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# The Coleminer Theater

We're still in the design stages of our basement finish/home theater buildout. Our home was completed in March 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio...

Our goals for the project are to create a theater with a budget of \$5000 for the buildout, while maintaining an amount of unfinished storage area necessary for the size of our house (3BR/2.5BA) for the next family with children or for our future child(ren). Contractors will be hired to move the electrical panel, make the electrical connections, mud/tape the drywall and any rough plumbing work. The basement already has the rough plumbing for a full bathroom, but we are currently undecided as to whether or not to finish out the space concurrently with the rest of the basement.

Due to the layout of the basement, specifically the steel support beam and lolley column, it doesn't appear as if we'll be able to get the room dimensions that we need to fit the number of viewers that we would like. Our current Family Room is long and narrow (19' x 12'), and there simply isn't enough room for large gatherings of people to watch movies and/or sporting events.

I've done some layouts in Sketchup, but keep hitting a point where I can't seem to get an adequate layout, while keeping the number and size of soffits to a minimum. Given the attached general basement layout and dimensions, how would you break up the space?

"cole basement.jpg"

"cole basement2.jpg"

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A couple of dimension questions:
1) What is the distance between the walls and the support pole in the middle there?
2) What is the width of the section where the steps are?
3) What ist he width and length of the section where the ductwork is?
4) What is the width of the ductwork? I can see that the height under it is ~6' 11"
1. The lolley column is 8' 11 1/16" from the wall with the electric panel and 9' 4 1/16" from the other outside wall (5' 11 5/16" from the inside wall by the stairs).
2. The stairs are 3' 4 3/4" from the foundation wall to the inside wall of the stairs (add 4 1/2" for drywall thickness).
3. 18' 6" x 15' 3 5/16" (the 15' dimension is the same as the other section)
4. The ductwork sticks out 3' 5 5/8" from the wall. This isn't all the ductwork, as it isn't flush against the outside wall, but this does represent the size that would have to be accounted for with a soffit.

I've attached a couple of updated layouts to clear up any confusion in my descriptions.

Thanks for taking a look.

"cole basement3.jpg"

I think your best bet is going to be using the area with the ducts (screen on the wall with the windows). You could make it like 18.5' x 13'. You would obviously need to make soffits on either side, one to hide the duct work and one to mirror the other side (could be used for running necessary wires and conduit). Although, it would end up not much different than your family room dimensions.

If you want bigger you will need to get rid of the post in the center, which would eat up a large chunk of your budget.

Edit: I guess you could build a room with the post in the room. Put the screen under the duct work. The post would be sort of in the center of the second row. Maybe put your projector where the beam is (build a soffit/hush box there). Not ideal to have a post within the room, but you could definitely increase your room dimensions that way.
I've tried a couple different configurations, (placing the screen under the HVAC ductwork, placing the room on a 45degree angle, etc), but there are always issues with the seating.

I think, when all is said and done, placing the screen on the side where the HAVC is would be the best layout for you. Build a wall about flush with the HVAC so that you wouldn't have to box in the entire HVAC and it will give you room back there to work with wires.

You could have a continuous first row (starting at about 9' from the screen), but split the second row (and addition 3' back) into a left and right side with the pole in the middle of them. However you need to keep the row at least 24" to 30" away from the steps so people can walk around it to the bathroom or to the first row.

[Warning on the following note: I am not a structural engineer and you would consult with one or a builder for a definitive answer]
Now if you feel daring, you could replace the center pole with 2 flanking poles. By placing the 2 flanking poles 6 feet from center pole, you would have a 12' span (which is fine for a steel support beam) and then remove the center pole. This will give you everything you want.

Adding in lolly poles are easy to do and can be purchased at any HD or Lowes. You place them where you want, expand it so that is extremely tight against the steel pole, secure it to both the steel beam and concrete floor. I did one and it was actually quite easy to do. However, I was just adding support to 20' 2x12 wood joists that had no support under them and not removing any other ones.

Just make sure that the amount the each pole can support is equal to the amount the center pole currently supports. It'll be overkill, but this way you're not worried about under-doing it which can be disasterous. Removing the center pole might be a bitch, but can be done.
If removing the pole as described above, you would likely need to have the concrete floor removed below the new poles and a bigger footer placed there. For example you probably have a 4' concrete stab for the majority of you basement, however under the aforementioned pole there is probably a foot or more of concrete. It was poured this way because a load bearing post was going to be placed there.

I would definitely hire a structural engineer to look at it prior to undertaking anything extravagant.
I agree that you get an engineer to look it over and make recommendations.
How many viewers?

Why not keep the basement open concept with the screen under the soffit, with a single arched row of seats and build a raised bar counter with 30" bar stools (at the lolly pole)? Basically two rows of seating and maybe add in a few beanbag chairs for the little ones as infill seating. Bar seating, while less comfortable then a second row of theater seats, means the front row can butt up against the bar, buying you a couple of feet.

It also looks like those windows aren't big enough to meet egress rules for basement bedrooms so future bedrooms might be out of the picture without enlarging the windows first. I also don't see a steel beam replacement fitting into your \$5K build out budget

Redoing the lolly poles would mean breaking through the concrete floor, pouring new footers with rebar, then adding new lolly poles and then patching the floor. Rather then do a 12' span with two lolly poles, removal and replacement of the full span with a steel beam would make better sense, but run you \$2 to \$2.5k.
The sketchup files don't reflect accurately that the beam that is supported by the lolley column is a steel beam. Our builder indicated that the lolley column was needed for support. I'd imagine that bringing in a steel beam of sufficient size would be taller and create more of an issue with headroom.

As of today, the ways that we have looked at designing the room are:

1. similar to mbgonzomd's first idea (hiding the pole in a wall and creating 2 distinct rooms with the screen towards the HVAC feed.
2. similar to Tedd's last idea, with building a bar/counter between the wall and the lolley column to keep the space more open. The question here becomes, what to do with the rest of the space behind the bar/counter?
3. finally, we discussed brining in a structrual engineer for a consultation on the beam/pole issue to see what we could do. At one point, the builder presented plans with the lolley column 1' from the stairs, so I'm hopeful that the steel beam can be supported by just the column there and then the entire basment could be finished as 1 large room.

If I would design the basement so that there was a way to have a dedicated room for the 95% of the time that 2-4 people would be watching the action, but be flexible enough to open up to allow 15-20 people to watch an event (Super Bowl, Ohio State National Championship Game, etc.), that would be ideal.

Of some consideration is to have some amount of storage space left over in the design. Right now, I've designed a wall to be built about 4' 10" from the wall with the HVAC feed, leaving a storage area of 220 sqft.

When I get back home tonight, I'll post a couple of pictures of the design work that I did so far. If there's a desire, I can post the sketchup file to google earth.
Ok, so here's Sketchup models of #1 and #3 from above. For option #3, I've assumed that we will move the lolley column to 1 ft. from the wall by the stairs and will build a matching column to help hide the plumbing stack along the outside wall. It seems to mee that I should have much more space than it appears that I do (the seats are Berkline 088 which are all I could find premade in Sketchup).

I'm working on modeling the Hitachi plasma that we already have (55"), as that's probably what would go down there initially, unless we got blown away by a deal on a projector and screen.

Anybody in the Cincinnati area know a structural engineer? What kind of prices are people hearing for a consultation on moving/removing a lolley column?

"cole basement idea1.jpg"

"cole basement idea2.jpg"

That generally looks good, but I would make some modifications:
Move the screen wall as far back as you can because you currently have no access to storage (where's the door?)

Is the toliet going to be right next to the bathroom door? Is there going to be a shower? If no shower, make the room smaller. A powder room would be fine if it's simple a 4' x 4' or 4' x 5' room. My powder room on the ground floor is actually only 3' x 6' with the toliet on 1 end and and the sink on the other and the door in the middle. It's plenty big.

Think about moving the bathroom wall back a little (although that hole in the ground concerns me - what is it for?) and then using a nice big door to storage, which you will definitely want incase anything bad happens to the HVAC system or water heater. Measure the heater and water heater sizes and make sure that you could get them in and out if you had to. Last thing you want is to have to rip out a wall.
If you're looking at "cole basement idea1.jpg", the square shaped area in the bathroom is where the drain for a tub/shower unit is plumbed, the larger circle is where the toilet drain is plumbed (the drain/vent for the vanity is concealed behind the wall). The smaller circle in the middle of the floor is a cleanout. I'm not sure how to address that when finishing the floor in there, as you'd most certainly not want to completely cover that up. Incidentally, there is another cleanout in the top right corner of the main section of the basement.

I didn't show a door in these views, though they are shown in a layer consisting of the framing (housebuilder ruby script). I was thinking that I'd put the door to the storage room next to the door to the bathroom.

Thanks again for all the ideas/help, DM. I still want to model option #2 from post #9 to see what that looks like, though I'm really starting to think that "cole basement idea2" is the way to go. At this point, we need to get an engineer involved!
Good luck and keep us updated. I'm about 45min North of you.

Take your time and do everything right the first time!
Am I the only one not seeing the pictures??
No, you are not the only one, not seeing pictures or link...
Should have the links fixed now. Sorry!
I think we have a winner on the design. Speaker placement isn't nearly perfect in these images, and they're more placeholders than anything. I'm worried about access to the bathroom with this layout (because you'd be walking into an unfinished area first), but I think that this is the best way to lay out the theater without incurring significant expense to relocate the lolley column.

There will be a soffit measuring roughly 44" wide on all sides. This is done to accomodate the HVAC trunck shown in previous posts. The raised portion of the ceiling would measure 8' x 10'4". The columns shown in these renderings hide the lolley column and plumbing stack.

I haven't represented a riser in these renderings and need to update them accordingly.

Any critique that you guys can offer?

This is a view from the door to the unfinished area.

This is a view from the top with the cieling removed.
I think it looks really good. If you are worried about walking into an unfinished area when going to use the bathroom why not move the door to the unfinished area back to the other end of the bathroom wall. It creates a little hallway to the bathroom door and that would solve the issue of walking into the unfinished portion of the basement. If you are going to have 7.1, you have room on the back wall for the rear speakers. In the wall might be your best bet for those.

Bob
I agree with bob, finish a portion of the unfinished area leading to the bathroom. Add another door leading into the truely unfinished part.
Here are some photos of the basement that I took during the construction of the house:

This one is taken from the corner of what we're proposing as the theater room towards the area that will be an office.

This is from the same corner looking towards the bathroom and mechanicals. The theater room is closest to the camera.

This picture is taken from the front corner of the basement with the theater in the background and the office in the foreground.

This shows the theater and bathroom.

This shows the floor joists for the 1st floor.

.....and unfortunately your "username" didn't work out in Glendale, AZ. I went out to AZ and had to watch the whipping first hand.
Had to put the theater on hold for a variety of reasons, one of which included spending the \$ for roundtrip airfare, hotel and game tickets to the BCS Championship game... Super disappointing!

I'm still playing around with the design though, as I'm not happy with the way everything flows.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BucksWin

Had to put the theater on hold for a variety of reasons, one of which included spending the \$ for roundtrip airfare, hotel and game tickets to the BCS Championship game... Super disappointing!

I'm still playing around with the design though, as I'm not happy with the way everything flows.

Ah understandable.. So you were out there too? The only thing sweet I saw, was that stadium. The Glendale (Univ. of Phoenix) stadium is super awesome, in my opinion. If we could have forseen the outcome, we both could have saved \$\$\$ for home theater gear.

Keep us updated on the theater.
So, after 15 months of no posts, I've taken the plunge and made my first 2 runs to Lowe's yesterday and today. I bought 35 2x4x96" studs and 20 2x4x8' PTL boards to get started on framing.

Not sure if I can embed the HTML code from Google Docs, but here's a tracking spreadsheet that I'll use for costs of the build. The budget is still \$5000 for all construction. We'll tackle equipment as I get further into it.

What is everyone using as access to a plumbing cleanout on a vertical stack? I'm planning on using one of these: http://www.plumbersurplus.com/Prod/E.../39369/Cat/610 to provide access to a water shut-off valve. I don't think that this will work where this stack is. If I made a column that hid a portion of this stack with a hinged lower section, would that work? Any other ideas?
I should have given the reason for finally starting construction: A baby is on the way! We're due October 8. This is several weeks into Ohio State football season, so I'm pushing for inducement about 6 weeks early. Probably won't happen!

We should have our first ultrasound in about 6 weeks from today.
Gratz on the kid. And sorry for your lost football season....
Yup - got some serious motivation now. Once the baby comes, there won't be any late nights working in the basement. Good luck.

Bryan
Are you going to the game on Sat?

Congratulations on the baby and keep us posted on the build.
Went to the Spring Game on Saturday but only stayed until halftime. The rain sucked and we really went for the Ohio State vs. Denver lacrosse game. I coach a middle school team and run a youth organization with another 4 teams and 75 kids...

Here's the first set of photos from working in the basement:

First tool fatality was a fiberglass handled hammer. I tried to pry a nail that I'd set with a powder actuated nailer. After the hammer broke, I tried a sawzall. When that didn't do anything but heat up the nail, I decided that I'd put a cartridge in the nailer with no nail and use the piston to drive the nail all the way into the concrete. DON'T DO THAT!! The nail snapped off the second time and came flying up to hit me in the face, along with a couple of chunks of concrete.

I'll post framing progress photos shortly. I've got some questions that I'll need answers for!
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