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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a house built and want a dedicated home theater. I have a draft of the house plans (viewable here) and am unsure how to go from house plans to home theater. From my perspective there are two things that need to happen: (1) theater design, which includes what components go where, sound proofing material, speaker placement, screen placement and design, aesthetic, accessibility, ventilation, etc. and (2) theater construction (e.g., putting up drywall, running wires, building speaker boxes, installing AV equipment). I'm simply not sure how to go about making those two things happen. Here are the options I can think of:

(1) Design
  • a. Design it myself with the help of the great minds of AVSForum
  • b. Hire a reputable designer who works from a distance
  • c. Hire a designer who works locally. Not sure I can find someone very reputable.
(2) Construction
  • a. Build it myself. I don’t think this is a good option because I have no experience and don’t think I want to put up drywall etc.
  • b. Hire a local builder that works off a design I had done by someone else
  • c. Hire the local guy/gal that designed the theatre to also build the theatre
I’ll be living in southern Ontario in a city of 130k people so I don’t think I could find a designer and builder who’s (1) experienced, (2) up-to-date on the latest stuff, and (3) also economical. That is why I’m leaning towards either designing it myself (a) or to hire someone remotely to design it(b), and to (b)hire a general contractor to build the thing based on very specific specifications delineated during the design process.

What are people’s thoughts on how to proceed in this sort of circumstance?
 

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Realized I had commented in your other thread when I saw your plans. Here's a couple of suggestions to start you off;


Is this your "forever" home?

  • If not, then you need to decide how "serious" you want to get knowing that you will be moving again in the future. If you will be staying here for, say 10 years or longer, then it would make sense to make some semi-spending decisions because that's a good chunk of time. If less than that, lower your expectations a bit with the plan to do something better in the next place.
  • If so, and you are really serious, spend the time/money to do it right.
I'll use my situation as an example. I'll be turning 60 this year, work from home, and my wife and I just built our forever home which we had a big part in designing. Knowing this was our forever home, we spent a bit more in areas we deemed appropriate... one being the future home theater. As I mentioned in your other thread, we went with 10' high walls in the basement and used a truss system that allowed all the hvac, wiring, etc... to be run without impacting ceiling height. The big spend for us was that we took advantage of the space below our 3 car garage. We had that area excavated, also using 10' walls, and span-crete for the floor of the garage/ceiling of what will be the theater... that is a huge chunk of space and basically give us a concrete bunker to work with which is pretty much isolated from the rest of the house. I know not everyone can afford to do something like this, but in our situation it was workable. In your case, it looks like you could also use the two "unexcavated" spaces to the right of your proposed theater room... the smaller of which could be a "lobby" for the theater which would be the larger space. That would free up the current theater to make your recreation area larger... think pool table :D


I have been tinkering on sketchup and sweet home 3d with design/layout ideas for our theater, but am about ready to bring in some expertise like Dennis Erskine or someone similar. It may cost a bit, but in the end it will be a small percentage of the overall price of the house... yes, I choose to look at it that way :rolleyes:


In any case, I hope the take away from my ramblings are that you have several paths you can take, but only you know which is right for your situation.
 

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Here is the way I've personally worked several times.

1 b, one of 3 designers I'm familiar with

2 b, but there are certain things you might participate with like running speaker wire.

I get on Facetime and review the plans with the Homeowner and Contractor going over the uniqueness of the plans and building methods if aggressive sound isolation is desired. Several times during the project additional video conferences are scheduled as required.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Realized I had commented in your other thread when I saw your plans. Here's a couple of suggestions to start you off;


Is this your "forever" home?

  • If not, then you need to decide how "serious" you want to get knowing that you will be moving again in the future. If you will be staying here for, say 10 years or longer, then it would make sense to make some semi-spending decisions because that's a good chunk of time. If less than that, lower your expectations a bit with the plan to do something better in the next place.
  • If so, and you are really serious, spend the time/money to do it right.
I'll use my situation as an example. I'll be turning 60 this year, work from home, and my wife and I just built our forever home which we had a big part in designing. Knowing this was our forever home, we spent a bit more in areas we deemed appropriate... one being the future home theater. As I mentioned in your other thread, we went with 10' high walls in the basement and used a truss system that allowed all the hvac, wiring, etc... to be run without impacting ceiling height. The big spend for us was that we took advantage of the space below our 3 car garage. We had that area excavated, also using 10' walls, and span-crete for the floor of the garage/ceiling of what will be the theater... that is a huge chunk of space and basically give us a concrete bunker to work with which is pretty much isolated from the rest of the house. I know not everyone can afford to do something like this, but in our situation it was workable. In your case, it looks like you could also use the two "unexcavated" spaces to the right of your proposed theater room... the smaller of which could be a "lobby" for the theater which would be the larger space. That would free up the current theater to make your recreation area larger... think pool table :D


I have been tinkering on sketchup and sweet home 3d with design/layout ideas for our theater, but am about ready to bring in some expertise like Dennis Erskine or someone similar. It may cost a bit, but in the end it will be a small percentage of the overall price of the house... yes, I choose to look at it that way :rolleyes:


In any case, I hope the take away from my ramblings are that you have several paths you can take, but only you know which is right for your situation.
Thanks for these thoughts! We will live in this house for a very long time, so I want it done right, but like most people I'm limited financially.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is the way I've personally worked several times.

1 b, one of 3 designers I'm familiar with

2 b, but there are certain things you might participate with like running speaker wire.

I get on Facetime and review the plans with the Homeowner and Contractor going over the uniqueness of the plans and building methods if aggressive sound isolation is desired. Several times during the project additional video conferences are scheduled as required.
Thanks! I'll reach out to you and wouldn't mind hearing any other designer recommendations you might have. You mentioned 3?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What’s your budget for the interior build of the theater room + AV equipment?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I don't know yet, I'm really looking for a good value proposition. What does it take to get something quite good? My research suggests maybe 15k-20k for the AV equipment. The theatre room I'm not counting in budget because I'll work that out with contractor.
 

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What’s your budget for the interior build of the theater room + AV equipment?


^^^ THIS ^^^ Budget dictates everything!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I don't know yet, I'm really looking for a good value proposition. What does it take to get something quite good? My research suggests maybe 15k-20k for the AV equipment. The theatre room I'm not counting in budget because I'll work that out with contractor.

One thing to remember, initial construction costs and add-ons are typically dissipated over the length of the home loan while the cost of AV equipment usually comes out of your savings... every situation is different of course. But, in my opinion, construction cost & equipment cost can get tied together in that the more you spend on one, the less that you have for the other. So, say you budget $15k for taller ceilings into the construction cost, that will mean higher monthly mortgage payments which makes you hesitant to spend that additional $1k on an upgraded projector... it's a cyclical thing that is ultimately your call.


@sirjaymz asked a good series of questions in your other thread, I'll add some additional comments here;

  • What is your sound control strategy? Double Drywall and Green Glue on Clips and Channel? only Double Drywall? Any sound control strategy? Not worried about that yet since it does not affect the design of the house very much other than a few inches here and there, unless I'm wrong. Contractor can do the sound control for 3500$ and I got some resources from this forum a few months ago so I got options when the time comes. Might hire an acoustics group too. Pay particular attention to the area where your theater room shares wall space with your equipment room. Nothing like the sound of a furnace kicking on in the middle of a movie to kill the vibe ;)
  • HVAC - supply at the front of the room, return at the rear. Stupid question, what do you mean by front and rear? Front as in where the screen is? I didn't picture there being any vents at the far wall. How would the vents get there? I was hoping to avoid a bulkhead in the theatre. As mentioned elsewhere, using a truss system in your theater ceiling (floor of the room above) gives you some room to run HVAC trunking. I believe @sirjaymz is suggesting placing the incoming air vent somewhere between the front Atmos speakers and the screen in the drawings provided by @davehasplans. The return vent would be located near or behind the rear row of seats. The general thinking is to NOT use a conventional HVAC vent, but one that is deeper and elongated in size to reduce the speed & sound created by air passing over a smaller vent size. I don't have a vent suggestion on hand but would be interested to hear suggestions as I will have to tackle this as well. I would imagine looking at your room that the trunks would run down the center to avoid contacting lighting or ceiling speakers.
  • Power - Make sure you have enough power circuits to the AV Rack. target a minimum of 3x 20 amps circuits just for gear, plus a circuit for the lights. Thanks. I will investigate this. I believe the house will be getting 200amp service, which I've been told is sufficient. Spend some time in the Audio > DIY Speakers & Subs section and read up on suggestions for dedicated power in the theater... separate circuits for subwoofer amps and projector are a must if you are going crazy in the sub output area :D
  • AV Rack - Is that going to be through-wall into the mechanical space? Not exactly sure what you mean, but yes, the AV equipment will be routed into the theatre from the mechanical room. That is the plan, and open to alternatvies! Your plan is sound. Since there could be water leaks in the mechanical, consider placement of the rack relative to the WH/water pipes. Also, unless you are going with a home automation or wifi setup, it might be simpler to place the source (BluRay player, HT computer) in the theater so you don't have to worry about remote control repeaters, or walking to the mechanical to change a movie disc.
  • Front of the room I would put on the wall that has the slant on the bottom of the photo.Interesting! I'd love to hear why. I was thinking the opposite, but that was just my initial impression. There are multiple reasons, primarily that if you put the back seats near the door end of the room, they will be on a riser so you will have to deal with a set of steps coming into the room. Also, screen at the door end allows shorter speaker cable runs from the mechanical room to the main LCR and subs which would typically be behind the screen.
  • Seats - sound like you are going with a 4 seats for front row? Honestly, not a fan of that. That would mean the your MLP is right on an armrest. I would prefer 3 only for front row. 4 seats in the back row would be fine. I'm toying with that idea. The issue is I will have two kids and a wife, four of us. Who gets the shaft on movie night? Not sure how old your kids are, but if they are younger, then "movie night" is usually about them. Having said that, it would lend itself to a 4x4 seat arrangement with both kids getting a "center-ish" seat in front row and you and your wife similarly in the back row.
  • Projector? JVC, Sony, Faux 4k -eshifter? TBD. Again, depending upon the age of your kids, maybe a stronger performing 3d with faux 4k projector would be in order... if they are older, then a solid true 4k might be more appropriate. Your room looks to be light controlled (no windows), which means you don't necessarily need a "light cannon" for a projector, but use any info you get when demoing film on a wall when you consider a projectors output, throw and distance from your screen.
I'm sure I'm missing some things, but hopefully these comments are helpful. There are a lot of great people on this forum that are willing to help out, so don't hesitate to keep asking questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the thoughts! I added some replies below. Would your opinion on the location of the riser change if the door location became flexible?

One thing to remember, initial construction costs and add-ons are typically dissipated over the length of the home loan while the cost of AV equipment usually comes out of your savings... every situation is different of course. But, in my opinion, construction cost & equipment cost can get tied together in that the more you spend on one, the less that you have for the other. So, say you budget $15k for taller ceilings into the construction cost, that will mean higher monthly mortgage payments which makes you hesitant to spend that additional $1k on an upgraded projector... it's a cyclical thing that is ultimately your call. - Thanks! I will be keeping these budgets separate for the reasons you mentioned (mortgage vs. cash on hand), but this won't be a problem. I have the money, just depends how much I want to spend and what I consider a reasonable amount.


@sirjaymz asked a good series of questions in your other thread, I'll add some additional comments here;

  • What is your sound control strategy? Double Drywall and Green Glue on Clips and Channel? only Double Drywall? Any sound control strategy? Not worried about that yet since it does not affect the design of the house very much other than a few inches here and there, unless I'm wrong. Contractor can do the sound control for 3500$ and I got some resources from this forum a few months ago so I got options when the time comes. Might hire an acoustics group too. Pay particular attention to the area where your theater room shares wall space with your equipment room. Nothing like the sound of a furnace kicking on in the middle of a movie to kill the vibe ;)
. Thanks for this tip.

  • HVAC - supply at the front of the room, return at the rear. Stupid question, what do you mean by front and rear? Front as in where the screen is? I didn't picture there being any vents at the far wall. How would the vents get there? I was hoping to avoid a bulkhead in the theatre. As mentioned elsewhere, using a truss system in your theater ceiling (floor of the room above) gives you some room to run HVAC trunking. I believe @sirjaymz is suggesting placing the incoming air vent somewhere between the front Atmos speakers and the screen in the drawings provided by @davehasplans. The return vent would be located near or behind the rear row of seats. The general thinking is to NOT use a conventional HVAC vent, but one that is deeper and elongated in size to reduce the speed & sound created by air passing over a smaller vent size. I don't have a vent suggestion on hand but would be interested to hear suggestions as I will have to tackle this as well. I would imagine looking at your room that the trunks would run down the center to avoid contacting lighting or ceiling speakers. Thanks for this. I'll talk to contractor about this.
  • Power - Make sure you have enough power circuits to the AV Rack. target a minimum of 3x 20 amps circuits just for gear, plus a circuit for the lights. Thanks. I will investigate this. I believe the house will be getting 200amp service, which I've been told is sufficient. Spend some time in the Audio > DIY Speakers & Subs section and read up on suggestions for dedicated power in the theater... separate circuits for subwoofer amps and projector are a must if you are going crazy in the sub output area :D
  • AV Rack - Is that going to be through-wall into the mechanical space? Not exactly sure what you mean, but yes, the AV equipment will be routed into the theatre from the mechanical room. That is the plan, and open to alternatvies! Your plan is sound. Since there could be water leaks in the mechanical, consider placement of the rack relative to the WH/water pipes. Also, unless you are going with a home automation or wifi setup, it might be simpler to place the source (BluRay player, HT computer) in the theater so you don't have to worry about remote control repeaters, or walking to the mechanical to change a movie disc.
  • Front of the room I would put on the wall that has the slant on the bottom of the photo.Interesting! I'd love to hear why. I was thinking the opposite, but that was just my initial impression. There are multiple reasons, primarily that if you put the back seats near the door end of the room, they will be on a riser so you will have to deal with a set of steps coming into the room. Also, screen at the door end allows shorter speaker cable runs from the mechanical room to the main LCR and subs which would typically be behind the screen.
The door could be moved to the top too! Would that change your opinion?

  • Seats - sound like you are going with a 4 seats for front row? Honestly, not a fan of that. That would mean the your MLP is right on an armrest. I would prefer 3 only for front row. 4 seats in the back row would be fine. I'm toying with that idea. The issue is I will have two kids and a wife, four of us. Who gets the shaft on movie night? Not sure how old your kids are, but if they are younger, then "movie night" is usually about them. Having said that, it would lend itself to a 4x4 seat arrangement with both kids getting a "center-ish" seat in front row and you and your wife similarly in the back row.
  • Projector? JVC, Sony, Faux 4k -eshifter? TBD. Again, depending upon the age of your kids, maybe a stronger performing 3d with faux 4k projector would be in order... if they are older, then a solid true 4k might be more appropriate. Your room looks to be light controlled (no windows), which means you don't necessarily need a "light cannon" for a projector, but use any info you get when demoing film on a wall when you consider a projectors output, throw and distance from your screen. Theatre will be designed for adults first, kids second.
I'm sure I'm missing some things, but hopefully these comments are helpful. There are a lot of great people on this forum that are willing to help out, so don't hesitate to keep asking questions.
 

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Thanks for the thoughts! I added some replies below. Would your opinion on the location of the riser change if the door location became flexible?

My initial comments were based on the proximity of the screen/subs to the mechanical room and probably because @davehasplans did a nice drawing using that same orientation. Can the screen location be flipped? Absolutely.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My initial comments were based on the proximity of the screen/subs to the mechanical room and probably because @davehasplans did a nice drawing using that same orientation. Can the screen location be flipped? Absolutely.
Thanks for this. I see the can. But SHOULD the screen location be flipped? That is the question I'm facing!
 

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I suppose that would depend on what you are trying to accomplish... this is your home after all. If you have thoughts on why the screen should be flipped, then go with your gut feeling. Others may have a different opinion, but if you have flexibility in the door location, then I don't see a reason why the screen can't be at either end of the room.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I suppose that would depend on what you are trying to accomplish... this is your home after all. If you have thoughts on why the screen should be flipped, then go with your gut feeling. Others may have a different opinion, but if you have flexibility in the door location, then I don't see a reason why the screen can't be at either end of the room.
The question isn't so much what side the screen should be on, but rather what side the screen and what side the door should be on for this space.
 

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I like the screen on the wide end of the room, that door could move a couple feet back from what would the front wall. That little angled portion of the room could be hidden behind the screen wall like I did at Rawlinsway. You would need to put acoustic treatments on the door.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I like the screen on the wide end of the room, that door could move a couple feet back from what would the front wall. That little angled portion of the room could be hidden behind the screen wall like I did at Rawlinsway. You would need to put acoustic treatments on the door.
Thanks for this. I'm hoping 17' unfinished is enough width. I believe I will be narrowing the theater on the south side down to 17' to make the mechanical room larger. By my math 4 seats would take (in inches): 125(4 seats with loveseat center)+30(aisle)+30(aisle)+18(insulation/sound attenuation++ on both sides) = 203" or about 17'
 

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By my math 4 seats would take (in inches): 125(4 seats with loveseat center)

depends on the make and model of seating you select. The Fusion Jives are 109 inches with a middle loveseat and convertible armrest or 115 inchea for 4 full chairs. Picture attached.




 

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