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post #1 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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HT Theatre for movies (small width)

So my wife and I are finally on to the part where we are doing some planning with the basement. Ideally I'd like to put in a dedicated project room strictly for movie viewing (maybe video gaming as well but not decided on that).

To that end we have a rather large basement but the goal is to use it in a way that leaves a play area for our future kids. The basement is finished but I would want to enclose the section into a dedicated room. I've taken a picture to give you an idea of how it is open but somewhat mocked up a layout of the rough size it would be if we enclosed as well.

Long story short the room is essentially the following:

Length - 22ft 3 inches
Height - 9ft 6 inches
Width - 8ft 6 inches

Couple key items to be aware of:
- The door at the bottom of the room along the width wall opens into an unfinished storage/hvac area of the basement and is currently there. I'm thinking screen would go on the opposite end about 3 feet short of egress window (which is where my measurements start with a planned wall.
- Full control over light
- Audio room possibly to the left in that cutout section with over 2ft 4inch width and 7feet 4inch length?
- Pillars are load bearing but I imagine a few more inches could be gained depending on how we enclose.

Goals of the room:
- Projector screen as big as reasonable (thinking 110 inch diagonal). Screen will have to be AT.
- 4k Projector
- Atmos enabled and 7.1 base would be the goal ( this is for movies after all). Guessing would need to look at in wall for the surrounds/atmos
- Primarily will be two people, occasionally 4. So 2 rows of 2 seats is what I'm working iwth for main seating. Would be nice to add bar seating around back if possible

Anyway just wondering if I have any shot of pulling something off with the width of this area. The support pillars unfortunately make basement use for dedicated theatre incredibly difficult. The alternative is I could potentially dedicate part of the storage space which would be wide closer 9ft 6inches but not sure that would be worth it either.

Just hoping to get a big project spot for movies and nice quality sound (doesn't have to be perfect). I currently have a 5.1 setup in my living room which is nice but I'd love to go to a more dedicated section.
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post #2 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 01:02 PM
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I know this isn't what you're asking, but as I guy who just turned his 11'x11' office into a toy room I'd say that space is MORE than enough for kids to entertain themselves.

If you wanted to go nuts you could probably fit a playhouse like this in there with room to spare.

As a guy who is also dreaming of putting a dedicated theater with seating for 6-7 people into a 23'x13'x9' (currently unfinished) space I think you're going to have a difficult time seating 5-6 people in that space without significant compromises.

Is that really the only room in the basement that could possibly be used for a theater? WAF notwithstanding.



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post #3 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotShorty View Post

Is that really the only room in the basement that could possibly be used for a theater? WAF notwithstanding.

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Fair question. So I was thinking about this after the post and figured I should have called out it’s really most often going to be used by 2 people and commonly 4. Anything more than 4 would be very rare and so I wonder if a bar setup would be better.

So the problem with another solution is what it would do to basement and WAF. Meaning if we took the bigger width section which would be more ideal closer to 13 feet W and 17-18 length we’d end up with a massive L shape to the basement with the section i originally shared being left open to kid and a hallway leading to it about 4 1/2 feet in width. We don’t even have kids yet so I’m not sure i could sell my wife that the kids would get useable space out of it.

I do have a 13 x 12 study that could be used for kids but I work from home full time so it’s been my dedicated office - so not real feasible.

Unfortunately it’s hard to come up with something else that the wife would really approve of and the basement would really be cut up due to all the support pillars (which is the major issue with the room width as is). The alternative is to remake the storage section of basement and then turn a section I showed you into storage. I’ll have to go measure the room that would give but had been hoping to avoid.
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post #4 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 01:24 PM
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The width is narrow but there will be inches that can be freed up width-wise that would be nice to recover.


Creative seating such as condo sized couches or commercial theater seating will be required to fit in three seats in that width.

An AT screen is definitely a really good option.

What's the whole basement look like? Looking for an opportunity to flip the room.

And what is that closet hiding?
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post #5 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 01:50 PM
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NotShorty, that is rather cool.


I would take over the 13x18' space since it is a far more substantial space then something just under 9 feet. You will be spending some dollars so why compromise when you don't really need to?
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post #6 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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The rest of basement is in the attached pic (as you can see my wife already has tons of kids toys for our nieces and nephews).

So I answered to quickly from a rough estimate while out. The other space is in the attached pictures. The damn support pillars start 10.6 feet out from the wall. So I guess one option that would still leave a lot of play room is to box in from the first picture support pillar and leave a room of about 11.7 feet deep but 14 feet wide and just go one row but very wide - but then projector throw will likely be an issue also.

The other option would be 10.6 width and 17 feet in length.

The reality is these damn support pillars are killer for a dedicated enclosed area.
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post #7 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 03:25 PM
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If you have 8 feet of width, just get a big tv and call it a day. Not enough separation for coherent atmos surround sound imo either, keep it simple with 5.1
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post #8 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 03:27 PM
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Some people here have added support pillars to both sides of their room with a big metal beam connecting the two, which would allow the existing beams to be removed. Not cheap, but possibly worth it.

Not sure if a floorplan of the whole basement would help, but I'm having a hard time giving better suggestions based on those photos alone. The stairs being right there are going to be a design challenge. There's basically no way for people to come downstairs without walking right into your theater space and/or it's awkward to get to the other side of the basement...

Might be worth scaling back your expectations on the 8x22 space and try to make it work. For example, you could do two rows of two Fusion Jive chairs (60.25" wide by 65" when reclined) centered on the room which should give a little bit of room to get around at either side. A third row would probably be too far or too high to be worth it, in my opinion. Seating for kids or extra guests could be beanbag chairs in front of the first row on the floor. Could close in the back few feet of the room to use as an equipment closet, or maybe consider having a small countertop with barstools.

Just for a little inspiration, AVS user xpl0sive made really good use of his 12x12 space (4x1 seats rather than the 2x2 I'm suggesting obviously)
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/showt...61114?page=196

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post #9 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotShorty View Post
Some people here have added support pillars to both sides of their room with a big metal beam connecting the two, which would allow the existing beams to be removed. Not cheap, but possibly worth it.

Not sure if a floorplan of the whole basement would help, but I'm having a hard time giving better suggestions based on those photos alone. The stairs being right there are going to be a design challenge. There's basically no way for people to come downstairs without walking right into your theater space and/or it's awkward to get to the other side of the basement...

Might be worth scaling back your expectations on the 8x22 space and try to make it work. For example, you could do two rows of two Fusion Jive chairs (60.25" wide by 65" when reclined) centered on the room which should give a little bit of room to get around at either side. A third row would probably be too far or too high to be worth it, in my opinion. Seating for kids or extra guests could be beanbag chairs in front of the first row on the floor. Could close in the back few feet of the room to use as an equipment closet, or maybe consider having a small countertop with barstools.

Just for a little inspiration, AVS user xpl0sive made really good use of his 12x12 space (4x1 seats rather than the 2x2 I'm suggesting obviously)
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/showt...61114?page=196

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So I edited my original post but for most part theatre will be two people regularly and 4 occasionally. So two sets of two seaters works fine. Would be nice to add small bartop and stools for the occasional bigger need but frankly I don't see any even semi occasional use that goes bigger than 4.

I guess one big question is at 8.6 feet wide, is it worth it sound wise? I could probably gain 4 inches it looks like from the pillar if I did a wall right across it and cut into it but I'm not getting anymore than 9feet in width.

I've been looking for a full floor plan but I'll have to grab it from builder it looks like. Our basement doesn't match the model floor plan I do have. But reality is there really isn't a much approach due to all the beams. I can get slightly wide like 10.6 but then I only have about 16 feet depth.

I suppose I can always look into engineering a different brace (one single pillar removed in multiple spots would drastically change my options) which if it only costs $5-8K wouldn't be that bad, or liveable since this is my last home till retirement, but I have hard time imagining it would be even that cheap. but I can always check.

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If you have 8 feet of width, just get a big tv and call it a day. Not enough separation for coherent atmos surround sound imo either, keep it simple with 5.1
Already have a 75 inch in the main living room with a decent 5.1 setup. I can't see springing for an 86 inch with for another 5.1. Too little return.

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post #10 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike00 View Post
I guess one big question is at 8.6 feet wide, is it worth it sound wise?



Already have a 75 inch in the main living room with a decent 5.1 setup. I can't see springing for an 86 inch with for another 5.1. Too little return.
I'm not qualified to tell you if it's worth it, but I have a 65" tv with 5.1 in my living room so I feel your pain. Even though I have a bigger space in my basement I don't have the time or money to finish it properly any time soon so I'm agonizing over whether to put an 85" tv in my living room or put an inexpensive projector in my unfinished basement and build DIYSG speakers as funds become available, then maybe someday finish the theater room itself. Sigh.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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post #11 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 06:44 PM
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I do question if it is worth it. That is seriously narrow. And that's coming from a guy who has but 9' 5" of width with a 54x96" AT screen. The video is pretty awesome but I have my moments
where I think a good 2.1 or 2.2 system would be more then good enough and maybe be better in terms of simplicity.

If I had the opportunity to go wider, I would have. Sucks that I should have bought the other model of similar sized home in the subdivision, as I would have had a much superior space. I do console
myself that when I bought, home theater wasn't even on my radar.

You could go slightly wider then 10.5 if you hosted a support column in a column. But four seats is still going to eat up much of the room width so the outer seats will be close to the walls.

I don't think the 16' depth is a big problem. You could simply use some good in wall speakers up front (and all around) and do the AT screen. One row of seats in almost 16' of room depth still offers
good seat/speaker separation and an ATMOS 5.1.4 system might be a good speaker layout to avoid the outer seats right on top of surround speakers.

A couple of things with the small space is room nodes get spaced closer together making hard to have smooth audio, and it's hard to not light up a room with light coming off the screen so the smaller
space gets exponentially harder to execute well.
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post #12 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 07:27 PM
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You can check out my build as it’s very small. I started with almost 9 ft wide and 14 ft long. I have one row of 3 with the sweet spot in the center of the three. To be honest most people are not going to care what it sounds like accept you. Yes it would be nice to have a bigger room and such but I love my theater, plus everyone that has seen it too.
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post #13 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I appreciate all the advice from everybody. it sounds like my best bet is to consider getting an engineer estimate on either the removal of the post, which would give me about 17 wide by 19 depth.

Or I could get really creative and get an estimate on what it would cost to bump out the basement about another 6 feet in width and 22 in length and I could finish a portion of the storage area, essentially ended up with something like 17width 22 length without touching my wife’s section of the basement could even bump out the wall to the finish side of the basement for another 5 feet without any major costs added.

The latter is probably going to be fairly expensive but would probably give me a very nice sized room for theater. so at least my ideal room isn’t out the door.
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post #14 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 07:46 PM
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17 by 19 is a nice space for four seats wide, and no riser to deal with eating up height and room for an acoustically transparent screen.

So where's the furnace that goes with that ductwork? Is it in that width and area?
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post #15 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
17 by 19 is a nice space for four seats wide, and no riser to deal with eating up height and room for an acoustically transparent screen.

So where's the furnace that goes with that ductwork? Is it in that width and area?
Well knocking out that one post would give me 17x19 wide. Since it would fit four across might be worth a look.

As to the furnace it’s off to the left of that unfinished area (goes another 8 feet left but you’ve got the water heater and furnace over there as well.

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post #16 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 08:10 PM
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I would invest a few bucks to see if that post can be eliminated. Four seats across in 17' of width should give you nice aisle space and separation from side surround speakers.
You might even take a look at what's back of the rear wall and use some of the space for things like an entry, or to host the av rack or even a projector hush box embedded
in the back wall.
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post #17 of 76 Old 10-20-2019, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I would invest a few bucks to see if that post can be eliminated. Four seats across in 17' of width should give you nice aisle space and separation from side surround speakers.
You might even take a look at what's back of the rear wall and use some of the space for things like an entry, or to host the av rack or even a projector hush box embedded
in the back wall.
Yeah looks like I’ll be talking with a structural engineer for Christmas this year. As for the audio section I had sort of figured to use that 2ft.4 by 7 feet long cutout off to the left with a false wall of some type. Lot of space there beginning to be used. Also worse case I can put the AV in the unfinished area at the end of the wall.
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post #18 of 76 Old 10-21-2019, 04:25 AM
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If you can get rid of that post it will be a great space to use for a HT.

I would say though, while you have the walls open, wire up for 9.1.6 or better 9.4.6. I didn't wire up for additional subwoofers in my room which I regret now.
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post #19 of 76 Old 10-21-2019, 05:00 AM
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I like these smaller, single row rooms with fabric side walls, ideally as some sort of panel effect, that is removable. Give a couple of inches per side over to those panels and
you can have conduit runs hidden, and space for some acoustical treatments. Coupled with an AT space, you now have three walls that are somewhat flexible, and depending on
where the av rack ends up, this might offer some easy future proofing potential.

Couple the fabric panel with some interesting lighting and you can have enough visual interest and yet keep a pretty dark scheme that will help with contrast levels.

I also like a rather plain jet black front wall and the back wall can be rather plain also, and host simple fabric panels.


Here's a nice example of such a space. (Without the fabric side walls). Just enough visual interest that doesn't overwhelm the space. Lighting plays a role as does textures.

Now if you drive the noise floor down with careful construction, and host the av rack and projector outside the room, then I think one could have a more high end experience and
leverage the shorter throw distances. Some DIY backer boxes could host in wall surround and ATMOS speakers and one could hide some potent speakers up front, as well as a
pair of subs and they could have the be simplest of black finishes.
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post #20 of 76 Old 10-21-2019, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I like these smaller, single row rooms with fabric side walls, ideally as some sort of panel effect, that is removable. Give a couple of inches per side over to those panels and
you can have conduit runs hidden, and space for some acoustical treatments. Coupled with an AT space, you now have three walls that are somewhat flexible, and depending on
where the av rack ends up, this might offer some easy future proofing potential.

Couple the fabric panel with some interesting lighting and you can have enough visual interest and yet keep a pretty dark scheme that will help with contrast levels.

I also like a rather plain jet black front wall and the back wall can be rather plain also, and host simple fabric panels.


Here's a nice example of such a space. (Without the fabric side walls). Just enough visual interest that doesn't overwhelm the space. Lighting plays a role as does textures.

Now if you drive the noise floor down with careful construction, and host the av rack and projector outside the room, then I think one could have a more high end experience and
leverage the shorter throw distances. Some DIY backer boxes could host in wall surround and ATMOS speakers and one could hide some potent speakers up front, as well as a
pair of subs and they could have the be simplest of black finishes.
Well interesting enough your picture you linked is sort of the simple approach I had, as well simple dark fabrics. I want this to be more about function then look (doesn't mean I don't want clean just doesn't have to be the most stylish).

That being said the more I research the more I realize i need to adjust my budget and a few things. I was originally hoping to do this for about $25,000 sine the core room is there and I can do a lot of the av portions when the walls are open myself).

I had been looking at exploring the design plans with somebody like Shawn at Quest but I'm starting to realize I'll also need to figure out HVAC. Since it was already in a finished basement, I did not think that would be so complicated but I didn't think about acoustics impact and the main house runs would also be in this one section as well now that I'm looking at knocking the post down, so I'd need sound proofing there I'm sure.

So I'm starting to reevalute and it sounds like I'm going to really need more like 35-40k minimum, based off research I've done over the last day. only question in my mind is do I manage a contractor myself around the building of the room and follow plans from Shawn or go to somebody like this: https://www.worldwidestereo.com/pages/portfolio . And I haven't even researched this local firm but they seem to have a decent portfolio although I know nothing about the design in acoustics which I"m realizing is what I really need to get into.

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post #21 of 76 Old 10-23-2019, 05:41 AM
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I hear you about function over fancy. I tend to want some bling but small rooms tend to light up, so I am thinking very dark with minimal flair and light absorbing.
It works to the picture quality, that my favorite sort of home theater is a dark cave of a room. But I figure I can host just enough interest in the space to avoid "boring"
with a zoned lighting controller. some fabric panelled walls with some texture, and a nice mix of interesting lighting.

I also plan to have an entry of some sort, so I can host the projector in a hush box in the back wall (and out of the room), and host the av rack almost under it for a nice short
hdmi cable run. I also need a ton of movie storage so the entry will host that. HVAC needs will be less, with no projector heat nor av rack in the theater, and a low body count.

Part of my entry module plans are also about that space being flexible in placement and maybe being able to dodge posts or carefully plant the next home theater in 3D space.
Not that I am not above moving a support post, but a good part of my thinking is to keep costs in check, and slide savings over to the projector side of things.

Plans from Shawn would be a definite time shortcut. It could take years of research to get where one can be, in terms of knowledge and avoiding commonly made mistakes. And even
finding a contractor who can steer clear of the pitfalls, might be a big challenge.
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post #22 of 76 Old 10-23-2019, 05:55 AM
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This is maybe the most basic plan I am thinking of, for the next house. Big subs and dynamic speakers up front, and in walls everywhere else. I hope to get a little wide and do five seats, but that
wouldn't mesh with my D-Box system's weight capacity.

I do have a bunch of projects on the go, for the space. That entry end wall is going to be a small feature wall, with a rotated and embedded hdtv. The real idea being to add some interest, but try to keep it from impacting on the "next" projector budget. The more I can build and shave costs, the more substantial the next projector.
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post #23 of 76 Old 10-23-2019, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Tedd thanks for the follow-up and feedback. I work in sales and with a huge qtr it's been crazy busy which means all I do at night is think - to offset that I find books to read or now lately a massive amount of forum reading (probably 25 hours since I originally posted).

I've come to a couple thoughts and conclusions based off the deeper dive I've done.

1) As much as I want to just pay somebody to do this I get the feeling that I'll spend closer to $60-65k and frankly it sounds like the sound proofing is still unlikely to get done right due to few people knowing how it goes. I could be the GC but at that point I'm starting to think I may as well do portion of this myself.

2) I'm by no means an expert handyman. I've yanked out and replaced a full bathroom room (vanities, toilets, electrical etc..) and I've been able to do crown molding. But i've never tackled anything like this. However, reading into drywall it really doesn't seem overly difficult just time consuming and a pain in the ass. My gut tells me that I want to bring in a GC to do the initial framing, and initial electrical runs but to leave the clips, and drywall to me to make sure it gets done right. My only concern is the ceiling portion of this, although I could rent a lift and likely will, and making sure i get the tips and tricks ahead of time. I don't have kids yet so my weekends are free and it's a long winter, I figure I can make a pretty big dent in this on weekends, and in January I'll probably have multiple weekdays free due to how my job works. Doing this myself absolutely means I'll be buying plans so I'll need to figure out the right plan as I'll likely be going with Shawn from the research I've done.

3) If I have a GC do the framing and initial tear down (ceiling and finished walls already in place) I feel comfortable enough doing the wiring for the electronics, a soffit ( figuring I'll need this for lighting or perhaps better with wall sconces) but not so sure I could handle any pillars. Maybe it's intimidation but everybody else seems to have them looking perfectly fit and it seems like that would require a defter touch I'm not sure I have. This leaves me with a concern about how I do the finish, meaning GC might not want to come back for the final touches aesthetically or I need to go plain enough that it won't matter about my experience. I have a similar concern about the doors as there will be one door into the storage area and a new one that would need to be framed for the theater entrance. Never put a door up no idea how tough it will be especially with a goal of being sound proof.

4) other than the above items the only other piece I feel like I need to figure out is HVAC, as I have two return vents already placed in the theatre area (that connect with the unit in the storage area 10 feet away) as well as I'll end up having to wall in a feature the house had of being able to shut vents down at the main runs for better energy efficiency (pic attached). My home is brand new I never even bothered as I spent so little for the size home due to it being design energy efficient but it is in the back of my mind for when I sell - granted this is easily a 20 year home so who cares but I'm considering it.

5) the other item I need to look at is with widening the theatre it's going to hit the main vent runs in the house. This means my ceiling finished will be 7.6 at the lowest point. This should still be plenty since I'm only planning one row of seats + stools, so no riser, but I'll need to figure out if we lower the ceiling to be flat or how to handle that. Also I want to make sure it can handle Atmos. I'm sure Shawn can figure this all out but it is another impact.

Anyway, at this point I'll probably continue some hard research for another week or two. Then e-mail Shawn to get initial thoughts on the space before I pull in an engineer. If Shawn feels space can work, I want to make sure the support beam can be moved 100% and then I'll engage both Shawn for plans and the removal of the beam. Goal would be to start the framing in December so over the holiday break I can use my time off to do a lot of this work.

Definitely getting excited and appreciate all of the feedback from the helpful board members.
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post #24 of 76 Old 10-23-2019, 07:22 PM
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Sounds like you should be able to do this space. Being able to do crown molding well, is on the tougher end of the skill chart.
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post #25 of 76 Old 10-23-2019, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Sounds like you should be able to do this space. Being able to do crown molding well, is on the tougher end of the skill chart.
Well keep in mind my house is brand new so the walls were relatively flat and square. Also maybe it’s me but a grinder saw made it fairly quick and easy to get tight seams. I wouldn’t say perfect (especially the first room I did) but by the end I got it down to be pretty well. Wife definitely approved which is the bar I needed to hit having a brand new home we just had a designer go thru on.

I have a feeling between the forum here, great designs from one of the pros - I think we’ll muddle along. If nothing else I’ll take pictures at the critical points to get feedback from the forum.

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post #26 of 76 Old 10-24-2019, 08:04 AM
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Just a thought, if you are doing fabric panels and columns then you don’t need to finish the drywall. Just seal all the joints with caulk and hank you fabric panels.
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post #27 of 76 Old 10-24-2019, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a thought, if you are doing fabric panels and columns then you don’t need to finish the drywall. Just seal all the joints with caulk and hank you fabric panels.
It's funny I was thinking about that. I'm curious how much the panels are going to cost across a room that is 17x19.7 but that's kind of what I'm thinking black ceiling and probably some black in some sections of the wall but then fabric panels. Actually I really like your theater but I think I would pick a darker color since I want complete functional, and easier to match a design if I'm honest, and don't have to worry about the wife on that.

But what you've done is a concept I want to bring - I particularly like the blue led lighting.
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post #28 of 76 Old 10-24-2019, 09:13 AM
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Those posts you have are HUGE and I bet there is a really small metal post under them. I would look at the first and see if you can gain some much needed space and hide the new posts in your design rather then spend $$$$ moving them or eliminating them..

Open up a small inspection hole and see what you are dealing with first..
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post #29 of 76 Old 10-24-2019, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Those posts you have are HUGE and I bet there is a really small metal post under them. I would look at the first and see if you can gain some much needed space and hide the new posts in your design rather then spend $$$$ moving them or eliminating them..

Open up a small inspection hole and see what you are dealing with first..
My understanding from the builder and what I've seen else where is they are essentially 3 inch cylinders. One post is absolutely going to have to be moved because it would be in the middle of the room. The second post I think I would incorporate as it would be in the corner of the room or just just short of it. But given that the one post is literally right in the middle I don't see how it could be incorporated. Granted, I plan to talk to Shawn first about it and the space but still seems unlikely to be able to not get away with at least moving one.

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post #30 of 76 Old 10-24-2019, 09:32 AM
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Do you have a plan drawing of your basement? Posting that would help
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