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Author Topic: Gameroom/Theater [Construction is Finished!]  (Read 17165 times)

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javeryh

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Gameroom/Theater [Construction is Finished!]
« on: September 05, 2010, 07:59:17 pm »
I am going to put an addition on my house and I am completely overwhelmed. I've spent hours drawing out the plans on paper (sketches) and I have a decent idea of what I want to do but I don't really know where to begin. Do I hire an architect? How do I get "professional looking" plans drawn up? How do I bid out the work? How do you budget? How do you know you aren't getting completely ripped off? How do you plan for the minutiae (lighting, cabling, outlets, etc)?

I am planning to add a 20'x25' 3-story addition to the back of my house. It will consist of a full basement, a living room on the first floor and a master bedroom/bathroom on the second floor.

I really need some advice from someone who has gone through the process before...
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 08:04:59 pm by javeryh »

DaOld Man

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2010, 10:06:59 am »
James, it looks to me like you need to hire a contractor. You will spend more money that way but they will handle everything for you, just stay with them to make sure they do it like you want.
There are codes you have to go by, and you want it done right, since you have to plan on living with it forever.
A good contractor (experienced one that is), should know everything involved.
Good luck, and post some pics of this project as it comes along.

ark_ader

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2010, 06:41:22 pm »
Simple, make a plan and stick to it.  Locate several contractors and tender it for bidding.  Do not get the lowest and make sure they are qualified.

It is important that you get 3rd party QA Inspector to check it over after you have completed.

Do not pay for the job all up front, and make them work harder for the final sum.

I prefer to screw contractors over in labor and material costs as work is scarce in my area, nothing feels better than enforcing a tight deadline, making them sweat and getting them to discount towards the end of the project -  but that is up to you.  >:D
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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2010, 10:09:38 pm »
Nothing wrong with ark's advice.  If a contractor is doing well and has too much work, he'll tell you to go pound sand.  If he's desperate for any kind of inflow, you'll get good work cheap because he'll need to keep his men on the payroll.

Father in law was a contractor and inbetween jobs he was always looking for anything.  There's only so many times your men can mow your lawn and paint the house.  Couldn't afford NOT to pay the skilled labor or they'd go elsewhere.


TOK

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 06:53:45 am »
James, it looks to me like you need to hire a contractor. You will spend more money that way but they will handle everything for you, just stay with them to make sure they do it like you want.
There are codes you have to go by, and you want it done right, since you have to plan on living with it forever.
A good contractor (experienced one that is), should know everything involved.
Good luck, and post some pics of this project as it comes along.

I totally agree with this. Since a bathroom is involved, really do some legwork before you hire a contractor.
If they half-ass your plumbing you will be suffering with it for way longer than it takes to find a good guy.

drventure

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2010, 07:36:29 am »
+1 on the plumbing. My parents recently (about 2 years ago) finished building a house they're retiring in.

They're in a small east texas area, and plumbing help was in short supply. They picked someone who was recommended but after the first day, my dad was thinking "these guys don't know what they're doing". He stuck with them though, and has has plumbing probs ever since.

He did the contracting, but did have help from a guy who served not as a full on contractor, but as an "advisor". Thing is my dad had plenty of time to devote to finding subcontractors to do all the work, and staying on top of them. If you don't have that kind of time, getting a contractor to handle all that would probably be well worth the money.

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2010, 11:47:39 am »
Thanks guys.  I definitely plan on hiring a general contractor to oversee the project.  I just don't have the time for something like that. I am debating on whether or not to hire an architect.  I've heard that a good GC can draw up architectural plans but I'm wondering if there isn't some creative way to use the space or lay out the interior walls that I'm not thinking of. 

I'm sure a GC could take drawings I provide and make them look nice but I'd like to actually get some input on things that I might not be thinking about.  For example, the 20'x25' space on the second floor for the master bathroom and bath seems HUGE.  We are going to also add a nice walk-in closet but even after that it still seems like we have a lot of wasted space.  Maybe there is a way to knock down a few existing walls on the second floor and integrate it with the new space a little better (like maybe we can get an office or an additional bedroom or something).  I want to do this right but if I hire an architect and he doesn't add any value and then tries to charge me $3,000 or whatever I'm going to be annoyed.  Also, I don't have unlimited funds and this project already seems like it will be expensive.  I don't know. 

mpm32

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2010, 01:13:21 pm »
Ha $3000? for an architect?  They usually charge between 10 and 15 % of the total cost of the job.  So if your addition is $150,000 you can expect to pay $15,000 to the architect.  And since he's getting a piece of the total, you can bet your $150,000 will turn into $200,000+.  Now he also project manages too so you get that for your money.

You need to find someone to draw you the plans, doesn't have to be an architect.

My friend has a business doing just that - he's not an architect.  You need someone like that.

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2010, 05:14:03 pm »
Why would it be a percentage of the total construction?  That makes no sense.  Does it somehow cost more to draw a regular toilet vs. a gold-plated one?  If I hire a GC I won't need the architect to do anything other than come up with the floor plan and then maybe tweak it once or twice after I give some feedback.

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2010, 03:47:07 am »
If you don't mind me asking, why are you thinking of expanding?

Might help some people here give you advice on whether you need that much room instead of paying someone for that type of advice   :laugh:

but yeah, I had no idea architects charged a percentage, but it seems like it has to do with them overseeing the project.  A 1 million $ project is going to require more overseeing and checking than a $200,000 project so it makes sense to me.

mpm32

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2010, 08:38:11 am »
I'm pretty sure most general contractors will be able to help you find someone or maybe even be able to draw the plans in house.  Call them first and pick their brains - when and if you can get them to show up.  ;)

Tons of additions are done without an architect.

I would hire an architect if I bought a nice 10 acre plot and I wanted to put something unique on it.  But most likely I would look around online and find some plans of a house that's similar to the one I want, and buy them that way.

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2010, 02:32:13 pm »
If you don't mind me asking, why are you thinking of expanding?

Might help some people here give you advice on whether you need that much room instead of paying someone for that type of advice   :laugh:

but yeah, I had no idea architects charged a percentage, but it seems like it has to do with them overseeing the project.  A 1 million $ project is going to require more overseeing and checking than a $200,000 project so it makes sense to me.

We are thinking of expanding because I love the neighborhood but my house is just too small.  The footprint is 25'x25' - we have one shower, two kids (hopefully more soon) and an unusable basement (6' ceilings).  I have been looking at real estate in town and it will cost a minimum of $200,000 to "upgrade" to a bigger house (that we'd probably have to completely redo over time).  I am hoping to get an addition for about 70% of that cost and since it will be built just for us it theoretically should be exactly what we want.

I'm pretty sure most general contractors will be able to help you find someone or maybe even be able to draw the plans in house.  Call them first and pick their brains - when and if you can get them to show up.  ;)

Tons of additions are done without an architect.

I would hire an architect if I bought a nice 10 acre plot and I wanted to put something unique on it.  But most likely I would look around online and find some plans of a house that's similar to the one I want, and buy them that way.

I understand now if the architect was overseeing the project that it would cost more.  I didn't think of that and I don't think I'd need the architect to also be the GC but I also don't know anything about this process and after reading a bunch online it seems like hiring an architect might cost more up front but it could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run because the plans will be more specific and the costs will be easier to predict.

I want to do this right but I am super sensitive when it comes to spending money and I'm a little nervous.  I mean, on paper I know we can afford it but still - it is a LOT of money.  We are also having some built-ins... um, built-in near our front door (desk with some drawers and bookshelves) and the guy wants $8,000 just for that!!!  I'd do it myself but I don't have the time - it would probably take me a year and it would make my wife mental.  Why is everything so freaking expensive???

shateredsoul

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2010, 03:57:24 pm »
why don't you test out your haggling with the "built-ins" guy? Ask him how many hours, check cost of materials, and try to get him down to somethings more reasonable. 

mpm32

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2010, 04:12:47 pm »
Quote
built-in near our front door (desk with some drawers and bookshelves) and the guy wants $8,000 just for that!!!

I used to swing a hammer for a living.  For every job on my house, I had someone in and got estimates.  As I was looking at the astronomically high quotes, I'd say to myself, screw that, I can do it myself cheaper.  I did most of the improvements to my house myself.  When I bought the house, I stripped it the studs, moved doors, changed rooms around, built a bigger kitchen.  After that was done, my wife decided the house wasn't big enough.  So we decided to take off the second floor of the house, it was a cape, and go up with a full second floor and walk up attic. 

Now I could've done it myself but there was no way I'd be able to get the second floor off and covered in time to prevent damage to the first floor.  I did most of the demo of the second floor - saved there.

So I contracted out the shell of the house.  This way it would be covered and I did all the finish work a lot of the electrical, plumbing, contracted out sheetrocking , painting too (I hate doing that).  Doing it this way saved a ton of money and we were able to go with higher end materials and fixtures.

So maybe take a look at what you can do and are willing to do.  You can save a ton of cash.


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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 04:33:35 pm »
I did my own reno - not an addition, though I would do one myself if it were just a ground level thing, but not a 3 story. I too found that everything is so expensive.

I would add a small sitting room or area in the master bedroom if I were you; a space for yours & the wife's personal library, maybe a tv/movie player... it's nice to be able to have your own little hide away.

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2010, 08:49:53 am »
So I talked to an architect yesterday - she is coming out to the house to take a look next Thursday.  We spoke for about a 1/2 hour and I think I'm going to use one (not necessarily her though).  She had a lot of good ideas and it gave me a level of comfort that the project will be done correctly.  She also said that her firm is handling three jobs right now that involve lowering the existing basement and they have structural engineers on staff which is perfect because that is what I want to do (for the basement theater and gameroom, of course!).

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2010, 06:50:12 pm »
I had the first architect out to the house yesterday.  It went OK.  She runs a very small operation but she seemed very confident and she had a few good ideas what to do with the space.  I also liked that she wasn't afraid to tell me my ideas were crazy or that we could make better use of the space.  She also told me that after seeing my plans (that I drew myself) that most architects would just say "yes we can do that" without putting any creative thought into the project which is something I definitely do not want to happen.  I am totally open to a crazy/unique layout as long as it works.  She also spent about 90 minutes at the house (for free) so I appreciated that as well.

One of my concerns after talking to her is that I am afraid that I'm not going to be able to get all of the space I want out of my basement.  We are planning to underpin it and dig down about 3-4 feet.  The architect said it was doable but she really didn't understand why I would want to - she just didn't seem to grasp the idea of a game room/bar/home theater.  She just thought the costs of doing something like that would not be worth it.  Her idea was to underpin 1/2 the existing basement and use the other 1/2 for storage and laundry with the assumption that underpinning 1/2 the basement would be less expensive than doing the whole thing.  I guess I'm open to it if the floor plan works.

Tomorrow morning we are meeting with another architect who should give us a different perspective.  This is the larger firm I mentioned that told me they have structural engineers on staff and they do underpinnings all the time (or at least have a bit of experience with it).  It is pretty exciting stuff and although this is a SLOW process at least I feel like I'm moving forward instead of just talking about it.

Oh yeah - I was told that the ballpark amount for the architect will be about 7% of the overall cost.  Not bad I guess.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 06:55:10 pm by javeryh »

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2010, 12:09:45 pm »
Ugh.  Just met with the second architect.  She had a lot of good ideas and seemed way more knowledgeable than the first one we had in but our hearts sank when at the end we were talking about costs and she said that "$100,000 is a ridiculously low number".  We didn't get into any more specifics but we were thinking $150,000 MAX for this project so if $100,000 is "ridiculously low" then I'm afraid of what she had in mind as the actual cost.  She was walking through the house and mentioned changing a LOT of the existing structure to make it flow and work with the addition we are proposing (including completely redoing our kitchen and relocating the downstairs bathroom) so maybe that is where a lot of the costs are in her head.

It seems crazy to me but I don't know anything.

 :banghead:

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2010, 12:17:53 pm »
Ugh.  Just met with the second architect.  She had a lot of good ideas and seemed way more knowledgeable than the first one we had in but our hearts sank when at the end we were talking about costs and she said that "$100,000 is a ridiculously low number".  We didn't get into any more specifics but we were thinking $150,000 MAX for this project so if $100,000 is "ridiculously low" then I'm afraid of what she had in mind as the actual cost.  She was walking through the house and mentioned changing a LOT of the existing structure to make it flow and work with the addition we are proposing (including completely redoing our kitchen and relocating the downstairs bathroom) so maybe that is where a lot of the costs are in her head.

It seems crazy to me but I don't know anything.

 :banghead:
I'm sure those additional items that she wants to change in your existing home are the reason she said that 100k is too low.  I'd strongly suggest that you make a list of the things you want done and then have them quote them out individually.  If adding the new structure is X amount and the basement is Y, then you can prioritize them over changes to the existing structure.  Heck, a complete kitchen renovation can run 25-30k pretty quickly.  Moving a bathroom can get price too.  Unless those were part of your plan initially, I would take those suggestions with a grain of salt until you and your wife decide if those things are a priority.
Ajax should have been named Warlord, not Swan.

First off, Hoopz is right.

javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2010, 12:39:20 pm »
Ugh.  Just met with the second architect.  She had a lot of good ideas and seemed way more knowledgeable than the first one we had in but our hearts sank when at the end we were talking about costs and she said that "$100,000 is a ridiculously low number".  We didn't get into any more specifics but we were thinking $150,000 MAX for this project so if $100,000 is "ridiculously low" then I'm afraid of what she had in mind as the actual cost.  She was walking through the house and mentioned changing a LOT of the existing structure to make it flow and work with the addition we are proposing (including completely redoing our kitchen and relocating the downstairs bathroom) so maybe that is where a lot of the costs are in her head.

It seems crazy to me but I don't know anything.

 :banghead:
I'm sure those additional items that she wants to change in your existing home are the reason she said that 100k is too low.  I'd strongly suggest that you make a list of the things you want done and then have them quote them out individually.  If adding the new structure is X amount and the basement is Y, then you can prioritize them over changes to the existing structure.  Heck, a complete kitchen renovation can run 25-30k pretty quickly.  Moving a bathroom can get price too.  Unless those were part of your plan initially, I would take those suggestions with a grain of salt until you and your wife decide if those things are a priority.

Thanks - I think you are right.  Her ideas sounded great but I think she had her head in the clouds - like this is what she would do if money didn't matter.  We were just thinking of the new structure plus basement - we hadn't considered any of that other stuff (although her ideas were VERY cool but every time she opened her mouth all I could think of was "that sounds expensive").  One of my concerns was that just tacking on a box to the back of the house wouldn't feel right and disrupt the "flow" of things and that is when she started getting nuts with all the revisions to the existing house.  Maybe we just do the addition and basement now and then in 5 or 10 years if we want to do some of that other stuff we can. 

The problem is that the next steps are going to cost money - if we want to move forward she is going to put together a "term sheet" listing out everything we want to accomplish with this project and once we sign off on that she will draw up the plans.  This all costs money obviously.

One thing I really liked about her was that she said the basement underpinning was really no big deal and that it actually wasn't that expensive - a couple thousand for the underpinning and a couple thousand for the steel support beams.  Digging it out and removing the dirt is no big deal because we will be getting a brand new basement for the addition and they will be digging out anyway.  She said when people just want to dig down and nothing else the removal of the dirt is VERY expensive because it basically has to be done completely by hand.  She really seemed to know what she was talking about here.

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2010, 12:51:56 pm »
I understand your hesitancy about going to the next level.  I'd get that list from her and start marking stuff out that isn't necessary right now (kitchen, bathroom and all the other stuff that she'll come up with).

Just do the addition and basement to start.  Look at those numbers and see if it fits your goals. 

And be cautious of how quickly a few thousand here and a couple of thousand there adds up to a lot of money!  ;)
Ajax should have been named Warlord, not Swan.

First off, Hoopz is right.

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2010, 01:21:37 pm »
We nickle and dimed our basement renovation to the tune of an additional $20k, though we're very happy with the results. It can happen easily!

Devil's advocate question. $100k, $150k.... What about demolishing the current house and building from scratch?
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javeryh

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2010, 05:36:27 pm »
I understand your hesitancy about going to the next level.  I'd get that list from her and start marking stuff out that isn't necessary right now (kitchen, bathroom and all the other stuff that she'll come up with).

Just do the addition and basement to start.  Look at those numbers and see if it fits your goals. 

And be cautious of how quickly a few thousand here and a couple of thousand there adds up to a lot of money!  ;)

I think this is going to be our approach.  We want to get a sense as to how much the basics would cost and then if we have a little more room in our budget we can add some stuff.  My wife had a good idea that we should ask the architect to design the space in such a way that we get the basement and addition now but still have the ability to do the other stuff 5 or 10 years down the road when we can hopefully afford it.

We nickle and dimed our basement renovation to the tune of an additional $20k, though we're very happy with the results. It can happen easily!

Devil's advocate question. $100k, $150k.... What about demolishing the current house and building from scratch?

I'm pretty sure that would cost about 1/2 a million at least.  I am right outside NYC and everything is unbelievably expensive!  That sure would be a fun project though - BYOH?   ;D

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2010, 10:33:38 am »
We built an extension onto our existing house last year. Did up a basic plan using google sketchup and got guys in the order the work needed to be done. We probably built it for about half the price a contractor would have charged even without an architect.

We were able to calculate the number of blocks needed, cable runs for the home cinema within the walls, position of internal walls to allow placement of existing appliances (i.e. chest freezer and tumble drier in new utility room), total area for planning laws, window and door sizes etc. Plus, unlike drawn plans, you can mess around with interal configurations for doors, walls, dividers, furniture and the like.

If you haven't used sketchup before, its dead handy to learn (and free for personal use)



« Last Edit: September 17, 2010, 10:36:00 am by Dexter »

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2010, 01:43:50 pm »
Wow that is sweet.  The finished product looks just like your sketch-up model!  Did you know how to use the program before this project?  Was it a lot of extra work managing the project yourself?  I work about 12 hours a day so I don't have the time other than the weekends. 

I've been trying to learn sketch-up but I am having a hard time since I have no experience with this stuff.  I found a free online floor planner thing but it sucks too.  I did manage to draw up what I think the finished basement area will be like but I have no idea how to divide up the space.  I want a theater area, small bar with a sink and refrigerator and of course, a place for some arcade machines.  Any ideas??

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2010, 10:14:10 am »
Did you know how to use the program before this project?  

Nope. I dicked around with it a couple of times for a few minutes but the first project on it was the extension.

Was it a lot of extra work managing the project yourself?

Not at all. My father in law, whos a handyman, and the brickie we hired knew the process between them from start to finish. So it was just a matter of getting in various tradesmen directly. They knew most of the people we needed personally through working with them over the years. If you have one person in the building game you can trust you're half way there. We also saved on labour by me doing the donkey work in the evenings i.e. moving around blocks, sand etc.

I've been trying to learn sketch-up but I am having a hard time since I have no experience with this stuff.

I'd no experience either. It is genuinely simple to learn and intuitive to use.

I want a theater area, small bar with a sink and refrigerator and of course, a place for some arcade machines.  Any ideas??

Best advice I can give is plan for the future wrt wiring. In my extension the home cinema wiring runs through the walls around the room (terminating in wallplates where necessary). I put in an extra hdmi cable for a future flatscreen under the projector screen, some power cable in case I change the manual screen for a motorised one and a couple of spare phono outlets for a subwoofer out and spare/spdif return back to the amp. If you're planning on using a media player in the home cinema room some cat5 cable running to your main PCs location will be useful as well for HD playback, rather than using wireless networking.

Oh, and power sockets. Theres very little cost and effort in putting in extra outlets, and you'll use them at some stage.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 01:50:56 pm by Dexter »

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2010, 11:42:08 am »
Thanks for the advice.  I messed around in sketchup and made a floor plan.  Now I need to divide it up in a way that works.  I want to have a dedicated theater space but not a dedicated room.  I am thinking about maybe installing a low wall to mark the theater space but I want to keep everything open so if you are hanging out near the bar or playing some arcade games you will still be able to see the TV.  I also want the ability to have more than 4 people watch a movie comfortably.  Also worth noting is that the shape of the new room is not set in stone - right now I have it as a box off the back of my house but I am open to some creativity there as well.

I'd love some suggestions!

Oh yeah - this is drawn to scale (for the most part).
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 11:43:55 am by javeryh »

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2010, 11:51:48 am »
Are there any windows, or is it totally enclosed? Ambient light will effect suggestions on where to put things.
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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2010, 12:38:31 pm »
Are there any windows, or is it totally enclosed? Ambient light will effect suggestions on where to put things.

There are no windows (or rather, there don't have to be).  This entire thing is my basement so the most I'd get would be some transoms.

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2010, 07:09:06 pm »
OK, I played around a bit.  This is a start I guess and kind of gives you an idea where I'm headed with this.  Getting everything to scale and making sure things fit is going to be tough.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2010, 02:54:22 am »
What are your dimensions where you're thinking of putting the theater?  I ask because throw distance and viewing distance are important to think about when you're in the planning phase.  Its easy to run conduit for cables/power for a PJ during construction, and difficult to retro-fit afterwards. 

Looks like a fun project!  I'd also be curious how much space the rear counter/stools have - looks a bit tight, but you never know....

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2010, 09:11:45 am »
What are your dimensions where you're thinking of putting the theater?  I ask because throw distance and viewing distance are important to think about when you're in the planning phase.  Its easy to run conduit for cables/power for a PJ during construction, and difficult to retro-fit afterwards.  

Looks like a fun project!  I'd also be curious how much space the rear counter/stools have - looks a bit tight, but you never know....

The inside dimensions of the theater are approximately 22' long by approximately 13.5' wide to give a sense of scale.  The distance from the wall behind the bar (on the left) to the back of the seats that are next to the theater is about 10'.

I want to run all the cables prior to drywall going in so I want to be sure I nail down the exact layout of where everything will go.  I'll have to wire the theater area for speakers and the projector and I think I want a small TV above the bar area and maybe the ability to put a jukebox on the bar that I can feed through the speakers in the rest of the room.

It is going to be tight to get everything in there but I'm hoping with a little creativity I can get it all to fit.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 09:26:40 am by javeryh »

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2010, 09:40:18 am »
Don't forget lots of power! I'd recomend running some 20 amp lines and wire it like a kitchen [seperate circuits for top and bottom plugs, with common ground and neutrals] if this isthe "toy room". Having plenty of power is better than  not enough, and sharing a ground will go a long way in reducing ground loops and other nonsense in your a/v equipment. Depending on how dirty your power is [and residential power can get pretty dirty before the power companies will agree it's not good enough for residential use] you may want to consider an in line isolation transformer, or having a second electrical sub panel installed with it's own ground. Then again, if you haven't been experiencing any issues beofre, this may be overkill as adding to the existing witing is unlikley to make anhything worse.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2010, 11:32:18 am »
Ditch the home theater that you'll never use anyway and put pinball machines where that screen would be.


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2010, 12:43:43 pm »
Ditch the home theater that you'll never use anyway and put pinball machines where that screen would be.

I'm afraid pinball machines would get even less use that the movie screen (which will be primarily used for watching sports, playing video games and watching TV - movies are last on my list).  This is the reason I don't want a dedicate room for the theater - I want it to be open because when I have the guys over we will be watching sports - not movies.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2010, 01:01:31 pm »
Whats the property tax damage after this build javery?

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2010, 01:42:28 pm »
Whats the property tax damage after this build javery?

A lot I'm sure.  We pay around $9,000 a year as it is and we only have 0.14 acres and a 650sqft. footprint.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2010, 11:01:24 pm »
Whats the property tax damage after this build javery?

A lot I'm sure.  We pay around $9,000 a year as it is and we only have 0.14 acres and a 650sqft. footprint.

Wow...where do you live? That's insane!
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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2010, 02:45:07 am »
Ditch the home theater that you'll never use anyway and put pinball machines where that screen would be.

You just like to brighten up threads with your unmatchable wisdom, don't you? :blah:

I use my home theater pretty much daily - I'm in it right now, watching The Dark Knight again in full 1080p on my 92" screen and surfing on my laptop. 

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2010, 02:52:20 am »
I agree with the comment on running lots of power - I ran 2 20amp dedicated circuits for the equipment, and a dedicated 15amp line for the projector.  I would also suggest running conduit from your head-end to the location of your projector for future-proofing.  HDMI is the current standard, but who knows what the future may hold.

Personally, I think the counter/seating behind the theater seating is going to be too tight based on your current drawing.  What size screen are you thinking of doing?  You might be able to move the primary seating forward a few feet.  I think my second row (where we sit most of the time) is 14' from the screen, and it's 92" diagonal - I'll measure this weekend if you're interested.  My front row is 8' or so from the screen and it's a tad close for me but still looks good.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2010, 10:00:20 am »
I use my home theater pretty much daily - I'm in it right now, watching The Dark Knight again in full 1080p on my 92" screen and surfing on my laptop. 

Yeah, and home theaters are consistently trotted out as examples of home improvements with a poor ROI that frequently don't get used (up there with hot tubs).  If a home theater is something he's going to really enjoy, then by all means.  But also realize that you can slap a lot of waitress ass at a sports bar for the kind of money he's going to spend.


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2010, 10:12:09 am »
Whats the property tax damage after this build javery?

A lot I'm sure.  We pay around $9,000 a year as it is and we only have 0.14 acres and a 650sqft. footprint.

Wow...where do you live? That's insane!

Right outside NYC, unfortunately.  If my entire family (and my wife's) weren't on the east coast from Boston to NY we'd probably move somewhere where you can get more bang for your buck.  I mean, I live in a really tiny house but when I go on realtor.com and look at the houses I could get for the same money in other parts of the country it makes me sick.  However, I actually like the location I'm in (a lot) which is why we are adding on instead of moving.  The schools are great, the location can't be beat (I can walk to the train station and be in NYC in less than 40 minutes) and there is tons to do.  I think the seclusion of living in the middle of nowhere would make me nuts. 

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2010, 10:18:33 am »
I agree with the comment on running lots of power - I ran 2 20amp dedicated circuits for the equipment, and a dedicated 15amp line for the projector.  I would also suggest running conduit from your head-end to the location of your projector for future-proofing.  HDMI is the current standard, but who knows what the future may hold.

Personally, I think the counter/seating behind the theater seating is going to be too tight based on your current drawing.  What size screen are you thinking of doing?  You might be able to move the primary seating forward a few feet.  I think my second row (where we sit most of the time) is 14' from the screen, and it's 92" diagonal - I'll measure this weekend if you're interested.  My front row is 8' or so from the screen and it's a tad close for me but still looks good.

I will definitely consider adding more power to the room.  It's a great idea and something I want to have figured out before the drywall goes up.  I'm also planning on running conduit rather than just bare wires in the walls for the exact reason you mention.  I'd like to be able to swap out wires if I need to in the future.

As for the space, the length of the room is 22' (approximately).  I think I'll only need 5' max for the counter and chair room behind the seats so that would put the couch/seats about 17' from the screen if I don't go with the fake wall and hang it on the opposite end of the room.  I could probably squeeze another row in at 10 feet back from the screen, right?  I'm not sold on the layout (which is why I'm asking for suggestions) but I do want the ability for more than 4 people to comfortably watch TV or a movie.  I obviously don't know what I'm doing though...  I'm revising my plans right now (in sketch-up, if I can figure it out).

Do you have any pictures of your theater?  I'd love to see it.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2010, 11:16:03 am »
Just a quick comment on the layout javeryh. If you use the right hand wall for your projector screen you could set it up for proper surround sound for movies. I know you mentioned watching movies was pretty low down on the list, but its one option to throw into the pot.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2010, 01:02:45 pm »
A few pics of my theater here:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=105425.msg1117405#msg1117405

I honestly don't remember the dimensions of my room anymore.  My front wall is 'fake' - there's a 3-4' gap behind it for access behind the screen wall.  The equipment rack is recessed into it, and my subwoofer is behind it.  The second row of seating is raised 6" or so for the stadium seating effect.  I would have moved my back row further back, but the rear of the room has a sliding door that goes outside to our deck / front yard and I didn't want to get rid of it. 

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2010, 01:23:22 pm »
Just a quick comment on the layout javeryh. If you use the right hand wall for your projector screen you could set it up for proper surround sound for movies. I know you mentioned watching movies was pretty low down on the list, but its one option to throw into the pot.

Yeah - the open floorplan is going to mess up surround sound.  Heck, I usually leave the door open to my theater and that messes up the dynamics a bit.  I compensate by running my left side and left rear speakers a touch hotter.

Overall though, if your goal is to have a cool room where you can have a movie playing and chill at the bar at the same time, then it's an OK compromise.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #46 on: September 23, 2010, 02:42:03 pm »
yeah, the sound is a definite concern for me but I think the trade-off is worth it for an open room design.  I think the room will get much more use this way and I think I can still get everything to sound pretty good anyway.  I'm not an audiophile but I do like good sound.  I'm planning to soundproof the entire basement so I won't annoy the wife and kids upstairs - nothing fancy - probably just double drywall and green glue.

Anyway, what do you think of the attached layout?  It is my first attempt with sketchup - not a bad start I guess.  There should be plenty of room for the counter behind the main seats - the center of the seats are 12.5' from the screen approximately.  The last pic is sort of the view from behind the bar.   I don't know how to get a good angle for a better picture though. 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 02:49:22 pm by javeryh »

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #47 on: September 30, 2010, 12:28:01 pm »
Well, I hired the architect yesterday.  I don't know how long this is going to take (probably over a year) but it will be worth it.  We are going to need a variance so I think it takes a while to get through some of the red tape.  The next steps are the architect will come up with a "term sheet" based on our conversations - this will basically list all of the stuff we want to get out of the addition.  Then we get to mark it up and rank the level of importance of each item so she can draft the floor plans.  Once we approve the floor plans she will draft the elevations and we will start applying for permits and pricing out the job.  This is where it could come screeching to a halt if the GCs all tell me it will cost a billion dollars but I'm hoping the architect will have a feel for the overall cost as she is designing the layout.  It is exciting but scary as hell.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2010, 12:25:38 am »


 Good luck with this jav, it is exciting designing and building a home theatre.  I recently disassembled our HT in preparation for a complete redesign right down to the carpet, subflooring, wiring etc. I saw your floor plan and had to resist the urge to draw it up, I'll just never get anything done otherwise :).  Still, I have a bunch of ideas I'll be drawing up for myself and visualizing.  Happy to share.  It wonít be any time soon that the re-build will be completed (at least 8 months) I just canít afford it.  I think some of the technology I've learned about from this forum will come in very handy e.g. things like LED lighting / LED Blinky in the HT for lighting control, stuff like that.

Here are some ideas off the top of my head I've been dreaming up: (Totally subject to WAF and financing)

Revised Subwoofer system using custom cast concrete baffle and enclosure.

Split level timber subflooring (over concrete slab) for improved seating, I previously had an island podium for the rear seating.

In floor lighting

Fabric paneling for walls

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2010, 10:51:31 am »
Thanks Ond.  Your ideas sound sick - especially the concrete baffle!  I'm thinking of incorporating some floor lighting and fabric paneling for the walls but I'm a ways off from thinking about those kinds of details.  Once the architect lays out the space and I know what I'll definitely have to work with I can start focusing on all the stuff I want to incorporate.  I've seen some really cool open theaters over at AVS that just use a large sectional couch for seating which seems very inviting too.  I like the idea of a dedicated theater but the reality is that it will get much more use if the floor plan is completely open.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #50 on: October 01, 2010, 03:16:55 pm »
For anyone interested in some sweet sound as well as ideas on how to PROPERLY isolate the sound between rooms, may I recommend a book called Home Recording Studio: Build It Like the Pros by Rod Gervais. I probably generate way more noise than most of you [guitarist/drummer/play in several bands/live in a recording studio] and though I have special needs as far as sound isolation, I used many of the concepts in this book working in my living room and redoing all my hvac.

It also has some great blueprints for sound absorption for the DIY'er including bass traps, slot resonators, fabric wrapped panel absorbers [Ond brought that up above which is what prompted me to mention this book].


In my case I didn't follow exactly as the book reads, as my studio does not need the isolation that this guy was talking about. I can play drums downstairs and not 12 feet above me my fiance can nap on the couch.

The myths section covers a bunch of the common misconceptions, and there is a chapter on fire safety [for example if you were going to cover some acoustic panels with fabric and line your walls with them]. Information  on orienting your circuit breakers to reduce noise in your electricity, using star grounding and isolation transformers etc etc etc I guess the point I'm getting at is it isn't all recording studio specific, it's a great resource for anyone building or remodeling a space that has special noise and acoustic needs, and especially for nice electronics.

The book itself is about $50 and is worth every penny. Even if you aren't building your own area, knowing this information could really help you plan it with your contractor.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #51 on: October 01, 2010, 05:12:01 pm »
That book is a great tip! (I'll be checking it out for one).

@javeryh - there's nothing wrong with an open plan approach and you'll be combining the best of both worlds Arcade and Movies!  Get beer on tap in the bar and a popcorn machine and you'll be living the dream  ;D.

It may be way down the track, but I thought about my room size and function first and then chose a house design and builder.  What I mean is, it doesn't hurt to plan some aspects in detail up front before construction.  In a more multipurpose area I'd go with a large 60" (or bigger?) Plasma or LCD screen rather than a projector arrangement only because projectors are at their best in a darkened room.  I know that one common mistake some folks make is they go and cram the biggest projector screen they can onto a wall without regard for seating distance and then find it too big later (think front row at IMAX).  There are easy to use formulas for optimum screen size vs seating distance around. 

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2010, 09:27:34 pm »
@eds1275 - I'll check out that book.  Sound isolation is definitely a concern.  I have young kids and a wife who is way over sensitive to sound.  I'm planning on soundproofing the entire basement area but I'm not sure how yet (2 layers of drywall with green glue?).  I also don't have an unlimited budget.

@Ond - I think I'm going to go with a projector even though it will be an open design.  I can't resist that big screen.  I'm going to paint the walls a dark color in the theater area and the basement won't have any windows so light won't be too much of a concern (I hope).  I'm also going to put a TV above the bar.  The plan right now is to only go with one row of seats - viewing distance is a concern too.  There is so much information to absorb - I'm overwhelmed!

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #53 on: October 02, 2010, 11:55:23 am »
Hey Javeryh,

Another thing I'd highly suggest is to come up with a list of everything that you really want in the basement.  Measure that stuff and keep little templates (I did this in excel).  Then copy and paste them into your designs a la colorforms and you'll really start to imagine how the place will feel.  

Also, think about creating separate design plans.  One could be for lighting (lighting placement, switches, dimmers, which switch controls which lights?, etc.) another design for sound (speaker placement, receiver placement, in-wall controls, touch screen, etc.) and even another separate design for TVs/Screens (placement, outlets, coax cable, HDMI cable, receiver, receiver placement, etc.)

That stuff will really help you flush out some wants vs. needs as well as help you measure quantities such as wires, lights, speakers, screens, etc.

One last thought for now...our biggest decision for our basement was whether to add a bathroom or not.  Initially we weren't going to, but we are very happy that we did.  It's a little getaway and going 'upstairs' to use the restroom would be a big buzz kill.

-HanoiBoi
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 11:57:18 am by HanoiBoi »

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #54 on: October 03, 2010, 07:49:16 am »
Are there any windows, or is it totally enclosed? Ambient light will effect suggestions on where to put things.

There are no windows (or rather, there don't have to be).  This entire thing is my basement so the most I'd get would be some transoms.

Code will let you do that?  Around here, once a basement becomes 'living space' and not 'storage' you need egress windows.
But wasn't it fun to think you won the lottery, just for a second there???

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2010, 02:21:36 pm »
Are there any windows, or is it totally enclosed? Ambient light will effect suggestions on where to put things.

There are no windows (or rather, there don't have to be).  This entire thing is my basement so the most I'd get would be some transoms.

Code will let you do that?  Around here, once a basement becomes 'living space' and not 'storage' you need egress windows.

I'm not sure but if they are required I'll just make some removable window boxes to cover them on the inside.  

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #56 on: October 04, 2010, 07:13:50 am »
Yes, you'll almost definitely need an egress.  Laws changed in favor of needing an 'exit' after 9/11.  Check at your local municipal building and they should have details.  An egress could be a bilco door, which is what we did, or a large window (like 4ft).  And it has to be low enough to access in case of an emergency. 

You'll probably want to look into this sooner than later.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2010, 05:28:24 pm »
I need to rant...  we are in the process of applying for a loan to be able to put the addition on the house.  The bank is giving us a VERY difficult time for no reason.  We have impeccable credit.  In the 17 years my wife and I have been using our credit cards we have NEVER missed a payment and we have NEVER not paid the entire balance - that is 17 years and counting with no interest payments ever.  We own both of our cars outright.  My student loans are completely paid off already.  Every month we send in more than the required amount on our mortgage to pay down the principal.  Our monthly income exceeds our monthly bills.  When we applied for our first loan on our house in 2004 we were approved for double what we ended up spending because we are responsible. 

Now the bank won't even give us enough money to buy a nice car.  I am completely dumbfounded by this.  They said it has nothing to do with us but rather the general economic climate and the bank will not extend money like they used to no matter your track record or your current financial status.  Thanks to all of you jackasses who caused this to happen.  Figures that I'm responsible my entire life and I'm getting screwed while friends and family of mine are living in their mansions that they bought when the bank was giving out ridiculous loans to anyone willing to sign. 

We are trying to see if there are alternative loans we can get (like a construction loan or something) but this project might be DOA.

 :angry:

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2010, 05:56:30 pm »
It is a hard lesson to learn - but you have to live within your means.

Don't have the cash for the basement?  Save up.

Need cash for a new car?  Save up.

If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards, that is normal.  You are expected to do this.  It just means you are a responsible adult.

You do not get any brownie points for it. But I'll  :applaud: you for it.

I think the bank is doing you a favor.

Call them up and thank them, and learn from it.

Stay liquid and buy gold.
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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2010, 06:43:06 pm »
But I can afford it and I do have the money.  That's the point.  The amount that I want to borrow (spread out monthly) is way less than the excess cash I have each month after paying all of my bills.  I can easily afford it.  I can also pay for the addition in cash outright but it is stupid to do that from a financial perspective (plus I'd have nothing left for emergencies).  I would have no problem walking into a car dealership tonight and buying three cars at once but I can't get a loan from the bank in the same amount?  Never mind this would ADD to the value of my house so if we did default on the loan (which we wouldn't) there is little to no risk for the bank.  I don't get it.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2010, 06:43:56 pm »
It is a hard lesson to learn - but you have to live within your means.

Don't have the cash for the basement?  Save up.

Need cash for a new car?  Save up.

If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards, that is normal.  You are expected to do this.  It just means you are a responsible adult.

You do not get any brownie points for it. But I'll  :applaud: you for it.

I think the bank is doing you a favor.

Call them up and thank them, and learn from it.

Stay liquid and buy gold.
Pretty harsh response that seems completely unwarranted. It sounds like they ARE living within their means. Maybe they've done the math and would rather take a loan at a low rate rather than selling investments, etc. You have no idea what their circumstances are and yet you jump on them for wanting to take a loan.

Incidentally, you do realize that gold is about as illiquid an asset as there is...

Endaar

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #61 on: October 22, 2010, 08:54:31 am »
"Maybe they've done the math and would rather take a loan at a low rate rather than selling investments, etc."

In a lot of cases the interest on the loan can be deducted from your taxes -- a savvy accountant can make a loan pay off.
But wasn't it fun to think you won the lottery, just for a second there???

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #62 on: October 22, 2010, 09:34:07 am »
"Maybe they've done the math and would rather take a loan at a low rate rather than selling investments, etc."

In a lot of cases the interest on the loan can be deducted from your taxes -- a savvy accountant can make a loan pay off.

Good thing I'm married to a savvy accountant! My CPA wife handles all of the finances and even she cannot figure out why the bank wouldn't give us a decent-sized loan.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #63 on: October 22, 2010, 10:10:47 am »
Saving up a huge chunk of money and then blowing it on a single project or item is one of the stupidest moves ever.  What happens if there's an emergency?  You can ignore loan payments for awhile if you have to.

Incidentally, you do realize that gold is about as illiquid an asset as there is...

He's been corrected on that numerous times.   :P


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #64 on: October 22, 2010, 12:54:09 pm »
Quote
If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards...it just means you are a responsible adult with impeccable credit and should have no difficulty securing a loan.

Edited for correctness.

Have you considered hunting down a private source of funds? I've known a number of individuals that secure loans/mortgages through private lenders rather than through banks. I'm in a different country, but you've got to have similar stuff in the USA. Private lenders tend to be more interested in evaluating the actual quality of a risk as compared to the banks.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #65 on: October 22, 2010, 02:30:27 pm »
private lenders

We call em loan sharks, here.   ;D

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #66 on: October 22, 2010, 02:31:49 pm »
Back on topic, who is your bank?  One of the big national players, or a local credit union? 

You may have more luck from a credit union.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #67 on: October 22, 2010, 03:06:48 pm »
Quote
If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards...it just means you are a responsible adult with impeccable credit and should have no difficulty securing a loan.

Edited for correctness.

Have you considered hunting down a private source of funds? I've known a number of individuals that secure loans/mortgages through private lenders rather than through banks. I'm in a different country, but you've got to have similar stuff in the USA. Private lenders tend to be more interested in evaluating the actual quality of a risk as compared to the banks.

Well, I'm in north Jersey so we definitely have the mafia!  I haven't considered a private lender (I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with that).

Back on topic, who is your bank?  One of the big national players, or a local credit union? 

You may have more luck from a credit union.

We are using Wells Fargo/Wachovia right now (they have our mortgage).  Here's the deal... we had our house appraised last year for the purposes of refinancing the mortgage (it was an in-house appraisal where a guy from the bank came over and did a walk-through).  The appraisal came in ridiculously high (like $200K more than we paid for the house 6 years prior!).  We were joking that if someone was actually willing to pay that amount we'd move out the next day. 

Anyway, that appraisal is only good for a few months so we have to get another one.  Last week the bank did an "online" appraisal which I think involves them checking zillow.com or something stupid like that and the appraisal came back $50,000 LESS than what we paid 7 years ago.  That is a $250,000 swing in only a year!  Our next option is to pay $425 for another walk-through appraisal (the bank will send out another guy to inspect everything - and no, we can't get the same guy as before - I asked - it's whoever is next up on the list).  We have done some pretty decent improvements so maybe we will get lucky (new roof, central air, etc.).  If our appraisal comes back equal to what it was last year we will be able to qualify for a decent loan (not great but enough to where we'd probably go for it).  There's no reason to think the value of the house has declined.  At the very least (based on me checking realtor.com like crazy over the past 6 months looking at other houses in my town) it should be the same as last year.

The thing that annoys me is that if the appraisal comes in low again we basically wasted $425.  I thought this was going to be a really fun project but it is a headache already and I haven't even gotten into the zoning restrictions in my area (we will need a variance for sure). 

 :angry:

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #68 on: October 22, 2010, 04:23:31 pm »
I tell you this - it will be a headache. However, having done it, you will love it. Just did ours 3 years ago and *everyone* raves about it every time we use it. Bar, theater, game room, gaming table, guest bedroom, bathroom, dojo. Good times are had.
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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #69 on: October 22, 2010, 04:37:12 pm »
Dude, it's not 2005.  Don't borrow against your equity for a playroom.


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #70 on: October 22, 2010, 04:52:32 pm »
I tell you this - it will be a headache. However, having done it, you will love it. Just did ours 3 years ago and *everyone* raves about it every time we use it. Bar, theater, game room, gaming table, guest bedroom, bathroom, dojo. Good times are had.

Sounds awesome.  Also sounds like you have a LOT more space than I will have!  I'm trying to squeeze in an open theater, bar area and room enough for 4 or 5 arcade cabs.  If the architect can figure out where to put a 12' shuffleboard table I'd go for that too but I doubt it's possible.  Got any pics or anything?  Was yours redone in connection with an addition or just a basement improvement?  I really really wish my house was big enough and all I'd have to do was finish the basement.  I'd do it tomorrow.

Dude, it's not 2005.  Don't borrow against your equity for a playroom.

What else am I supposed to do with my savings?  I work WAY too much and my job is WAY too stressful to not get to enjoy it at some point.  The goal is to pay for 1/3 out of savings and 2/3 from a loan.  Also, if the appraisal comes back at what it was at in 2009 we would only be borrowing against 40% of the equity.  Believe me, if my wife says we can do it, we can do it.  She is the most risk averse person I've ever met.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #71 on: October 23, 2010, 01:33:43 am »
Dude, it's not 2005.  Don't borrow against your equity for a playroom.

If it's true equity, and not speculative 'value' equity, and you plan on staying in the house for a while, then there's ZERO reason not to borrow against the house.  Heck, the interest deduction alone (depending on your tax bracket) can be worth it and tip the balance from using cash/investment vs borrowed money.


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #72 on: October 23, 2010, 01:35:21 pm »
When I got my mortgage, they approved me for 500k. My home was 280k, and they said that I was STILL approved for 500k - if I would like to add on any amount to my existing mortgage for renos, etc related to the house that I could just make a phone call and they'd toss the amount on top of my mortgage - however my credit union owns all it's own money and therefore can make decisions itself without having to resort to a third party. I dunno if ts is the same as borrowing against the house, but it seems like a great idea if you are as you say you are - good with money.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #73 on: October 23, 2010, 05:14:25 pm »
Saving up a huge chunk of money and then blowing it on a single project or item is one of the stupidest moves ever.  What happens if there's an emergency?  You can ignore loan payments for awhile if you have to.

Incidentally, you do realize that gold is about as illiquid an asset as there is...

He's been corrected on that numerous times.   :P



Really? Where?
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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #74 on: October 23, 2010, 10:35:13 pm »
I tell you this - it will be a headache. However, having done it, you will love it...

... Got any pics or anything?  ...

Check back when Pixelhugger completes his cabinet.
But wasn't it fun to think you won the lottery, just for a second there???

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #75 on: October 26, 2010, 10:43:27 am »
javeryh,

After reading thought this thread I have a couple of thoughts on the matter. You are correct to hire an architect. The hose we are living in now we bought from a friend of mine I grew up with. He went the design with contractor route, and let me say the layout of the house is pretty much FUBAR. It's a nice house and when we looked at it we didn't see anything wrong with it, but after living in it for a few years we can honestly say the layout just doesn't work very well. No, pantry, the washer and dryer are out in the garage, the living room is a long narrow space.. small kitchen ect. On paper though and if you are just walking though it, it certainly looks nice, but after living in the space, it just doesn't work all that well. An architect is going to think about the functionality of a space, the trick is to not let them go overboard.

As far as the appraisal. Yep the banks are being especially screwy on this right now. When we bought the house, my friend just wanted to get out and build a new house before his baby came. So he sold it to us for the tax value. At the time, this meant I had 30K in equity just for signing the dotted line! It was a no brainier at the time. Fast forward a couple of years to refinance time... The first bank (who we had the original mortgage with) low balled the hell out of us on the appraisal. The second bank (who got our business) came back with an appraisal right in line with what we were thinking, allowing us the refinance. Point is the banks are appraising property at whatever the hell is in their best interests to appraise a house it would seem. Bank A, wanted to keep me at a higher interest rate... Bank B obviously liked my credit history and wanted my business... so bank B won. I have to say though I honestly don't know what my house is worth after all that though.

As far as the banks not loaning any money right now.... yeah that's right. We bailed them out for them to continue to loan money to prevent the economy from tanking, help people still get home an auto loans and for small business loans to create jobs. The ---uvulas--- decided to sit on all that money. Now we live in a county where the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is going by by... In short the reason you can't get a loan right now is because your bank sucks ass... Stay away from the large banks. I will never bank with one of them again and will just do business with smaller local banking institutions. I would visit a mortgage broker and see what they can do for you.

Also it sounds to me like you don't want a home theater, rather a media room. A dedicated home theater will never ever offer you a decent return on investment and will actually loose you money.... a media room on the other hand is another story and sounds more like what you want anyway. I'm more than happy with mine and would personally only ever go for a dedicated home theater if I ever won the lottery! Those things can run you 100 to 200K easy! Just run a crap load of outlets, cat 5 and speaker wire before the drywall goes up and your good to go...

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/13889-digital-home-media-room-vs-home-theater-video.htm

Your going to also have to have an egress window in every room in that basement.. it's code now. Also spend your evenings watching HGTV and "This Old House" You will get a ton of great ideas watching that crap :)


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #76 on: November 10, 2010, 09:43:17 am »
Thanks for the advice orion.  I am definitely only going forward with this project with an architect - I totally get what you mean about the "flow" of the house.  Also, looking at another bank might be the way to go based on....

We just got the valuation back from the bank this week and I am VERY disappointed.  The valuation came in WAY low based on my previous valuation in 2009 (it was $120,000 LESS) and also based on what similar houses are on the market for in my neighborhood.  There is a house with an identical floor plan as mine one block away (on a busier road) that is for sale right now for $100,000 more than our valuation came in at.  I am still in shock.  I can't believe I paid $400 for it. 

To put this in perspective, they did a free "drive by" valuation a few weeks ago and the valuation was only $20,000 less than the one they just did based on the walk-through.  We have a new kitchen with all new appliances, new hot water heater, new electrical box, new central air, a finished bedroom in the walk-up attic, a 1/2 bath downstairs, recently finished hardwood floors, chair rail and crown molding in every room, an "open" floor plan, new 6 panel doors in every doorway, etc.  We have done a lot and the house is really nice on the inside - the walk-through only got us an additional $20,000?  It makes NO sense.  The house could have been completely disgusting on the inside with 35 cats, cigarette smoke, 1960s wallpaper and appliances, etc. and they would be willing to lend us pretty much the same amount.  I'm getting angry just typing this up.

The real kicker is that when I asked the bank to see a write-up of the report they couldn't provide it.  I wanted to see an itemized list and written confirmation of how the appraiser arrived at his number and the bank couldn't produce it which makes me think the guy pulled the number out of his bum and the bank just pocketed our $400.

Anyway, we are still leaning on going forward with the addition but we are going to have to put out almost double the amount of cash we initially were hoping to.  I don't know what else to do at this point.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #77 on: November 10, 2010, 12:43:03 pm »
There is a house with an identical floor plan as mine one block away (on a busier road) that is for sale right now for $100,000 more than our valuation came in at.  I am still in shock.  I can't believe I paid $400 for it. 
Invite a realtor to come to your home for an interview. Pretend you are thinking of selling. Any good realtor will bring with lists of recent sales in your neighborhood and then you can compared prices on houses that have SOLD, rather than what someone is asking. That house $100k over your evaluation might sell for MUCH less.
NO MORE!!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #78 on: November 10, 2010, 01:41:42 pm »
Forget a realtor...  just check out Zillow, and you can see the home sales in your neighborhood.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #79 on: November 10, 2010, 02:50:39 pm »
Forget a realtor...  just check out Zillow, and you can see the home sales in your neighborhood.

I've been looking on Zillow like crazy.  It is still hard to judge.  For example, the house 3 down from us is the same as mine and it sold in 2007 for $100,000 more than the appraisal came in at - but that was 2007 right before the bubble burst.  The house next door to me was bought in 1991 for $400,000 less (nice ROI)!  It's all over the map.  What could also be killing me is that down the street a house recently sold for about $90,000 (less than 20% of the actual value if I had to guess) because it was sold by a parent to their kid.  The bank said they factor in all recent sales in the area when doing the appraisal.

Anyway, we've been thinking about it for a while and I think we are still going to move forward with the addition.  I'm creeping up on 40 and I've been overly responsible my whole life (financially, at least) and this wouldn't be a huge risk because it's not like we'd be completely depleting our savings.  It would still be a risk though and I hate taking risks.  I've got to start living at some point instead of saving for the future all of the time.  The kids are only going to be living at home for another 15 years max - might as well go for broke (literally).  The realistic time line of the project would be over the course of the next year anyway - this gives us plenty of time to earn and save the difference that the bank is not willing to loan us.

 :dunno

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #80 on: November 15, 2010, 07:11:10 pm »
The appraisers are supposedly more regulated now after the housing crisis. The banks are now picking the appraisers and you can't go with an independent. As I said we had to have two separate appraisals done to refinance a few years ago. We deal with a mortgage broker. It is the morgage brokers who shop around and do all the dealing with the banks for you. Ours told us we could refinance at a specific amount, no problem and wouldn't have to pay PMI based on what our equity should be. At first she tried to get us a loan with the bank we had been dealing with previously. However their appraiser came in and completely low balled us based on a drive though. I even had added 400 square ft to the house by finishing off an unfinished room and the guy wouldn't even budge or agree to do a walk though, he basically called me a liar questioning rather or not we had an additional 400 square ft. Needless to say we got pretty pissed off and told the mortgage broker that if she couldn't get us a loan without having to pay PMI we were done, as we would be paying more had we gone though with it. Furthermore we let her know that we also weren't willing to pay for the appraisal as the guy wouldn't even appraise it based on the appropriate square footage. She started the whole process over again using another bank she deals with. The second bank appraised the house close to what it had appraised for previously, and the refinance went though. Also she ate the cost of the second appraisal. The point of the story is, give a mortgage broker a try.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #81 on: November 16, 2010, 06:23:15 pm »
I'm going to look into it, make some phone calls, etc.

We "officially" started - we sent the first payment to the architect for her time spent putting together a term sheet of the project and walking through the house, etc.  The only thing that will stop us now is if she looks at our budget and says there's no way we can accomplish what we want to do in the stated dollar amount (I think it should be enough based on the fact that it is almost double the final cost of the addition my neighbors got last year and the only thing we want that is different is a full basement instead of a crawlspace.  I'm excited but I'm sure this will be one giant headache.   :cheers:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #82 on: November 17, 2010, 01:53:41 am »
Cool! I look forward to following your progress :)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #83 on: November 17, 2010, 12:04:04 pm »
Cool - looking forward to progress pics!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #84 on: November 17, 2010, 03:12:26 pm »
You might be able to save some money doing [some of?] the demos yourself. That's the fun part!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #85 on: November 18, 2010, 09:16:35 am »
Thanks guys - I'll start posting pics once things get going.  I'm sure this is going to be spread out over a year but I'll treat it like any other project and take tons of pics.

You might be able to save some money doing [some of?] the demos yourself. That's the fun part!

I would love to if I had the time.  I don't know how much demo there will be though since they are basically adding a box to the back of my house - the only thing to take down would be the back wall although I'm sure it would be fun to have a go at it with a sledgehammer.   >:D

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #86 on: November 18, 2010, 09:20:13 am »
I use to work as 'labor' for a construction company when I was a teenager.  My job?  Demoing walls with a sledgehammer...  great fun, especially in old houses where the interior walls were lath and plaster! 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #87 on: November 19, 2010, 11:50:49 am »
I use to work as 'labor' for a construction company when I was a teenager.  My job?  Demoing walls with a sledgehammer...  great fun, especially in old houses where the interior walls were lath and plaster! 

That does sound like fun.  I was a laborer one summer and we had to demo the entire interior of a house.  They had a washer and dryer on the second floor and while they were on vacation a pipe burst and water continously ran all over the place for over a week.  Ruined everything.  Wet carpets are HEAVY.

There is going to be a huge mess in the basement of my house since they are digging down about 4 feet to make 8.5' finished ceilings down there (for the arcade/bar/theater, of course!).  I can't wait.

We just hired a surveyor ($800!) and the architect is sending her crew out to the house on Tuesday to measure everything.  We are already out $1,500 and NOTHING has happened yet.  Scary.  I'm really excited and I can't believe we are actually going forward.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #88 on: November 19, 2010, 05:21:17 pm »
Ive worked in lending for 8 years.

Trust me on this one, Stop borrowing money now!

Congrats on the new man land though, I am ready for pics  ;D
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #89 on: November 22, 2010, 09:57:01 am »
Ive worked in lending for 8 years.

Trust me on this one, Stop borrowing money now!

Congrats on the new man land though, I am ready for pics  ;D

I know, I know - everyone says I shouldn't be borrowing but since we refinanced our existing mortgage we have some spare cash to spend every month so the loan won't really hurt us relative to where we were a year ago.  Plus, now that the bank has told us to buzz off we are going to be paying for over 1/2 of this thing with savings.  So this is going to be more like buying 2 really expensive cars (spread out over 30 years).   ;D

I am also ready for some pics!  Maybe I'll snap a couple of "before" shots although it is going to be horrifying.  The architect is coming tomorrow to measure everything - I'm hopeful we can have the plans drawn up by Christmas although I don't really have any idea how long this stuff takes...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #90 on: November 22, 2010, 12:08:37 pm »
Yes!  I love threads like this!

I am also doing the same thing.  Here are my basement plans for my 'Mantopia'.....the name is still in the works but I'll be following this for sure!  I will hopefully be starting mid-next year.

The blank space is unfinished storage, And on a side note, I want to try to stick in a racing arcade as well, but I can't find the room for it.  If you have any opinions, I'm all ears.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #91 on: November 22, 2010, 12:18:17 pm »
Looks a little tight for a pool table.... how much space are you going to have around the edges?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #92 on: November 22, 2010, 02:28:21 pm »
Yes!  I love threads like this!

I am also doing the same thing.  Here are my basement plans for my 'Mantopia'.....the name is still in the works but I'll be following this for sure!  I will hopefully be starting mid-next year.

The blank space is unfinished storage, And on a side note, I want to try to stick in a racing arcade as well, but I can't find the room for it.  If you have any opinions, I'm all ears.

Wow - looks great.  I'm jealous of all the space you will have!  I really like the look of your kitchenette - I want something similar, I think... definitely a sink and a place to keep the beer cold.  I wouldn't ever use a poker table or a pool table but I'd love to have room for a regular table for puzzles and games and space for a 12' shuffleboard table.  One of my concerns with the theater area is being able to accommodate a bunch of people to watch a football game or movie.  I want to be able to have a group of 10 or so people over for the Super Bowl and have enough space for everyone to see the game - this is why I have more of an open design instead of a dedicated room for it...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #93 on: November 22, 2010, 03:21:26 pm »
I know exactly what you mean, I want the same thing.  Here is a design I had before which would accommodate more people, but, like everything there are tradeoffs.  With the open design, sound and light are harder to isolate and control for the audiophiles, and it isn't a "true" theater atmosphere.  But I love open designs!  They are so much better for entertaining etc. 

I go back and forth between what I like better.

Keep us posted!  I'll probably make a thread when I start as well.

@pinballjim
The room is 14'x16', it should be able to fit an 8' table with enough space.  I originally wanted the pool table where the poker table is, but quickly realized I won't have enough room there.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #94 on: November 22, 2010, 04:16:23 pm »
I kind of like your old design better!  I'm definitely no audiophile though.  If the bass thumps and it and sounds good that's OK by me.  I love the idea of the dedicated theater but in reality, I think it would be a mistake for my house and the type of use we are envisioning.  Even with a kick-ass HDTV set-up on the main floor of my house, in 7 years I don't think we've watched a single movie with company over.  We are usually playing games and drinking and the TV isn't really even on most of the time when we entertain.  Also, since the kids are young, my wife has made it clear that she won't sit down in a basement with sound blasting while the kids sleep 2 stories above us - makes sense to me.  Maybe that will change over time but we have a solid 10 years before we would think about it (we aren't done having kids).  We have run into plenty of situations though where we wish we could sit more people in front of the TV for football or baseball or whatever.  Right now there is a 3 seater couch and a side chair and no room for anything else (literally - the room is 7.5' wide).  A wide open media/rec room with a 120" screen will be great!

I'm getting ready to do a redesign using sketch-up but I'd like the architect to give me a better idea of exactly how much space I'll have to work with.  She is coming to the house on Tuesday with her crew to measure the entire thing.  I'm really hoping we have a set of plans by Christmas.  I'm really getting excited but I hope there is enough space for everything!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #95 on: November 23, 2010, 12:56:34 pm »
Well, the architect's crew just finished measuring my house - it took them about 3.5 hours according to my wife.  She said it didn't look like they were being 100% precise but we will see what they come up with.

I also had my buddy measure his dedicated theater room - his is 12'2" x 18'3".  His room is a nice size - 106" screen (but only 7 foot ceilings).  He doesn't really have any seating other than two old recliners in the middle of the room but there is plenty of space for 2 rows of seats and you could easily fit 3 seats (and maybe 4) in each row.  This gives me a bit of comfort that I'll be able to set aside a similar sized space in my new basement.  I think I might even be able to rotate the theater 90 degrees from how I have it pictured in my sketch-up drawing - this would free up a lot more space for the kitchenette/bar area and maybe even allow me to squeeze in that shuffle board table!

Any of you aspiring architects out there want to take a crack at the layout?   ;D

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #96 on: November 23, 2010, 02:02:36 pm »
With that amount of space, your layout is about the best option I can think of for a theater, bar and gameroom without it feeling overly crampted?

Have you tried integrating the 'counter for extra seating' in with the bar somehow?  I don't know if there is a practical way to do it, but that could give you a really big bar and tie everything together in the room. 

Can't wait to see how it turns out  :cheers:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #97 on: November 24, 2010, 03:09:28 pm »
Also, have you considered theatre-style seating? There's a place near me [www.demxx.com] that deconstructs buildings and sells off the guts. They had a few hundred theatre style seats in there, the kind that spring up [and out of the way] when you get out of them. Not as comfortable as a luxurious couch, but good for a back row. I mean, as long as you and the wife get the good seats, the others can just be glad the rest of them weren't taken!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #98 on: November 24, 2010, 03:42:06 pm »
Also, have you considered theatre-style seating? There's a place near me [www.demxx.com] that deconstructs buildings and sells off the guts. They had a few hundred theatre style seats in there, the kind that spring up [and out of the way] when you get out of them. Not as comfortable as a luxurious couch, but good for a back row. I mean, as long as you and the wife get the good seats, the others can just be glad the rest of them weren't taken!

I am definitely considering it now that I have a better handle on the space.  I'll probably go with 2 rows of seats with the second row on a riser.  I'm probably going to get some berklines - recliners of course.  I'm tempted to go with some large couches with recliners on the ends in case I want to lay down or cram more people in the seats but as of right now I'm leaning towards the individual berklines.  I'm thinking maybe 2 rows of something like this:




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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #99 on: November 24, 2010, 08:25:37 pm »
I think that's a good idea.

In my experience, guests don't want to cram onto couches together. So even if there is room for 3 or 4 on a couch, you're lucky to get 2 people to share it. Everyone else just hovers and says, "No, it's cool. I don't mind standing..." until an individual seat opens up and then they steal it. Better to just go with individual seating. :)

Individual seating is also more versatile, if you need to shake up the layout for any reason.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #100 on: November 24, 2010, 08:57:03 pm »
Individual seating is also more versatile

Unless you piss off your wife and have to sleep in there.
But wasn't it fun to think you won the lottery, just for a second there???

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #101 on: November 25, 2010, 09:33:21 am »
With respect to the theater, I think as much as the open layout works better for entertaining, I'd have to stick with the enclosed one. As you note, the open space makes it difficult to configure surround sound properly, and given that you're creating this from scratch, that would be a shame. That said, I do consider myself a bit of an audiophile - at least when it comes to surround - so I am probably pickier than most. (And honestly a bit jealous since I don't have the space for a dedicated theater!)

What I don't see in either layout is room for speakers and a subwoofer. You're working with a pretty large space and a huge screen. Tiny wall mounted speakers are not going to do the room justice, so even if the budget doesn't allow for anything too substantial right away, you should plan (and wire) for what you might want to do at a later time.

Endaar

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #102 on: November 25, 2010, 10:43:44 am »
The sub and front speakers are usually behind the screen.  In my layout, I allotted space for that.

The side and back speakers I was thinking about putting in wood pillars that are not shown on my layout.
As for javeryh, with his open layout, I think wall mounted speakers will be fine as he isn't an audiophile anyway.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #103 on: November 25, 2010, 11:47:19 am »
With respect to the theater, I think as much as the open layout works better for entertaining, I'd have to stick with the enclosed one. As you note, the open space makes it difficult to configure surround sound properly, and given that you're creating this from scratch, that would be a shame. That said, I do consider myself a bit of an audiophile - at least when it comes to surround - so I am probably pickier than most. (And honestly a bit jealous since I don't have the space for a dedicated theater!)

What I don't see in either layout is room for speakers and a subwoofer. You're working with a pretty large space and a huge screen. Tiny wall mounted speakers are not going to do the room justice, so even if the budget doesn't allow for anything too substantial right away, you should plan (and wire) for what you might want to do at a later time.

Endaar

I know what you mean but I'm afraid if I enclose the theater space I'll be the only one who will ever use it.  I could maybe designate the theater area somehow with 1/2 walls and columns for the speakers - that might help but it won't solve the problem.  I do like DirtyDachshunds alternative layout where the back of the theater is open to the rest of the basement but I don't know if I have the layout for that. 

I will primarily be using the projector for TV (sports), video games and movies - probably in that order although I think I'll be watching a lot more movies once I have the capabilities.  I envision having a group of 8-10 people over on a regular basis (with wives and kids, etc.) and I don't want 1/2 the group to be inside a separate room watching football while everyone else is just hanging out.  I don't know - I mean I wish I had a mansion where I could have a dedicated theater AND a gameroom/bar with a 50" TV and this wouldn't be an issue but... 

I need to get better at sketch-up.  DirtyDachshunds model is really detailed.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I'm Going For It!
« Reply #104 on: November 26, 2010, 08:50:09 am »
If you want a true home theater you need to enclose the space. If not you should plan on a media room. That way you could also open up your bar and even have more room for arcade machines in there :) If you simply go with the largest sized LCD you can afford it could be a nice setup. Also you will save a ton of money by not having to sound proof ect. If your not an audio file and you don't watch movies you probably wouldn't enjoy a dedicated home theater as much as someone who is /does. I could have set up my media room as a theater, but I much prefer having a more diverse space. My shelf bought surround sound speakers suit me just fine.

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #105 on: December 06, 2010, 10:09:54 pm »
James, it looks to me like you need to hire a contractor. You will spend more money that way but they will handle everything for you, just stay with them to make sure they do it like you want.
There are codes you have to go by, and you want it done right, since you have to plan on living with it forever.
A good contractor (experienced one that is), should know everything involved.
Good luck, and post some pics of this project as it comes along.

I totally agree with this. Since a bathroom is involved, really do some legwork before you hire a contractor.
If they half-ass your plumbing you will be suffering with it for way longer than it takes to find a good guy.

Your not kidding.

in the house i live now, if i am in the shower and someone decides to do some dishes in the kitchen sink, the sink will suck away every drop of hot water from that shower. no lukewarm. picture this. its dead of winter, cold shower.

you definately do not want a fly by night doing your plumbing.

this house was built in the 70s, and apparently everyone who has lived here before me had to deal with the shower from hell.

i have found a solution to this hard to correct problem though. for about a hundred bucks, and if you know how to solder, you can get a small 3 gallon Booster water heater.

so basically, when moron downstairs turns the sink on to wash their hands, the booster heater will make up for it.


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect
« Reply #106 on: December 22, 2010, 12:57:59 pm »
OK... last night we got the first draft of the house plans (which don't include the basement, unfortunately).  I'm not blown away but it is a good starting point I guess.  I mean, it's a basic addition so I don't know what I was expecting.  She did send two different proposals.  

I think I like the "Alternate" version the best even though there's no walk-in closet in the master bedroom for my wife.  The "Alternate" plans reduce the size of my existing bathroom on the second floor which I think is a necessity - it is 1/4 of the second floor right now!  Way too much wasted space in a small house.  I also like how she proposes to incorporate the sun room (where we currently watch TV) into the dining room because once we get the back room the sun room will be kind of useless.  Any thoughts?

(sorry for the crappy photos)

« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 01:01:02 pm by javeryh »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect (PICS!)
« Reply #107 on: December 24, 2010, 04:45:07 pm »
Ok...  I've had some time to let the designs sink in and the "alternate" plans are growing on me.  I think that with a little tweaking it could be something that we really end up liking.  The big room in the back would be completely usable for my basement space and it is actually quite large at 25'4" x 17' and this doesn't even take the existing basement into consideration.

  I think that the actual basement outfit will take a while because it is going to be quite expensive to just do the first and second floor!

The plan is to think about exactly what we want over the next week and then set up an appointment with the architect after the new year to get a better idea on how much this is going to cost.  It's scary but exciting...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect (PICS!)
« Reply #108 on: January 06, 2011, 02:26:24 pm »
I just set up an appointment for next week with the architect to sit down with her and go over all of the plans and expected costs, timing, etc. - basically everything.  Is there anything I should be specifically concerned with?  I don't know what to expect and I'm kind of counting on (and trusting) her to guide me in the right direction and be as cost-effective as possible. 

The more I look at the "alternate" design, the more I'm definitely convinced that is is the more costly of the two designs.  In order to turn the dining room 90 degrees and incorporate part of the existing sun room, we will have to deal with issues on the floor and on the ceiling.  The dining room has original hardwood floors and 9 foot ceilings.  The sun room has a plywood base with carpeting for the floor and 8 foot ceilings.  Not to mention we will be relocating the bathtub and sink on the second floor.  Money money money!!!! 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect (PICS!)
« Reply #109 on: January 13, 2011, 03:19:18 pm »
Ugh.  I had the meeting yesterday and I'm really disappointed.  Her best guess based on the design she provided is that it will exceed our budget by $50,000 - $100,000!!!  I was like "you knew our budget - why did you bother designing something so outrageous?"  She didn't really have an answer but I got the impression that she thinks money grows on trees or something - I mean, now I'm not going to go with the "lesser" design because it will still be a crapload of money and I don't want to always be wishing I had something else.   The architect is reaching out to some contractors to get them to give a loose estimate on costs (without bidding it out because we only have a floor plan at this point) and see where they end up.  The worst part is that we have to demo our 2 car garage to meet code requirements and build a new one car garage in its place and that is going to be $25,000 alone for something I don't want to do.  We might have to put this on hold for 5 years or so and try saving or just forget about it all together.

 :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect (PICS!)
« Reply #110 on: January 13, 2011, 03:30:07 pm »
As an architect, or at least one who works for architects... We hear this all the time.  Did she not design what YOU wanted?  It is YOUR prerogative to tell her NO, do it another way.  But if the design is really cool and you cant live with anything lesser than that...  Is it REALLY over budget, or did you just not expect the costs to be so high.  But that much over budget seems outrageous on her end...  Keep us posted... 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect (PICS!)
« Reply #111 on: January 13, 2011, 04:24:07 pm »
She should have told them up front that her alternative designs would be over budget.  If I hire a contractor and give him/her a budget and they provide me plans without saying anything.  I would think they made them with my budget in mind.  It's wrong of her come decision time to then say oh by the way it's another 100k.  That seems wrong.

and javeryh, I hate to say it, but I would pull the plug on this.  Paying $25k to DECREASE your garage size on top of the cost of the addition, which wouldn't even be the addition you really want???? 

Why not look for another bigger development close to where you live?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Plans from Architect (PICS!)
« Reply #112 on: January 13, 2011, 05:51:16 pm »
As an architect, or at least one who works for architects... We hear this all the time.  Did she not design what YOU wanted?  It is YOUR prerogative to tell her NO, do it another way.  But if the design is really cool and you cant live with anything lesser than that...  Is it REALLY over budget, or did you just not expect the costs to be so high.  But that much over budget seems outrageous on her end...  Keep us posted... 

She asked us to provide a "hopeful" budget and then a "drop-dead-do-not-go-over-by-one-cent" budget so we did and she came back with 2 designs - one that sucked and would be "probably" within our budget and one that we really really like that is WAY over budget.  Based on another addition in the neighborhood on a house exactly like ours we thought we were in the ball park with our max budget (ours budget was almost double what our neighbors paid) so her estimates are quite a shock to us.

She should have told them up front that her alternative designs would be over budget.  If I hire a contractor and give him/her a budget and they provide me plans without saying anything.  I would think they made them with my budget in mind.  It's wrong of her come decision time to then say oh by the way it's another 100k.  That seems wrong.

That's what we thought - I assumed that after providing her a budget she would design within the budget we gave her.  Makes sense to me.  Now, I can understand if she thought it would be 10-15% over and we'd have to stretch but she was almost off by 50%.  It's not a matter of not wanting to spend the money at that point - we just don't have it.

and javeryh, I hate to say it, but I would pull the plug on this.  Paying $25k to DECREASE your garage size on top of the cost of the addition, which wouldn't even be the addition you really want???? 

Why not look for another bigger development close to where you live?

yeah... I am going to see what she says tomorrow after she gets some feedback from contractors but there's no way we are going to pay for something we don't absolutely want.  We can't relocate in town due to the high prices of houses in my area and we live here specifically for the schools.  We can sell high but we'd have to buy high too - believe me, I'm on realtor.com all the time looking around for something with no luck yet.   :(

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #113 on: January 13, 2011, 10:30:24 pm »
I read a story about a famous author who had a house designed, and built, and when he finally sat down in his new office, he looked around and thought, '.....this seems a lot bigger than the plans....'  He called the architect, who said, 'You said you wanted this, but you really needed this. Does it feel right?' The author admitted it did.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #114 on: January 14, 2011, 10:57:37 pm »
javeryh,

Be happy with the design / cost you have to live with it and pay for it.

As far as an architect goes, bypass them and just do it on your own.

Go to a Vocational school/college and have one of the class students design something for you. Doesnt cost anything to make changes and their time is free and its their grade!

Go to a Home Depot/Lowes/ building center and see what materials will cost on a retail level. That way you know if your being over charged for materials.

Do some of the work yourself: like painting, after construction clean up & materials purchasing.

Some of the above things will save you $$$$$$$

I wouldnt worry too much about what the other homes in your neighborhood are selling for. All homes in the U.S.A. are worth less today than 3 years ago. Banks/Investment groups propped up prices to get you to pay more. You see where that got them! I have never looked at my home as an investment. I look at it as the box I live in, so Im gonna make it comfortable for my family and I.

My $.02
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #115 on: January 15, 2011, 01:59:01 pm »
I look at it as the box I live in, so Im gonna make it comfortable for my family and I.
Fordman

That is exactly how I feel! But if you don't have the money, you don't have it. $50k plus is a big chunk o change, especially to be over budget. I'd tell her to redo those plans within the budget you specified - after all, if you're going to pay her, she better do her job. I suspect she may be feeling you out for cash, to see what you really have. I mean, it's definitely in her best interests, and you can't blame her really... every business is out to make money. But she needs a good sit-down and make her understand.

   I personally would give her the plans you like and say... "I like this. Now make it work within our budget." Even if it means leaving out the bar - plumb it and add it later. Ask them to install conduit for you but not add the wiring for your fancy stuff. I find that I get stuff cheap if I buy it, but ask a professional to put some wire in the cost jumps like 1000%. Maybe go shopping and provide the stuff they need and have them install it. I was in a fancy lighting store the other day - wall sconce, $180... same wall sconce @ home depot, $35. I ended up going to the deconstruction place, buying a wall sconce from the 80's and repainting it - for $4.


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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #116 on: January 15, 2011, 05:15:35 pm »

For example, the 20'x25' space on the second floor for the master bathroom and bath seems HUGE.  We are going to also add a nice walk-in closet but even after that it still seems like we have a lot of wasted space. 
 

Sorry if this has been addressed, but why not make some of that space a big outdoor terrace with a hot tub?
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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #117 on: April 14, 2011, 03:37:57 pm »
I look at it as the box I live in, so Im gonna make it comfortable for my family and I.
Fordman

That is exactly how I feel! But if you don't have the money, you don't have it. $50k plus is a big chunk o change, especially to be over budget. I'd tell her to redo those plans within the budget you specified - after all, if you're going to pay her, she better do her job. I suspect she may be feeling you out for cash, to see what you really have. I mean, it's definitely in her best interests, and you can't blame her really... every business is out to make money. But she needs a good sit-down and make her understand.

   I personally would give her the plans you like and say... "I like this. Now make it work within our budget." Even if it means leaving out the bar - plumb it and add it later. Ask them to install conduit for you but not add the wiring for your fancy stuff. I find that I get stuff cheap if I buy it, but ask a professional to put some wire in the cost jumps like 1000%. Maybe go shopping and provide the stuff they need and have them install it. I was in a fancy lighting store the other day - wall sconce, $180... same wall sconce @ home depot, $35. I ended up going to the deconstruction place, buying a wall sconce from the 80's and repainting it - for $4.



We told her to completely stop working on our project.  Hopefully she will get the hint that we just don't have money coming out of our asses.  I would tell her to do it over but I don't want to incur one more cent on the design until we have a better handle on everything. 

I'm definitely open to doing what you have suggested - put in the plumbing for a master bathroom but maybe not finish it for a few years and use it as a closet in the meantime - same thing with the basement bar, etc.  Anything we can do to just get the physical space now.  We have plenty of time to make it "nice" over the next 30+ years or however long we stay.


For example, the 20'x25' space on the second floor for the master bathroom and bath seems HUGE.  We are going to also add a nice walk-in closet but even after that it still seems like we have a lot of wasted space. 
 

Sorry if this has been addressed, but why not make some of that space a big outdoor terrace with a hot tub?

I don't think there is that much room!  Also, I would never use a hot tub and my wife would probably use it less than me.  An outdoor terrace is an interesting idea though.  I'd probably just need room for a chair and I'd sit out there all the time.

Anyway, we have been doing some saving since November and we are thinking that we are going to explore going forward with everything.  The lead time to even start is 9 months (we need a variance) and assuming neither of us lose our jobs, if the build takes another 6-9 months from the starting point we are at the end of 2012 and by that time we will be able to save up the difference... although I am not sure how I feel about spending so much in general but I'm sure I'll love the extra space.  We have decided to go with these plans with maybe a few small tweaks (the new rooms are off the back of the house (top of the drawings)):





Additional items:

- convert separate 2 car garage into 1 car garage
- new basement in addition area/excavate existing basement 2-3 ft. to level of new basement
- basement will be completely unfinished other than plumbing (cinderblock/slab)
- Second floor bathroom will be redone to be much smaller than existing

After tax season ends on Monday we will begin getting estimates from various contractors.  I'm nervous but excited.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #118 on: April 14, 2011, 05:44:12 pm »
I know a lot is up in the air with your addition from reading your thread, however there are two glaring things I think you should consider.

1) The half bath location right in the kitchen is a very poor location. No one wants to be cooking a meal while (insert your buddy's name) is taking a nasty dump. I would seriously consider moving this, or changing the entrance to another side.

2) The seating bar needs to go. There is no way to access the kitchen from the living room through this location. You need to walk all the way through the dining area to get to the sink. I would make the stove area an island with the bar on the other side, or even a cutout opening overlooking the dining room. You can then make a cut through next to the sink to access the kitchen from two sides. I would also consider moving the sink in a different location so you aren't looking at the front door.

3) Since you don't have an enclosed media room anyway and the space is fairly small to begin with, I would keep the dining and living area completely open to each other. This will make the area feel much larger. You can always get by with enclosed speakers on floorstands that will knock your socks off.

Just some things to think about. I can imagine you have been doing a lot of that lately. As for Architects and General Contractors, unfortunately there are 10 terrible ones out there for every decent one you can find. Get references and talk to a lot of their customers.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #119 on: April 14, 2011, 06:21:44 pm »
I know a lot is up in the air with your addition from reading your thread, however there are two glaring things I think you should consider.

Awesome - this is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for when I started this thread.   :cheers:

1) The half bath location right in the kitchen is a very poor location. No one wants to be cooking a meal while (insert your buddy's name) is taking a nasty dump. I would seriously consider moving this, or changing the entrance to another side.

I know.  The bathroom was there when we moved in.  It is actually underneath the stairs and is very tiny.  I don't know where else we could put it.  We actually have a "no crapping" policy in the house with regards to that bathroom - if you have to take a dump you go upstairs.  I'm all for finding a solution but I think relocating the bathroom will be very expensive and we already are going to be stretched on this project.  The good news is that a second renovation in 5, 7 or 10 years (whenever) can accomplish this with hopefully not affecting the current design.

2) The seating bar needs to go. There is no way to access the kitchen from the living room through this location. You need to walk all the way through the dining area to get to the sink. I would make the stove area an island with the bar on the other side, or even a cutout opening overlooking the dining room. You can then make a cut through next to the sink to access the kitchen from two sides. I would also consider moving the sink in a different location so you aren't looking at the front door.

Yes!  You are right and this is something that we struggled with but I don't think there is a (non-expensive) solution here.  The architect wanted to effectively rotate the entire layout of the kitchen 90 degrees counterclockwise and make a doorway to the right of the sink but she indicated that this would be VERY expensive.  Again, it is something that we can revisit down the road hopefully not affecting the current design (we are going to redo the kitchen eventually - we hate the paint and the tile).

Very interesting idea about the stove/island.  I'm going to play with that one.

3) Since you don't have an enclosed media room anyway and the space is fairly small to begin with, I would keep the dining and living area completely open to each other. This will make the area feel much larger. You can always get by with enclosed speakers on floorstands that will knock your socks off.

I agree completely here.  There is (another) cost issue regarding the opening between the new room and the dining room.  There are posts showing in the drawing which wouldn't need to be there if they installed a steel beam in the ceiling - again - this is added cost.  We were thinking about maybe a 1/2 wall or something on the sides of the posts - I hate freestanding posts.  This is still up in the air and maybe this is something we just have to suck up and spend the extra money on.

Also, our enclosed media room where we would watch movies and play games will be the new basement when I get that set up!

Just some things to think about. I can imagine you have been doing a lot of that lately. As for Architects and General Contractors, unfortunately there are 10 terrible ones out there for every decent one you can find. Get references and talk to a lot of their customers.

It is tough - I really don't know where to begin other than the phonebook.  The architect has a few people she regularly uses but I kind of feel like I need some outside perspective on this.  She charged a TON just for these plans and she is saying the addition will be around $100k over our budget which seems INSANE to me.  I need to get a second or third or fourth opinion so I can compare.

Thanks for the feedback - I'm open to any and all suggestions/criticisms on these plans.

 :cheers:
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 06:23:26 pm by javeryh »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #120 on: April 14, 2011, 09:56:14 pm »
I see what you mean by the bathroom location. I didn't realize it was right on the stairs. A "no crapping" rule ? :laugh2: That's too funny...Using the existing plumbing you're right, you'd have to spend a lot on this to change this into something more useful. I could see maybe bumping into the kitchen just past the stairs and making the opening just in front of the stairs. Either case you'd have to spend a big portion of the budget to achieve this.

In regard to the island, the only drawback to having your stove there is it limits you with the ventilation. For instance, if you wanted a charbroiler grill in your stove, you'd need about 1200 CFM of ventilation and that would mean a big coffin sized hood over the island to catch the smoke. This is not only expensive, but looks terrible IMO. If however you just want to cook on the stovetop, there are downdraft vents that pop up from the back and work quite well. I could easily see keeping the wall there, but just making a huge opening that spreads out to a raised bar. This would be relatively cheap to do. In regard to the sink, that could swing just under the windows with the refrigerator being turned 90 degrees. This would basically normalize the kitchen into a "galley" style and make the end by current sink position completely open.

I guess the best advice would be to make a list of what is important to you guys and limit the scale of the expansion. Reason I say that is if you do everything only halfway, you're going to end up with something that doesn't function at all for you. If however you focus on a few big things such as fixing that bathroom, kitchen and dining area, then even if you don't get the entire expansion done, at least you will have fixed some serious layout issues with the house. Another area to save a lot of money is the finish. If you are handy enough to complete the finish work, you can save a grip of cash. See what contractors will charge for completed rough-in only. With the economy the way it is, you should be able to score some deals. I believe that is all you need to have completed to get final inspection approval.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #121 on: April 15, 2011, 08:37:55 am »
I said this on 9/7/10

Ha $3000? for an architect?  They usually charge between 10 and 15 % of the total cost of the job.  So if your addition is $150,000 you can expect to pay $15,000 to the architect.  And since he's getting a piece of the total, you can bet your $150,000 will turn into $200,000+.  Now he also project manages too so you get that for your money.

You need to find someone to draw you the plans, doesn't have to be an architect.




Are you getting charged a percentage of the total job?  If so, you can see why they show you the over budget plans.  It doesn't cost them anything in ink to draw over budget and up their profit.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #122 on: April 15, 2011, 11:55:33 am »
<--- Doodle sketch artist for hire  (Only charges flat rate, no extra ink fees.) ;D

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #123 on: April 15, 2011, 01:01:32 pm »
I dunno, maybe it's just where I live, but $150,000 could buy you a whole new HOUSE.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #124 on: April 15, 2011, 01:41:07 pm »
I dunno, maybe it's just where I live, but $150,000 could buy you a whole new HOUSE.

Definitely where you live. I don't live anywhere overly glamourous, and $150k will get you a shack with an outhouse - maybe. Then again, wages are also probably lower on average than they are where J lives.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #125 on: April 15, 2011, 03:39:56 pm »
I dunno, maybe it's just where I live, but $150,000 could buy you a whole new HOUSE.

where the hell do you live ???

for 150k I can buy a nice....bathroom around here.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #126 on: April 15, 2011, 03:43:34 pm »
I live in Arizona. You can get a nice foreclosure right now for that price.

For example: http://www.azsearchforhomes.com/idx/mls-4548942-3006_e_muirwood_drive_ahwatukee_az_85048
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #127 on: April 15, 2011, 03:48:42 pm »
BTW, I'm sure where J lives, that's the going rate. I guess the real estate numbers here in the Southwest have skewed my perception of costs.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #128 on: April 15, 2011, 05:12:57 pm »
You can BUILD a house for that amount where I live. That's what I hate about the economics of that industry. Sure the costs of doing business and getting materials is probably more where he lives, but they will charge whatever the market dictates. I'd get as many good estimates as you could then just sit on them. See who calls back or is willing to give you a second look. Might be an indication they are hungry for business. I tell you what, everytime I go into Lowe's or Home Depot these past few months the stores are DEAD in my area. No one is really spending cash on their homes right now. It's weird how some states are recovering pretty good and some are just wallowing in one economic crisis after another.

(Of course market conditions apply and may be different in your area.)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #129 on: April 16, 2011, 11:46:27 am »
You guys are right on about where I live - it is super expensive here.  I'm right outside of NYC.  As you can see by the plans, I've got about 700sqft. of living space per floor right now meaning my entire house is only 1300sqft (the room on the right on the first floor is only one story).  Also, we are only sitting on 0.14 acres of land and the town code limits you to a maximum of 20% lot coverage.  It boggles my mind that just adding a room to the back of the house can cost so much money.  We have thought about how awesome it would be to move to somewhere much cheaper but all of our family is on the east coast and the kids are in school (and the schools here are excellent) and all of our friends are here and we love the town otherwise.

The reason we need the architect is because we need a variance.  With the variance we will be able to get up to 22% lot coverage and every inch counts when you are in such a confined space (relatively speaking).  There are a lot of politics at work here and I am virtually guaranteed to get town approval if I go through an architect whereas if I go before the zoning board myself it's a 50/50 shot.  Also, with the excavation of my basement, I need someone to oversee things and make sure they are being done properly.  She told us that her final costs would be about 7% of the cost of the job on average although she charges hourly.  Her estimate was $250K so 7% is still quite a lot ($17,500).  Ugh.  I'm depressed just typing this out...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #130 on: April 16, 2011, 05:58:25 pm »
Well despite the costs, it sounds like you are in an area where you will at least retain your value. Think of it as an investment. I know a lot of folks like the appeal of an older neighborhood. If you have a newer, updated home in a great location, all the better.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #131 on: April 16, 2011, 06:19:17 pm »
Well despite the costs, it sounds like you are in an area where you will at least retain your value. Think of it as an investment. I know a lot of folks like the appeal of an older neighborhood. If you have a newer, updated home in a great location, all the better.

yeah, we are fairly certain we could retain the value of the addition.  Our house has actually increased over 20% in value since we moved in 7 years ago which is incredible considering the rest of the country seems to be underwater.  If we do the update I'm fairly certain we could get our money back if we decide to sell but if we go through with this we are basically saying we are going to be here for the next 20 years so "investment" and "value" kind of go out the window.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Stupid Architect (Over Before Starting?)
« Reply #132 on: April 16, 2011, 11:00:58 pm »
I hear you. At some point you just have to make it comfortable for the long haul. A lot of people shutter to think about staying in the same place for 10, 20 or even 30 years, but before you know it we'll be teaching the kids how to drive, then going to their weddings so they can start their own families. That's why this arcade cab has become such an important thing to me right now. It's just something from my youth that was always there. You could always count on going to the mall and hanging at the arcade after school. Or have some buddies over to play the new Colecovision. There are so many memories I have built around arcades and gaming consoles. It was a big part of my adolescence.

I say if you have the means, DO IT. None of us is getting any younger, and how nice would it be to have your house all done and be enjoying it? Not 10 years down the road, but sometime in the next year?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 11:02:36 pm by DNA Dan »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #133 on: May 04, 2011, 06:15:55 pm »
Well DNA Dan, I'm taking your advice.  I lined up some contractors to come out to the house and take a look and start giving me estimates.  I totally agree about doing things now rather than later if you have the means (which I do... sort of... I think).  The whole point of building a kickass basement and making the house bigger is for my kids (6-1/2 and almost 4).  Every year I wait is lost time.

Tomorrow the first contractor comes over to take a look at the house and the plans I've had drawn up.  He seemed to indicate that if I have the floor plan he can just run with that as most of their projects are designed by their internal team rather than an actual architect.  We shall see...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #134 on: May 05, 2011, 09:07:49 am »
Well DNA Dan, I'm taking your advice.  I lined up some contractors to come out to the house and take a look and start giving me estimates.  I totally agree about doing things now rather than later if you have the means (which I do... sort of... I think).  The whole point of building a kickass basement and making the house bigger is for my kids (6-1/2 and almost 4).  Every year I wait is lost time.

Tomorrow the first contractor comes over to take a look at the house and the plans I've had drawn up.  He seemed to indicate that if I have the floor plan he can just run with that as most of their projects are designed by their internal team rather than an actual architect.  We shall see...

Javery, I've worked with lots of contractors and I am going to assume you haven't. If you have, ignore this advice or at the least - don't take offense to it.

When it comes to the payments, there should be milestone payments setup to protect both you and the contractor. I prefer to not pay until the milestones are accomplished, but sometimes I pay before hand. For example, we just had a pool installed and the milestones were:

Agree on plans, sign contract = 5% 
complete digging hole = 5%
Delivery of pool = 50%
Installation of pool = 10%
Installation of Electrical/plumbing = 10%
concrete installation = 5%
Final Grade of yard/cover/misc = 5%

I only paid as the job proceeded and inspections were passed. I've been burned in the past and would hate to see anyone else put in the same position. If a contractor needs a lot of money up front, it's a red flag to me. I've seen these guys get caught up in their own pyramid type schemes completing work for past customers using future customers money. In the end, somebody is going to get burned.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #135 on: May 05, 2011, 09:20:47 am »
Javery - totally feel for you.  I live in the DC area and our prices are obscene as well.  $150k won't even get you a condo (well, maybe an efficiency) around here.  Hell, townhouses in the decent neighborhoods start at $300k.  I'm in the process of reviewing my basement setup now to try to 'make more space' so I can get a pinball machine in there ...if possible. :)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #136 on: May 05, 2011, 09:52:22 am »
For example, we just had a pool installed

In St. Louis??   :o

Well, it'll be fun 2-3 months of the year, I suppose.


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #137 on: May 05, 2011, 09:59:36 am »
For example, we just had a pool installed

In St. Louis??   :o

Well, it'll be fun 2-3 months of the year, I suppose.



He could always build the redneck pool heater:



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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #138 on: May 05, 2011, 11:33:45 am »
Well DNA Dan, I'm taking your advice.  I lined up some contractors to come out to the house and take a look and start giving me estimates.  I totally agree about doing things now rather than later if you have the means (which I do... sort of... I think).  The whole point of building a kickass basement and making the house bigger is for my kids (6-1/2 and almost 4).  Every year I wait is lost time.

Tomorrow the first contractor comes over to take a look at the house and the plans I've had drawn up.  He seemed to indicate that if I have the floor plan he can just run with that as most of their projects are designed by their internal team rather than an actual architect.  We shall see...

Javery, I've worked with lots of contractors and I am going to assume you haven't. If you have, ignore this advice or at the least - don't take offense to it.

When it comes to the payments, there should be milestone payments setup to protect both you and the contractor. I prefer to not pay until the milestones are accomplished, but sometimes I pay before hand. For example, we just had a pool installed and the milestones were:

Agree on plans, sign contract = 5% 
complete digging hole = 5%
Delivery of pool = 50%
Installation of pool = 10%
Installation of Electrical/plumbing = 10%
concrete installation = 5%
Final Grade of yard/cover/misc = 5%

I only paid as the job proceeded and inspections were passed. I've been burned in the past and would hate to see anyone else put in the same position. If a contractor needs a lot of money up front, it's a red flag to me. I've seen these guys get caught up in their own pyramid type schemes completing work for past customers using future customers money. In the end, somebody is going to get burned.

Thanks lew - that's great advice.  I was thinking about setting something up like this with the contractor once we get down to business.  My biggest fear is getting burned because you hear so many horror stories.  Almost everyone I know says they liked their contractor but... and ultimately can't recommend them because of the "but" which usually revolves around money/payments/estimates.

I had my meeting this morning and it didn't go so great... his ballpark estimate was $300K!!!  For a 25'x15' 2 story addition plus basement.  It can't get any easier or more basic than that.  How is that even possible?  Insane.  I'm starting to think this will never happen...  I have a few more appointments though so we will see how it goes...

 :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #139 on: May 05, 2011, 11:36:01 am »
For that much money, you could buy a 4000 sq ft house with a 3 car garage and a pool out here...   :afro:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #140 on: May 05, 2011, 12:07:33 pm »
so about $250/ sq. ft.  Ouch...  What kind of materials is he planning to use?  I would be shocked though if you could build it for less than $150.00/ sq. ft.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #141 on: May 05, 2011, 04:23:22 pm »
For that much money, you could buy a 4000 sq ft house with a 3 car garage and a pool out here...   :afro:

Where is "out here"?  I may have to join you...

so about $250/ sq. ft.  Ouch...  What kind of materials is he planning to use?  I would be shocked though if you could build it for less than $150.00/ sq. ft.

I think solid gold framing?  How do you count square feet for a job like this.  The plans say that each floor is 382 sqft. so is that 764 sqft. (first and second floor) or 1146 sqft. (first floor, second floor and unfinished basement).  I have no idea how this stuff works.


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #142 on: May 05, 2011, 04:29:43 pm »
Phoenix, AZ area.  :cheers:

(It's hot, but it's a dry heat)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #143 on: May 05, 2011, 04:32:41 pm »
Just put a few games in the garage, take your kids on vacation & save that money.
"George Bush doesn't care about arcade people"

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #144 on: May 05, 2011, 04:39:31 pm »
And to think they are only charging that because if you don't want to pay, there's someone in line behind you willing to whip out their checkbook. Materials on that job is probably only like 10%-15% of the asking cost. Ridiculous.

With that much work and the costs involved, you might want to consider just buying a house that you can live with the floorplan. Then you only have to paint and update it. I know you said you loved the neighborhood, but man that's a grip of cash for something that isn't really that big. It sounds like you guys have clearly out grown the house. Don't feel like you have to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Ya know?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #145 on: May 06, 2011, 09:22:23 am »
Keep in mind we don't know all the details.  For a simple 'extension' with a few electrical sockets, it's a lot.  If it's literally expanding the house including HVAC, electrical, plumbing, etc., and the house itself is older (i.e., may need some upgrading for connecting 'new' portion to old and stay in code) it may be less outrageous. 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #146 on: May 06, 2011, 12:21:31 pm »
Even still. If a contractor can BUILD a new FINISHED 2700 sqft house in my town for $380K (What we paid.) with a 75X100 lot included, then it's a ripoff. Our build included very high finishes, granite counters, solid wood floors, solid wood cabinetry, etc. etc. This price included all materials, taxes, closing costs, contractor's labor, etc., and the guy still made off with a hefty profit.

It's what his market is willing to pay. I am sure others in the area find those prices reasonable.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #147 on: May 06, 2011, 01:39:35 pm »
Yeah... it is really hard to judge without seeing it...  If he were finishing all three spaces, then  of course the basement would be cheaper to do, IE: concrete walls are cheaper to build than wood framing, but they have to excavate, demo, etc...
BUILDING a house would be cheaper as you dont have to go through all of the EXISTING hassle...  Older house, bad piping and electric, etc... 
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #148 on: May 06, 2011, 03:48:31 pm »
You guys are all correct.  I live in a fairly well-off town.  The public schools are fantastic and the kids will love growing up here.  Of course, I live in one of the smallest houses in the area and can barely afford that but still.  My house is about 100 years old but so is every other house in the neighborhood, most of which have been added on to or renovated, etc.

I think the high prices are what people in my area are willing to pay - reasonable or not.  I just can't get to such a ridiculously high number though.  Even if you paid a crew of 5 guys $30/hour to work 5 days a week for 3 months that's only $75,000 give or take.  If you figure $100,000 in materials which seems outrageous to me you are still under $200,000 by a lot.  It just doesn't add up.  Maybe at this point since they are not actually bidding they are just feeling me out?  I'm hesitant to tell the architect to finish the plans though if the bids truly are going to come in between $250K and $300K. 

I started doing some research into a construction loan from my mortgage holder - it seems like a good way to go because they will loan you more money with the understanding that you are investing it back in the house (instead of a home equity line where you can draw down for no reason and go to Vegas if you want).  The problem with the construction loan is that there are a TON of hoops you have to jump through and paperwork to fill out.  Also, at the end of it I'd be forced to roll the existing mortgage and the construction loan into a new mortgage (basically a refinance) at a higher rate than I'm currently paying on my existing mortgage.  I just don't know what to do.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #149 on: May 06, 2011, 05:04:39 pm »
Have you considered a different house that already suits your needs?

I was in the same situation as you about 4 years ago. I was living in a small SF Bay Area home, really great neighborhood (except the schools suck donkey balls) and my wife and I just had twin girls. We stressed out the whole first year over how to make it work not just financially, but space wise. Our house was very nice but only 1100 sqft. very cramped by our standards. Once we started thinking longer term, 5-10 years out, there was no way the house was going to meet our needs. Not only that, but just to stay in the house AS IS was a bit of a stretch financially. I looked for a new job and we moved to a rural state and I have to say I have no regrets looking back. We are so better off now it's ridiculous. We live like kings and have a lot of nice toys. Sure there were some sacrifices (no family lives by us and the food is spotty) but overall I am glad we uprooted the family to start anew someplace else. At some point you have to do what is right for just your own family. Now I don't mean to preach to the choir here or anything, but if you're tied to that location for whatever reason, look at this possible remodel as something you are having to "sacrifice" by living there. It's the opportunity cost of staying where you are.

Whatever you do, don't stretch yourselves so thin financially. Kids are a money pit and it only gets worse with age.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #150 on: May 06, 2011, 08:08:01 pm »
Javeryh, consider if you went out and bought a house in your neighbourhood that matched the criteria you wanted, how much would you have to spend over and above your existing house? That difference would be the upper limit of what I would want to spend on the renovation.

Around here (Vancouver, which has a similarly expensive housing market due to lack of land) most house prices are determined by the square footage. There is a bit of haggling on finished quality, condition, etc. But by and large you can figure out the price of a house by the size of its lot and the sq footage of the house. Different markets, I know. But surely if you're adding X sq feet onto the house, and houses of that size are selling for 200k more in your area, then spending 200k on a renovation isn't really putting you much further behind than simply buying elsewhere.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #151 on: May 06, 2011, 08:08:01 pm »
Just curious, but is the extension going to be brick?  Old house in NYC and surrounding area seems like that would definitely be a possibility.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #152 on: May 07, 2011, 03:09:58 am »
I live in one of the smallest houses in the area and can barely afford that but still.  

But here you are wanting to take out more money at a higher rate?

Um there is a word for that.... ghetto rich.

Its not "cool" to overpay for an over taxed house & live month to month while taking out an adjustable interest only HELOC thats based on an index which will certainly triple soon (it was apx 300% more just a few years ago & a staggering 560% higher in the 80's). Its no better to pay fees to raise your rate on even more money either dude. Here is the real kick in the scrotie on a new loan that you maybe didnt even consider... you get to start over your amortization table which that alone on the old/lower balance & rate will cost you hundreds of thousands of net taxed income I would imagine. Bend over for that new tax assessment value too which will increase your escrows each month.

C'mon man dont be credit drunk zip code braggart, everyone here is stating the obvious (dont do it) for a reason. Dont you want to pay off your house, sail or fly planes during retirement & pay just 15% taxes on your dividends vs 30% on your earnings until you die?

The biggest expense in life isnt what we buy, its what we borrow. Break free from this scheme of installments, taxes & slavery & all the drama that goes with it. The human species didnt evolve into what we are today just to do 0% balance transfers or open HELOC & die at work.

Hope I didnt seem like an a hole, I am just really passionate about this stuff & I really mean only the best by even making these comments.


EDIT: When in doubt just ask yourself "what would Carl Sagan do?"

 :)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 03:12:07 am by pinballwizard79 »
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #153 on: May 07, 2011, 02:16:25 pm »
I say keep up your search. After 4 or 5 contractors you should be able to determine if it's going to be this expensive. But moving away from your friends/family/good education isn't a good option. So stick with where you are!

My only other suggestion would be to maybe put your bar and gameroom on top of the garage. I mean if you have to knock it down anyway you could rebuild it hella nice.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #154 on: May 09, 2011, 01:48:14 am »
i read some of the responses in this thread and the original posting.  dude, all i can say is dont do it.  going from a 2 car garage to a 1 car on the same house is never winning situation.  you will be house poor if you go with the ridiculous estimates youre getting and honestly you need to fire that architect.  a game room and some extra chill space isnt worth the extra taxes youll have to pay.  its your money but id think of your familys needs before your wants.  dont mean to sound like an ass, just my two cents.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #155 on: May 09, 2011, 11:08:22 am »
TheChairman brings up an interesting point. There are some "long term hidden expenses" here. Once your remodel is completed you will be re-assessed and your property taxes will go up. You will also probably have to pay more for insurance. You know at those prices you could probably rent a place somewhere to store your arcade stuff or lease a building. You'd have to drive to it, but you would not be committed and could liquidate it at any time.

I think you need to open an arcade in town! :applaud:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #156 on: May 09, 2011, 12:25:08 pm »
Thanks for all of the feedback guys (even those telling me not to do it).  I need to think about this from all angles.  Financially speaking, I'm not too worried about the extra monthly payments due to a new loan.  Before we refinanced the house a while back our monthly payments were more than what we are anticipating them to be with the new loan.  Even when my wife wasn't working (she works part time now) we were still easily able to afford the payments and go on vacations, etc. all while carrying $0 in other debt (no car loan, school loan, credit card debt, etc.).  We do not live above our means in any aspect of our lives.

I have looked into buying a new (bigger) house in the same town and to "upgrade" it would be at least what I am being quoted on the costs of the addition.  This is why we are probably going down this road.  I think the main problem is that I don't have the money now for a super-expensive addition but if I saved for 2 or 3 more years I'd definitely have it covered.  Maybe the best thing to do is wait?  The problem with that is that my kids aren't getting any younger and I'd like to redo the house for them so they can get the most use out of it.  Also, there are things I would have done to the house a while ago (like redo the upstairs bathroom) that have been on hold because of this project.  I feel like I'm stuck in a holding pattern in that respect.

I have an appointment with another contractor on Wednesday and I'm setting up an in-person meeting with the mortgage people to discuss the construction loan.  Hopefully this will all work itself out but man it hasn't been easy going so far!    :cheers:


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #157 on: May 13, 2011, 10:08:00 am »
Well, I have a meeting this afternoon with the bank so this should either get me going like gangbusters on this project or be the final nail in the coffin.  Based on the phone conversation I had I am very optimistic - I was FINALLY able to get in touch with someone who handles construction loans exclusively after getting nowhere with 4 different people from the bank.  Anyway, this guy tells me he has been doing construction loans for 30 years and based on the little information I gave him he thinks we would be able to move forward with no trouble.  It makes sense - how else would most people be putting additions on their houses all over town without some financial assistance?  Wish me luck!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #158 on: May 13, 2011, 03:59:36 pm »
Good luck!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #160 on: May 14, 2011, 07:29:36 pm »
Hehe...the average salary in arizona is prob. half that in NYC also.  :)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #161 on: May 16, 2011, 01:54:46 pm »
Hehe...the average salary in arizona is prob. half that in NYC also.  :)


That's why you should work here for a bunch of years and then move there.  That house looks big but it could be deceiving - is there even a second floor? 

I had a lot of success this weekend.  We are basically cleared to do whatever we want... so now comes the scary part of actually going through with it...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #162 on: May 16, 2011, 02:36:37 pm »
I live in Arizona. You can get a nice foreclosure right now for that price.

For example: http://www.azsearchforhomes.com/idx/mls-4548942-3006_e_muirwood_drive_ahwatukee_az_85048

175k for this http://mls-photos.diversesolutions.com/237/4584833/0-full.jpg

brb moving to arizona :burgerking:


That house looks ridiculous.  It's not a house with a garage attached.  It's a garage with a small house attached.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #163 on: August 03, 2011, 06:35:03 pm »
Well, it is official... I'm moving forward with this project - finally.  After about a year's delay the wife and I decided what the hell and we are just going to go for it.  Anyway, the architect will have final plans and elevations drafted by the end of the month and we are going to be heard by the zoning board in town at the November meeting.  This puts us on track for a March/April 2012 start and since the project is supposed to take 3-4 months to complete we are about 1 year away.  It seems like a long time but I'm sure it will go fast.

The good news is that the final layout of the basement is going to be pretty nice and not so irregular shaped like I initially thought.  There will be room for an open theater area, a small kitchenette/bar area and, most importantly, a bunch of arcade cabinets!  I'll be taking all suggestions on layout once I have the official plans to post but I've attached my best guess at the moment which should be mostly accurate (although I'm hoping the builder/architect can squeeze a little more space out of the thing...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #164 on: August 03, 2011, 07:49:00 pm »
In the original plans, was the idea to only raise part of the basement to 8' ceilings? Or is that something new you've done to curtail some of the costs?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #165 on: August 03, 2011, 09:29:34 pm »
In the original plans, was the idea to only raise part of the basement to 8' ceilings? Or is that something new you've done to curtail some of the costs?

That was always the plan.  The 6' ceilings are part of the existing basement. I have to come in about 5' from each wall to dig down. 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #166 on: September 01, 2011, 01:45:55 pm »
Looks good man! Take the plunge and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You guys deserve it. I assume by now you've "broken ground" and are living at a Holiday Inn?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #167 on: February 20, 2012, 03:02:01 pm »
Wow... almost a year and a half since the wife and I got "serious" about this project... we are so close - to starting!  We are scheduled to go before the zoning board on March 12 to get approval for our variance. 

We have been less than thrilled with our architect - seems as though her company can't do simple math.  Basically, you are allowed 20% lot coverage in my town.  Anything more requires a variance.  The zoning board will typically just say yes to anything under 22% but stop and pause for anything over 22% - it is arbitrary and stupid.  Anyway, the architect designed the addition to cover 21.87% which should be fine... however, the town did their calculations and said we would actually be at 22.3%.  The town will not budge from their numbers.  The difference?  The architect is measuring coverage to the corners of my foundation - the town (and surveyor) are measuring to the corners of my shingles, which stick out about 2" all the way around the house.  Can you believe it?  Seems like something the architect should have known at the beginning, right?

I'm hoping that if the zoning board does start asking questions I'll be able to give them some comfort on how the numbers were arrived at and they will approve everything.  I hate hate hate this entire process and we haven't even begun construction yet.  Not to mention we are already out several thousand dollars in design costs...

 :angry:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #168 on: February 21, 2012, 01:41:32 pm »
I was actually wondering about this project a few days ago and almost bumped the thread. Good luck!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #169 on: February 21, 2012, 05:18:35 pm »
Lot coverage can go from simple foundation measurement to eaves measurement and deck measurements.   I varies wherever you go but an Arch should know what the definition is in the area they are planning in.

Bad Arch Bad

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #170 on: February 22, 2012, 11:07:31 am »
I was actually wondering about this project a few days ago and almost bumped the thread. Good luck!

Thanks!  I'm going to need it... the way things are shaping up it looks like we could be starting construction as my wife pops out kid #3.  She's due May 16 and if we get approved on March 12 the architect said it's about 2 months from then until we break ground.  Holy crap.

Lot coverage can go from simple foundation measurement to eaves measurement and deck measurements.   I varies wherever you go but an Arch should know what the definition is in the area they are planning in.

Bad Arch Bad

I'm still pretty upset about the error.  We are paying a premium for an architect in town - they were more expensive than the others we spoke with but we were told through our research that they are the best and have so many relationships with the town and local contractors that getting a variance would be much easier.  Now that doesn't seem to be the case. 

However, I am very happy with the design they came up with and I never would have thought of it in a million years so there's definite value but still.  I was thinking "rectangle on the back of the house" and they came up with something much more creative and rearranged existing interior walls to make the entire thing feel like it was designed for the house initially rather than tacked on 100 years later!  It's going to be awesome when it is finished and it will completely change the way we use our entire house.  I'm excited but I'm ready for it to be finished.

DNA Dan

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #171 on: February 22, 2012, 08:20:14 pm »
Measuring coverage based on the roof is complete BS. Unless you have some massive 3-4 foot eave that is going to hang over your side property lines, I think the city is giving you the shake down. If your city wants to play that game with you then you should play it back. Simply have the arcitech reduce your eave overhang by 2-3 inches. That should shave off that 0.3 so you're back under 22. What the city is trying to do is justify a future fee or cost by saying they did you a favor in approving this "over the 22% maximum". 0.3% isn't really anything to be concerned about and most would just round off to the nearest %. They are singling you out.  Another option is to just miter the corners of the roof line to see if you can reduce it 0.3% Working with city government is more about playing their game than it is playing by the rules. Good luck!

EDIT: Another option is to remove the 2" of shingles around your house and get the clearance. In 6 months simply replace this last row of shingles. Fairly easy to do and you'd only get busted if one of your neighbors calls an inspector to your house to measure. Pretty much anyone looking at the property is not going to know it's 22.3% just by looking at it. How would the inspectors even know otherwise unless someone knows your situation and snitches on you.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 08:25:49 pm by DNA Dan »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #172 on: March 13, 2012, 12:41:54 am »
Well Bro how did it go? Did you stick it to the man?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #173 on: March 17, 2012, 07:02:54 pm »
Bueller?. . . . . . . . Bueller?. . . . . . . . . . :bump

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #174 on: May 13, 2012, 12:38:47 am »
 :dunno

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Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #175 on: August 11, 2012, 05:39:52 pm »
We got the variance.  We are meeting with contractors this week.  Construction will start in late October if everything goes the way we think it will go.  Man, this year has been crazy - new baby so absolutely no free time...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #176 on: August 12, 2012, 12:17:07 pm »
Congratulations! I hate how long some of these things take.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #177 on: August 13, 2012, 01:04:50 pm »
Sweet~! You'll be playing some defender and cursing, swearing, adding more stress to your life soon.  :cheers:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #178 on: August 13, 2012, 02:02:35 pm »
Sweet~! You'll be playing some defender and cursing, swearing, adding more stress to your life soon.  :cheers:

I sure hope so although I fear that my actual game room still is a ways off.  If all goes well we are thinking that construction will be done by next April or so and then we will have to buy furniture for a new TV room and a new bedroom.  Then I can start working on the basement.  I'm probably looking at late 2013 if we have any money left over (doubtful).   :hissy:

Congratulations! I hate how long some of these things take.

Me too... although it is mostly our fault due to the new baby and not being able to focus on this for the last 6 months.  We are back on track though - we have meetings set up with 6 contractors this week (Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, Wednesday night, Thursday morning, Thursday night and Friday morning).  It's nuts.  Once we meet with them (done on August 17) we pick 4 to give bid packages to (on Monday August 20).  Then they have 3 weeks to get us their bids (by Friday September 7) and then we select the bid we like the best (September 14 will give us a week to review everything).  Then it is 4-6 weeks to get permits before construction can begin (so somewhere between mid to end of October).  This is best case-scenario assuming they can start right away (which will be something we ask about in the interviewing process this week).  Then we are thinking 4-6 months for them to finish the entire project.... so April.  Ugh.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Trying Again
« Reply #179 on: August 17, 2012, 01:54:45 pm »
So we narrowed the list of contractors down to 4 who will bid on the job.  They can all start construction in late October so that is our time frame.  Bid packages go out Monday and they have 3 weeks to respond.  Then we will take a week or so to decide, then 4-6 weeks for permits and we are a go.  I'm super-nervous about the cost because I'm not sure our architect listens when we say we don't have unlimited funds.  Anyway, I've been playing (dreaming) with the layout in the future basement.  Any thoughts?  I think I like the first layout a little better but I also don't think the bar needs to be that big.  Maybe a small kitchenette somewhere with a sink, mini-fridge and a microwave will work better?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #180 on: August 17, 2012, 03:05:53 pm »
I like the first layout, especially if you are going to watch any sports. That will allow people to mill around the bar area and keep any eye on the game.

Looks great! Keep us posted.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #181 on: August 17, 2012, 07:11:55 pm »
That's too much bar, imo. It's not like you're gonna hire a professional bar tender to serve at your parties. Put the bar against the wall and open up that room for a ping pong table, I say.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #182 on: August 18, 2012, 10:20:00 pm »
I agree with shmokes. Are you hosting 20+ people at a time down there? The bar area is just too much wasted space. I like the layout of the second one better. It seems to flow nice. However I can see having the screen viewable from the bar. Especially with only 4 nice chairs in there, you'll probably have friends kicking at the bar watching too.

The one thing I really don't care for is the laundry in the arcade area. I see this is a great spot for them, but I would seriously consider making a laundry room, then push the arcade towards the bar area. You might be able to have some folding doors there or something, otherwise it will feel like you're playing at a laundrymat.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #183 on: August 18, 2012, 11:03:35 pm »
My life is so boring I have to live vicariously through you! Try this on for some ideas. The laundry gets its own "area" which includes storage for all the soaps and junk associated with it. You can put cabinets overhead and still have room for more storage. This could even be closed off with a door. Your party guests would just hang a left at the bottom of the stair landing and be hit with a minibar and room for 6 or so arcade machines. Since the room is long, I think it works better to have your stairs enter in towards the room. Just some more ideas for you. (God I wish I was in your shoes.) ::) ::)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #184 on: August 19, 2012, 05:25:52 am »
My life is so boring I have to live vicariously through you! Try this on for some ideas. The laundry gets its own "area" which includes storage for all the soaps and junk associated with it. You can put cabinets overhead and still have room for more storage. This could even be closed off with a door. Your party guests would just hang a left at the bottom of the stair landing and be hit with a minibar and room for 6 or so arcade machines. Since the room is long, I think it works better to have your stairs enter in towards the room. Just some more ideas for you. (God I wish I was in your shoes.) ::) ::)

Ok I'll throw my 50 cents worth of advice in there. 

You are going to have to decide if you want a bar, a home theatre, an arcade or a laundry room.  There isn't enough room in that space for all four, you could probably get away with three, but just two would be better. 

DNA has the right idea, hide the washer and dryer cause those things are ugly.  Put a mini bar where the washer and dryer were.  Imho that's all you need.  I would then expand the theatre section out to where your other bar was and make one big room.  Why?  Because without walls you have a lot more space.  You can line the back with cabs, some tables, whatever.  Walling off such a large space into so many tiny compartments means you are stuck with that floor plan until you decide to remodel again.  With a more multi-purpose common area you can play around a bit more as the years go by.  For example, your current layout couldn't accomidate pinball machines if you decide to get some later, but if that whole top area was one giant room instead of two, you could line the back with em and still have room to spare.    You can do it the opposite way as well, ditch the bar and make a huge common area with the theatre as-is. 

The only reason I mention all this is you put "gameroom" first in your description and yet in your layout they look crammed in there as an afterthought.  Of all the things down there, games are going to need the most dedicated space.  Remember, you have to take the depth of a game and double it in your layout, so somebody will actually have enough room to stand in front of it and play it.  ;)

Also something that might save you some space is to reduce the size of that media closet.  If those cabs are to scale it's something like 4 1/2 feet?  That's crazy.  You need two feet max.  You don't have to walk inside afterall, you merely have to be able to reach inside.  I can't think of any home networking or home theatre equipment that is more than about a foot and a half by a foot. 

I'm also wondering why you feel the need to hide the electrical box.  The ac and heat sure, that makes sense, but if the box is flush mounted, hang a poster in front of it and you are done.  Again, getting rid of some of those walled off areas just gives you more options.

Right now the room looks like it's trying to be four things at once, which I guess it is.  You need to pick a theme and stick with it.  Personally, I'd go with a home cinema..... a lobby with a small concession stand (or bar if you must) and arcade machines when you enter and a theatre in the back, but that's just me. 


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #185 on: August 19, 2012, 11:42:57 pm »
I think the Theater screen looks too small.    Ive messed around a little.. and made a Retractable ceiling mount screen.   If this isnt possible (expense) ... a pivoting flip-down wall version could also be made.

This allows games to be put behind the screen when movies are playing... and when retracted, you get that space back, and space to be able to stand at the games.   It also give you a much larger projection screen.

 You could make stadium style seating, for more than 4 people.  Under the seating, you could have the platform house the subwoofers and bass shaker transducers.   The entire arcade and speakers could also be on a 10" or so tall platform, allowing placement of center channel speakers in the front face of the platform.

 The bar could exist where the laundry was, and the closet could be the bartender entrance.

 The red lines are a mass loaded curtain (track) that retracts when not needed for movies.
 
Pink circles are ceiling rear channel speakers.   You may also want to install some speakers above the bar, and other areas, for widespread general music playing.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #186 on: August 20, 2012, 05:05:56 pm »
Wow - you guys are the best.  Thanks for the suggestions!!  I agree that I'm trying to do too much with the room... I think I needed someone to say something.  Although I like the first layout best, the bar area is too big.  I probably only need a counter up against a wall somewhere with a small sink and fridge/microwave underneath.  Just enough to keep some drinks cold and some snack storage.

I love the idea of moving the laundry area BUT I don't think that's practical.  I know this thread is large but the area in my layout with the arcade cabinets, bar and theater is the only "usable" space.  The ceilings will be 8' - everywhere else will be approximately 6' which means I have to duck to fit in there (I'm 6' tall).  The new room (theater and bar) will be dug out to 8' - the arcade area is going to be jack-hammered out of my existing basement down about 3' so it will be even with the new room.  So the effect is that when you open the doors to the washer/dryer they will be sitting on a raised platform.  All of the other utilities (HVAC, water heater, etc.) will be on the raised platform.  The oil tank is being removed.  The media closet, while large, is also on the raised platform so there's not much I can do about its size.  I also need to account for a sump pump in the top left or right corner, unfortunately.

This room will be primarily used for hanging out - playing video games, drinking beer and watching sports with friends.  I also think I'll be watching a lot of movies but that will be a secondary function which is why I'm not opting for a dedicated theater.  Movies will also be more of a family event rather than something we would invite people over to do.

I need to play with the sketch-up some more...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #187 on: August 20, 2012, 10:14:13 pm »
If the oil tank is coming out, why can't you take that whole bottom area to the outer foundation? Am I missing something here? That's a lot of wasted space in the floorplan. While the single theater/arcade room makes the best use of space, you have to decide if your parties are "all one activity" or not. Would hate to be watching Sophie's Choice when someone hits a new high score on Tempest. You have to decide just how much privacy you like when you watch movies. I know some people who need silence on the silent parts, that sort of thing.

In the split landing scenario I provided, it allows for you to lower the arcade floor, but keep the laundry area where it is. My whole point with the laundry is you want it as accessible as possible. It's bad enough you have to walk down there with your clothes. Speaking of which, you should consider a laundry chute that you can drop clothes in and have them dump down there. Will save you half the trips and make the wife happier.

EDIT: I see what you're saying about the height. Still seems like you could dig down closer to the perimeter foundation and still gain a lot more space.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 10:17:47 pm by DNA Dan »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #188 on: August 21, 2012, 06:08:57 am »
Yeah I'm not getting that either. 

The reason you aren't digging the whole thing out.... is that an expense issue or something?  Because if it were me I'd rather have a totally unfinished basement with 8 foot ceilings than a one with a strange layout that makes half of the space virtually un-useable.  I get that the crawl space and the little box (I guess for a sump?) in the corner have to  stay... utilities and all that, but I don't see why the area that the oil tank, and the ac/heat/media closet area couldn't be dug out.  If you are worried about the ac/heat you could leave those two things on the existing floor and dig around... it wouldn't hurt a bit to have those on platforms as the space is unusable for anything else anyway.

I apologize if I sound pushy.  It's really hard to understand the troubles of remodeling a space unless you are actually in the space to look at it.


But I've gotta ask... if your basement is so damp that you need a sump pump is it really the best place to store arcade cabs?  Or anything for that matter?  Ever thought of an above-ground addition?  ;)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #189 on: August 21, 2012, 09:20:37 am »
If we try and lower the entire basement up to the existing foundation it will be prohibitively expensive.  The entire structure would need to be underpinned which is a huge undertaking.  If you come in far enough from the walls you can dig down without worrying about the existing house caving in.  Honestly, I don't mind leaving the slab at that height since that space will be used for utilities and storage - especially given the cost (we need the storage - this is the only place in the house for it).

Above the "new" basement area will be a 2 story addition - family room on the first floor and a master bedroom and bathroom on the second floor.  We are not allowed to go even one square inch larger with the design because of the town building code and coverage rules.  I'm on 0.14 acres so it's not a lot of space to work with. 

I just need to figure out how to make the space the most usable.  I don't think I'll ever be trying to watch a movie or something while people are playing video games (if people come over to specifically watch a movie I imagine that's what everyone will be doing) and if we are watching football with a bunch of friends I won't care about the background noise from the other activities.  I could be wrong but that's what I'm thinking.  I should post some pictures of what it looks like now so you guys can get an idea of what I'm working with.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #190 on: August 23, 2012, 02:47:17 am »
The open floor plan is a good idea. You could put in retractable dividers or pull shades, if necessary.
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #191 on: September 06, 2012, 03:01:34 pm »
The open floor plan is a good idea. You could put in retractable dividers or pull shades, if necessary.

That is an idea... hmmm.... I wonder how I'd implement it though.  Any dividers would have to be completely hidden and look good while they were in use.  So many decisions...

Anyway, the 3 weeks are almost up and we are expecting bids to start coming in tomorrow or Monday.  I'm so freaking nervous.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #192 on: September 10, 2012, 01:07:00 am »
You know in the end it's impossible to account for EVERY possible scenario. My wife and I built our own house. We covered a lot of bases and love the final product greatly. However, there are still things I would have done differently. I don't know if this is just perception on how you think the space will work on paper vs. the real deal, or if desires/tastes change and the space no longer suits you the same. It's very strange. Bottom line is it's a moving target really. If you can capture 80% or more of what you orignially set out to do and stay in budget, you're golden. The real key is staying within budget. No one wants a half finished room, or a theater with folding chairs in it. Know the costs for the finishes you are shooting for and account for all those things before you take on more than you can afford. I think with the amount of planning and discussion in this thread, you'll be fine.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #193 on: September 10, 2012, 05:23:39 pm »
You know in the end it's impossible to account for EVERY possible scenario. My wife and I built our own house. We covered a lot of bases and love the final product greatly. However, there are still things I would have done differently. I don't know if this is just perception on how you think the space will work on paper vs. the real deal, or if desires/tastes change and the space no longer suits you the same. It's very strange. Bottom line is it's a moving target really. If you can capture 80% or more of what you orignially set out to do and stay in budget, you're golden. The real key is staying within budget. No one wants a half finished room, or a theater with folding chairs in it. Know the costs for the finishes you are shooting for and account for all those things before you take on more than you can afford. I think with the amount of planning and discussion in this thread, you'll be fine.

I think you are exactly right.  I'm not too worried about the finishing budget - I know that will come over the next 20 years.  I just want to get the "bones" of the house in place and get the space we need.  We will be working on finishing the house over the rest of our lives (or at least the next 18 years until the kids are all in college).  Plus, we are able to save money at a pretty good rate (my wife is an animal with the family budget). 

We heard from the architect today and 2 of the 4 bidders requested an extension through Friday (so we offered it to all 4 of them).  So Friday we will be getting the bids and an idea on how much this is all going to cost.

Very cool that you built your own place - you must have a lot of pride in the finished product.   :cheers:

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #194 on: September 10, 2012, 05:57:10 pm »
Very cool that you built your own place - you must have a lot of pride in the finished product.   :cheers:

It's fun but its actually pretty stressful. Oftentimes I felt at odds with the contractor where he would say he understood, but then somehting would turn out differently. So then I had to pin him on details and track every little detail myself. This apparently is something most contractors dislike. They like to have flexibility. Afterall in their line of work there's a lot of things to schedule and manuever. Differences will happen, but you just have to be clear and concise with what you want. It also helps to have it drawn out or written about as a work order. This way you know exactly what you're getting for the $$$$.

Beyond that, I was a little shocked at the prices you have to pay to get into certain levels of finish. Materials just aren't the same as they used to be. I mean I could have done some of these things myself, but by the time you factor in paying more for materials at the retail level, you just don't save that much. It's also a headache for some things "after the fact".  As they build it out, take lots of photos so if you have to do any future work, you know where everything is located in the walls. We never second guessed plumbing or electrical. If we thought we might put something there in the future, we installed a tap for those things in the future. 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #195 on: September 10, 2012, 06:15:55 pm »
You know the old expression.  If you want something done right... better do it yourself. 

In my area everybody pretty much does remodeling themselves.  I've got to admit though, the cost of materials anymore makes it hard.  Usually if the cost is about the same I'll go ahead and do it myself though, simply because I know it'll be done right.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist on some things and contractors drive me crazy... they like to cut corners. 

I'm excited for you and an anxious to see how things turn out.... remember, pics or it didn't happen!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #196 on: September 17, 2012, 03:57:54 pm »
Well... let's just say that 3 of the 4 bids are in and the difference between the high bid and the low bid is $150,000.  That is not a typo.  The high bid was the first one we got and we were pretty much hysterical.  I'm still not feeling so great right about now since even the low bid is over my budget.  Hopefully the last bid will come in a little lower.  If not, we are going to have to see what we can scale back in the plans in order to make this happen.  Man, I thought this was going to be fun but the entire process has been awful so far.  The good news (I guess) is that construction can begin in about 4-6 weeks and we are going to be done sometime in March.  It can't happen soon enough.  I just want to get this behind me so I can start thinking about other things...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #197 on: September 17, 2012, 04:25:40 pm »
Get rid of the theater nobody will use in 2 months.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #198 on: September 17, 2012, 05:10:44 pm »
Well... let's just say that 3 of the 4 bids are in and the difference between the high bid and the low bid is $150,000.  That is not a typo.  The high bid was the first one we got and we were pretty much hysterical.  I'm still not feeling so great right about now since even the low bid is over my budget.  Hopefully the last bid will come in a little lower.  If not, we are going to have to see what we can scale back in the plans in order to make this happen.  Man, I thought this was going to be fun but the entire process has been awful so far.  The good news (I guess) is that construction can begin in about 4-6 weeks and we are going to be done sometime in March.  It can't happen soon enough.  I just want to get this behind me so I can start thinking about other things...

My suggestion:

Obviously the digging out of the dirt and the laying of the new floor is some heavy duty work, you'll need to hire people to do that.  The other "finish" work is easy though... you could do all of that yourself and save some cash.  Any idgit can put up a non-load-bearing wall and skin it with something.  Electrical is also fairly easy assuming you have easy access to the box and in your case the box is on the wall on the other side of the room, so no problems there.

Which is more valuable to you?  Time or Money?  Because with some of your own time invested into the project you can save a lot of money.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #199 on: September 17, 2012, 06:15:08 pm »
Get rid of the theater nobody will use in 2 months.

The bids are for an unfinished basement.  Also, I'm not putting in a traditional "theater" with risers, total darkness, etc.  This will be a place to watch sports, play games, hang out (and watch movies).  The goal is a large projection screen, comfortable seats and some arcade games but it's way down the road.

My suggestion:

Obviously the digging out of the dirt and the laying of the new floor is some heavy duty work, you'll need to hire people to do that.  The other "finish" work is easy though... you could do all of that yourself and save some cash.  Any idgit can put up a non-load-bearing wall and skin it with something.  Electrical is also fairly easy assuming you have easy access to the box and in your case the box is on the wall on the other side of the room, so no problems there.

Which is more valuable to you?  Time or Money?  Because with some of your own time invested into the project you can save a lot of money.

I am going to paint myself and I'm going to install the cabinetry myself - even though I could probably do more I don't really have the time and since this is going to affect my entire house I need the bulk of the project to be completed as fast as possible.  I will be doing everything in the basement myself (with my dad's help) over time but for now we just want to get the unfinished space in the basement and the TV room and master bedroom/bathroom completed.  We will figure it out - it's just not as easy as I was hoping.  Also, I need more money!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #200 on: September 18, 2012, 08:03:21 pm »
Also, I need more money!

That's such a hilarious coincidence . . .
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #201 on: September 20, 2012, 12:11:26 pm »
Man you're already saying you need more money just to get to the unfinished basement stage? That doesn't sound so good.

I have seen people dig out their basements on their own, a bucket full of dirt at a time. However if time is the factor, then your best option is to plant a money tree and start watering it.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #202 on: September 20, 2012, 12:38:29 pm »
Well, yeah - I could always use more money... who couldn't?  If we go forward, we will be pretty much depleting our savings since the goal is to do this without a loan so the mortgage stays the same.  There will be about a 12-18 month period where we will have to build up our cushion and just hope nothing goes seriously wrong financially during that time.  We started seriously saving about 3 years ago for this so I think we'd be able to build it back up reasonably quick.  I don't know - I'm very risk-averse and I'm very conservative when it comes to spending but what is the point of saving money if you don't ever enjoy it?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #203 on: September 20, 2012, 02:05:20 pm »

It's a reasonable sounding plan but I don't like that 18 month cushionless period.  An awful lot can go wrong in that span of time. 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #204 on: September 20, 2012, 04:25:34 pm »
You know what too though - As the economy improves you're just going to be looking at more money down the road. So at some point you just have to take the risk if you really want it. I'm surprised the cost is that much. What work does that amount entail? (If you don't mind sharing.)

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #205 on: September 20, 2012, 04:36:48 pm »
You know what too though - As the economy improves you're just going to be looking at more money down the road. So at some point you just have to take the risk if you really want it. I'm surprised the cost is that much. What work does that amount entail? (If you don't mind sharing.)


Yeah, if you mean that the cost is going to increase as the economy improves.  That will happen.  But this can also be done in stages so that it doesn't entirely destroy the cushion.  That will cost more in the long run but it will have a ton less risk of one injury destroying the whole plan.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #206 on: September 20, 2012, 06:13:13 pm »

It's a reasonable sounding plan but I don't like that 18 month cushionless period.  An awful lot can go wrong in that span of time.

Agreed.  This is what makes me nuts.  I like having to not worry about finances and I live my life accordingly.  The only amount we owe anyone in the world is the mortgage on our house - cars are paid for, student loans are paid for, no credit card balance, etc.  I just hate having debt which is why we are trying to do this project from savings (no additional debt).

You know what too though - As the economy improves you're just going to be looking at more money down the road. So at some point you just have to take the risk if you really want it. I'm surprised the cost is that much. What work does that amount entail? (If you don't mind sharing.)

This is the problem... I feel like the job is just ever so slightly out of our reach unless we take a chance.  We have a meeting Saturday with the low bidder to go over the plans and see if there is anything we can cut to get within our budget.  There is some interior work going on in the existing house that we may be able to live without (windows in blank walls, moving the front closet, etc.).  If there is some savings there we will just hold off.

The job consists of adding a 15' x 23' structure off of the back of my house.  This will include a family room on the first floor, a master bathroom and master bathroom on the second floor and a full basement (and we are excavating the existing basement to match the grade of the new basement).  The existing upstairs bathroom is also being redone (it is being made smaller with the additional space becoming the hallway to get to the new area).  On the first floor we are also installing a new counter in the kitchen because part of the new room will be directly behind the existing sink (so we are turning that into a high counter/sitting area).  We are also knocking down one existing wall on the first floor (this has to be done or the overall design won't work). 

The pisser is that we have to demolish our detached garage and build an entirely new (smaller) structure to get under the town building coverage zoning regulations - the estimate on that alone is approximately $30,000 and we don't even want it.  That's about the amount we are over budget.  It's a lot of work.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #207 on: September 20, 2012, 07:02:56 pm »
To be honest with that much work going on, you might be better off taking a loan. Look at this way, rates are the lowest they have been in decades. The extra money you'd pay for interest is a hedge against not having a savings cushion and taking on that added risk. There's something to be said for using the bank's money when it's cheap, and minimizing your risk by being flush with cash. Even if it was a small loan and you kept only half your savings, that would be better than wiping it completely out. I know you said you hate owing people money, but I guess you need to decide if that is better or worse than having no cash on hand.

Just because you have a loan, doesn't mean you can't pay the principle back early and opt-out of all that interest if the loan went to term. Put your tax return, any bonuses, pay raises, etc., on the loan. At least this is something that should APPRECIATE and not DEPRECIATE in value. If you were doing so to buy a new car, that would be a different story.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #208 on: September 20, 2012, 07:58:38 pm »

It's also worth considering that if you have to stretch so far it makes you nervous that you really can't afford it yet.  You're not done saving for it.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #209 on: September 21, 2012, 11:52:44 am »
Take it from me, a faceless stranger on the internet. You've got to enjoy your life. This is what you want. Go for it. I would go for the loan, or use half money half loan so you still have a bit of cushion. These low interest rates aren't going to last forever and the faster you do it the longer you and your family can enjoy it.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #210 on: September 21, 2012, 02:13:45 pm »
Don't deplete savings unless you have family to help out in an emergency.  How safe are your jobs/what fields are you in?
You have a daughter right(any others)?  Do they have a college fund actively being contributed to?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #211 on: September 24, 2012, 09:46:13 pm »
No turning back.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 09:48:54 pm by javeryh »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #212 on: November 28, 2012, 09:50:33 pm »
I need to seriously start thinking about the basement layout - I have to decide on sump pump placement by next week.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #213 on: November 29, 2012, 08:25:14 am »
I think I just found Hoffa!   :o

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #214 on: November 29, 2012, 10:41:35 am »
Woohoo! Congrats dude. I just started moving on my basement. The difference between our projects is that I actually have a basement to start out with.

I'm building a 9 foot wide closet area for the arcade games to slide into. My thought is that I think I'd like them inset in the wall instead of up against it so it looks built in opposed to an after thought. The plus side is if I ever get rid of the arcade games, it converts to a closet and you can't have too many closets.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #215 on: November 29, 2012, 10:53:45 am »

Heh, same here, I have a project thread going in Arcade Misc.  Big update coming soon when I have time.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #216 on: November 29, 2012, 12:47:13 pm »
Looking good Jav! Was it a little nerve wrecking when the back hoe started digging right up against the house foundation?

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #217 on: November 29, 2012, 05:39:38 pm »
Thanks guys!  It has definitely been stressful - they just shut off the kitchen sink today and we didn't have laundry last week.  We lose our only bathroom in a few weeks too.  We have been saving for this project since 2008 and our lives have basically been on hold.  I haven't even built an arcade cabinet since 2009.  First order of business is building one for my son next summer once this project is completed!

This week they broke through the foundation wall and installed 2 steel beams in my existing basement.  This enabled them to remove all of the support columns.  Next week they are jack-hammering my existing basement floor to bring it down a few feet to be level with the excavated portion.  Then the foundation walls and slab go in and they are off to the races.  Since my property is so small they have had a hard time with logistics - for example, they can't get a dump truck into my back yard so they have to take each scoop of dirt to the front of the house where the truck is parked.  Stuff like that.  I am excited though.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #218 on: November 29, 2012, 10:26:15 pm »
Was it hard to get construction after the storm? You're in the northeast right? Seems like all those construction guys would have plenty of emergency repair work.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #219 on: November 30, 2012, 09:27:11 am »

Wow, with a lot that close to everything else and that size, I'm surprised you got the permits.  Here the neighbors would have sued until we were all dead.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #220 on: November 30, 2012, 04:52:40 pm »
Was it hard to get construction after the storm? You're in the northeast right? Seems like all those construction guys would have plenty of emergency repair work.

We were delayed by 2 weeks since we were without power.  The contractor had a few roofs to fix and he went do the shore to help out there as well but nothing major as far as delays.  So far so good with the contractor - he is excellent at communication and has been very careful about minimizing the disruption in the house.  That storm was awful and I got out lucky with no damage to my house (my fish died though).  A few houses down got flattened by a tree - the town was basically a warzone.


Wow, with a lot that close to everything else and that size, I'm surprised you got the permits.  Here the neighbors would have sued until we were all dead.

We had to apply for a variance and no one showed up at the meeting to protest.  My town allows 20% lot coverage and with a variance you can go up to 22%.  My lot is only 120' x 50' so you can't build anything too big.  We were at 18% before construction!  This is why we are turning our 2 car garage into a 1 car garage...

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #221 on: December 02, 2012, 11:36:00 am »
Awesome to see you pulling the trigger on this! I am sure you'll be happy with it when it's completed. I'm jealous of all you guys with basement arcades. We can't build a basement because our water table is too high where we live.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #222 on: December 02, 2012, 11:38:42 am »
We had to apply for a variance and no one showed up at the meeting to protest.  My town allows 20% lot coverage and with a variance you can go up to 22%.  My lot is only 120' x 50' so you can't build anything too big.  We were at 18% before construction!  This is why we are turning our 2 car garage into a 1 car garage...


Yeah, that's pretty common.  Notices of the meeting will go out, nobody shows up, and then once construction starts everybody has a beef. 

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #223 on: December 02, 2012, 06:01:16 pm »
Awesome to see you pulling the trigger on this! I am sure you'll be happy with it when it's completed. I'm jealous of all you guys with basement arcades. We can't build a basement because our water table is too high where we live.

Haha - I hope I'm happy with it.  I mean it seems like there will be enough space in the basement but I'm not totally sure until I'm standing in it I guess.  I've changed my thinking a bit on what I want to do.  I'm still thinking about a projector and a 120"+ screen with theater seats but I'm rethinking the need to cram a bar in there.  Maybe just a "nook" of some sort with a small sink and a mini fridge/microwave.  Of course I'm still putting about 4-5 arcade cabinets down there.

That stinks about your water table.  I'm a little concerned since our neighbors behind us are on higher ground so we get runoff.  The hole has had water in it since they dug it out.  We never really got water in our existing basement though (a trickle here and there but never anything more).  They are going to waterproof the new room and I'm getting 2 sump pumps and french drains around the perimeter which will hopefully protect us.


We had to apply for a variance and no one showed up at the meeting to protest.  My town allows 20% lot coverage and with a variance you can go up to 22%.  My lot is only 120' x 50' so you can't build anything too big.  We were at 18% before construction!  This is why we are turning our 2 car garage into a 1 car garage...


Yeah, that's pretty common.  Notices of the meeting will go out, nobody shows up, and then once construction starts everybody has a beef.

We know our neighbors got the notice (we had to send them out to anyone within 200 yards of my property) because they were asking us about what we were planning on doing.  I think the parking situation is what is already driving everyone nuts.  We can't park in our driveway and our neighbor's kid parks his stupid car in front of our house all the time.  If it wasn't for that we would be OK because 2 cars can fit in the street in front of the house.  Also, the trucks during the day must be a little annoying but I'm at work so I don't really know what is going on and they are always gone by the time I get home.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #224 on: December 04, 2012, 11:31:10 am »
2 sump pumps is a great way to go...  We have the main one and then another one hooked to a battery and charger, so we have constant protection...  Great start...  cant wait to see the rest
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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #225 on: December 05, 2012, 01:17:52 am »
French drains around your foundation are an absolute must. Sounds like you are  in "good hands" with a contractor you are comfortable with. That's a very important and delicate place to be.

Regarding the bar, as long as they don't install a bunch of non-supporting walls and leave you with an open finished basement, you should be able to mock up some objects to see how tight it will be in there. Putting in cabinets or bartops once everything is completed is easy. Hell you could even build your own fake walls if you really want them down there for privacy. Personally, a nook with some scotch decanters and a wine area is all I would need. I just don't see the point in dragging food down there to cook and stuff unless it's a full on kitchen. Have you considered a dumb waiter? You could prep foods in your kitchen and send them down. The only things I could see being really useful is a small sink, an ice maker, beverage fridge and a microwave.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 01:19:46 am by DNA Dan »

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #226 on: December 05, 2012, 09:07:26 am »

That's good advice.  Food prep is a completely different animal than a wet bar and minifridge.  It's also overkill unless your kitchen is super inconvenient from that location.  I have known several people who put in a second kitchen during a remodel and they all ended up using it pretty much for extra fridge storage.  The cabinets filled up with random crap and the ovens went unused for long enough that you couldn't use them anymore without a serious cleaning.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #227 on: December 05, 2012, 03:17:30 pm »
I've changed my thinking a bit on what I want to do.  I'm still thinking about a projector and a 120"+ screen with theater seats but I'm rethinking the need to cram a bar in there.  Maybe just a "nook" of some sort with a small sink and a mini fridge/microwave.  Of course I'm still putting about 4-5 arcade cabinets down there.

I am not fully decided, but with the space I have (approximately 15' x 17' room) I think I'm going to go with the 60" LCD. It'll still be possible for me to go 100" screen if I want, I don't want to have to always sit in the dark to get the best watching experience and 100" seems like it'll be too big and I'll have that first row in the theater effect.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #228 on: December 05, 2012, 06:49:42 pm »
For movie watching I'd go with a panasonic VT50 plasma. They still make them in 65". I have an older version of this TV at a viewing distance of 14 feet and it still looks fantastic since the day I bought it.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - [Layout Pics - Need Comments!]
« Reply #229 on: December 06, 2012, 10:20:05 pm »
I agree with you guys about the kitchen.  The only food prep item I'll have is a microwave, a refrigerator and a sink.  No oven, no stovetop, etc.  I can always cook upstairs and bring it down.

I am not fully decided, but with the space I have (approximately 15' x 17' room) I think I'm going to go with the 60" LCD. It'll still be possible for me to go 100" screen if I want, I don't want to have to always sit in the dark to get the best watching experience and 100" seems like it'll be too big and I'll have that first row in the theater effect.

That's why I had the basement designed with no windows!  It will always be dark down there.  TVs are so cheap so I don't think you can go wrong even if you change your mind later on.

So check this out... my basement is a mess!


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #230 on: December 07, 2012, 07:18:55 pm »
I'm not even sure I would put a microwave down there.  What would you heat up exactly that would be so urgent that you can't go upstairs?  I think I would use that space to put in one of those mini "vintage" popcorn poppers you can find in stores around this time.... much better for the theater effect. 

Glad to see things are finally moving btw.... too bad it's in the middle of frikkin winter, that's gonna suck!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #231 on: December 09, 2012, 07:24:00 am »

Is a no windows basement up to code?  Here any "finished living space" has to have two potential exits.  Even if one is a tiny ass window that no reasonable adult could get out through.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #232 on: December 09, 2012, 08:09:13 am »

Is a no windows basement up to code?  Here any "finished living space" has to have two potential exits.  Even if one is a tiny ass window that no reasonable adult could get out through.

If they force you to have 2 egress points, they'll have mandatory sizes for those egress points.

As for the windowless basement, we have a house built in the 80's that is a windowless basement. We wonder how they got away with it. I just figured Javery was putting his theater in a section of the basement without a window and there would be a window in another room.

javeryh

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #233 on: December 09, 2012, 08:38:48 am »
I should clarify - only the addition is completely windowless.  We have a landing 1/2 way up the staircase that actually has a full door that exits the house to the driveway.  Then there are 3 other (very small) windows in the existing area (transoms up near the ceiling).  It's all definitely to code - the town took 4 weeks to approve the plans plus we had to go to a hearing to get the variance.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #234 on: December 09, 2012, 10:24:38 am »
If they force you to have 2 egress points, they'll have mandatory sizes for those egress points.


They do have mandatory sizes.  The secondary egress is surprisingly small, though, and I don't think they mandate the window type.  An adult would have trouble getting out of the basement windows in my house without ripping out the steel frame.  They tilt inwards and they don't tilt far enough for a fat person to get through.

DaOld Man

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #235 on: December 10, 2012, 04:09:11 am »
2 sump pumps is a great way to go...  We have the main one and then another one hooked to a battery and charger, so we have constant protection...

This is a wonderful idea!

I think I would use that space to put in one of those mini "vintage" popcorn poppers you can find in stores around this time.... much better for the theater effect. 

I was just about to say "Gotta have a microwave for popcorn" but then I see you post a much better idea.
But still a microwave would be nice for sandwiches and hot pockets.

javeryh

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar [NO TURNING BACK]
« Reply #236 on: December 10, 2012, 11:54:04 am »
Popcorn machine is a must! 

This morning the forms for the footers were inspected (and passed) so they can begin pouring.  It is already looking much smaller than I thought which is what I assumed would be the case but it's still a bit of a bummer.  I don't want a big house (I actually prefer smaller cozier places and I don't want to maintain it especially once the kids are grown) but I do want a big basement for movies/sports/TV/games/beer.  I almost wish they could make the basement 3X as big as the addition above ground!

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