The framing is done. Electrical still has to be finished, including a bunch of low voltage stuff, not only for the basement, but because I want all the audio/visual gear for the house in one location, I’ve got to run all cables back to the rack, including cables to transmit IR signals for remote controls.
I have a half wall between the bar room and the billiard room, connecting an existing exterior inside corner to the column boxing in the supporting posts, to better define the spaces, and to mirror the half walls on the main floor of the house, making it look less like I’m trying to hide the posts.
The beam and column are boxed in, as are the snorkels in the theater. The ceiling in the theater will be stepped and coffered so that there isn’t just a low-hanging box in the middle of the room. I’ve got 2x3s screwed to the joists to give space to the sprinkler system. This will also partially decouple the drywall ceiling, making for less sound transmission between the floors, especially once the space between the joists is stuffed with insulation.
I’m putting a large rack somewhere in the room. The plan is to have all of the stereo gear for the entire house located in one central area. I have four zones planned—the great room, the deck, the bar, and the theater. The great room and the deck will both be stereo, the bar will be 5.1 surround, and the theater will be 7.2.4 Atmos/DTS:X surround with transducers in the furniture. All total, that’s 24 speaker wires all to one central location.
I thought of buying a rack, but couldn’t justify the cost of a pre-made rack, and didn’t want to have to scrounge for a used server/telecom rack, so I bought four rack rails to build my own four-post rack. I used some old musical gear and blank rack panels to hold the rails at the correct position, and framed it with the straightest 2x3s I could find. As for where I was going to put it, that became a much bigger issue.
At first, the initial plan had the rack going under the stairs and completely out of site. But my wife didn’t like the idea of losing the storage space under the stairs, and I didn’t like the idea of dust from working in that area of the basement. I thought of positioning it at one end of the bar, like a giant column, but that made access to the back of the rack problematic.
Then I realized that if I put the rack in front of the HVAC area, I can have access to the back of the rack through a hidden door, while framing a wall on the other side that’ll make the boxed ceiling area above it more cohesive with the overall space.
Because I don’t want to have to relocate the fire sprinkler system pipes, the plan is to screw 2x3s to the joists above to drop the drywall ceiling below the level of the pipes. This will also reduce the hard contact area between the drywall and the structure above, which, combined with the insulation we’ll be stuffing in the joists, will result in very little sound transfer between floors.
There is also the matter of the beam and posts in the middle of the space. I don’t like the look of a basement that has a boxed-in beam with a post cover in the middle of a room. To me, this screams “basement.” But there’s little choice in that the beam is in such a place that there’s no way I can hide them inside a wall. I’ll have to box in the beam and frame a column for the posts.
Fortunately, on the main floor of the house, there are several square columns, half walls, and beam-like ceiling features. If I copy the design of those features, the boxed-in beam and posts can look like the features on the main floor, and less like I’m hiding obstructions. And by putting a half wall in between the column and the outside wall, separating the bar room and the billiard room, I’ll even further match the rest of the house. And then, if I were to further match the column with columns on the walls at either end of the beam, and a similar beam/soffit over the bar, I should be adding architectural interest instead of covering up problems.