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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
Why not move the water heater over, and move both doors to the back of the room, and the circulation space to work, as separation from rear surround speakers?

If you do a riser at one step height, then you could basically extend the bottom step to the back wall, and you enter the room at riser height, which also will hide
the hot water overflow discharge line. Now the hot water tank will need to be moved over slightly, to create a bit more space, but you now have a simple hinged
fabric panel hiding the door. The rack could be right outside this door, with a nice short conduit run to the projector, which needn't be short throw. Those bar seats
could now be roller chairs, to easy seating access.

You did mention moving the water line, and an electric hot water tank move shouldn't really wouldn't be that much extra work. (It does sound like you have some construction skills.)

I also think you might be shortchanging yourself on screen size. I also wouldn't drop that front section of room, to 80". You could also play up that entry area as a feature wall, and
have a movie poster lightbox, or a digital one.

The front post could simply be boxed in. You won't be seeing it and I'd doubt it would have any really impact on audio. You do want to absorb the small amount of energy coming off
an AT screen's backside.

Anyways, just tossing ideas at you... :)
I thought long and hard last night about going riser at bottom of the stairs and back part of room. That was the first scenario I was trying to envision down there. And I really liked that idea. I wouldn't mind the step down to the other side of the basement at all. However, I just can't see how I will be able to put a standard size door (height-wise) in Wall B on top of say a 7" riser. The riser would have to be as tall as my last step on the stairs (which is a standard size step). Remember, slab to joist is 91"-92". If I were to build Wall B on top of a 7" riser, the top of the door opening alone is at 87" and I haven't even accounted for casing/trim above the door yet or losing 1"-1.25" if I double up DW on the ceiling.

I would not be able to carry a riser thru to the laundry area because there is a sump pump in the corner directly across from the HW heater (or in the case of your latest mock-up above). That area is only about 7 or 8 feet across to give you an idea of scale compared to the theater room. Plus, we are building a closet in there with bi-folds that will close off the HW heater and the sump pump from the laundry area. There is no room for the rack in there either as we are eventually going to put a bathroom next to the laundry area (in fact they are going to rough in some of that in the near future so we can build at a later time).

I also saw your comment about not dropping the ceiling to 80". Just to be clear, the bulkhead/ceiling on what is now proposed to be the front of the room is at 80" now. So, if I were to do some sort of a little stage along the front wall, I'd like only be working with like 71-72" of height on that wall (after stage, layers of plywood and carpet). IYO, would you go bigger than 100"??? Ideally I'd like to leave a MINIMUM of 3-4" above the screen so I have a little play if I go the projector route.

And you are correct about not seeing the newly exposed lally column in the front of the room. Just so I'm clear, I have to build a wall inside the existing wall (even where we planned to kick it out) so I can get that lally to fall in between the existing wall and the new inside wall. But, I am thinking I can use this to my advantage and essentially build a wall inside a wall - great strategy for soundproofing. I measured this evening (and cut a hole in the wall to see exactly where the lally falls) and it looks like I will lose just 7" of depth in the room by building another wall to hide the lally. I just have to be careful because the location of that lally could very well be near the location of the right front in-wall speaker...it's pretty damn close.
 

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Your sound proofing/sound isolation is only going to be as good as the weakest link, so the double front wall is likely to not really buy you anything.

I saw the sump pump but I also wonder exactly how much clearance is need to remove the sump pump? So what if the hot water tank was raised on a
steel stand, and would that create space to allow the pump's removal while also getting you the inches needed, to make things work spatially? The expansion
tank I have zero experience with, but could it be moved over and leverage the height over the sump pump?

I have the 7' 1" basement here, and there's a door under the main support beam, and it was cut down several inches to fit. I actually ended up cutting
down all doors in the basement to match, so I have some drywall above the door to not visually tip the fact the basement is lower then the man floor.
Some of this is all about expensive square footage, and a small inner city home, so over the years, that has shifted the bar about allotting inches and
sometimes selectively investing some money, time and effort, to squeeze what I want, out of the space I have.

So what is the building code where you are, regarding finished spaces? Here it is a certain percentage of the room needing the a minimum of 7'

Another option is could your speakers be built into a baffle wall? And shave some room depth that way.

I just want to make sure we're talking diagonal measurements of the screen and we're both talking diagonal. If that a 100" diagonal screen, then
a lot of measurements in your space are in mine, and while I would sell anyone on my space being optimal with front speaker spread, there is a 54x96"
screen and a masking system, under a soffit with 80" above. I do not have a second row, so second row sightlines don't factor in, but that seating layout
with the low riser can be worked to fit stuff in. The real trick is to do a side view of the room, with all measurements, with the projector situated for proper throw.
And if you have your seats, you now can take accurate measurements, of heads, eyes and ears, and then there is zero guessing if how the inches are planted,
let the second row see the bottom of the screen. Another option might be a scope screen, and anamorphic lens. Less screen height but wider screen.

The projector also need to be around the top of the screen, so the projector will need to fall to be over the bar. One can also mock up the space, from a drawn
plan, and see how everything interacts.
 

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Why not move the hot water and expansion tanks, and hide the waste line clean out, in the closet also?

And I expect one could break the concrete and put in a new support pad, on undisturbed soil. There's also a possibility of
recessing a new steel beam up into the floor joist space, and having a flat ceiling, out from the leading edge of that soffiting up front.

Skip the riser, and simply use some taller rolling office chairs. Then maybe have a raised section of floor under the bar, to have a foot rest?
 

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I also wonder if the sump pump discharge could be moved to the back wall, and an av rack like a Middle Atlantic Slim5 could be hosted in the closet above the sump pump.

One could build those French doors and have the av rack exposed in one of the doors. Might be a hard working bit of space right there, with some work involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Your sound proofing/sound isolation is only going to be as good as the weakest link, so the double front wall is likely to not really buy you anything.

I saw the sump pump but I also wonder exactly how much clearance is need to remove the sump pump? So what if the hot water tank was raised on a
steel stand, and would that create space to allow the pump's removal while also getting you the inches needed, to make things work spatially? The expansion
tank I have zero experience with, but could it be moved over and leverage the height over the sump pump?

I have the 7' 1" basement here, and there's a door under the main support beam, and it was cut down several inches to fit. I actually ended up cutting
down all doors in the basement to match, so I have some drywall above the door to not visually tip the fact the basement is lower then the man floor.
Some of this is all about expensive square footage, and a small inner city home, so over the years, that has shifted the bar about allotting inches and
sometimes selectively investing some money, time and effort, to squeeze what I want, out of the space I have.

So what is the building code where you are, regarding finished spaces? Here it is a certain percentage of the room needing the a minimum of 7'

Another option is could your speakers be built into a baffle wall? And shave some room depth that way.

I just want to make sure we're talking diagonal measurements of the screen and we're both talking diagonal. If that a 100" diagonal screen, then
a lot of measurements in your space are in mine, and while I would sell anyone on my space being optimal with front speaker spread, there is a 54x96"
screen and a masking system, under a soffit with 80" above. I do not have a second row, so second row sightlines don't factor in, but that seating layout
with the low riser can be worked to fit stuff in. The real trick is to do a side view of the room, with all measurements, with the projector situated for proper throw.
And if you have your seats, you now can take accurate measurements, of heads, eyes and ears, and then there is zero guessing if how the inches are planted,
let the second row see the bottom of the screen. Another option might be a scope screen, and anamorphic lens. Less screen height but wider screen.

The projector also need to be around the top of the screen, so the projector will need to fall to be over the bar. One can also mock up the space, from a drawn
plan, and see how everything interacts.
The sump pump was just installed in January which is the end of the line for a very nice waterproofing drain system that was installed in my slab. The ejector line for the SP comes straight out of the top so nothing can be placed over the sump pump. I've got a couple of other options for an equipment room that I think will work fine...I just have to decide which area I'd like to go with. I probably should have posted this early but below is a sketch that shows a little bit of what's going on outside/around my theater room...



Yes, we are talking diagonal for screen. So what you are saying is that you managed a 110" diagonal on an 80"H wall?

I do need to do some side view renderings...great idea.
 

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Yes to a 54x96" AT screen, and there's some room also taken up by an embedded masking system. This diagram shows the front AT space, and a bunch of measurements of how it does fit in.
The bottom edge of the screen is either 16 or 18" off the floor.

The room was this is 2003, and there's a hidden door., which is the media storage. That was on three ball bearing hinges and swung inwards. The AT space is basically the storage closet that was in
behind. I actually redid the HVAC sheet metal with a less tall/more wide profile to be able to put in symmetrical soffits. And the sole reason for the soffit over the screen is to hide the S bend of HVAC.
The room was cut back in length and became a one row 3 seat room. The deep AT space isn't really wasted as it adds volume and hides two really big subs.

There's been a lot of lessons in this room. It would be built somewhat differently if there wasn't a chunk out of the front corner due to the foundation. I might have turned to some nice in walls and built
custom built subs if I wasn't invested in my speakers. That would have lengthen the room a bit more.

So to me, the real question is how you lay out the inches, and that bar row sightline. One unexpected lesson is I rather like the screen lower then one would normally mount it. One day I disabled the lower
mask on a whim after realizing my gear can tie a video image to the bottom edge of the screen. Didn't I really like that! Now the single row layout is probably get away with that, but the masking does eat up
vertical space so I think you have a ton of room to play with, with the key being the side sight lines and how you can leverage that tighter seating foot print.
 

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Extension cords are actually illegal in Norway. But this is not enforced by others than insurance companies.
That has to be one of the most asinine laws I've heard of regarding building codes. Sounds like a knee-jerk reaction to some incident. I would understand a restriction on types of extension cords. There are a lot of idiots in the world. However, at least in the U.S., it's not difficult to find higher gauge extension cords for various things. That said, something you cannot do here is install an extension cord inside a concealed space.

... standard wall sockets tend to only be rated for 16Amps for 220v (I know this for sure) and I think 32A for 110V (makes sense given the wattage of the 220v wall socket but it could be more or less), any more than that and you can't take any random wall socket from the hardware store. Also note that the quad wall sockets have the same total rating as duals and singles (there are a few exceptions but in Norway its usually a 16 amp total rating for all wall sockets, if they're singles or octouple doesn't matter, the total ampere rating is still the same).
In the U.S. (where the OP is), "standard" these days varies, but I would posit the default is still 15-amps @ 125v for a standard, duplex wall receptacle. 230v is uncommon here and requires a different style plug/receptacle, typically minimum 30-amps. Personally, I use 20-amp/125v receptacles for "normal" use. In a home theater, you are unlikely to need 230v unless you want to install an industrial-grade UPS. I considered it in my home's HT and ran 10-gauge wiring in the walls for that very reason (possibility to upgrade in the future).

Now, regarding maximum amperage, in the U.S. we rate receptacles and fuses by their maximum theoretical load. However, electricians then apply the "80% rule" to that. You are not supposed to load a circuit more than 80% of its maximum. So, in a typical use case for example, 80% of 20-amps is 16-amps (in line with what you seem to have in Norway). The 80% factor is used for two reasons: 1) because many appliances will "spike" current momentarily, and this can trip the circuit breaker; and 2) many breakers will trip at less than 20-amps because they are slanted that way in terms of tolerance (safety as priority).

In my HT, I have 4 circuits that feed into my HT room. I know that sounds like overkill, but they break down like this:

  1. Refrigerator and hallway lighting immediately outside HT room
  2. Lighting inside HT room
  3. Dedicated circuit to equipment rack
  4. Dedicated circuit to equipment rack
I am a proponent of over-doing electrical capacity. You will never regret having too much power available!
 

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That's a electrical hot water tank and highly movable. But I wouldn't have to pay to have it moved, I would do it myself. (That can be a gamechanger for the door location.)
But it would be a day's leisurely work, and all of $20 to do, plus find a way for the pressure relief value drain routing.

Check your furnace service manual for what's need combustion and service-wise, for that near bathroom wall. And think what's need for a fan blower motor replacement.

I kind of thought you were a knowledgeable DIY'er/serial renovator because of some of the issues you pointed out, like not being able to embed electrical boxes behind drywall. I see
I missed the word contractor that you used in post 1 so that kind of changes the cost/reward of some previous suggestions.

So how wide is the theater? And I gather that's a 3 piece bath you are after? What will be the access to the storage, and are you planning for that to have access to the rest of the basement?
Just asking questions because I see options that may, or may not work for you.
 

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@Tedd always has great suggestions. :)

I'll second how critical the height position of your screen is. Figure out screen dimensions, seating distance (1st row), eye level, screen ratio, and height/position of the screen. Those factors really should drive your room layout to a very large extent.

Regarding the laundry room door, you could consider concealed hinges and concealing the door (with or without using panels, as was done in some of the shared pics above).

Interjecting a thought with regards to whether or not to flip the room around.... My experience (FWIW) is that most people prefer a scenario where a shorter ceiling height exists where the screen is mounted versus where they sit, as compared to the other way around. If the room height is larger where the screen is and shorter where the people sit/stand, they tend to feel like they are in a cave and being squashed. It is subtle and people will get used to it either way, but the initial feeling is going to be that way for most people. If the ceiling height is lower where the screen is mounted, it creates a sort of tunnel-vision effect, which is fine for movie watching. It simply focuses one's visual attention, which is what you want in the first place.

Food for thought. :)
 

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I have several reasons for the room flip. One can hide some of that extensive soffit and create a screen soffit. And if there's 6" of so of open space open
above the screen wall, then a DIY could build a 16x9 AT screen AND do a sliding upper mask panel, and leverage a fair amount of things, in an inexpensive
manner.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
That's a electrical hot water tank and highly movable. But I wouldn't have to pay to have it moved, I would do it myself. (That can be a gamechanger for the door location.)
But it would be a day's leisurely work, and all of $20 to do, plus find a way for the pressure relief value drain routing.
I already have a plumber coming in to install a utility sink, install the necessary lines for the washing machine and to move a water line that runs along the top of Wall A...so relocating that HW tank a few feet at that time is a no brainer if I wanted to do it. I could have it relocated just in front of the sump pump and still get the tank inside the area that I want to close off from the laundry area. I will likely remove the drain line from the HW tank altogether anyway. I also have a condensate line running from the furnace over to that same drain in the floor that will also be rerouted by the plumber (it currently runs along the back of Wall F).

Check your furnace service manual for what's need combustion and service-wise, for that near bathroom wall. And think what's need for a fan blower motor replacement.
I showed my HVAC guy how close I plan to run a wall next to it and he was good with it. Plenty of room on the other side of the furnace to access, repair, etc.

I kind of thought you were a knowledgeable DIY'er/serial renovator because of some of the issues you pointed out, like not being able to embed electrical boxes behind drywall. I see
I missed the word contractor that you used in post 1 so that kind of changes the cost/reward of some previous suggestions.
No worries at all. I am a fairly handy person but there are certain things that I will sub out for this like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, framing, drywall etc. I plan to remove the existing carpet/drywall/trim myself, build the rack in my equip room (after the equip room is built), build the stage, trim out the room with chair rail/box molding, install equipment, PJ, speakers, all wiring, etc. I just don't have the time to do the major stuff like framing and drywall...as it is way too time consuming for our lifestyle right now! :D

So how wide is the theater? And I gather that's a 3 piece bath you are after? What will be the access to the storage, and are you planning for that to have access to the rest of the basement?
Just asking questions because I see options that may, or may not work for you.
The theater room is about 12'5" give or take an inch.

The bathroom - if we do it - is just going to be a small half bath with a vanity/sink, a toilet and a low ceiling. :D We would likely have a pocket door between it and the laundry room. However, there is a chance that we are going to abandon the bathroom altogether. I like the convenience but I do not like the idea of putting in a pump-up ejector system that close to my HT room. :eek: Our last house we had odor issues every once in a while and, needless to say, it was very unpleasant! When the plumber was out a few weeks ago he was talking about digging that ejector basin right around where the HW heater is now so if we ever rough-in for that...that tank would likely have to be moved anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
@Tedd always has great suggestions. :)

Interjecting a thought with regards to whether or not to flip the room around.... My experience (FWIW) is that most people prefer a scenario where a shorter ceiling height exists where the screen is mounted versus where they sit, as compared to the other way around. If the room height is larger where the screen is and shorter where the people sit/stand, they tend to feel like they are in a cave and being squashed. It is subtle and people will get used to it either way, but the initial feeling is going to be that way for most people. If the ceiling height is lower where the screen is mounted, it creates a sort of tunnel-vision effect, which is fine for movie watching. It simply focuses one's visual attention, which is what you want in the first place.
Well said @HT Geek. That is probably the biggest reason why I am swaying towards flipping the room. To hear it like that really cinched it for me I think. Your point about the tunnel-vision effect is spot on, particularly on the screen wall. In my last room I had my snack ledge underneath a bulkhead (which was exactly 80" too) and while I never felt too cramped under there, I would have felt a lot better with a few extra inches above me...that is for sure. I'll get that extra 7-8" of height in the back of the room now.
 

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I'm just going to toss out another random thought for you.... If you are DIY-inclined (which you seem to be), you can save substantial $ by performing as much as possible of the electrical work yourself. I completely understand if - for example - you don't feel comfortable wiring new circuit breakers. However, running wiring in serial to outlet boxes is a relatively simple affair. Furthermore, you should plan on sealing those boxes with putty, so you'll need to mess with them in some capacity anyway. The hardest part (IMO) is making sure they are recessed correctly, since you are considering clips & channel and double-drywall.

If you're willing to do that work yourself but you don't want to mess with the circuit breakers, what I would suggest is pay an electrician to wire each new breaker, and install a wire run to the 1st outlet. Then you can flip off the breakers, run your own Romex, and rough-in your other outlets, saving $$ in labor.

And optionally... consider using 10-gauge wire. It's more expensive, but will allow you to upgrade to 30-amp circuits in the future by simply replacing receptacles. I would only do that for wiring to your equipment rack. There is no need to do it for in-room wiring or lighting. And don't do it unless you will use that gauge wiring (or thicker) along the entire path, between all outlets.

Another reason to mostly-DIY the electrical is you can get the electrician in early on in the process, but delay decisions such as where you want recessed lighting (if any) until just prior to the drywall. That allows you to move the project forward while continuing to play with some variables.
 

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Does the laundry room sink and washing machine need to be ejected?
Where is the waste stack?

You really won't be hanging out near the screen at all, past the construction stage....
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Does the laundry room sink and washing machine need to be ejected?
Yes, plumber's scope includes installing a self-contained pump that will handle ejecting washing machine and sink. They are tying into the horizontal waste line just above so as not to disrupt the existing clean-out port (for obvious reasons)
 

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
Last night I made a little progress and was able to get all of the insulation down from the backside of both walls down and bagged up. Getting closer to being ready to demo drywall.

Best news of all. My wife and I jointly made the decision to scrap the bathroom that we were trying to squeeze in next to the laundry area. It's just too small (you wouldn't be able to swing a cat in there) plus a huge hassle to put in a sump ejector pit. So, our laundry area doubled in size which will allow for some cabinets and counter tops. We might even be able to keep our extra refrigerator in there too...who knows. :D

I also moved the location of the laundry room entry door on Wall F yet again. :eek: It is now just 32" from the back wall. I've decided to move the snack ledge forward in the room so that the front of it will be right up against the back of my 1st row of seating. This is how I had it configured in my last room as well. I made the change for several reasons: 1) It will open up the back of the room more so that I can consider cabinets/countertop/beverage fridge and 2) when you enter the room now at the bottom of stairs you have a straight walkway (aisle if you will) across to the laundry room door (you won't walk right into the side of the snack ledge as you would have before). The only negative in this adjustment is that now I have to play with where and at what depth in the room can I hang the PJ and still get a straight shot to the front wall.

Just outside the room in the laundry area I decided to push the yet-to-be-built closet (that will house the HW heater and sump pump) back a bit to a depth of 44". This move allowed me to move the laundry room door further back in the HT room which also increased the size of the laundry area - so it is a win-win.

Next step is to remove existing drywall from the walls and from the bulkhead above in the front of the room.

Is it recommended to remove the drywall from around the beam that crosses the middle of my room or, for soundproofing purposes, can I leave it as-is and just go over it with another layer of DW+GG? Do people actually use clips and channel when they finish soffits, box out beams, ducts, etc.? The carpenter that boxed out the beam did a good job and hardly left any room in there to spare so that's good. It sure would be nice to be able to leave the DW alone on this...but I have a feeling it needs to be stripped out as well... :rolleyes:
 

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Sounds good regarding the change-of-plans for bathroom and laundry room.

Next step is to remove existing drywall from the walls and from the bulkhead above in the front of the room.

Is it recommended to remove the drywall from around the beam that crosses the middle of my room or, for soundproofing purposes, can I leave it as-is and just go over it with another layer of DW+GG? Do people actually use clips and channel when they finish soffits, box out beams, ducts, etc.? The carpenter that boxed out the beam did a good job and hardly left any room in there to spare so that's good. It sure would be nice to be able to leave the DW alone on this...but I have a feeling it needs to be stripped out as well... :rolleyes:
Regarding the bulkhead, yes it's recommended to demo that drywall and do-over in DD/GG glory. If you don't mind demo'ing the drywall in 2 stages, you could wait. However, I think you'd just make more work for yourself and drag out the process.

Your overall options will become clearer once you have demo'd the existing space. It's tough when it's your own home. Ask yourself if you don't do it and get flanking noise when you're done, will you regret not using clips? It is hard for me to imagine you not demoing those parts as well, given the effort you are going to. Perhaps that carpenter would be worth considering for some of the work you will need help with.
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Regarding the bulkhead, yes it's recommended to demo that drywall and do-over in DD/GG glory. If you don't mind demo'ing the drywall in 2 stages, you could wait. However, I think you'd just make more work for yourself and drag out the process.
That is no problem at all. I am just glad to hear that I can get away with DD/GG and that I will not have to hassle with any clips and channel on the framing around the beam.

Your overall options will become clearer once you have demo'd the existing space. It is hard for me to imagine you not demoing those parts as well, given the effort you are going to.
You are exactly right. Last night I removed just a little bit of DW and that alone started to open things up. I only removed the DW from the two angled walls that are being removed to square out the space. Now I am itching to get the rest of the DW down so I can really start to plan and shape the room.

Fortunately for me, our family-owned business specializes in environmental and selective demolition services (mainly Federal, Commercial, Institutional, Hospital and Industrial facilities - NOT residential) so I know how to keep the DW demo pretty clean and simple. We currently have 2 Husqvarna DXR 140 robots in our equipment fleet that are utilized on some of our projects - boy is it a shame that I can't bring in one of our robots to pick off this DW for me! :laugh: Below is a video of one of them in action on a recent project if any of you are interested:


I am stacking and bagging up the waste in the unfinished area for the time being. I'll have a couple of our guys come out with a dump truck to haul the debris away. Definitely a perk of ownership! ;)

In the first pic below you can see the two lally columns that were just on the other side of the wall. The duct tape on the floor just outside of the room is outlining where the new wall will be built to expand the room. I also temporarily wired up the two fluorescent lights and torn down all of the grid. Lots of pink fluffy stuff still up in the ceiling.







 
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