Crazy idea - underground HC room in the garden

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spamboy

Guest
I know this sounds a bit odd, but I'm thinking of buying a new house and it doesn't have an obvious room to convert into a home cinema (My wife is actually insisting that we either have a dedicated room, or we are going to have to paint the living room walls red as the ambient light washes out the image in her opinion - you can see why I married her ;-)

Anyway, the house is grade 2 listed, in a conservation area so any kind of extension is out of the question, but I was wondering if it would be possible to excavate the garden, effectively build a new cellar (but with no house on top!) and rebuild the garden over the top. It's obviously going to be quite expensive, but the extra space would be great.

Is this just the stupidest idea ever? Any idea who I could approach to talk about this? What the planning issues would be etc...

SB
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think it's a stupid idea at all. I often think about ways to expand the space I have - mine is a new house and new house foundations are such that excavating underneath (a true cellar) would be virtually impossible without risking the stability of the building - and I've already come to the conclusion that under the garden would be the best place to go.

As to who to approach - it has to be a VERY good local builder/contractor. A good firm like this will also know what planning requirements (if any) and/or pitfalls with the approach are.

I'd be really interested to know if you do go ahead how it works out and what hoops you had to jump through.
 

pwiles1968

Active Member
This is how the Dolby cinema is built in at their office in Wooten Basset, It is probably about a hundred seats with projector room etc, I believe it cost 1 Million and man is it cool. The office is definitely not listed though. Its how I would built a HT room if I won the lottery.
 

Alan Westy

Novice Member
I've heard of a company that fits swimming pools this way by excavating you garden and dropping in a 40ft shipping container already fitted out then covering it over just leaving steps down to a door, perhaps this idea could be used for a cinema, only using a 20ft or smaller container.
 

Cambo

Standard Member
Be very interested as well Westy.

Ta
 

Monster

Active Member
Just because your property is listed and in a conservation area does not mean the local Planners will not grant permission.

You may have to be sensitive to the surroundings and match form of construction to your existing property (which you would probably want to do anyway).

You can speak to the local Conservation Officer (by phoning your local council Town and Country Planning Department). He/She is afterall, a civil servant! They can be very helpful, although some are stubborn and unrealistic about the modern use of old buildings! A colleague even came across one in Gloucestershire who stated that in his opinion, buildings that did not have electricity supplied when they were built, should not have been allowed to have it retrofitted!!!! Bit difficult when you are trying to fit a Bank into a High Street listed building!!!
 
S

spamboy

Guest
Well, my intention was for the room to be essentially invisible from the outside anyway. I'll make some enquiries...

Does this also apply to extensions? I thought that grade 2 meant no external alterations (I think you can build a conservatory but that's about it.)
 

Alan Westy

Novice Member
I don't have any links regarding the underground shipping container, It was quite a while ago when I read about this so I don't know if you would be able to find them now. Should'nt be too difficult to buy a container and get someone with a JCB to fit it under your garden though if you think its a possibility.
 

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
A good place for assistance with this sort of topic is the UK Selfbuild group on Yahoo. It's a very well-populated and well-informed area, with some extremely helpful members; a bit like here, really.

Bert
www.bertcoules.co.uk
 

Nobber22

Well-known Member
Try this lot: The London Basement Company

http://www.tlbc.co.uk/

Saw them on a program on UK Style recently. Gave a London house the most amazing family/cinema room under their house. Not exactly what you are after (and they may not work in your area), but they seemed to be real pros who could give you some useful advise.

As an aside, anyone wanting a pool in their garden would be better off getting a ready-made fibreglass pool fitted rather than a shipping container. ;)
 
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spamboy

Guest
Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. I knew that someone here would know.
 

Nimby

Member
If you do ever start digging seriously then get your HT room designed to have non-parallel walls & a sloping ceiling (or floor?) and get the ratios between the dimensions right to avoid overlapping peaks and troughs in the room's response.

Build it as big as you can afford. None of the above details should alter the cost of the job except sheer size. You only get one chance at this sort of thing so don't blow it.

If you think a buried container makes an ideal HT room then I suggest your spend your hard earned cash on something other than HT. :D

Nimby
 

Flimber

Distinguished Member
Hmm...rectangular underground Home Cinema with the possibility of adding acoustic treatments or no Home Cinema at all...
 
S

spamboy

Guest
Well, the obvious thing would be to build a rectangular room, so that if is put to another use it's more normal and then build a suspended room of the appropriate shape (for soundproofing in it.)

I think the acoustic treatments look cool anyway.
 

Nimby

Member
Originally posted by Flimber
Hmm...rectangular underground Home Cinema with the possibility of adding acoustic treatments or no Home Cinema at all...

Build it seriously out of square and get the dimensions right and you can forget acoustic treatment.

Nimby
 

Big Adam

Active Member
I'd say the most important thing to master is the ventilation or you'll be blue and horizontal way before Dory starts speaking whale. :eek:
 

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