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#285633 - 01/06/10 10:45 PM Open concept HT
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5426
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
About a year ago someone posted pics of a really nice HT setup where the HT area was normally open to the rest of the floor and closed off by curtains when in use. I was wondering how that worked out, since it seems increasingly likely I'm going to end up doing the same thing.

I've gone through maybe 50 different potential locations and floor plans for moving the HT out of the loft and down into the basement (so I can move the piano up to the loft and get my nice open living room back). It should be easy, but there are a set of big ducts and a steel beam running down the length of the basement so most of the obvious layouts end up feeling really cramped or off-center because you end up partially or fully sitting under the ducts.

The best I had been able to come up with so far was an angled setup which I posted a while back. It met all of my criteria but it still felt like I was dividing my nice open house into a bunch of tiny passageways, better suited to rodents than to claustrophobic primates.

A day or so ago this new layout popped into my mind :



Comments would be appreciated. The drawing isn't quite to scale; the left side of the new wall and the left side of the laundry room are pretty much lined up in real life, so there is a "full back wall" unlike what the sketch shows.

The yellow paint splotches indicate a new wall to hold the screen plus areas where I would probably need to soundproof and further enclose the furnace & laundry rooms. The yellow rectangle is the low area under the heating ducts & main crossbeam. Bar, regular seating & maybe a conventional TV would be over on the left hand side, where there are windows etc..

Proximity to the laundry room and furnace rooms are obvious problems, but it seems to make more sense to close off and soundproof those rooms than to try to make a quiet HT in an otherwise noisy basement. Ditto for the ducts, but the whole house seems to be built around noisy ducts so I figure I'll just make sure that they get covered with some decent soundproofing when I finish the basement. As long as I have regular fires in the masonry heater upstairs the furnace doesn't run much anyways**.

I was thinking about some kind of dual-use setup where the chairs can swivel, with a coffee-table or similar in the empty space. I like the idea of having a full height (but not full width) wall since that gives some privacy to the bedrooms and lets you walk around behind the screen to get to the other side of the HT without having popcorn thrown at you (and without me having to pick it up ;)).

**In hindsight I probably should have specified a small, quiet, simple furnace and relied on the masonry heater to help keep the house warm on the very coldest nights rather than going with a larger dual-stage self-aware thing that goes into a fault state whenever the wind blows into its exhaust pipe.

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#285658 - 01/07/10 01:16 AM Re: Open concept HT [Re: bridgman]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
 Originally Posted By: bridgman

About a year ago someone posted pics of a really nice HT setup where the HT area was normally open to the rest of the floor and closed off by curtains when in use. I was wondering how that worked out, since it seems increasingly likely I'm going to end up doing the same thing.


I’m in the process of having curtains made to use both as blackout around the existing walls and as a “curtain wall” separating off the HT room (living room) from the dining room and kitchen. I did the same thing in my apartment to great effect. With the lights dimmed for viewing the illusion is that you are in an enclosed room. When not viewing open the curtains to reveal the whole area and lighter coloured walls for a more friendly atmosphere. IMO it works great.

You said the freestanding wall will give some privacy to the bedrooms. I’m just wondering if you really need a freestanding wall. I considered doing that both to hang the screen and have a wall equally distant behind all three front speakers. However, I found that making a frame and hanging the screen from the ceiling was simpler and less claustrophobic because the area below the screen is still open. It also gives the flexibility of placing the speakers just behind the screen so there’s no light reflecting off them creating distractions while still not having them right up against the front wall.

I also have the option (not installed yet) to swing the bottom of the fixed screen, frame and all, up toward the ceiling getting it out of the way should I want the whole room opened up. I haven’t seen the need for that yet since it’s just as easy to lower the screen an move it to the adjacent room if I want.

Another option would be put the freestanding wall on rollers so it can be pushed out of the middle of the room should you want to open things up.
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#285662 - 01/07/10 01:34 AM Re: Open concept HT [Re: grunt]
Micah Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 1789
Loc: Indiana you hoser!!!!
Here's an idea, you could be the first to do this!

I've seen in movies and such in really modern homes they have those glass walls that water runs down, almost like a waterfall... very cool! Well you could do that, but then when you're ready to watch a movie you flip a switch and the clear water turns billiant white... voila, the worlds first in-home water screen! Oh, you were planning on using a projector down there, right?

Because it's sort of hard to hang a flatscreen on a water wall.
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#285670 - 01/07/10 02:26 AM Re: Open concept HT [Re: Micah]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Even better than water, dry-ice fog. Get a fogger, and then use the white vapors to project the image onto.
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#285685 - 01/07/10 07:50 AM Re: Open concept HT [Re: ClubNeon]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6841
Loc: PEI, Canada
I think your design makes the best use of the space and shapes available. The only possible variation on your theme that I could envision was moving everything over to the right towards the furnace room and flipping the orientation 90 degrees so that the low hanging ceiling space (and the new wall) creates a cozy feeling for the back row of seats instead a detriment to a possible projection screen choice for now or the future. To remove the "why is everything off center look", you could offset the empty space freed up on the left with a foosball table, standing bar or maybe both.

I like the idea of a solid wall verses a curtain but that part is just personal preference. While a curtain is certainly practical and can be made to look professional, it always makes me thing of back in my teen years when a few of my friends did the "I'm taking over the basement" thing and divided off areas with curtains, sheets or whatever they could find. So mostly a subconscious thing really but I would personally go with a wall.

If money was no object, you could consider soundproofing the laundry room and maybe even the furnace room, depending on habits and their noise levels.
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#285740 - 01/07/10 12:37 PM Re: Open concept HT [Re: Murph]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5426
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Thanks everyone... that's exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for. What a great place this is ;\)

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#285753 - 01/07/10 12:48 PM Re: Open concept HT [Re: bridgman]
Argon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/24/04
Posts: 1443
Loc: Oak Ridge, NC
I had thought about some type of retractible curtains - mostly as a sound damper in my acoustically challenged Living room. I really never got past the "concept" stage before I decided to place the Axioms in the Bonus Room.
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#285908 - 01/07/10 10:59 PM Re: Open concept HT [Re: bridgman]
duckman Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 312
Loc: kansas
How about a motorized screen? Maybe a 3-4 ft high stubby wall, (coming to a point at the top so no one will pile crap on it)

Hurry up and build something cool, I'm jonesing for some pics.
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