Hello all, I'm a long time lurker, first time poster. I've been a AVS visitor since I purchased my first big screen HDTV 8 years ago and was looking for some color tuning info. I have a large family; the wife and I, and our 6 daughters, and my mom now lives with us in an apartment above the garages. One of our favorite pastimes is "Family Movie Night". We try to do it every other weekend if not more often. Life's been a little crazy lately, but it's starting to settle back down and we're watching movies again. I built a nice setup with our HDTV in our family room with a MediaPC running mediabrowser for the entire library. We absolutely love it. The kids can watch movies and no one has to go through all the discs and spread them all over the house!
Recently, we moved into a new (to us) home. The basement is fully finished with the exception of a room underneath the 2 car garage that says "home theater" all over it. The previous owner started to wire it up for that purpose, but I don't think he really knew what he was doing. Since we purchased the home, I've planned on finishing what he started. I was planning on taking it really slow, and getting the room done as finances dictated. As luck would have it, I have an offer to purchase my little side business, and that will generate enough to do the home theater! Initially my thoughts were to get it done quick, before Christmas. As I think about it more, I don't think I'm going to be able to do things that fast and do them right. I still have a lot of work to do at a rental property before I can do this project. Also, I want to plan things out well, so I can be sure that I'm doing things right.
I've started reading through as many of the threads here as I can. I've been through all the sticky threads. I've been taking a lot of notes. I have so MANY questions!! Some threads create more questions than answers! So I'm hoping you don't mind if I ask a lot of questions here..
I've visited a couple of the home theater stores here in town, and already got some ideas. Since I am Best Buy premier Silver, I plan on taking advantage of their free magnolia in home consultation, as well as a couple of the other shops in town who will come out and do a consultation for free.
I currently have my budget set at about 15K. 6k for seating, 4k for projection, 3k for audio, and the balance for lumber/drywall/carpet, etc. Would you say this is a realistic budget? That seating budget is killing me.. I'd rather spend that on electronics!
Over the next couple days, I'll post my high level plans that I have so far. Please comment and steer me the right way if I'm way off base.
About the room. It's roughly 20' X 20' with a 2' 6"' X 9' extra bit on one side, and a 4' X 11 9" on the opposite corner. It's completely concrete. All walls are 8" concrete, the ceiling is the garage floor, suspended by two giant I beams. There is a 3ft. wide door, and a 1' X 2' opening at the ceiling that connects the room with the mechanical room. The ceiling is 8' 10" high, except for the two I beams that run perpendicular to the viewing direction that drop the ceiling down another 10". The walls are currently framed with 2x6es. The ceiling, as seen in photo 5 is metal and not framed up yet. Pictures are posted below. Never mind the clutter, we used this room to stash things we didn't immediately know what to do with when we moved in.
We've noticed some moisture seeping in during rain storms, so we have a contractor coming out in the next couple of weeks to take a look at that and come up with a solution before anything else gets going. I'm unsure as to why they were using 2X6 lumber to frame the walls. They were only insulating with r13, so there's air between the insulation and the wall. Should I stick with the 2X6, or rip it out, reuse the lumber for the platforms and use 2x4 on the walls? What else should I be looking at doing at the framing phase?
What would you say the best way to frame up the ceiling would be? I'd like to try and keep as much height as I can, so I'm thinking of furring it down with 2X2s and framing around the I beams, making it look a bit like a tray ceiling.
Right now my plan is to frame up the 2.5x9 space as a closet to store all media and other items that seem to always clutter up the room. (extra cable, etc) The other side near the door, I'm thinking of creating a 4x4 closet for all the equipment. I'm still unsure as to how I'm going to do it. Do I want the equipment sticking out of the wall with a door for rear access, or do I want the rack entirely enclosed?
Here's my initial layout plan. The couches are just default templates in the software I'm using. I'm planning on 2 rows of 5 theater seat. Seats in a 5 seat row will fit.
The access door on the equipment room is problematic as it's right where a speaker should go. I could just put in a small short access door below the speaker to just crawl in, that doesn't sound all that appealing..
The other option is to move the equipment room to the other side of the door. That still leaves me needing to build the wall there to put the in wall speaker there, thereby making the room more boxy. I thought of putting maybe a small bar with a couple stools there, with a half wall for the speaker to fit in.. Or better yet, a little DJ booth? :)
The 20x20' dimensions are far from ideal, due to room nodes.
How wide are your seats? Is narrowing the room an option?
floor.jpg 31k .jpg file
Narrowing the room is definitely a possibility.. How much should I narrow it? I'd love to find a way to make that unused space into storage if possible (hidden behind acoustical panels maybe?). I'm planning on putting columns in, and have also been planning on coating the walls with sound absorbing materials. What about making the platform into a large bass trap?
I do like where you are going with your idea.
I don't have specific seats chosen just yet. I need to seat at least 10, so if I narrowed the room, is 20 ft of depth enough to have 3 rows if 2 rows of 5 won't work?
How tall is the room?
Is the ten seats a want or a realistic need? The budget seems tight to me so I'd be looking
to see if some dollars can be shuffled about.
I could see your room with splayed side walls, a DIY XD screen with in wall speakers. Maybe
even stepped splayed side walls for some design flair.
BTW, the entry door might have to be flipped, to swing in to meet code.
a quickie sketch:
IMG.jpg 55k .jpg file
In wall high efficiency speakers like Klipsch with an XD DIY AT screen.
Some of the storage area(s) could be set aside for an IB sub(s) or reframed to
hide subs behind acoustically transparent panels.
Added a little entry flair with the door at the rear of the room, and the step outside the room.
Media shelf perhaps, or a movie marquee. Budget creep perhaps, but these could be considered
for some future additions and framed for a future addition.
just throwing ideas at you.....
The entry door is raised, so one step up would bring you to riser height
IMG 1.jpg 145k .jpg file
Seating could be cut down to 8, and we could do bean bags on the floor up front if we have any visitors. I was thinking that we'd decide on and purchase the seating last. If we end up with a cheap couch for a while until I can get the nice seats, we'd be ok with that. There's also the possibility of financing the seating at the end of the build, so if I need to tap into the seating budget for the rest, that will be ok.
I really like this direction of making the room odd shaped.. It gets away from the square box, and really makes it feel like a theater, which is what I was wanting to get to. The height of the room is 9ft, but there are two I beams that run parallel to the screen about 60 inches from the screen and then 60 inches in from the back. They ceiling will have to drop down to 8 foot or so in those areas. I was going to try and create a tray ceiling or soffit system around those.
It's funny you mention in-wall speakers. I hadn't considered them originally, but in talking with a local dealer this week, he has some Revel in-wall speakers on clearance that normally retail for $899 that he's selling for $299. He's also selling the smaller versions for $229 for surrounds. I tried to do some research on those speakers, but didn't find a whole lot. They sounded pretty amazing to my ears in his demo theater. He told me that the electronics are identical to the current Revels, they just have a different mounting system. I'm inclined to go with those speakers, as they are a way to get a lot better speaker and fit within my budget.. I was also thinking of doing a DIY sub setup.
I'm pretty handy, I was lucky to have a Dad that taught me framing, drywall, electrical, etc. I plan on doing most of the work myself. I'll probably hire out the drywall, as that is a job that isn't very fun.
Good design actually starts with seating. You plant your eyes and ears in space.
You could buy the seating last, but start by selecting the seating first.
Speaker selection due to the distance to the second row is important, if you
wish to play movies at reference levels. Dome tweeters aren't a good choice for the fronts,
with a second row since dome tweeters are good for 12-14 feet at reference levels.
Hanging drywall isn't so bad, finishing it is. However if one does fabric walls, then rough mudded
seams aren't an issue.
Those I beams are design features! They will add interest. Some ladder style framing and the
drywall could just skim the bottom of the beam to preserve ceiling height. You will want to watch
the projector throw distance and where the projector ends up, with the drop needed to clear the
beams. Might be some potential headroom issues there...
The riser steps could be overflow seating.
Have you given any thought to a lighting controller and multiple zones?
Lighting can add lots of WOW factor and make a design statement.
Those I beams could also be boxed by running wood beams atop the side wall framing.
This could isolate the theater ceiling from above, with the soffited areas framed in
The storage areas could also be useful for HVAC runs for the theater.
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