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PTAaron's Movie Room/Game Room/Bar

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PTAaron's Movie Room/Game Room/Bar - comments welcome!!

Latest news as of May 2016:

Major 2016 updates... Biggest changes start here: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/home-theater-design-construction/55787-ptaaron-s-movie-room-game-room-bar-28.html

Original thread

I just thought it would be fun to start a thread here about my basement entertainment area. It isn't just a "home theater" - it is a whole basement project.

I been working on it since we moved in at the beginning of July 2010. My wife and I spent a LONG time trying to find the right house - we love to entertain and have a few other special needs so we had a few requirements: Had to have a bar, had to have a big deck (or space to build one), she wanted a "scrapbooking room" on the main floor since her mother is in a wheelchair and unable to go up/down stairs, I wanted space to build a home theater...

We eventually found this place - the day it was listed we made an offer and we got it! Main floor has a "den" so the wife got her scrapbook room. The basement had a wet bar, pool table, full bath, and another room that oddly had a full wall of mirrors... but I immediately knew it would be my movie room! Only thing keeping it from being the PERFECT entertaining house is the basement is not a walkout - so you have to go down some stairs to get from the grill to the pool table ;)

EDIT: The first 3 pages are kind of a retrospective look at the project... and it is pretty "picture heavy" because I like to document what I'm doing ;)

On to the space!
I am going to keep the first and second posts updated with the newest pictures of the space - so this page will keep changing. The 3rd post and on will outline my journey to get where I am, and beyond ;)

Equipment in the room:
Mitsubishi 73" DLP TV - 73740
Harman Kardon AVR 3600 (as a pre/pro)
Harman Kardon AVR-635 (as the amp)
Speakers: Pioneer SP-FS51-LR front towers, Pioneer SP-C21 Center, Emotiva ERD-1 surrounds, Dayton rears.
Subwoofer2: Elemental Designs A2-300 (x2)
HTPC running OpenELEC and Kodi
Sony BDP-BX58 (S580) Blu-ray Player and SACD Player
Motorola DCX-3200 Cable Box
AppleTV2 (1080p version)
System controlled with Harmony 1100 and RF extender

Old gear seen in the pictures include:
Toshiba 57h94 CRT RPTV
Harman Kardon AVR 635
Infinity TSS-450 5.1 speaker system

Here is the overall floor plan of my basement - I missed a couple of details like a door on the bathroom and sump room... but everything is to scale and you get the idea.

This was my original layout for the movie room when I first set it up:

Added second sub 6/11/16:

as of April 2016:

pic from 9/8/15:

Before painting the ceiling it looked like this (3/30/12):

.... to be continued ...

Funny - can't edit the post I "reserved" for the bar area pictures... so I'll add this here:

April 2015 - we added a Kegerator to the bar area...

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....Reserving for current pictures of the bar/game area...
Let me give you a little idea of the progression of the movie space (I will include full size pictures later when I put up my "work" pictures):


My initial setup is here - Harman Kardon 635 and Infinity satellite pictures can be seen in the front of the room with my Toshiba 57" RPTV. At this point the wall to the left was still bare mirrors, nothing on any of the other walls... I had wired my speakers through the drop ceiling to the front wall using monoprice in wall wire and a panel conveniently hidden behind the entertainment center piece on the left. System sounded "ok" - but I had upgraditis... Overhead lighting consisted of 2 large fluorescent fixtures controlled by a switch OUTSIDE the room. A real pain in the butt. All viewing is done with overhead lights off and a light on behind the TV.


Here I have upgraded the receiver to a Harman Kardon 3600, speakers are now the Pioneers in the front, and the sub is at the edge of the couch on the left - and it is a Elemental Designs A2-300. It was an expensive month... You can also see that I had to move the entertainment center pieces out - exposing my once carefully hidden wiring panel. I have also added black curtains to the left wall to cover the mirrors to get rid of the light reflections. Lights in the room are now controlled by a X10 switch so I can at least turn them off and on from in the room.


In November 2011 I picked up a Mitsubishi 73740 for a steal at Paul's TV on a pre-Thanksgiving sale... notice the appealing milk crate center channel stand! Everything else is pretty much unchanged at this point - you can see the glare of the fluorescent light on the screen.


Finally made some "real" progress in January... replaced the 2 fluorescent lights with 6 recessed can lights controlled by 3 Maestro IR switches IN THE ROOM. Also upgraded the surround speakers to Emotiva ERD-1 bipole/dipole speakers... and rewired the room completely moving the equipment to the "shelves" noted in the room diagram and getting rid of the entertainment center pieces.


Beginning of March 2012... front wall is "Mouse Ears" black, which was such a huge change! I have am also currently controlling everything via RF - and it is so nice not to have to point the remote at the screen while waiting for everything to turn on! I have even used a "macro work-around" to add in some features like lights dimming when I hit play/coming up slightly on pause/full on at stop...


End of March 2012... I have now painted the side walls "Sorcerer's Hat" blue, the trim in the room is now black as are the double entry doors. The mirrors have been removed from the left side wall, and the drywall has been patched with the help of my good friends Carrie and Mat. (Thanks guys!!) This is a dramatic improvement in both the look and the overall feel of the room. Next step is the ceiling - but before I tackle that I will be doing some work on the bar area.
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Final post for the moment... I have to go do some cleaning before my wife gets home from her soccer game...

We jokingly refer to the house as the "English Way Cinema and Brewing Company" - because of the name of our street and the fact that we brew our own beer and wine... so I went ahead and made myself some movie intros with that in mind - enjoy!

I like your idea for custom intros. I may have to steal it.
Feel free! I didn't come up with it ;)
Sad part is that I usually don't get to use them when we watch movies... but they are still fun to play with!
Let me start with some pictures of the space when we first bought it... these are actually shots from the previous owner with the way they had things set up:

This was the way the bar looked:

And the pool table area:

... and this is a really short video I shot of the future movie room when we were checking out the house... I had taken some measurements and wanted a visual record of how things were laid out:

I'll post up some "progression" pictures a little later... I'm kind of slow at this because at the moment my computer is not hooked up - had to move it down into the movie room to run REW, and haven't moved it back up to my office yet.
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A little video clip as I was moving stuff into the room. Nothing is hooked up yet in this - I had just moved the TV and a few other things into the room:

This is how the room originally looked after I started trying to set it up... there is a center channel speaker in that glare somewhere!

The wall of mirrors...
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at about that time we started decorating the bar area/game area as well... here are a few pictures from when we started that - these are from March 2011:
Looking in from the stairs - note the brewing/fermenting buckets from our wine making ;)

Looking into the larger area from the movie room doors:

Looking at the bar:

From bar looking at pool table and wall of my wife's "rock wall" of autographed 80's band stuff:

Looking toward the movie room from the couch by the pool table:
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The movie room got some attention in March 2011 too when I picked up some curtains at IKEA and used them to hide the wall of mirrors... they look better in person, the camera flash really shines right through them:

The camera flash really shows the wall behind the curtain, but in normal light you can't really see it.

I also upgraded to slightly larger speakers and a new AVR:

...and a new subwoofer:

...and we added some movie decorations... you can see my Radio Shack SPL meter on the tripod from setting my new speakers ;)

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Alrighty... lets just move on through the retrospective view here... moving forward another month to April 2010...

I apologize that I only had taken cell phone pictures at the time - but here is what we did:

1) We put up some glass shelving behind the bar to display my Absinthe collection, our Tequila collection, and the various other unique items (Vince Neil wine, Mick Fleetwood autographed wine, etc):

Next we added shelving along the top of the "back wall" as a place to display our microbrew beer bottle collection:

Here is another shot of the bar area:
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Moving through time to June 2010 - nothing else had changed - but we hit some garage sales in the area and got some great movie posters - spent less than $15for all of these (again sorry for the cell phone quality pictures):

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Fast forward to November 2010... this was a big month for the basement!

First I ran some RG-6 over to the sump pump closet and built a little shelf in there for the cable box. In this picture you can see the old IR extender system I had set up - right now I have a smaller setup from Harman Kardon...

Then I mounted a little 19" LED Vizio behind the bar and re-arranged the bar signs:

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Later in November I got some extra $ in the form of a vacation hour cash out at work - just in time to catch a great "Black Saturday" sale at Paul's TV... and picked up a little 73" DLP:

- test fitting it... notice the cat checking out the game collection in the "stand" - this used to be out in the game room area as storage. Just happened to be the right height for the TV.

A little later - I got a center channel stand for Christmas:

...... and a few more shots while playing Skyrim. Unfortunately I happened to choose scenes where the lighting was bluish for all of them, so you don't get a real good idea ;)

With the obnoxious overhead fluorescents on:

Normal viewing with room lights off and only the light behind the screen on:

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Around mid-January my wife and I were sitting around discussing a plan to redo the bar... which is still going to happen but has been delayed... I came up with a plan to re-do the movie room. I drew up a BEAUTIFUL sketch at 2am:

The next I ordered a set of Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers that showed up really quick - great company to deal with! Here they are being unboxed:

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I started work on carrying out the glorious drawing near the end of January - and took way too many pictures:

Made a new shelf for the built in shelving area that is going to become the equipment rack... this should have been really easy, but it turns out the space is trapezoid shaped, so the shelf needed to be 1" more narrow at the back than the front - simple to fix, but irritating to find out! I assumed the shelf I had brought up to "make a copy of" had just been cut like that on accident.

Here is a shot of the (very cluttered) shelves where the equipment will be going:

AVR will be on the top shelf - I will be putting a fan in the wall on the right side to pull hot air away and into the utility room that is on the other side of the wall.

Then I took on the extremely simple job of installing the gang box for the future can lights. The previous owner had an electrical outlet and a switch that was labeled "neon" on the wall - so I decided to put my switches here. Problem is that they didn't space them out very well - here is the wall marked for a 3 gang box:

... not quite...

Here it is marked for a 4 gang box:

... still not quite... but lets try it anyway:

Nice gaps on either side...

Luckily the cover plate I picked up was "oversized" - so it worked out exactly perfectly!

Here is where that is in the room:

Notice the blank plate at an awkward angle up above the switches? They had a phone jack there... and did a great job of lining that hole up :rolleyes:
I will be patching that with the drywall I cut out installing the box - and a poster will be going there anyway so it doesn't matter if my patchwork sucks.

Right now the 2 switches on the right are Lutron IR switches that will control the lights over the door and couch, the space with nothing originally ended up housing an X10 switch before I later picked up a 3rd Maestro...

Just to show how the room looked then - here are a few more pictures...

Left side

I already removed one of the "entertainment center" pieces... looks so unbalanced right now!

Right side
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The next weekend my father in-law came over and helped me install 6 can lights - each set of 2 on its own switch.

We got it done quickly with no issues. I haven't taken out the fluorescent panels yet in these pictures.

Finishing up the switches...

MUCH better lighting!! It isn't blindingly bright anymore! ... watching Coolio cook on the cooking channel...

Chessie came down to check out the new lights:

The switch panel as it was initially set up with an x10 switch to control the front of the room set of lights

I had originally intended to do Insteon for lighting control - but decided to save $250 and just buy one more Maestro switch instead.
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A few days later I got a nice delivery of toys at work:

We have:
100ft of 14g in wall speaker wire
50ft of RG6 for the subwoofer
25ft high speed rated HDMI cable
3 speaker terminals for the wall (for front speakers)
7.2 "surround sound wall plate"
RCA to "F" adapters
Passthrough plate for wall
...and a RCA keystone jack

All for under $100 shipped! Gotta love Monoprice!!

The next day a trip to Home Depot then Lowes this morning got me another big pile of stuff...
4 double gang low voltage rings
3 double gang decora wall plates
1 single gang low voltage ring
2 keystone wall plates (decora style centers come out)
1 "brush" wall plate (forgot to order 2 pass though plates from monoprice)
1 RCA to "F" keystone connector
...and another maestro IR dimmer switch!

Annoying part is that I could have saved money if I remembered the other plate from monoprice - and also if I had realized Lowes carried the plug I wanted. I usually just go to Home Depot since it is half a mile closer...
Oh well!
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First thing I did was install the light switch - that made things look nicer (to my eye anyway!):

Note: also straightened out the box behind the blank plate above the switches so it doesn't look like (as much) anymore. It will be behind a poster when the room is done.

I also decided to make use of the blank plate covering the old room light switch box:

Used some Velcro to attach a lutron remote outside the room ... just so when the wife wants to get to the cedar closet or storage area she can have light in the room before going in.
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More from the end of January:
Looks like my equipment rack threw up all over the floor and the TV got smaller!

Speakers just hanging out...

Test fitting components before I cut any holes...

Finished for that day:

Wires look like a gigantic rats nest... I had planned to carefully lay everything out so it wouldn't look like - but wife's cousin stopped by and took us out to dinner while I was laying things out. I ended up just rushing through just to make sure everything worked - and it did... just happened to pick up a nasty ground loop hum! :foottap:

Don't worry - I cleaned up the wires a little bit...

... and here is a shot of the front of the room from a few days later after I cleaned up the floor and took down the fluorescent fixture:

In case anyone is interested... these are the outlets I installed at the front of the room with speaker wire and subwoofer outlets - there are 2 sub outlets up front just in case... but only one is wired up now:

Behind the TV is this guy here:
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The following weekend (first weekend of February) I decided to paint the front wall. I had been planning on doing a dark grey color - but in a shocking turn of events my wife (who has consistently complained that she doesn't want me to make the room TOO DARK) said "Shouldn't you just make it black?" I immediately went to Home Depot and bought a can of Mouse Ears black in eggshell finish!

I ended up spray painting the outlets with several coats of flat black paint after finding out that a brush does not cover them well...

I patched (poorly) the hole where my previous speaker distribution panel was, and gave the front wall the first coat of paint...

Lets just say that if you want BLACK - Mouse Ears is about as black as you can get! Holy ! LOL!

Note the white panel still on the wall - I got lazy... I didn't move the TV earlier when I had the spray paint out - so that panel didn't get painted. I decided to just paint around it. It will never be seen anyway - and if it ends up bothering me I can take some spray paint to it then.

...I ended up doing a second coat the next day because I was seeing quite a few small white specks showing through.

Quick shot of my spray painted outlet covers:

The room with the lights on full - looks dark because the camera set the exposure for the TV... but you get the idea:

You can see I also painted the door to the closet.

Lights dimmed a bit...

.... note that my "behind the TV bias light" no longer illuminates the wall AT ALL... that Mouse Ears paint just sucks up all the light... so I ended up removing it from the setup.
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