As in my previous theater, I was going to use columns to accent the room and hide the side and surround speakers. The columns are simply MDF that I wrapped in the same fabric used throughout the room. To secure them to the wall, I used extra pieces of 2×2 that had been glued together.

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When my wife and I had originally toured the home nearly a year ago, we knew that when we built the theater we wanted to try to match the carpet that was already used throughout the basement. It was a dark color and had the perfect pattern. When we asked the previous owner about it, he couldn’t remember the brand, the name of the pattern or the store that they bought it from. We were discouraged, but didn’t give up. In a stroke of total luck, while surfing carpet manufacturers’ websites, the pattern flashed on the home page and I was relieved to know it was still available. The installers did a great job getting it installed on the stage and riser.

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Before any carpeting was to be installed, I wanted to get the theater ceiling and hallway painted, this way I didn’t have to worry about covering the floor. Per a recommendation from AVS, I used a grey primer for the ceiling and tinted primer for the hallway. The final ceiling color is Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black and the hallway used Beach House to match the rest of our basement. In hindsight, the grey primer was a bit thicker than I anticipated and I believe led to some of the brush strokes that can be seen in direct light. The strokes aren’t too bad and are nearly invisible when watching a movie.

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Never having done soffits before, I did a lot of research on AVS. The purpose of the soffits in this theater was multi-fold; hide the HVAC supply ducts, act as an HVAC return duct, and provide a light tray for upward rope lighting. Using 2x2s and MDF, I installed the soffit around 3 sides of the room, installing the flex duct toward the front of the room and the return in the rear. Instead of painting, I wanted to wrap the soffits in fabric and this allowed me to build the tray portion at the same time. With the fabric stapled to a border piece, installation continues and the fabric gets stretched to the wall.

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Riser & Stage

The riser and stage are two components that really start to bring character to the room. To get enough height for the 2nd row of seats, the riser was built out of 2x12s and the stage used 2x10s. Once framed, the stage was filled with sand to help dampen the front speakers and subwoofer while the riser was filled with insulation. A couple layers of plywood and roofing felt finished off the tops and they would be ready for carpet.

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One of the best moves I made during this project was the hiring of a contractor to install the drywall and to mud and tape the seams. For soundproofing, 5/8″ drywall was used in two layers, with Green Glue sandwiched in between. It was amazing to watch only two guys put everything in place and only one piece in the entire job had to be recut. The really amazing part was how good the arches in the hallway came out. These guys did an amazing job. One thing you might also notice, the double doors that were once in the front of the room were removed and “walled” over. You would never even know it was once there.

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Soundproofing – Part 2

Prior to buttoning up the walls with drywall, the final bit of soundproofing was put in place. R13 insulation was used in the walls and R30 in the ceilings.

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With framing completed, it was time to run electrical for the lights, posters, equipment, etc. and the low voltage cables for video, audio and networking. As part of the soundproofing efforts, I built backer boxes for any can lights and wrapped puddy pads around the electrical boxes. Most of this was probably overkill, but once drywall is up, it’s hard to go back and do it if needed.

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While cruising the forums at AVS, I came across a Theater done by DJMarceau. (here) DJMarceau had done some curved arches in his lobby that he was using to display his Lord of the Rings collectables. I thought the arches would be perfect for the lighted posters I planned so I decided to duplicate his work. Having previously modeled my hallway in Google SketchUp, I was able to get the exact diameter of the arch and rudimentarily transferred that to some plywood with an RCA cable I had laying around. 🙂 Once traced out, I cut out two identical pieces used 2×4 pieces as spacers. As you’ll see, the drywallers performed the magic to make them look awesome.

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With most of the joist soundproofing and the HVAC out of the way, it was time to start framing. As suspected, the short wall of the little room was load bearing, so I needed to have the wall replaced with an engineered beam. Surprisingly, that job went quickly and over the course of a few weeks I put up the new walls in both the main room and hallway and started a new ceiling in the hallway, hiding the mess of HVAC ducts. I also rebuilt all of the soffits to save on space and framed out the opening for the equipment closet.

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