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0-Home Theater 300x225Our company typically said, “Yes, we can do that”, and then figured out how, during the design phase. This particular project presented challenges that at first seemed insurmountable, yet, with concentration, imagination, and a lot of experience, we came up with a great design. A design that felt spacious and functioned well, despite having only an 8′ high ceiling.

The Challenge

Our client asked us to remodel their entire basement, and include a bar, fireplace, pool room, bathroom, bedroom, and a home theater. The basement was already finished and had an existing bathroom and bedroom, as well as a fireplace. Our challenge was to reconfigure and improve everything that existed and add the home theater, bar, and pool room.

We had the good fortune of having a client that could afford some rather expensive solutions, as you’ll soon see.

In this article, I’ll show you how we designed a home theater that functioned well, looked good, and seemed spacious despite the 8′ ceiling and a support beam running right through the center of it.

Here’s a picture of the existing space

Before the remodeling project started

The middle of the home theater will be where the left wall is.

Materials needed

Materials needed for the basement bearing walls

I’ve found the easiest way to build support beams in a confined space is by using laminated veneer lumber. Typically these are 1 3/4″ wide by whatever depth and length you want. Joining two together makes superior headers that are 3 1/2″ wide, same as a typical 2×4 stud width.

The Solution

The temp wall

building the temporary wall for the beam

We’re working with a lot of plumbing, HVAC, and electric in the way. The family is still in the home, so we have to keep all waste lines, electric, etc. working. We build and brace the temp wall.

how to build a temporary wall

As you can see from the picture above, we have built a temporary support wall with diagonal braces to allow us plenty of room to work, yet support the floor above. We have notched the end of the LVL so that the Simpson support bracket will be flush with the bottom of the beam. The first piece now sits on ladders and will be hoisted into position.

We bought 24″ deep LVL’s but were only required to have 22″ of depth if we joined three LVL’s. This will keep us at, or above the 7′ ceiling height required.

photo showing the new bearing beams in place

As you can see from this picture, we had a lot of bearing walls to support. Number 1 is the main beam. It is supporting beam Number 2 at its midpoint. And the header, Number 3, is supporting one end of Number 1.

the bracket for attaching the beam to an intersecting beam

Here you can see the specified Simpson hangar for the main beam as it attaches to the header over the doorway.

another lvl bearing beam

There is also a 4th LVL beam to the right of the doorway header.

Temp walls are removed.

the main bearing lvl beam

Furring for HVAC and consistent thickness

furring out the bearing beams

The view in the image above is towards the future TV screen.

More furring and strapping

Framing for the new tray ceilings

A peek at the end goal

showing the framed and roughed-in tray ceiling

As you can see, the furring is all in place, and we are almost ready for sheet rock. The knee wall in the background is the bar.

Installing the low-voltage wiring

wiring with low-voltage wiring for home theater

Ready for sheet rock

Insulating the walls of the home theater

Notice that the interior room is fully insulated. This is done to improve the acoustics, as well as to contain some of the sound that will be produced in this room. We made it our standard to insulate any room we built, whether it was interior or exterior.

Large in-wall subwoofer

photo showing the in-wall subwoofer

The long black cavity on the left wall is for the subwoofer.

home theater ready for sheet rock

The alcove on the left is for a computer center.

The finished product

the finished tray ceiling

In this photo you can see how the beams disappeared. By placing the beams in strategic positions (governed of course by the bearing walls above), we were able to create a spacious look to the room, despite being constricted by an 8′ ceiling and deep beams.

Details of note

  • Use dimmable sconces on the side walls
  • Use rounded corners in home theaters. This has better acoustics than square corners, and it looks great.
  • Place a dimmable recessed low-voltage light in the center of each recess.
  • The mid and rear speakers on in-wall, set at approximately 5′ AFF.

The finished product

the finished home theater

This is how it looked in the end. The cabinets are custom made. The front and center speakers are in the upper portion of the cabinet. The floor was carpeted.

In conclusion

I hope this gives you some design ideas of your own. Feel free to share your projects and comments with us.

As you can see, when you put a lot of thought into your design, it’s just a matter of assembling the design. Your final product will look great and your clients will think you are heaven-sent.

This article was written by Randall S. Soules, writer, remodeling coach, advisor, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System. The Scientific Remodeling System will show you easier ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to learn more about this eCourse and all of the forms and contracts available to Premium Members, click here. You are free to reprint or copy this article to your blog, newsletter, staff, etc. as long as the article is shown in its entirety and has a live link to RemodelerBiz.ScientificRemodelingSystem.com.

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