Building a home theater wall

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Old 10-12-16, 12:47 PM
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Building a home theater wall

This message could go in any number of sections, so I'm sure I've chosen the wrong one. The reason it's not going in a theater specific sub is because it's not really related to the theater itself, but more the construction of it all. But if that's where it belongs I apologize. I also apologize for the novel you' re about to read. Feel free to ignore me and go on with your day.

So I'm finishing my basement, and I want to build a theater wall where my screen will go, but I want to have some dead space behind the wall. Enough space to fit a server rack back there, so that I can make it my home's audio/video/networking closet, as well as making wiring behind the theater wall a breeze. I know I could hire someone to build this thing for me, but if I were rich enough to do that, I wouldn't be on the forum right? :-)

So anyway, here is a quick mockup of kind of what I'd like to accomplish:
https://imgur.com/a/AEIya

You can't really see it in the overhead picture, but my plan for entry is to have a slim door on the side, in the closet of the adjoining room. Secret room FTW!

Basically just some decent looking shelves on the side for movies, maybe equipment, and then some shelves or cabinets along the bottom for storage, or even equipment like game consoles, Blu ray players, receivers and stuff. I would use the side shelves for equipment, but my wife feels that all that equipment and stuff just ends up looking cluttered. I dunno, we'll see about that. Problem is, while I am a handy guy (I built the two bedrooms currently in our basement), I'm no cabinet maker, and this would be quite an undertaking for me.

So at the risk of making this a seriously long discussion, I have a few questions/thoughts about this build.

If you look at the pictures, you can see from the back that I have the shelves extending through the wall, so the framed portion of the wall is only on the sides, and in the middle. I want to do this to reduce the amount the shelving sticks out past the wall. One because I think it would look better if it didn't stick out so far, and 2, because if you look at the overhead picture, the wall comes very close to a window, so I have to limit how close it comes to the window, and don't want them coming to far out past the window. So the inset shelves will give the shelves some depth without making them stick out too far.

So I'm familiar with framing, and I can easily plan and build the wall frame around it, as well as the basically internal frame for the whole thing. But when it comes to finishing it with good looking trim, and building functional, good looking doors, that's another story.

I plan on painting it, not doing a natural wood finish, so I started thinking that I could use MDF for quite a bit of it? But I'm really unsure. I could use some 1x1 pine or something for most of the frame, but as far as the top of the stage goes (by stage, I mean just the stand where a TV could go if we wanted, and it will probably be taller than in my mock up) , and the faces and doors go, I'm not sure what affordable options for wood there really are.

I could go on with more questions, but more than anything, I'm curious to hear opinions and suggestions from any of you that have attempted anything like this, as well as pictures if you have any. I've found plenty of amazing pictures online of what I'm sure are multi thousand dollar builds, but if possible, I'd like to build this for under $1000.

I do have a general contractor doing most of our basement, and I'm going to discuss with him the possibility of him doing it, but I imagine he is going to be wanting $2-$3k at least, and I'm not sure I want to fork out that much for it. Why am I not doing my basement on my own when I've already done two of the bedrooms you ask? At the request of my wife to not be a single mom to our 4 kids for the next 2 years lol.

Anyway, thanks in advance for your replies.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 06:03 PM
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For painted cabinetry Poplar is the best choice of wood. Birch and Maple are very good also, but unnecessary.
We can give you tips on building the side towers and the platform, a router would come in handy.
There are also special order bath and kitchen cabinets that are close to what you want. Most cabinets are available in 3" increments and you can use fillers to make up any difference.

I would recommend shelf standards for the towers if you build it yourself. They look best if recessed into the side panels.

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Old 10-13-16, 04:35 AM
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If you are painting the poplar a light color it is best to use an oil base enamel undercoater [or any oil base primer] Oil base will seal the tannins and anything else that could bleed thru latex primer/paint.
 
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Old 10-13-16, 05:54 AM
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Where are you planning to put your speakers/subs?

I like your plan--particularly the 1st image. I feel the cabinets in #2 look too busy, will complicate the build, may be more storage than you would need, and are a trap for bugs & moisture to collect. It's a rare basement that has neither.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 02:52 PM
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Man, I hate it when this happens! I delete the email saying I have a response, but forget to check out the thread, then forget about it and don't get any emails. Thanks for all the replies!

Originally Posted by Handyone
For painted cabinetry Poplar is the best choice of wood. Birch and Maple are very good also, but unnecessary.
We can give you tips on building the side towers and the platform, a router would come in handy.
There are also special order bath and kitchen cabinets that are close to what you want. Most cabinets are available in 3" increments and you can use fillers to make up any difference.

I would recommend shelf standards for the towers if you build it yourself. They look best if recessed into the side panels.
Thanks for the tips, yes I will probably do some routing to give a more finished look on some edges, as well as recessed channeling for the shelf standard, which I really like the idea of. Thanks.

Originally Posted by marksr
If you are painting the poplar a light color it is best to use an oil base enamel undercoater [or any oil base primer] Oil base will seal the tannins and anything else that could bleed thru latex primer/paint.
Thanks, that's good to know. I haven't decided yet whether I want to match it to the trim (white), or the walls (probably a darker grey/green tint)

Originally Posted by guy48065
Where are you planning to put your speakers/subs?

I like your plan--particularly the 1st image. I feel the cabinets in #2 look too busy, will complicate the build, may be more storage than you would need, and are a trap for bugs & moisture to collect. It's a rare basement that has neither.
I haven't planned it out exactly, but I planned on putting the center speaker on the little stage at the bottom, with the right and left speakers on the side shelves. Sub probably in the corner on the floor in the front, next to the shelving?

And you make a good point about the business of the cabinets underneath the stage. It definitely would simplify my build quite a bit. I was the most apprehensive about building good looking, functional cabinet doors. But I just can't stand the thought of all that empty space lol. I would probably store more than equipment down there, extra blankets, stuff like that, for movie watching. But with your comment, I will definitely have to rethink the cabinets underneath. If it weren't for the fact that I also plan on wanting to be able to put a TV on the stage portion, then I would just put the middle portion on a big hing and have one big storage area under there that I could access by just lifting the lid. Food for thought.


Another question. I plan on building this before the flooring is in, directly on the cement. How should I build it on the cement of the basement? Just lay down a frame of pressure treated wood and build directly off that? Then do some trim around it so it overlaps the pressure treated wood? Leave it off the floor about a half an inch for carpet installation? I wouldn't want the trim in direct contact with the floor anyway I know.
Similar to this? This is a quick mock up of the base, shown from underneath. The brown would be pressure treated 2x4, and the white would represent 1/2" trim peices.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]72152[/ATTACH]
 
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