We finally were able to begin some work on the theater room today. As the old song goes “the First Cut Is The Deepest”, and that certainly was literally true on this project. My plan calls for opening up the wall underneath the stair case to set the rack in to the wall between the closet and the main theater room.
I had a buddy come by to help me do some of the work as this was my first time cutting Sheetrock and studs. I’m glad I didn’t tackle this completely on my own.
We hoped it would be as simple as removing one stud, and cutting the footer. However, we quickly found the entire wall was kinda pieced together using construction remnants and it would not be that simple. Once the space was opened up we double checked to make sure the rack would fit in the opening with 1/2 inch drywall being framed around it.
The fit looks good. The wall although not load bearing itself was very deep due to a floor joist above it. This is great news because the rack only takes up a small amount of closet space as a result. Things will be pretty rough looking until we re-frame around the backside of the rack in the closet. From there some drywall, corner bead, and mud and it should begin to look pretty clean again.
The next challenge will be providing adequate electrical power to the rack. Currently my AC power needs at the rack are not that high. I do not have any large audio amplifiers in this installation. In time that may change and having a dedicated breaker installed in preparation for that would be prudent. Also, I would eventually like to install an uninterruptable power supply in the rack that utilizes a battery backup. From there an an in-wall rated Romex electrical line will run to the projector location. This will allow the projector to power down properly utilizing the batter backup in the event of an electrical outage. One unusual requirement for my installation is that the wall will also need an electrical outlet installed at roughly head level and to the right of the rack in the theater room. That outlet will provide power for the powered speaker used as a rear surround speaker. Most folks do not use self powered or amplified speakers. I would love to rock up the wall and finish everything off quickly but really that will all have to wait till some more power and low voltage wiring is wrapped up.
As some of you may know, my wife and I closed on our first home at the end of last month. Unfortunately, home ownership has a way of sucking up all your free time, and as such the blogging has continued to remain on the back burner. One of the main selling points of this home was the basement layout, which will make an excellent theater/media room space. As I eluded to in an earlier posting, most new modest homes in my area are built with a split level entry design. Usually this means coming in the front door, heading up five stairs for the kitchen, bedrooms etc, and going down some stairs for a daylight walkout basement. My wife wasn’t too keen on taking groceries up stairs, and I wasn’t too keen on the challenges of building a theater room around a daylight walk out basement. I wanted something easier to convert in to a true cave. Our house was built in 1960 and has it right for us, a mud room and kitchen the same level as the garage, and a monstrous basement.
The main basement room is roughly 14 feet wide by 32 feet deep. One draw back is the low ceilings of only 7 feet 2 inches. I would have loved to have built a soffit around the upper perimeter of the room, but I doubt that will work well with the low ceiling height. The room came sheet rocked and finished. This will create some hassle for pulling cable and wiring, but overall makes it more usable in the short term.
The following pictures show a little of how the room will be layed out. The first line of black tape on the floor shows the location of the first row of seating comprising of an Ikea Kivik sectional sofa. Behind the first sectional sofa will be a second row of Kivik seating placed upon a seven inch riser. Beyond that, there may be space to do a counter with bar stools at the far rear of the room.
The following picture shows the rough location of the equipment rack. The plan is to actually set the rack in to the wall. The rear side of the components and cabling will be accessible from the back of the rack from inside the closet under the stairway.
The screen itself will be a 140 inch 2.35:1 aspect ratio CinemaScope ultra wide format screen placed where the line of black gaffers tape is located. The screen itself is essentially made an acoustically transparent fabric.The speakers and subs will sit in an alcove behind the screen and remain completely hidden from view during normal viewing.
The first step will be to open the wall for the rack and then get it sheet-rocked and trimmed nicely. Then we can begin pulling cable to the various locations needed for speakers as well as the projector. I expect progress will be pretty slow over the next couple months. With the acoustically transparent screen possibly on hold until tax return time next year. However, I will be posting pics of most of the work taking place throughout the entire process.
Thanks for reading, hope to have more posts soon.