Basement dedicated cinema.


Well-known Member
Hi all.

I've recently moved to a new house, we've been here around 6 months now and absolutely love it.

In our last house I pretty much worked my way through the whole place refurbishing it including a lounge with 108" drop screen, projector and 7.1 (see footer for previous thread some 8+ years ago).

Since then we've had 2 children and they taken up a lot of our time and dedication as you'd expect and interrupted / derailed many an evening when a movie was going to be watched. All that on top of having to keep the volume levels lower (although I always argued they'd get used to it which they pretty much have).

One of the big selling points in the new place was the basement floor which has a spiral staircase and entrance hall with two rooms either side, one a store room and the other housing the media rack for the house automation and a desk. There were then a set of double doors opening into a large room which had a big comfy u shaped sofa, 50" plasma and JVC HD1 projector, Stewart Firehawk screen and a Lutron black out blind which dropped to block out the French doors and glass panels to the basement courtyard. In addition there is a small plant room housing much of the house heating systems / pipework (except the boiler).

We bought the sofa as part of the house and the sellers already confirmed the tv and projector etc were all staying along with the kit in the media rack. The house is 8 years old and all of the AV / home automation stuff is 8 years old too so I knew it would need updating and much of the cinema room bits needed attention to get them running again. Given my previous experience and enthusiasm for such a project that didn't bother me in the slightest.

So the plan was to move in, unpack, and then set about getting everything back to fully working order so that we could make use of it primarily and then get a feel for what changes and modernisation I'd want to apply over the course of 12-18 months.

Or so we thought.....

In the middle of June, South Essex saw one of the largest rainfalls in one night during a large storm. Subsequently, despite the fact the basement has 2 sump pumps for redundancy and the house has a generator that kicks in automatically in the event of grid power failure our basement flooded! [emoji20]

The rainfall wasn't in fact the issue, in fact the next morning there was no problem, but shortly before 8am I heard water running and ran down to the basement assuming that something in the plant room had burst or started pouring. There was about 1-2" of water at the bottom of the stairs. I opened the doors to the cinema room to see approx 3-4 feet of water up at the French doors which was now piling in through 2 air vents located on the same wall at low level (quite why they are there I don't know). In the space of 20 minutes, the basement was 2+ feet underwater. It seems our problem was that the local roads had flooded severely and as traffic was passing down the rural roads, this water was pushed into the ditches which overflowed and our sump pumps are connected to the ditch. After investigations with underground cameras, it turns out that there are no non-return valves fitted and we became the reservoir for the discharged road water. Pretty frustrating given that much money had clearly been spent on making a redundant system only to cut the corners on £100 of non return valves.

To add to this misery, having only been in the property approx 9 weeks much of our unpacked goods were stacked in the basement. In particular for this thread, all of my AV equipment.

So, the chance to get the feel of the place and take time to plan has been taken away from us and upgrade plans will have to be accelerated. We have know got over the pain of some of the irreplaceable items and learnt never to place such items in a basement or in any case at a higher level! There are as with most things some positives to take, in that there is an opportunity to re-model and replace all the AV gear with something more suited to the space we have.

Now this project is likely to drag for some time, primarily because the insurance company haven't been the quickest to deal with it (we're still waiting for the drying company to be engaged following the rip-out and it's been 4 months since the claim started)! But for now, there's lots of planning.

I'm also using a custom installer as I don't have the time that I used to (as per my previous diy thread) and will be utilising trades, either the insurers for their works plus some additional requirements.

There is already a design in mind that I've worked on with the AV installers and I've made a decision on the speakers already following demos of different setups. A bold move already but I think it's the right one and I wanted to pull the trigger to avoid a significant upcoming price increase.

The scope of works for the custom installers is significant and includes not only the cinema room including all facets of it (blinds, lighting, ceiling, screen, rack, AV equipment, seating, control) but also the replacement of the whole house automation system (some of which has been submerged), installation of CCTV, integrating the heating, control of the gates and security as well as cabling an existing room above the garage which has just been opened up with a dorma. We have zoned multi room audio and video as part of the current system, again much of the source equipment is damaged so this needs to be replaced throughout also. In addition we are looking to add a garden feature (gazebo) which I would like to add an AV zone to.

So all in there's a lot to do, some of these pieces may be phased (most likely the garden feature / zone) and the rest will come down to how much is funded by the insurance claim and what I can afford to add to it and when!

So that's my starter for 10 (or 20 since I've just written an essay), I'll follow up now with a few pictures of the basement room from the estate agent before it was flooded and a floor plan. I'll then start to waffle about current plans / progress. [emoji846].

Ps: I am writing this on my phone from a hotel room tonight as I've nothing else to do and I've been meaning to get stuck in with a new thread for a while.
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Well-known Member
Basement cinema room

Basement courtyard

Basement floor plan


Well-known Member
The previous owners (who designed and had the house built) originally expected to use the basement area as their main entertaining area when they have guests. From what I can gather they used to have lots of get togethers as they had a good few wine and beer fridges and they were always well stocked when we visited! However, they found that the kitchen and dining area which leads out onto the patio was used rather than the basement as it is a little isolated for people coming and going and use of toilets and as such they never really used it. In fact there is a small bar including dishwasher, the dishwasher still had the leaflets and fittings in plastic bags inside it as it was never used. They also had a barely sat on Natuzzi sofa that you see pictures which we negotiated as part of the purchase as we had nothing to put down there!

Since I've always been into movies I was thinking that this had the potential to become a bat cave although my wife liked how light and open it is especially for a basement and with the courtyard imagined us having BBQ's out there whilst watching tv or films in the room.

That never happened, mainly because we didn't get the chance, but also because like the previous owners all of our entertaining, even before the flood, has been done on the ground floor of the house.

So that's decided it, dedicated cinema room it is. My only concern is what use of the courtyard there may be. I will fill you in with my room changes (read changes to wall locations) before we ponder that one any further!
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Well-known Member
I mentioned already that I have pulled the trigger on the speaker system. I am going for an Artcoustic 7.1.4 setup.

The LCR will be Spitfire 8-4's, the surrounds will be Diablo SL's, the atmos height channels will be Architect 2-1 SL's (I think from memory) and the LFE will be delivered by a Performance PS-6 which is slightly bigger than an under counter fridge!

Initially I was concerned about locating the PS6 but we have come up with a choice of 3 locations depending on viability meaning we could place the order regardless. Fingers crossed that works out then!
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Well-known Member
Control will be provided by a new Control4 system which will replace the current SystemLine setup. We currently have touch panels in most rooms to allow audio and video selection to the tv / audio zones so all of this needs to be replaced (including the speakers) as the SystemLine setup uses a proprietary system running speaker signals over cat5 etc that won't work with anything else. This means that we have 7 zones and touch panels that need to be replaced before we add anything to it! Also a lot of the wiring had been submerged and needs re-terminating, the wiring cupboard is frankly a bit of a mess so that's all got to be sorted out too. So new cat-6 cable will be pulled through to most locations replacing the cat5e.

I'm planning to get the heating changed over to Heatmiser Neo for integration and we will have CCTV integrated as part of the install as well as control of the house lighting (currently has Lutron but I don't think it's been installed / setup very well) and obviously the AV sources and outputs. I'm also looking to integrate the security but not sure if that's going to be straight forward as yet.


Well-known Member
Amp wise, I'm looking at Arcam AVR850 which has 7 channels of amplification plus the matching add on 4 channel amp (can't remember the model number) to take us up to 11. Artcoustic are supplying their matching amp for the PS6 sub woofer.

I'm also planning to convert the in ceiling speakers in the lounge, by convert I mean remove and replace with 2 channel audio hifi, most probably floor standers but I haven't considered anything specific yet for that.


Well-known Member
Anyhow, on to room design and thoughts thus far.

During discussion and designs with the custom installers and Artcoustic there were some restrictions on location because of the French doors and also with the screen location as per the floor plan the only place for the right surround was on the wall between the double doors and the plant room door. This meant event the smallest Artcoustic Target 2.1 SL was going to be tricky to fit. Additionally I am looking for two rows of seats which means raising the back tier, this raised tier would be directly in front of the room doors and French doors meaning we'd end up with putting them on islands and having low level walk around a which looked like it was fudging it all in.

I have a history with decorating where my wife will confirm that the only real tool I need to decorate with is a sledge hammer!

The room with the desk in (see floor plan) has no purpose for me currently. It houses the AV rack and air conditioning to keep the AV rack cool!

So my thoughts are.

Reverse the room and put the screen on the opposite wall. The screen will be 150" horizontal, 2.4, AT fixed screen.

Remove the two glass side panels from the French door and move the remaining French doors towards the screen end of the room, blocking up the remainder, allowing a raised flooring section to be installed across the full width of the rear of the room.

I also wanted a bar area of sorts if possible. Initially I was looking at a narrow breakfast bar behind the seats with stools but this was looking to be too much to fit in, especially if I was going to want 2 rows of seats.

So, I'm planning on breaking through from the cinema into the room with the desk / AV rack in currently. I will block up the current door to it and move the rack to the back corner. I can then have a bar across where the new opening is, and have some bar stools which can be positioned in front or behind as required. I will use the rest of the space in the room for a popcorn machine : ice cream machine (?), fridge for drinks and media storage as well as some film memorabilia. I do need to think about how I will achieve this as I would like it to be quite plush!

By doing this I will also have a bigger area to locate the side channels which will allow me to go up to the Diablo speakers.

I am also hoping to locate the sub in the small square behind the new screen wall location which is attached to the plant room. Physically the void space is big enough, just depends if structurally we can open the space up into the main room.

For the opening up of the study / rack room wall I've already found that there are separate steels under load bearing walls above so it doesn't look like this wall is load bearing but it will all have to checked properly.

I've got a room layout picture that I will try to find and add.
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Well-known Member
Looking at the new screen wall.

Looking at the remodelled French door wall with much more options for speaker location.

Looking at the wall with the break through to the media room. The small opening is our 2nd option for locating the sub, I'm hoping it will go in the front wall and I will increase the width of the main opening, probably moving the side channels closer to that smaller door and shift the seating forward a bit.

I am planning to run curtains full length on the left and right sides, with the tops of the curtains recessed on wave tracks (so the curtain pleats nicely every time), hoping to add downlights in the recessed area to provide effect / ambient light.. The will be split either side of the surround channels to prevent the sound being blocked as well as allowing for easy access to the bar area etc.

We will need to raise the existing drop ceiling as currently it would be too low realistically if we add a 400mm raised floor. I am hoping we can stretch to a star field ceiling in the centre also.

The seating you see here is the same seating that was modelled on an island when the screen was on the opposite side. So this needs to be redone to take the raised floor to the sides. I will likely need to raise the floor in the bar area too.


Well-known Member
Drainage company came in and surveyed the pipes with cctv to discover why the water we were pumping was feeding back to a certain degree. They then traced the pipes to where they joined the underground ditch and dig away.

Found the two pump discharge pipes which had been placed next to a hole cut in the ditch pipe rather than "in" the hole in the ditch pipe. These have settled slightly meaning that the water wouldn't travel freely into the ditch, this didn't really contribute to the flood but did need fixing.

Came up with a plan between myself and the drain company to fix and improve the situation. Sorry for the crayoned drawing! It's a cross section of the house and basement area showing the sump well and ditch connection.

I've added 2 non return valves at the discharge exit pipes next to the ditch. I've also added a steel non return valve at the bottom of the sump well to stop any water that's not being pumped or incoming water returning to the courtyard area (the water exists the courtyard through a row of Acco drains into the sump well).

I've also added two "bubble vents", these are basically vertical exit pipes before the last set of non return valves. The theory here is if the ditch is overflowing with water such that the pumps cannot push the water through the non return valve the the water will travel up and exit onto the garden through the bubble vents as a safety measure.


Here are the pictures of the new bits going in.

We've also tethered the flexible pump pipes that go into the plastic discharge pipes. Basically beforehand the pumps are fitted with 2" flexible hose and this has been pushed down the 4" discharge pipes with nothing holding them there. When all the ditch water came in suddenly, the hoses were pushed out and fell down the sump well meaning that our pumps were merely thrashing water about in the sump!

Im going to replace the pumps with a more advanced setup and replace the hoses with fixed pipes, but it's safe for now.


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Well-known Member
No real updates as yet as we're still sorting things out with the insurance company...

With that said, the drying has now been completed and the place is gutted out.

I've been working with an AV installer on plans for the refit and also with one of the forum members on some 3d rendering. Previously I've done this myself in Sketchup, but I've gotten a little rusty and have never 'rendered' only 'wireframed'.

Anyhow, following some conversation with some of the builders tendering for the refit, it seems like we may be able to remove the internal walls and alter the layout...

So, I'm considering re-shaping the basement as per the attached image. The green wall would be a new baffle wall constructed and obviously there's a little bit of moving walls around near the plant room. But otherwise, I think this makes a much better use of the previous media room space as it only housed the rack and a desk.

028 bardel AVF B.1 001a.png


Well-known Member
And a couple of basic renders courtesy of @silva741. :)

I really need to know if we're able to knock these walls out soon as this will have a big bearing on the project and I want to crack on with the planning as refit work will commence soon. I've been without this room since June this year and I can't believe how much I miss my cinema and audio equipment (all damaged in the flood). In the meantime, I've purchased a Loewe Bild 7.65 with sub to get me through! :p

The red blocks indicate the speaker locations which are Artcoustic Spitfires and the P6 reference sub. There will also be a pair on the rear columns for 7.1 and they will be sunk into the columns. We will also be having 4 atmos height speakers too.

There will be a door to the left of the front screen to access the AV rack and a door to the right to exit the room. Currently hoping to add some false wall storage to the front sides to house Blu Ray discs and also an area with a small fridge for beer, popcorn etc.

08 speakers.png
lip  1.5.png


Standard Member
The layout looks good so far. Maybe the color on the walls can get little brighter when the lights are on. Interested in seeing the final output.


Distinguished Member
This is going to be amazing. Sounds like you've had a right nightmare so far but I'm sure it will be worth all the pain in the end.


Well-known Member
The layout looks good so far. Maybe the color on the walls can get little brighter when the lights are on. Interested in seeing the final output.

We haven't applied any colour to the rendering yet, we're just getting the layout sorted for the minute. Since this is going to be.a dedicated cinema room, this will be finished to achieve a bat cave when darkened but hopefully we can come up with some designs to make it look luxurious too.


Active Member
Hi Bardel,

Looks great:) Feel your pain on the flooding.....had a similar but not as drastic issue on my basement build!

Anyway, read through what you were thinking of doing and just thought I'd add my two penneth to see if it helps you. I'm into the whole IoT thing and started doing it in 2014 having built the house with full networking capabilities throughout. I decided against Control4 for a couple of reasons...1) Expensive 2) Customer is 'locked out' of programming (which costs a lot if you want changes/features etc) 3) Sensors etc look ugly/old fashioned I think 4) I think it's a bit out of date in the way things are going (my opinion of course!). I decided upon Z-Wave (which I was initially worried about transmission) and Fibaro's HC2. You can buy any sensors you like, for anything, and most of everything available works out of the box (not everything of course) and the choice is far greater than Control4 offer as it's not a closed system as far as sensors etc goes. I can literally control 'anything' from 'either' the main App/Web interface or through Siri, iOS, Apple Watch etc. In total I have 1) HC2 + Sensors/Actuators 2) GlobalCache GC-100-12 3) HDMI Matrix 4) Mobotix Camera's/Intercom's 5) Sonos 6) My AV Gear 7) Raspberry Pi to control interface to Apple's 'HomeKit' and the 'Home' App. The good thing is 'you' can mess around with your requirements, code scenes, add stuff etc and it costs you nothing but your time. What I found was that, as I lived in the house, that what I wanted from the system became more apparent and I just added stuff as I went. It's a big house but I have control of all the lights, sockets, AV Control, Heating control, Climate, Sprinklers, Gates, Cameras, Alarm etc. If I had had a professional install of all of the above we're probably talking £20k+ but I've done it for around £5-7k over two years. Good thing also being I can take it with me if I felt I wanted to on the next one.

The only thing I would have done differently was the heating. I too have UFH but it's really not 100% integrated into my main system because I bought it 'before' I understood the whole thing! It was a Heatmiser 12v system (like you mentioned) and it doesn't 'easily' communicate. Had I had the time/money again (which I will on the next one); I would have gone with something like the Honeywell EvoHome setup for control/valves. Someone has kindly done all the integration so that too can be done over the web or integrated into Fibaro. 'Personally' I think Heatmiser are great for standalone systems but if you want an integrated one look elsewhere. I have >10 stats, 3 UFH control boxes and 'Net' unit over three floors and it just wasn't worth the cost of replacing it. Works perfectly well via the web, the stats or via SMS but there's no API so I had to 'frig' it with some cheats/Apps to integrate it but I can't poll it easily etc. So, personally I think there's better out there now.

IP Cameras. (German; some parts made by Siedle Gmbh) are expensive (nigh on 4k Camera Resolution) and very complicated but, once learned, can do 'anything' (Lip Synchronous 2-Way Intercom over net/4G, iOS Notifications on alarm, RFID cards, PINs, Gate/Garage/Door control, contact and lock monitoring, Lights and HTTP calls etc) and are 100% secure. I can't say the same for lots of chinese made IP systems. Personally I love them...though, being honest, it took me a good while to get to grips with the software.

So, overall, you can do everything you want with Fibaro at a much cheaper cost I believe. Once setup I found it 99% reliable. I have, 'if you like', three systems 1) Mobotix 2) Fibaro and 3) Apple's HomeKit (Home App). I can control everything from any interface...though I mostly use the main 'Fibaro' iOS apps/Siri. The thing I'm trying to get across is that it's all very configurable and 'up to date'. I'd do it exactly the same if I had the time again...I'd just change the heating controls! I'm sure you can do the same with Control4 but I think you're slightly restricted i.e. Heatmiser for example!

You can check out:,,,

Any qu's let me know but I will follow with interest as, unfortunately, I didn't get to do a dedicated cinema room on this one:( Next time!

All the best, Dave:)


Well-known Member
Thanks Dave,

Very useful reply. I must admit, it is a bit of a shame with Control4 being closed. There is a "Home Edition" of the programming tool to allow users to do various activities, but I'm not quite sure where the line is drawn between full and home accesible programming.

I'm a software programmer by trade, so playing with Home Automation stuff is of big interest to me and also within my capabilities (save for education on the relevant products in use). The last time I tried this was when X10 was in it's early days which was stateless and very frustrating to work with. No doubt things have moved on massively and I've not been keeping up with the scene for some time. With the new house I was expecting to get back into this area and consider changes in the future.

Right now, we have an AV distribution system that doesn't distribute anywhere around the house, I've had to have the Sky box running over analogue TV arial for Christ sake complete with snowy diagonal lines! I've improved this recently slightly by putting a Freeview HD modulator in which has worked thankfully although there is a lot of lag on the remote control / updates to screen. Around half of the touch pad control screens around the house are completely non functional now, one of them works when it wants meaning control of the house lighting is restricted to control from the 1 remaining panel on the ground floor or the 2 kids bedrooms! We can select a few scenes from the Lutron switch panels we have also, but these are pretty much, all off, all on, and a couple of scenes involving lights we don't need to have on all the time. On top of this the gate intercom / control system is also non functional, which while we can overcome this using the remotes, the biggest issue is having people turn up and leave because you don't answer the intercom!

Anyway, probably one of the biggest issues I have with a suitable HA system is simplicity for others. For example, nearly all rooms on the ground floor don't have traditional light switches in place currently and educating my parents or parents in law how to use the house when they are babysitting is not something I want to have to keep going over! As I say, I'm sure things have moved on massively here from my previous experiences.

With that all said, following the flood and condition of the various systems at the moment, I think we are going to need to go with a dedicated installer for a fairly dramatic and quick system change out / implementation. Laughably, it's been about 7 months already but once we finish negotiating on this aspect with the insurance company, I'm expecting things to move forward quickly to a point where we are properly up and running without me adding the time that I'd need to do this properly for myself (much as I'd like to). However, should negotiations with the insurance company not go well then this may still be a route I will follow, we'll have to wait and see on that one.

Hoping I can start updating this thread with some activity real activity soon!
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Well-known Member
I finally had some follow up with my insurance company today. We're note quite there yet, but getting closer.

In the meantime, there has been quite a bit of progress on the Sketch Up design front, with the help of @silva741. I've attached some recent mock ups which only have a few tweaks left to go.

We need to check the riser height for the second row. I've found some online calculators, but what I really need to know is what the expected head height is of someone sitting in one of the chairs is. At the moment, I'm looking at the FrontRow Classic seats, but they've not responded to any email queries about this currently. Does anyone have these chairs where they can give me a seated head height (top of head) for an average (say 5' 10) person? We're a bit tight on head height at the rear of the room in the current mockup, so I want to recover any height I can.

I'm also planning to have some hidden storage behind some of the panels in the walls, on the left side (when looking at the screen, some DVD racks, on the right side utilise the space in the plant room behind to create a drinks cabinet shelf / beer fridge / popcorn machine access.

We're also checking out some alternatives to the solid red carpet, looking for something a little more subtle but probably staying with red as the highlight colour.

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