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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So yesterday my wife suggested knocking out a wall to make a bigger HT!



In our old house, we had a ~14'x30' room that i set up as our home theater. It was my first real HT setup; I bought a CRT projector and built a 10.5'x4.5' scope screen, and enjoyed it a lot over the years.


Then late in '08, we moved to a new place. It didn't have as nice a room for a HT, but it was worth the trade-off. The room we picked as the TV room (i hesitate to call it a theater room) is in the basement, and looks like this:




We have a 42" LCD TV in there, which is OK, but it ain't the same of course. I do want to get back to a front projection setup, and have been playing with ideas how to squeeze one into that room. It's tough because of the limited space. The CRT projector would be too much to try to put in there, as it would be right in the way for the bathroom door etc. So i was pretty much certain that i would have to wait and save up for a new projector before i could do any of this.


In the drawing you can see a room off to the side, which is currently my office. I only use a portion of it though, and most of the time when i work from home, i work on my laptop upstairs, so that room goes unused most of the time.


So yesterday, while i was playing with some drawings of the TV room, my wife said we should knock out the wall separating the office from the TV room. It would make it so that we wouldn't be as cramped in, and there would be room for the CRT projector without it being in the way too much.


Obviously when your wife proposes an idea that results in a bigger HT, you don't argue, you just roll with it



So last night i drew up some plans on how to set things up. The plan would be to slowly migrate / upgrade over time, to keep costs low & spread out. So first would be knock out the wall and move existing equipment around to rearrange things. That would not require much $$$. Then maybe bring the CRT projector back into play and build a new screen. That would also be relatively cheap. Then maybe later on i can go for an acoustically transparent screen, which is something i've been wanting to do for a while. (And then maybe upgrade(?) to a digital 3D projector to deal with the light loss.)




(The yellow things indicate where i could potentially put bass traps.)


The only gotcha at this point is that there seems to be one load bearing piece in that wall we want to remove: There's a beam that runs from the stairs to the wall we're looking to knock out, right where the single chair is in the first picture. This beam looks to be load bearing, which i suspect is supported by vertical studs in the wall we're wanting to knock out. Worst case we could turn that into a column, but it would be kinda akward / funky. I'd prefer to get rid of it, if that's possible. So Thursday i have a friend of a friend, who's an architect and has done this type of work before, come take a look. Perhaps he knows some ways to distribute the load away from there so that we can use the whole opening. Keep your fingers crossed for me



One question i had about the new layout was where to put the rear speakers. I currently have a 7.1 setup, and would like to keep that. The question is - Do i put them all the way up against the wall by the stairs? Or should i suspend them from the ceiling closer to the sofa?
 

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You could do a 6.1 arrangement or 7.1 with both rear channels side by side.


The side surrounds would go on the walls directly to the side of the seating, while the 6th (or side by side 6th and 7th channels with as much separation as possible) could go all the way on the back wall where you have the acoustic treatment at.


It's no the most ideal but I'm sure it could work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So i had an architect / structural engineer come out to take a look at that wall and the beam i suspected was load bearing. Turns out it's not as simple as just knocking out the wall. The wall definitely is doing some load bearing. I modeled the studs and joists and all as accurately as i could:




That laminated beam that runs from the stairs to the wall that i want to take out (from back of pic to front) is supporting the joists of the floor above it, so it can't be taken out (at least not without major rework of things.) So that beam needs to stay. Right now one end of that beam rests on studs in the wall that i want to take out.


We could run a solid beam from wall to wall along the top (left to right in the pic), putting it as a "T" to the laminated beam, to give it the support it needs. The problem is that there is ductwork running through the openings between the studs (one runs between the studs above the door opening). This means we would have to reroute the ductwork and lower it to pass underneath the new beam. Which means rather severe curves in the ductwork, which means reduced efficiency. So that's not a great plan.


So plan B was to just take out the wall but leave the studs that support the laminated beam, and turn that into a nice-ish column. I could back the sofa against it and my eyeballs would be ~11-12 feet from the screen wall. That should be enough for an 8 foot wide 16:9 screen.


The problem is that the joist that runs along the top of the wall (left to right in the pic) is also load bearing. There is a wall on the floor above it, and that wall is the support for the joists of the floor above that. So it's carrying all that weight. And so just taking out all the other studs would probably leave that joist without enough support.


So the next plan is then to put another column of studs mirrored to the ones that carry the laminated beam, and create a kind of archway in the room that way. Both columns would basically form the back line of where the sofa would go.


To do that though, we still need to provide a beam of some sort to help support that top joist enough. So the guy is working up a plan to provide for a beam that spans the ~6ft between what would be the remaining studs, and that would support the joist.


I would still have to reroute 1 duct (which is now running between 2 studs above the door opening) and reroute a few cables (that should be relatively easy).


Apparently it's never as easy as it seems at first
I wish there was a way to just magically take out the wall and not have the columns, but it seems that that would require major rework of joists and such across the whole area.


Anybody have any creative ideas?
 
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