Magslad's home cinema loft conversion

Magslad

Novice Member
Well the moment I've been waiting for since moving into our house (four and a half years ago) is getting close to starting. I've been following other people's excellent projects on here, and finally get the chance to start my own. I made a deal with my wife that once I'd got the rest of the house sorted for her, the loft was mine for a combined home cinema/games room/study. So after much redecorating, new kitchen/bathroom/central heating/windows, the serious work begins!

The plans/building approval are all sorted, and I'm due 3 quotes by early next week (which I'm sure will be a shock - as well as converting the loft we're doing a single storey downstairs extension to move the integral garage and create a utility room behind it, replacing the cloakroom, replacing a large flat roof and installing a roof light for the kitchen, moving walls for 3 of the 4 bedrooms upstairs so they are a better size & shape, building a laundry chute from the bathroom to the utility room, and creating an ensuite shower room for the main bedroom, plus redoing ceilings plus plastering/painting/decorating for 6 rooms). Planning to move out for a couple of months whilst all the work takes place.

Anyway, the most interesting bit (as far as I'm concerned) is the loft conversion. We're lucky enough to have a steeply pitched roof, so can get a good size room without needing dormers (will just be 3 large velux windows - obviously with blackout blinds for the home cinema). The room will be about 7m x 4m (22ft x 14ft), and the plans are below.








I'm no graphic designer, but the 2nd plan shows roughly how the room will be laid out. One end of the room will have the home cinema, and the other end will have my study plus a reading/chill-out area. The sofabed will be on castors so it can be rolled to one side when I want to use the room for games (e.g. putting up my son's Scalextric).

The picture below shows the end wall on which the plasma screen will go. There will be a plastered wall built in front of the chimney breasts, but there is a natural recess of about 2ft between the 2 chimney breasts - this will have a built-in alcove just above floor level, which will be designed to house all of the AV kit.




The final picture shows a view of the loft as it is now, before work has started.




I'm sure I'll have lots of questions for people as I start to get further into the process, especially as I go through choosing all of the kit (cannot wait to start doing this - although I'm sure it will get expensive pretty quickly as I don't have particularly cheap tastes generally :eek:).

One initial question though for anyone that knows their stuff or has been through this before - when I'm designing the home cinema setup (especially speaker types and positioning), what if anything do I need to be aware of given that the room will have a pitched ceiling? And of course, any other little nuggets of wisdom from anyone that's done a loft home cinema will be very welcome :thumbsup:

Anyway, that's enough rambling on for now, I'll keep the thread updated as things start to progress.
 

jolly

Novice Member
Glad to see it's not just me with a loft full of old boxes, in case i sell owt on

:D
 

cjmyork

Active Member
The side where you will be having your cinema in the loft is practically the same as my loft. I will be having KEF 3005's mounted on all walls with the side speakers all being about 1m high on the vertical sections. My side walls start sloping at 1.2 metres so the rear surrounds will be mounted just under the edge of the angled wall. Im hoping this is going to work out ok sound quality wise but cant do much else if it doesnt so fingers will be crossed!
 

Magslad

Novice Member
Not much of an update on the building work - some of the inital quotes were ridiculous (one was over £100k :eek:), so have found some other builders and getting quotes from them. Given the current economic conditions there are a few builders starting to have jobs cancelled etc, so hopefully I'll be able to get some far better prices soon.

However, in the meantime I've had a bit of a splurge in the shops and on the forums for the kit for the home cinema, so have now got:

- Panny TH42PZ80B plasma
- Panny BD30 BD player
- Onkyo 606 receiver
- KEF 5005.2 speakers
- Linksys DMA2200
- Harmony One (arriving today)
- Sky HD (being installed on Thursday)

Have got in a fair bit of trouble with my wife :rolleyes: for buying all the kit before the building work has been done, but nevertheless decided to get it all set up in our lounge temporarily - which has got me in more trouble (moving from 24" CRT to 42" plasma and 'cluttering' the lounge with my kit; my excuse was that I need to ensure everything workls properly :D).

Obviously this isn't the final destination for the kit so a bit of a messy install, but thought I'd post a few pics anyway as it will be here until the loft gets done. Had it's first proper demo this weekend (Ratatouille and Earth) and definitely has the seal of approval from my two kids :smashin:. Have to say I'm hugely impressed with it all, the video/audio quality is fantastic.

Anyway, here's the temporary install:




Plasma and KEF 5005's




BD30 bluray (and Sharp Freeview PVR - to be replaced with Sky HD box on Thursday)




Onkyo 606




KEF HTB2 sub




KEF 5005 on top of one of my Tannoy 607's





So that's the update for now, will update the thread again once we've got a builder chosen and a date for the work to start
 
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jolly

Novice Member
Nice spending spree

:thumbsup:
 

Magslad

Novice Member
An update on the building work - one of the builders has just come back to me as his next job has been cancelled (lots of this happening at the moment due to people concerned about the economy) and he can fit me in before the next one starts. He's offering a good price and is the chap I really wanted to do the work anyway (but at that point he was booked up for 8 months)

Getting contracts drawn up next week and scaffolding should go up the week after :clap::clap:

Will obviously take lots of photos and keep the thread updated as work progresses.

Now need to spend the weekend starting to clear the [email protected] out of my loft :eek:
 

jolly

Novice Member
Good news

I don't envy you clearing that lot out

:D
 

Magslad

Novice Member
OK, about time for an update - haven't had a chance with being busy at work followed by a couple of weeks away, but things have progressed a fair bit since my last update. Will do it over a few posts as have got a few photos to include.

Bigger versions of all the photos are on my flickr set here

After a very hot, dusty weekend of clearing, managed to go from the mess in the first post of the thread to this:




Signed contracts with the builder in early July, and scaffolding went up soon after:






Couldn't resist going up the scaffolding to see what the view will be like once the loft conversion is finished:




Steels arrived for the loft just before we went on holiday:




Then we went on holiday for 3 weeks at the end of July, with the idea that the builders would do a lot of the main construction, plus the 'dirty jobs' in the rest of the house (groundworks for the extension, removing the old lath & plaster ceilings and putting new ones in, replacing bedroom walls etc) whilst we were away.

Very impressed with how things came on by the time we got back, will put the latest progress photos in the next post in a couple of minutes.
 
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Magslad

Novice Member
Current progress on the loft (which is the most important bit, given that it's going to house the home cinema) is that the steels are in, joists are in, and they are part-way through insulating it.

Main insulation will go in next week - we're using a product called Triso-Super 10 which is a hell of a lot thinner than standard Kingspan etc, which means we minimise the loss of height on the pitched roof. First fix electrics/plumbing is happening over the next few days, then the insulation and boarding and installation of the 3 veluxes, which should hopefully all be complete by end of next week.

Photos below show the current state as of this afternoon (NB that's a pre-existing velux, which will be replaced by a new one positioned higher up):




Looking towards the wall where the plasma will eventually be:




Starting to build out storage access under the eaves:




This is where the stairs will come up (the room below was my study, but will become the en-suite to our bedroom):




Collars starting to go up for the ceiling (height will be 8ft in the middle so shouldn't feel cramped):




Have to say I am hugely impressed with our builders so far - quality of the work is excellent, and for the amount of construction they are keeping the house very tidy (even to the extent of washing up their mugs at the end of each day - scores major brownie points with my wife!)
 
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Magslad

Novice Member
One more post to bring everything fully up to date - not strictly related to the home cinema, but thought I'd post a few photos of progress on the rest of the house in case anyone's interested.

Garage extension at the front of the house (utility room will be behind this) - very pleased with how well they've matched in the bricks and will look even better once pointed. Roof about to start going on, they're chucking the tiles from the existing porch and replacing everything with new tiles so won't be an 'old and new' split:




And this is the utility room build behind the garage, with opening knocked through where there will be a new door to the side passage. Garage is on the right as you look at the picture, behind the new block wall:




3 of the 4 bedrooms are being re-jigged to give our kids bigger rooms (at the expense of ours, but we could afford to lose space off it). My daughter's new room (darker line on the floor is where the wall used to be):




And my son's new room (again the line in the foreground shows the old wall position):




And two shots of our room (first one looks back to the new wall between ours and our son's bedroom, second one looks forward and shows where the opening has been knocked through into what will be the en-suite):






And the final photo for now shows some of the new doors. Needed new internal doors throughout the house (12 in total :eek:), as have to have fire-check doors because of the loft conversion. Didn't like any of the standard stuff so ended up going for a specialist supplier for these - cost a small fortune but very pleased with them, as they are the style that would have been in the house when it was originally built in 1932:




That's about it for now - architrave and skirting have just gone in the bedrooms, can't believe the builders are still hard at it (nearly 7pm, and they started at 7:15 this morning).

I'll update more regularly from now, as things are happening quite quickly, especially as the home cinema starts to come together.
 

Magslad

Novice Member
Couple of brief updates, about the party wall in the loft (which is where the plasma/speakers/AV kit will be).

Have agreed with the builder that, rather than patch in the wall around the chimney breasts, he is going to build a new stud wall right across in front of the chimneys. Obviously has a number of benefits - easier to run the cables, better for insulation/soundproofing from next door, and will give a nice flat surface - and only lose a few inches off the room so a good outcome. Also will make it easier to hang the plasma, as the position of this will be sort of between the two chimney breasts so means they can build the wall studs to fit the plasma bracket (which arrived last Friday from m-form online). They will also build in an alcove beneath the plasma (between the chimney breasts) which will house all of the AV kit.

Have also been discussing wall colours with SWMBO. She has agreed that we can look at painting the party wall a darker colour which is good news - currently looking at Cookie Dough which looks quite nice in the catalogue (and rest of the room would be done in a cream/off-white, although haven't chosen exact colour yet). Anyone used this colour or anything similar, or have any other recommendations?

Also hopefully first-fix electrics & plumbing in the loft over the next few days, will update once there's been some more progress.
 

cosmic023

Novice Member
Great project Magslad, looks like you've got things under control.

I expect this project to take shape very quickly.

Cheers
Lee
 

Magslad

Novice Member
i love it!is the house a semi detatched? how are your neighbours ccoping with the building works?
Thanks. Yes, it's a semi, but we're lucky with our neighbours. There's an old lady in the other half of the semi who's really nice, doesn't complain, and has taken it all in her stride. The other side is a bungalow, we don't know the family other than to say hello when we see each other but again no problems. We took the time to speak to them when we were getting the plans drawn up so that there wouldn't be any surprises, and let them know before the work started, would always recommend this as generally people are pretty reasonable (which I'm very glad about, as the dust and noise has been pretty bad at times). We're also lucky that we've got very considerate builders who have done everything they can to minimise the disruption, both for us and our neighbours.
 

jolly

Novice Member
Looking good

:thumbsup:
 

Magslad

Novice Member
Okay, today's brief update and a few more pics.

Pointing now finished on the downstairs extension and roof ready to be battened & tiled. Second pic shows where the old & new bricks come together, have to say I am well impressed with how well they have blended them. Also started chopping out bricks to the left of the front door - new door will be going in and the glass side panel disappearing so they've got some more blending in to do:






First-fix electrics also started in earnest today - sparky very good but not impressed with what the previous owners had done: kept muttering about 'bodging' and 'Heath Robinson' !!




Lastly, stud wall started to be built over the chimney breasts, this is where the AV kit will all be. The shorter studwork between the chimney breasts is the framing for the alcove (1m wide x 65cm high) which will be sunk into the wall and house the receiver/bluray/Sky etc)




Anyway, that's it for today, will update when more progress.
 
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Magslad

Novice Member
Must be exciting to see it all start taking shape
Certainly is - the bedrooms/ensuite/extension etc is all well and good, but now that the home cinema is starting to take shape I'm starting to get really excited :D. I think the builders got a bit sick of me earlier, after I'd spent about an hour up in the loft with them making sure the measurements for the AV alcove, and the positioning of the plasma/speaker brackets, would be spot-on. Still, I know I'd be unhappy if it ended up off-centre or not exactly where I wanted it, and then it would just end up getting re-done anyway :suicide:

God I'm rambling on tonight - time for another drink and a lie-down.
 

blasted

Novice Member
I love the loft conversion pics. If i get the money together I shall be doing a legal DIY job.

Keep the inspiration pictures coming please:smashin:
 

Magslad

Novice Member
Time for an update from the last few days. Plenty been going on, but the most interesting bit from a home cinema point of view has been placing the cables in the loft before the stud wall gets insulated & plasterboarded. Spent an enjoyable couple of hours sorting out exact positions (although a bit crowded - at one point there were 8 of us all trying to work on various things in the loft!). I'm sure I got in the way a bit, but wanted to make sure I got it right as will obviously be more difficult to rectify once everything is boarded. Also very happy with how the alcove is turning out, will be plenty of room for all my kit.

Photos below, installed the following cables to cover everything I need:

- Twin Sky
- Triple coax
- 5 x speaker cables
- Sub cable
- Power (will be 3 twin sockets in the alcove)
- Phone cable
- Cat 6
- 2 x HDMI
- Digital audio (optical)
- Analogue audio (stereo pair)







Loft floor has now been boarded, so starting to take shape as a room:







Also over the last few days, the front extension has had the battens put on ready for tiling, first fix electrics and plumbing have been completed, new coffin water tank installed in the loft, pressurised cylinder for the central heating system installed (so that we don't need a header tank any more), and framing for the veluxes has started. Haven't put any pics of that stuff in the thread, as not AV-related, but for anyone that's interested there are photos in my flickr set here
 

Toonaroond

Active Member
Great work!

Just one thing....where did you all sleep while the bedrooms were being gutted :eek:

Love the fire check doors - where did you get them from and how much were they, if you don't mind me asking?

Cheers
 

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