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Family Room layout help please

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hoping to get some opinions because I'm having a hard time making a decision. I've got an unfinished basement that has a framed in Rec/Family room. I would like to make it as nice as possible and still have my wife happy with it too. The problem is that she wants a fireplace downstairs. Finding room for one is rather tricky. I've come up with two plans and I wanted to get others opinions to make sure I'm not forgetting something, or I'm overlooking something.

The rooms dimensions are 18' x 26', and here's the floor plan:



And here are pics of my two layouts:
Corner fireplace w/ 50' flat panel above fireplace


Fireplace along wall w/ 50' flat panel above fireplace



After deciding on the corner option, I think I'm now leaning towards the second option. I think with the 2nd option of straight on I'd have better acoustics, plus I'd be able to wire for 7.1 sound, where as with the corner option, I'd be stuck with 5.1 sound at best. Plus with the 2nd option, I could possibly build some built in book cases on either side of the fireplace and tv. The fireplace I'm planning on getting is a direct vent gas fireplace, and it would need about 20" - 24", so I'd lose about 2" of that 26" length of the room, but that would allow for the builtin stuff.

I've already started building the rack in the one wall behind the furniture. That's storage space under the stairs, so that should work out well.

What's everyone think? Corner fireplace or not? Anything I'm not thinking of?
post #2 of 13
Straight layout seems fine. Makes it easier to put bass traps in the corners, too :-)
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I don't know if I'll go as far as bass traps (i'm not even sure what those are) since it's just a family room, but I figure with the straight on option, the sound will be better.

Plus, I think I can get some theater seating, maybe 3 wide, in place of the two recliners in the picture. Since the TV will be a little higher than is optimal, some bigger, fluffier higher furniture would be better.
post #4 of 13
Quote:


I don't know if I'll go as far as bass traps (i'm not even sure what those are)

A basement will often get that cold, hollow feeling from the hard acoustic surfaces. This also makes dialog less intelligible, and music less crisp. You can make this problem better by varioius acoustic treatments, of which putting bass traps (triangles of absorbent material) into the corners is the most straightforward.

ATS Acoustics and GIK Acoustics are two places often recommended on these fourms. You can also look at RealTraps for more bass traps.
post #5 of 13
as soon as i hear "above the fireplace", i lose interest.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joetoronto View Post

as soon as i hear "above the fireplace", i lose interest.


I'll let my wife know that you feel that way

Anyone else have any feedback on the layout? Anything I'm missing.

I don't think I'll go with the bass traps. I plan on using dri-core on the floor and as much insulation as I can.
post #7 of 13
If you're going to build a 'wall cabinet' area like that, you can build the treatments into it if you plan ahead. Also, don't put the speakers in those little 'cubbies' unless the sides are all open acoustically. You'll get a very nasty hollow sound.

Bryan
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by joetoronto View Post

as soon as i hear "above the fireplace", i lose interest.


I just purchased a house that i will be moving into in a couple of weeks, and it looks like i might have to hang my tv "over the fireplace". Why shouldn't a person consider that?
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by wearemarshall View Post

I just purchased a house that i will be moving into in a couple of weeks, and it looks like i might have to hang my tv "over the fireplace". Why shouldn't a person consider that?


if it has to be done, it has to be done, marshall.

generally speaking, people who hang a plasma over a fireplace do so simply for aesthetics, it's like their hanging a picture instead of a screen.

the middle of the screen should be eye level to you when you sit down, your head shouldn't be tilted up.

throw in the fact that the heat from the fireplace will rise onto the screen and it's a no brainer for me.
post #10 of 13
I have a familyroom style HT... check out the link in my sig. Our fireplace is in a corner in its own sitting area, and you can still participate in a movie or a game.
post #11 of 13
PS Put the fireplace on the side wall and have the TV (or even projected image) on the long wall. You can do your sectional and have a chaise, ottoman, or some chairs to "enjoy" the fireplace.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweakophyte View Post

PS Put the fireplace on the side wall and have the TV (or even projected image) on the long wall. You can do your sectional and have a chaise, ottoman, or some chairs to "enjoy" the fireplace.

I've thought about that, but I don't think it will work. It's hard to see, but there is a window on that long wall about 6 feet from the corner. It's a tight fit to get the fireplace in the corner because of it.
post #13 of 13
I like the corner setup, but only you know how the room will be used. Chatting would dictate more face-to-face, while media viewing would be different.

Having built a 'music room' for my one seat and audio system, I can offer a little. The is acoustic room treatment for internal sounds management and other for sound isolation, which is what insulation and all does. I built a 'sonic Thermos'; a wall within a wall, each almost totally isolated from the other. The ceiling 'floats' on Z-strip and is three layers of 5/8" drywall, glued together. All edges are foam-stuffed to reduce mechanical sound transfer.

My fine electronics (Cello/Levinson) are on their own circuits with hospital grade outlets and #8 wire from the CR box. A power conditioner holds the voltage steady and filters the minimal line noise.

No room dimension is a multiple of another. Were the room longer, I would get stronger bass inside, rather than what I hear outside the door. The room is not deadened with heavy acoustic drapings and I don't feel I need multiple vertical strips or special refledtors/traps to get fantastic audio. Think of sound waves bouncing about with different wavelengths hitting differing places. Your 'corner design' strikes me as better from this standpoint, versus a boxy room.

The sound will come primarily from the speakers and I wonder if there is really much practical difference between 5 and 7 channels, plus subs. It depends on your software (sources), but 99% of my material has very little driving the 5 effect speakers I run in my (other) family room/video theater. Very occasionally, I hear some thumping from the rear sub-woofer and only slightly more often, do I notice side or rear activity from the effect speakers (as it should be).

There is inherently more compromise when building a multi-purpose room. The .W.A.F. (wife acceptance factor) is huge. There are competing focal points, but an exposed large screen is very compelling.

I am working on a large-plasma-over-fireplace family room. I tire of the harping about such an install as with proper shielding/spacing heat effects on the screen is reported as minimal, but those who have measured it. Too-high mounting should e carefully considered and managed, but this is a 'compromised' room. Our seating allows reclined viewing and enough distance to avoid neck/eye strain.

Visit and observe the wall treatments and shapes of aesthetically pleasing and sonically superb rooms, private and public. Then work a design that pleases and serves your special group of consumers.
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