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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The basement is pretty much done, and I wanted to document what I did here on AVS since I got a lot of inspiration/ideas from other threads on these forums. The goal was to have a room to play video games, watch anime and movies+TV ( 45%/45%/10% games/anime/movies+TV).

I had initially estimated the project to take about 2 weeks and $2,000. It is now over 2 years later and I've spent closer to $10,000 - although this includes all materials, windows, furniture, appliances, etc. Nothing was contracted out to keep the costs down.

The house was built in 1979. The basement was already mostly finished, although we didn't like the 70s look. The ceilings were about 7' and the walls had wooden panels glued to drywall.

I started out by making a 120" screen using blackout fabric. The speakers in the pictures below are Polk - they ended up being the rear speakers in my 7.1 system when everything was done.

I quickly came to the conclusion that my extremely low budget approach (only screen + projector) will not suffice. The wooden panels were horrible and the basement needed fixes anyways.

Unfortunately, I didn't take too many pictures before the construction started, but this gives a good example of the state of the basement prior to any work done by me. The first two pics are the "main room" in the basement, and the last two are the storage area in the back.

BEFORE PICS:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Ripping off the wooden panels from the walls destroyed the drywall, so the lower half of the drywall in most of the basement had to be removed. The windows were also replaced in the initial phase with double-pane windows. The original windows were single pane, and they were so misaligned that I could fit the palm of my hand between the two sliding parts and place it outside when the windows were closed.

I had done the construction in two stages: first the back of the basement - the storage area and laundry room; and then the main part of the basement. For this thread, I've combined the two stages into one.

I began taking a lot more pictures at this point.

CONSTRUCTION STARTS:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
In the middle of the main part of the basement was a metal support beam. I had decided to cover it up by building a new wall there to divide the basement a bit. This would also help shield some noise from the laundry room and the HVAC system. In addition, I had decided to build a cabinet to house the AV equipment in this wall.

Since I took down a lot of drywall, I ran some wires in wall:
  • Speaker wires for 7 channels
  • Subwoofer (RG6)
  • Buttkicker (RG6)
  • Lot of Cat5e (many locations)
  • HDMI from AV cabinet to projector
  • 2" conduit from AV cabinet to projector
  • 3.5mm from AV cabinet to projector (for IR blaster)
  • 2" conduit from AV cabinet to behind screen

I also replaced all of the switches with Insteon dimmers/keypads and installed LED lights.

NEW DRYWALL
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I'm not quite sure what sort of home improvement I like doing the least, but taping and mudding drywall has to be close to the top of that list... especially drywall on the ceiling.

We wanted to use the space under the stairs for storage, so a pocket door was installed (the smallest we could order at Home Depot - about 72" in height).

Once the drywall was all patched up, we also built a custom wooden cabinet for the AV gear to fit into the new wall. The cabinet also has a door in the back for easy access to the back of the AV components.

DRYWALL (CONT) & AV CABINET
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
In the posts above, I mentioned that the laundry room was renovated as well. This room actually had no drywall at all, and a lot of PVC pipes (among other things) near the walls, so it was a bit tricky to hide everything. The wall with the window is actually around 1ft deep to hide all the tubes.

During the basement renovation, I also managed to wire the whole house with Cat5e. The cabinet on the wall contains the patch panel along with the switch.

Coax (RG6) for cable is also routed to this room and hidden in a panel on the wall for easy distribution in the house when needed.

LAUNDRY ROOM AND HOME NETWORKING:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
We built an custom cabinet for all of the AV equipment. It is located behind the seating area (to the left when facing the screen). The cabinet has a door on the back (the door is off in the pics below) for easy access to the back of the equipment.

Inside the cabinet are:
  • Buttkicker Amp
  • Denon 2113 AVR
  • Surge Protector and Conditioner
  • DVR
  • PS4
  • Xbox One
  • ISY Insteon Contoller
  • Global Cache iTach (IP => IR)

AV CABINET
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
And the final product. Lots of pics from different angles around the room.

Looking back, I'm glad I didn't know much about building a home theater, because if I knew how much work it would be to get to this point, I doubt I'd have ever started. I probably will never do this again :)

We still need to do a few things such as put in some new stairs and some minor touches, but it is very close to done.

FINAL PICS:
 

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Well done. Nice transformation. Looks great!
 

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In the long run, I think you will be much happier with the acoustics with some absorption on the side walls, ceiling, and a rug on that floor. I would investigate some room treatment threads.

There are a lot of flat, hard surfaces in that small room which will really make the slap-echo unbearable after a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In the long run, I think you will be much happier with the acoustics with some absorption on the side walls, ceiling, and a rug on that floor. I would investigate some room treatment threads.

There are a lot of flat, hard surfaces in that small room which will really make the slap-echo unbearable after a while.
A rug will be there once we agree on one. I doubt we'd ever agree on wall treatments though :(
 
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