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Design / Pre-Construction 


This is the basement layout before any construction started. The back wall is mostly glass - this is a walkout basement. There are 9' ceilings throughout. The only location for a theater is on the left wall, and I also have to shoehown a good-sized home office into this area.

The biggest problems to deal with are the three teleposts, at least one of which will wind up inside the theater.

Here's a photo of the basement before framing, taken from the bottom left-hand corner of the diagram. You can see those pesky teleposts, and one of our workers has already arrived on the scene.

Barely visible are the HVAC ducts and beams which will be cutting through the theater from about 2/3 of the way back. So the back half of the theater will have a drop of a foot or so, leaving an 8' ceiling.

Here's a shot from the front of the theater, looking back towards the stairs. One of the design requirements was to have a nice architectural view from the stairs, since they are quite open to the top floors of the house. I didn't want people staring at a blank wall as they come down the stairs.

Note the clever use of boxes and stools to attempt to define a room shape.

This is my solution for the basement design. I would have liked for the theater to be wider, but it would have encroached too much into the family room. I'm an avid pool player, and needed to have space for the pool table and a small family area, and even at 12' width for the theater this was pushing it.

Dealing with the teleposts was a problem. The triangular popout to the right of the theater hides one of them - We're turning that into a feature by putting an 'art niche' with a light on the angled side, and a small wet bar on the other. Unfortunately, I wound up with one telepost inside the theater, and no good solution for it. It will just have to be boxed in or turned into a decorative column. I'm still trying to figure out a way to turn a liability into a feature here, perhaps by installing a small peanut reading lamp into it, since it will be directly behind the front seats. Ideas welcome.

Here's a more detailed floor plan for the theater. The equipment rack is a Middle Atlantic Slim-5 mounted in the back wall. The room behind the theater will be a combination equipment closet/hobby room. I wanted to mount a projector in the back wall, but that obnoxious telepost prevents it unless I use a projector with horizontal lens shift and offset to the left of the room. So I'll be mounting a projector in a hush box above the main seating position.
Other issues - there is a window in this room, which ends 48" from the front wall. My solution here is to put a proscenium wall just in front of it to hide it. I'm going to finish the window normally, but built an insulated MDF 'plug' to slide into it to block noise and light. The window will be completely obscured inside the room.

There is also the angular cutout at the front right corner of the room for the office door - again, i want to design the screen wall/proscenium to hide this.

A couple of other issues I struggled with on the design of the screen wall/proscenium - the front proscenium walls will be about 4' from the front wall, and the screen wall will be about 16" from the back wall (just enough room to hide a subwoofer). This leaves a 32" gap between them, which is a litttle excessive I would think. Also, my screen is 92" wide, and the room is 12' wide. That, coupled with the depth of the screen behind the proscenium walls, means those walls have to be quite narrow to avoid blocking the screen from the end seating position. 20" side walls leaves 104" in the middle, which only gives me 6" of space between the wall and the start of the screen.