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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Need help with first build

We bought a house a few years ago that came with an unfinished walkup attic. Half of it didn't even have subfloor. After mulling over whether to convert our 2 car garage into a theater, or not, I've decided to use part of the attic as the theater.

Currently I'm finishing up the subfloor and trying to figure out how best to use the space. I've basically got a square box to work with. It's roughly 18x18 and the ceiling is 10 ft at the peak.

I've attached a few pics, but open to ideas and suggestions about how best to use this space as a home theater. In the pics you can see a beam running vertically in the middle from floor to ceiling, that will be where the screen wall will be.

Sound isolation is not really a major concern. This part of the attic is directly over my living room, and on the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms. If the theater is in use, then we'd all probably be together watching movies. I live at the end of a cul-de-sac, and my neighbors are at least an acre and a half away on both sides. So no concerns there.

What I'm really hoping to get some help with is how to set this space up to function as a theater. I've got some budget constraints as well, as we're finishing up other projects in and around the house at the same time. So, I can't go overboard on anything.

As far as equipment, the only thing I've settled on is the projector, BenQ w1070. Everything else from receiver to speakers and how and where they are positioned is open.

I've poured over lots of build threads with small theaters, attics, and bonus rooms and have gotten some great ideas.
But, I figured it would be best to get some input at this point before the electrical, framing, and walls are done. :)

Any and all ideas are welcomed!

Thanks in advance!
 

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This is going to be a great theater! Lots of DIY going on here in my mind. Knee walls to bring in the sides. Even doing Atmos in this room will be easy. Hanging a couple of rails from the ceiling would be nice. You could do the drywall up near the peak. Or you could drop it down for a lower ceiling. Lots of choices here! Doing the prewire should be great. Lots of opportunity with it being open like it is now. I would look into doing a IB sub system. IB is infinite baffle just in case you said huh? It would be easy to do in this room. You could also do DIY speakers to save some bucks. If you are having plywood pieces left over from other home projects that could be used for the DIY speakers. My theater can be found at "I built an accousticaly transparent screen thread" by awblackmon. Sorry I don't know how to do the direct attachment to the thread. I am not geeky in that respect. Other stuff like using saws, hammers, and such, I am good at. Good luck with your project.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
This is going to be a great theater! Lots of DIY going on here in my mind. Knee walls to bring in the sides. Even doing Atmos in this room will be easy. Hanging a couple of rails from the ceiling would be nice. You could do the drywall up near the peak. Or you could drop it down for a lower ceiling. Lots of choices here! Doing the prewire should be great. Lots of opportunity with it being open like it is now. I would look into doing a IB sub system. IB is infinite baffle just in case you said huh? It would be easy to do in this room. You could also do DIY speakers to save some bucks. If you are having plywood pieces left over from other home projects that could be used for the DIY speakers. My theater can be found at "I built an accousticaly transparent screen thread" by awblackmon. Sorry I don't know how to do the direct attachment to the thread. I am not geeky in that respect. Other stuff like using saws, hammers, and such, I am good at. Good luck with your project.
I hope it's going to be great. This is my first time doing anything like this, though I like to think that I'm pretty handy.

Currently I'm trying to learn SketchUp so that I can have a good visual reference of what I really want the theater to look like. I did a little more work on the subfloor today and cleared out the floor space pretty well, and it's getting easier to get a good feel of how the room is taking shape.

I haven't decided whether or not to take the drywall all the way to the top of the peak or to have a lower ceiling.

Hopefully, I'll get a good handle on SketchUp this week and can post what I've done so others can get a better idea of how I want the theater to take shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How many bodies are you looking to seat?
Not too many, 6-8. We just need space for our immediate family (me, wife, and 3 kids). Occasionally we might have other family or friends over for movies, but not often at all. Definitely not enough to justify more seating than 6-8.

I was hoping to get maybe 4 reclining theater loveseats and in 2 rows. I've attached an example of something kind of like what I want. I'd like to have the back row on a small riser, then step down to the front row.

I was also planning on having a walkway between the left and right. So, two in the front, two in the back and a space between left and right.
 

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The problem with that plan is the outside four seating positions, end up badly compromised audio-wise.
You do better audio-wise, to have the aisles on the outside of the seating. The question is how wide
does the space end up, when those walls offer enough height to be suitable as aisles?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The problem with that plan is the outside four seating positions, end up badly compromised audio-wise.
You do better audio-wise, to have the aisles on the outside of the seating. The question is how wide
does the space end up, when those walls offer enough height to be suitable as aisles?
I think there'll be plenty of space for those sitting on the outside, but having to constantly stand and walk in that space for an aisle I think would be more problematic.

I'll measure it all out tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So, I've been messing around with sketchup the last couple of days and still trying to get the hang of it. I've attached a couple of pics of what I've got so far. It's done exactly to scale.

I'm still not sure about the seating. I want a small riser and 2 rows. I'm thinking about maybe a curved row of 4 in the back row, and maybe just 2 single seats in front.

I'll keep working on the models and hopefully can figure it all out. I want to plan it out before I start with the wiring.

It looks like I'll be able to get a 110" screen on the wall, which is good. At least I know what the shell will look like when I get the drywall up!
 

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I assume entrance is in the rear. this is one of the rare instances when a center aisle for the back row might make the most sense. play around with seating layouts you should determine the footprint of the space with at least 75 inches of headroom and the aisles need to be in that space, I just picked that based on giving a 6 ft tall person 3 inches of clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I assume entrance is in the rear. this is one of the rare instances when a center aisle for the back row night make the most sense.
You're right on both points. The stair coming up to the attic and the door that leads into the attic is what that space is on the left. I haven't gotten that far in sketchup yet to put them there.

And I was absolutely thinking of a center aisle. Going back an forth, actually between two rows with a center aisle, or maybe 1 long row.

If I do the center aisle, do you think it would be best to angle the seats a little bit? Obviously the riser height can't be that big with a center aisle because of the headroom on the sides, but I really think it could work. I'd lose the "sweet spot" and I don't know how comfortable those seating in the front row would feel being so close to the screen.

I'll try to get both options mocked up sometime today so that I can see the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ok, I'm definitely going to need some help with speaker placement. I want to go with 7.1.2 Atmos, and hope that it sounds ok with the shape of my room and ceiling. Thinking about small columns on the knee walls for the surrounds and a little larger column on either side of the screen for the front left and right. I updated the sketchup model with seats, although these aren't the seats I plan on using. I'm hoping to go with Seatcraft Catalina Love Seats.

Also, the riser could be troubling. My door opens to the attic right where I would have the back riser. I was hoping for one continuous riser for the back row, but I might have to split it for the aisle and so the door can open fully.

Any help with these issues is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
if you use fewer front row seats you could keep the sweet spot seats and do a side aisle for the front row.
That might be what I do.

It's such a small space that I want to be able to maximize my enjoyment. I'm going to play around with the layout some more and see what I think will work best.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm starting framing this weekend. I just bought The Home Theater Book from http://thehometheaterbook.com/. It was on sale for 50%, so I thought I would grab it up.

It looks like it's going to be of some great help. I've been lurking these forums for years, trying to get my knowledge up, but it's great to have all of the info in one place.
 

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Ok, I'm definitely going to need some help with speaker placement. I want to go with 7.1.2 Atmos, and hope that it sounds ok with the shape of my room and ceiling. Thinking about small columns on the knee walls for the surrounds and a little larger column on either side of the screen for the front left and right. I updated the sketchup model with seats, although these aren't the seats I plan on using. I'm hoping to go with Seatcraft Catalina Love Seats.

Also, the riser could be troubling. My door opens to the attic right where I would have the back riser. I was hoping for one continuous riser for the back row, but I might have to split it for the aisle and so the door can open fully.

Any help with these issues is appreciated.
How wide is the actual room? The only issue I may see is that the seats may not fit the way you want them to. Theater seats for of four are typically 130" wide or wider (or about 11 feet). You may save some width by separating them in the middle like you have pictured, but not much. With the ceiling angled, it cuts into how far left and right you can have the seats without people hitting their heads. You may want to measure the width of the room and then measure the width of actual seating, just to make sure you have the room for the seating you are looking into.

I also agree with Big. The way your room is laid out, you really need a center aisle.

Awesome build. I look forward to seeing how it comes along!

P.S. - I have the W1070 and love it! I know you'll enjoy yours as well.
 

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How wide is the actual room? The only issue I may see is that the seats may not fit the way you want them to. Theater seats for of four are typically 130" wide or wider (or about 11 feet). You may save some width by separating them in the middle like you have pictured, but not much. With the ceiling angled, it cuts into how far left and right you can have the seats without people hitting their heads. You may want to measure the width of the room and then measure the width of actual seating, just to make sure you have the room for the seating you are looking into.

I also agree with Big. The way your room is laid out, you really need a center aisle.

Awesome build. I look forward to seeing how it comes along!

P.S. - I have the W1070 and love it! I know you'll enjoy yours as well.
The room is exactly 18'3" wide right now before drywall and any treatments.


I'm thinking about scrapping the idea of a riser, and going with 1 row of 4 seats and maybe bean bags in front for the kids in front.
 
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