Monday, September 15, 2014


The Geekwif and I have had an ongoing basement-finishing project for the last few years. Of course, when I say "ongoing", what I really mean is that we started the project with great vim and vigor, but we eventually ran out of steam and momentum about a year and a half ago. At that point, we had finished the painting. Prior to paint, we had:

  • Installed a wooden sub-floor. It insulates you from the cold concrete, not to mention moisture that might seep through, and even feels softer than concrete.
  • Framed the walls, complete with six or seven doors.
  • Framed the soffits around air ducts and low-hanging plumbing.
  • Ran electrical from the main box out to all rooms, for power outlets and lighting. Each room has a dedicated 15-amp circuit, including the network closet.
  • Installed recessed lighting cans in the ceiling of the theater.
  • Installed all power outlets and light switches, including a few complex combination switches (fun learning experience).
  • Ran network cabling in the walls for my den and the theater, back to a central network closet under the stairs.
  • Ran HDMI and audio cables in the walls for the theater, all back to the same network closet.
  • Mounted two patch panels in the network closet, one for networking and HDMI, and one for audio.
  • Setup a wheeled server rack in the network closet for all theater components, including an old-school VCR, DVD player, satellite TV system with DVR, PS3, 7-way surround sound receiver with built-in HDMI hub, Control-4 remote control system (primarily for the theater), and a network switch for the home network.
  • Wired up all the components to the patch panels.
  • Insulated the walls of the theater to buffer the sound of loud movies.
  • Hung drywall on walls and soffits.
  • Taped & mudded the drywall. We contracted that out. Neither of us is any good at it, we don't like doing it and don't really want to learn, and we want the place to look professionally done.
So, it's not like we didn't get very far. In fact we did a LOT of work over a period of about a year. And while not finished, both my den and the theater are fully functional.

The theater has dimming lights (just bare bulbs for now) connected to the Control-4 system, and we have a 65" 3D plasma TV mounted on the wall. We use the PS3 to watch 3D Blu-Ray movies, and we can also watch 3D shows on satellite TV. The surround speakers are positioned about the room and plugged into their wall sockets.

My den is wired for both telephone and network, and I use it to work from home two or three days a week.

With all of that said, you may be wondering what is left? To make a long story short, we have contractors coming in this week and next to finally finish this project:
  • Install suspended ceilings in all rooms plus the hallway.
  • Complete the installation of recessed lighting in the theater, along with the ceiling.
  • Install doors on all rooms.
  • Install trim around door frames, windows, and baseboards.
  • Complete the flooring: install carpet in most rooms, but the Geekwif's gardening room and the hallway near the walk-out will get vinyl. The stairs will also get carpet.
This is a fairly short list, but it's all stuff that will make the place truly finished, and usable for guests as well as just me and my wif. And these finishing tasks are of course the ones that really show when they aren't done "right". We want it all to look professional, so we hired... professionals.

And after all this work is done, we will want to purchase some new furniture. We have a few essentials to start using the rooms right away, but it will be nice to have a real desk in my den rather than just a table, and real theater seating in the theater rather than a couple of cheap folding chairs. All in good time.

For now, I'm taking a few days off from work in order to be available for the contractors, as well as do some of my own little projects and honey-do items over the next few days. Not to mention working on my Ren Fest armor, as I had mentioned previously. Pics have been taken of the work in process, and will likely go up in a post later this week.

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