Years ago, a neighbour's home
was burglarized with a nice muddy boot print left in their kitchen sink, so that got me thinking...

The shelving I stuck on the outside wall as I figured the space above the shut offs could be put to
post #27 of 28
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

That "wall" is a stage.

I think those angled walls would create reflective side wall issues. And the decorations
might very well become stuff that needs to be rattle proofed with a system of this caliber.

Rob, I moved the storage doorway over, to fit in the refrigerator, and a cabinet beside. My thinking
was a cabinet could be a single drawer dishwasher down low, with a bar sink above. Above
the cabinet could be the egress window. Choose a tilt and turn style window. The ones we have,
tilt in and lock for ventilation and open inwards, like a door, for egress and cleaning. Our kitchen
window also has a disappearing screen option that rolls up. All four sides feature locking pins and
metal frames, and the window can't be pried open.

So I have to wonder how big/tall does that egress window need to be? Years ago, a neighbour's home
was burglarized with a nice muddy boot print left in their kitchen sink, so that got me thinking...

The shelving I stuck on the outside wall as I figured the space above the shut offs could be put to

Ahh I see! No worries about shelves rattling as any competent carpenter or basically anyone can dampen vibrations. When you speak about acoustics, it's about directing sound to the audience the most efficiently. But I guess a fully squared theater room is simpler and aesthetically pleasant.

About that drawing, when you're drawing something like that, what is shaded is what you're cutting through. In this case, you're cutting at 5ft above the floor so the stage shouldn't be seen as a wall that is being cut but soft lines.

About egress windows, they need to be 42"-to 44" above your finished floor with a window width of at least 24". Look up your town's code, keywords "egress window" and "window well" for a more detailed info regarding your town. 

post #28 of 28
The shelves *might* not rattle, but the objects on them might very well.

What is shaded is a rectangular soffit, but often people match their soffit with a the curve of a stage. It was
just a quickie cut and paste diagram and I simply followed Rob's lead. My drafting days are pre pc and my
computer drawing skills aren't up to

Then I guess one could stack a single drawer dishwasher into the lower section of a cabinet, then have a solid
fixed panel above, and then the countertop with a sink. Then the upper area could be an egress window. The
dishwasher could even be faced with a wood drawer front to blend it into the cabinet.

I don't need an egress window for a basement, until there's a bedroom. However, there is a RedZaw sitting in
the garage and I plan to add a large window for light, and since it match all the other windows, it would meet
those standards of egress.
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