My (not very impressive) lounge/home cinema/man cave (corner)

cerebros

Active Member
Hi folks

Thought I'd put up a thread in a semi-blog style about my forthcoming lounge redecoration and attempts to improve my home cinema experience as well as trying to turn part of the room into a mini man cave.

We've been in the house for 10 years now and haven't gotten round to doing much decorating - in fact this is the first room we're doing without there being a pressing need to do it (the first two rooms decorated were for our eldest daughter who went into the back bedroom and then decided, when given the choice last year prior to the birth of her baby sister, that she wanted to move into the second front bedroom). However, as a result of a recent remortgage we've got a little bit of spare cash floating around and so have decided now is the time to do up the lounge.

Aside from just freshening up the room (which may not have been decorated for at least five years before we moved in), aims for this project are (in no particular order):

  1. To finally get round to wall mounting the TV (where it'll be more out of reach of tiny hands) and also wall mounting my Jamo surround speakers
  2. As far as possible get speaker, data and power cables out of sight and out of the way and hopefully make things a bit easier to get to should I need to plug/unplug AV gear as well as a bit easier to clean around
  3. Sort out the room lighting so that the end of the room where we normally sit doesn't require us to have lamps on pretty much all the time in order to bolster the poor positioning of the main room light (in fact I want to get rid of the lamps altogether and replace them with downlights for those occasions when we do need extra light for doing our various hobbies)
  4. Turn one corner of the room into a quasi man-cave (since we now don't have a room I can turn into one) where I can at some point in the future put in a desktop PC for video and photo editing, as well as having my printers and scanners there.
  5. Try and find, build or have built, some suitable AV furniture to house all the components I've got (and plan to have) that will also hopefully allow us to get some additional storage
One of the main challenges I'm expecting with this project is with the corner where I want to have my mini man cave. As I've got a Windows Home Server (WHS) in the roof that I backup my laptop onto (and I also plan to put a NAS up there in future) one of the things I want to do is run some ethernet cabling down the inside of the chimney to hook up the desktop in the corner (and possibly to the other side of the chimney to hook up any AV components that I might want to access content off the NAS from) and for any time I need to restore my laptop from the WHS.

When we moved in there was a gas back boiler in the chimney which was replaced a year or two after we'd moved in; however, there's still a lot of metalwork within the chimney which may cause problems running the cables down. I won't be able to check out the situation until I've been able to find someplace to put all the stuff currently in an IKEA bookshelf in front of the chimney and get the bookshelf out of the way so I can get a look up the chimney.

There's also some metal pipes in what was a built-in cupboard to one side of the chimney that I'm not immediately sure if I'll be able to remove (not sure if they're still hooked up to the gas or not), which would be a pain as I'm wanting to put shelves in that cupboard space to hold scanner and printers, as well as having data and power sockets on the bit of the cupboard wall that backs on to the chimney.
 

cerebros

Active Member
Hi,

yes, plan to as soon as we can clear enough of the kids' crap (technical term... ;)) out of the way that we can actually see the floor of the room.

Apologies for lack of updates generally. I've been trying to get a model of the room and key items of furniture and AV gear made up in SketchUp to help with planning what we're going to do but that initially got parked while I try and sort out some things ahead of our forthcoming holiday and then last Monday night some moron, in what we at the moment believe was a stolen car (no updates from police since the night of the incident...), crashed into the back of mine, shunting my car into my neighbour's. While it's taken the repair company my insurers use two attempts to collect my car (apparently they didn't have the right kind of truck on the first attempt and then two trucks turned up this morning to collect it according to my wife), my neighbour's insurer has already classed his car as a write off, so I hold out no hopes for mine. This means any planning for decoration is on hold while I search for a replacement vehicle (and I hate shopping for cars as it is).

Hopefully once that's sorted and our holiday is out of the way I can get the SketchUp model sorted and the lounge cleared so I can post up some "before" photos.
 

cerebros

Active Member
Well due to lack of actual progress, I thought I'd quickly upload some "before" photos.

Wide shot of the pigsty that is currently the lounge (although photo is a few weeks old in case you're wondering why the following two don't quite match):

Image%201_-3.jpg


Corner of interest 1 - the TV corner

Image%201_-4.jpg


Corner of interest 2 - the future computer corner

Image%202_-2.jpg



While I've not managed to get any real work done on clearing the walls (about the only thing I've managed to do is clear out a load of stuff from the cabinet in the future computer corner) I have come across some food for thought about what to do in the TV corner.

One of the things we're always struggling with in the house in general is storage space and one of my goals in this redecoration is to try and create more storage space (or rather, add a bit more and replace some of the storage that will be lost by setting up the computer corner). I came across this site, Sigmar | Interior Design Service | London Loft Apartment, through Pinterest and the way the TV and surrounding storage has been set up (see images 8, 9, 10 in the gallery on that page) looks like it could be the kind of thing I need, although it'd probably have to be self-built and I'm not sure of there's any way of doing it that would easily allow me to upgrade my screen size in future (currently have a 40" but hope to go up to 50" next time I get a new TV)
 
Last edited:

Mallardo

Well-known Member
One of the things we're always struggling with in the house in general is storage space
I hear that! It's a constant battle in our house too. I have found that Ikea is the place to go for storage ideas. It doesn't help that when you tell your kids you are going to sell/charity shop some toys that they haven't even looked at in 6 months they suddenly become the most desirable things ever!
 

cerebros

Active Member
I hear that! It's a constant battle in our house too. I have found that Ikea is the place to go for storage ideas.

Well we've already got one Ikea 4x4 space bookcase (think it's the Expedit... had it quite a while and I think Ikea replaced it with a slightly different version) but we need something as well. Ikea used to do a 5x5 variant of our bookcase that had a space for a TV in which I had been trying to find a second hand version of but I've had second thoughts as it would still have left me trying to find somewhere to put the subwoofer.

Unfortunately, based on the couple of times we've swung through Ikea in the past year or so, they don't have anything that fits my needs vis as vis catering for both storage and housing the AV gear, which is why I'm having to contemplate going the self-build route (much though I'd rather not as I'm not exactly Mr DIY)

It doesn't help that when you tell your kids you are going to sell/charity shop some toys that they haven't even looked at in 6 months they suddenly become the most desirable things ever!

To be fair to my eldest, she does play with all her toys - when she can get at them. But we don't exactly have time to keep tidying up after her.
 

cerebros

Active Member
Oh cock (he says doing his best James May impression)

I've gone wrong somewhere with the Sketchup model I created of the room in that the most important side of the room to get right, as that's where the TV and computing corner are/are going to be, the measurements are a bit off.

Admittedly I had thought the dimensions looked a little off but I'd put that down to viewing it on a computer screen rather than real life. Not quite sure where I went wrong at the moment, whether I've accidentally dragged a surface without realising it or just put a dimension in wrong, but the alcove in the computing corner is several centimetres too narrow...
 

cerebros

Active Member
Well even though I need to rework the model for accuracy, I thought I'd upload the following so you can see part of my current plans.

The red dots indicate the positions I'm currently thinking of for the lights (smaller dots are the down lights, big dot would be the main light) while the blue dots are where I'd envision the light switches (or whatever is being used to control the lights) are positioned.

room%201.jpg



room%202.jpg
 

cerebros

Active Member
Hi everyone

The first three very "before" photos are now back working, now I've uploaded to somewhere other than photobucket and updated the links. (Not sure I can summon the enthusiasm for my older blogs elsewhere. Bleh).

I'm still deep in research on my lighting options at the moment. At present the leader in my consideration is LightwaveRF as having switches that look somewhat like regular light switches to control the lights while still giving the option for some degree of automation and the possibility of adding in voice control at a later date is priority #1.

My furniture research isn't quite as advanced. A friend has put me on to Shelf Store, which seems reasonably configurable but I'm not quite sure I can get exactly what I want, or a close enough match, to go that route; and i've not really given much thought to my furniture for the computing corner end of things just yet which I really should as I'd like any new furniture to match
 

cerebros

Active Member
Hi folks,

Sorry for the long time without posting. You've not been missing out in terms of actual progress though as things are still progressing at a snail's pace.

I've finally got enough stuff cleared so that I can move the cupboard in the alcove out of the way so we can get someone in to look at the pipework from when we had the back boiler and see if it's a DIY removal job or is going to cost us money.

So, it turns out I was slightly mis-remembering there being a plug socket behind the cupboard. Looks like it was just the old controls for the back boiler, which are no longer there

pipes-outside.jpg


So anyway, as expected, there's pipework back there.

pipes-side.jpg


It turns out that the section containing the pipes is actually deeper than I'd thought. Measuring the board section from the outside I thought it was only 9cm deep but its actually quite a bit deeper as you can see below, with what looks like the original skirting board along the left and back edges.

pipes-down.jpg


So what I can see there is a water pipe that's capped off just about floor level and two pipes that run from the floor up through, have another couple of pipes that split off them and go up into the ceiling

pipes-up.jpg


I'm making a wild stab in the dark and guessing (although will obviously verify first before taking any action) that these are were the hot water pipes that used to feed the upstairs radiators and should hopefully be removable by me.

It also turns out that not only does it appear that the top of the alcove is actually a bit higher than it would appear at first (as you can see, the two white pipes make a 90 degree turn and run below the top of the alcove), but judging by my tentative knocking on the right hand side of the alcove, it would appear there may well be another bit that's boarded off on that side.

The cogs are now spinning in my mind as to the uses these additional side bits could be put to in terms of storage or hiding away sockets and cables etc

I'm still re-working my Sketchup model of the room. The two alcoves are now correct (well, up until I made my discoveries today) but I was having a devil of a time trying to get the facing wall to join up and fill in properly so that I could push the hole for the main room door through. After spending an horrendous amount of time on it during my commute yesterday morning I finally figured out that the new more accurate dimensions meant it weren't taking into account that the room obviously won't be perfectly square, so I've had to fudge things a little to make it work (yay...). I've actually decided I need to extend the model to include the upstairs bedrooms as I'm guessing that may help in figuring out where the downlight for the computing corner will go, seeing as that part of the lounge is under the back bedroom.

I'm still vacillating on the lighting situation. After more research and becoming aware of some face plates that go over traditional light switches and hold the Hue dimmer switch, one of my biggest concerns over going with Hue has been somewhat alleviated, putting Hue back into more serious consideration.

Furniture wise I'm also still undecided, although I'm somewhat stuck there anyway until I know if/when we can get rid of the pipework by the chimney. Just to make things more fun, my youngest has now mastered climbing up chairs and onto other things, so nothing's going to be safe if it gets moved somewhere temporarily (which is most likely going to mean onto the table), nor in a permanent position. To be honest, I'm starting to wish we'd decided to leave the lounge for a year or two more so we could have got things done when the little 'un will listen to an (mostly) obey when told not to touch or climb up things. Having said that, with the speed things are progressing, it could well be a year or two until we're done as I'm currently having doubts about whether we've got enough in the budget to sort out all the furniture we'll need in one go (still not helped by the fact that I haven't had a chance to model up the things I'm expecting to have in the computing corner to try and figure out just how big of a desk surface I'll need)
 

cerebros

Active Member
Ok, no need to get someone out to look at the pipes. The more straightforward option of turning the heating on and seeing if the pipes warm up reveals that the pipes are still hooked in to the system.

Not sure yet how much of a crimp that's going to put into my plans for the alcove as I'm guessing I'll need to make sure I can still get at the pipes in an emergency
 

its_all_Greek

Distinguished Member
Just looking at your pics the reason the pipework is still live is when they moved the boiler they have just run flow and return pipework from the new boiler position to the old position and then tied them in. The capped pipe through the floor will possibly be Gas so be careful there.
 

cerebros

Active Member
Just looking at your pics the reason the pipework is still live is when they moved the boiler they have just run flow and return pipework from the new boiler position to the old position and then tied them in. The capped pipe through the floor will possibly be Gas so be careful there.

Yeah I'm having to reevaluate what I was hoping to do in that corner. (For one thing, I was planning to put a shelf at the top of the alcove for my photography and wargaming books but I'm not entirely sure I'd want to risk that now I know there's pipes running across the top.

I guess I could get someone in to change the positioning of the pipes in the alcove but I'm guessing that would use up a big chunk of our budget
 

cerebros

Active Member
So, missus is off with the kids to see her folks today. Great, I'll start stripping wallpaper.

An hour and a half after starting work I'm still shifting crap out of the way or putting it into the bin/recycling bags so I've got room to move furniture about.

I'm not holding out any hope of getting much done today
 

cerebros

Active Member
As feared, I didn't get as much done as I was hoping to today.

Before:
20170924 13-47-28 1.jpg


After:
20170924 17-17-09 2.jpg


I'd hoped to get all of the wall on the left finished off, along with the area of the far wall to the left of the window and the bit between the windowsill and radiator.

Unfortunately, with the amount of clearing up I needed to do in the room I didn't get started on stripping (well, heating up the wallpaper stripper) until about 1:45 and found I was having to go over the top of the walls a few times with the wallpaper stripper as it looked like there were several layers of paper on there
 

jt2k6

Active Member
Isn't that why you have kids! to do the clearing up!!!

I'm watching with interest I have a very similar issue with pipework from a back boiler, taking up space in an alcove where I want shelves.

we currently have the new version of expedit, from ikea (Kapilax or something IIRC) and it does my head in that there is 6 inches of wasted space (OCD and DIY don't mix) I will have to post some pics when I get home, although it is almost identical to your situation!
 

cerebros

Active Member
Isn't that why you have kids! to do the clearing up!!!

Well to be fair, having kids wasn't my idea (well, the first one at least... I said if we're going to have one we should have two...). It doesn't help that no.2 definitely has a different character to no.1. Whereas with the first we could leave stuff out on the dining table and be certain that nothing would end up on the floor (well, not as a result of the kiddie - we still had a cat back then), the second is quite happy to climb up on chairs to get at the tabletop and will happily push stuff off the table to get at what she wants.

I'm watching with interest I have a very similar issue with pipework from a back boiler, taking up space in an alcove where I want shelves.

we currently have the new version of expedit, from ikea (Kapilax or something IIRC) and it does my head in that there is 6 inches of wasted space (OCD and DIY don't mix) I will have to post some pics when I get home, although it is almost identical to your situation!

Well we've got one of the original Expedits (a 4x4 unit) which has done us well over the years and we had planned to keep, but I'm wondering now if we might be best served with something else to help maximise our storage. I had thought about the Kallax but the 5x5 unit is broader than the chimney (even counting the grey blocks that form the wall of the alcove)
 

cerebros

Active Member
So progress still incredibly slow... Tonight I managed to get a bit more done while the missus was putting the kids to bed so the main wall is now 99% stripped apart from a few little bits that've been missed first time around.

Progress-10-09-01.jpg


It also looks like I'm going to have my hands a bit more full filling in holes than I expected. Quite what this hole was for I don't know but there was a massive chunk of filler that appeared to be somehow combined with the paper which I decided I'd best dig out now.

Progress-10-09-02.jpg


With how little time I'm getting to work on the room right now (especially as I don't want to use up annual leave only to spend most of the time trying to clear stuff away so I can get at the things I need to) I've somewhat belatedly realised that I'm probably going to need to swap the positions of the settee and TV unit around quite soon. That way I'll be able to get at the wall behind where the TV is at the moment to strip it without having to disconnect and reconnect everything.

Meanwhile a new problem has presented itself. The youngest, who looks like she might well have mountain climber on her future career path the way she seems to be able to reach anything and everything, decided on Friday to draw in blue chalk over my centre speaker and TV. While the missus managed to clean the TV and I've managed to get the worst of it off with a damp cloth it's still noticeable in decent light and I'm not quite sure if I can get the front off to try a damper cloth to get the remainder cleaned up (certainly not without damaging the unit). I'm not quite sure where I can actually put the speakers or TV at the moment where the little 'un isn't going to be able to get at them. I'm also a bit concerned as when the redecoration is complete all the AV separates will probably be at a lower level, and the youngest has already pulled the volume and input selector dials off my old AV amp (that I haven't gotten around to getting rid of or putting into temporary storage in the roof just yet)
 

cerebros

Active Member
During the week I managed to get the section to the left of the window stripped plus a bit under the windowsill and the left side of the window (obviously barring a few leftover scraps).

After also drawing a pencil outline on the wall of where the sofa is currently positioned to aid with planning where to put sockets (regardless of what we end up doing vis a vis a side table at the end of the sofa I sit on, or whether we end up getting a new(er) sofa in a year or two, the position of the sofa shouldn't change drastically), I'd planned to shift the sofa out and mark where I think I'm going want the plug sockets, network socket and rear speakers on that wall while the missus took our eldest to see the My Little Pony movie this afternoon. Unfortunately I developed a stinker of a headache around midday and so ended up trying to have a nap (while the youngest was also down for a nap) to sleep it off. Unfortunately no joy in that department.

Anyway, assuming this headache goes away overnight, I'm planning to take advantage of the fact that the missus isn't working tomorrow and is planning on taking the girls to church to get the sofa out, do the marking up and try and swap the positions of the sofa and AV gear (although I'm pondering whether to actually drill the holes for the rawlplugs for the rear speakers while I have the chance).
 

cerebros

Active Member
Surprise, surprise, I didn't get anywhere near as much done as I was hoping. After clearing up the mess from the kids that managed to accumulate since Monday night while I was moving furniture out of the way, and then drawing lines on the wall to help give where I need to think about positioning the sockets and the rear speakers, I went to get my tools to drill holes for the speaker brackets.

That took about 10 minutes trying to find everything (my own fault as I really need to sort out the shed, although as you've probably guessed if you've been following this thread, I don't get much time to even think about doing it) I was had about ready to start drilling when I realised that the screws I thought I'd bought a while ago for putting the speakers up were actually too big for the holes on the brackets. A quick search around failed to turn up any more packets of screws leaving me to conclude I must have bought the wrong size by mistake.

As the wife and kids were still out I figured I should have enough time to get to B&Q and back and do all my drilling and hoovering before they returned.

Unfortunately, I hadn't counted on the complete mess the screw section was at B&Q, with nothing apparently in the right place. After 5 minutes of going through the boxes in the section I needed to be in I concluded they didn't have what I needed.

This necessitated a trip around town to Wickes where I managed to find what I needed in about a minute. Unfortunately, when I arrived back home the family were back so I had to wait for for youngest to be put down for her nap before I could start drilling.

This too didn't go well as the drill was drifting off my marks quite baldy. Wondering what the hell was going on I realised I'd picked the wrong type of drill bit out and didn't have a masonry bit in the drill.

I'm going to have to try again tonight when the missus is doing the kids' bathtime.
 

cerebros

Active Member
Oops.

This is another "I didn't get as far as I'd planned post", although it was almost "I'm never going to be getting it done post"....

So, after the usual tidying up I went to drill holes for the speaker brackets. I'd marked out where I was planning to put them and found my tools, rawl plugs and the screws I was planning to attach the brackets to the wall with when I noticed that the screws seemed a bit big and, sure enough, they were. Now I'm not sure if these were the screws I was looking for or if I'd bought the wrongs whenever it was I last thought about putting the brackets up but the net result was that I had the wrong screws now.

Looking at my watch I figured I should have enough time to get to B&Q, get the right screws, and then get home in time to drill the holes in the wall and put the furniture back before the missus and kids returned. And I probably would have, if the screws section at B&Q wasn't a complete mess with none of the packets of screws apparently in the right box. After about five minutes looking through all the boxes where the screws I wanted should have been I decided to drive to the nearest Wickes where I managed to find what I wanted within a minute and get on my way home.

By the time I got back the missus and kids had arrived so, in a rush to get the holes drilled before the youngest was put down for her nap, I started drilling. Not noticing that I hadn't picked up a masonry drill bit and so the second hole I tried to drill for the first bracket went somewhat askew.

Not in the best mood I decided to wait until the youngest was being given her bath until trying again to avoid any chance of disturbing her sleep. With the right bit in my drill this time I started drilling and.... the whole house is plunged into darkness.

As you've probably guessed, I'd hit a mains cable - fortunately I'd had to get the fusebox brought up to spec last year when I had a socket put up in the attic which is why I'm able to be here typing this rather than this being an orphaned thread... Entirely my own fault - when the initial holes went awry for some reason I went a bit closer to the corner for the new position which took me about a foot and a half over the plug socket, although even if I'd been paying attention I'm not sure that would have stopped me drilling as it was my understanding that cabling for sockets was supposed to come up from the floor below the socket, not from above the socket. But then I keep forgetting that we're not entirely sure how much this house conforms to spec in terms of the electrics.

We've had an electrician out to check we're not in any immediate danger but we do need to get it addressed ASAP. We'd been planning to get this sparks out to do the work we want as part of the redecoration and he's said he'll roll the cost of the repair into that job to make it a bit cheaper but it now means we need to make a decision about sockets and lighting a lot quicker than we're ready for.
 

cerebros

Active Member
Thought I'd upload some quick grabs from my Sketchup model. I've just realised since I started redoing bits of the lounge in it I've not put all the sockets on the exterior wall on (which would help with planning...)


Exterior wall
Exterior%20Wall%20No%20Dimensions.jpg


Hallway way

Hallway%20Wall%20No%20Dimensions.jpg



Kitchen wall

KItchen%20Wall%20No%20Dimensions.jpg



Party wall

Party%20Wall%20No%20Dimensions.jpg


(And yes, that texture on three of the walls is from an actual photo of the wallpaper that's currently up on our walls.... although not quite to scale)
 

cerebros

Active Member
So it feels like progress is speeding up a bit.

We had the electrician out on Friday to do the quote for all the work I want doing, which when I started talking it through suddenly sounded like a hell of a lot more than it did just thinking about it.

I had been thinking about changing the lighting plans to doing all GU10 Hue down lights and got the sparks to quote for the necessary work for that but I'd been a bit wary of the plan as I wasn't sure if they'd go bright enough on the occasions I need the extra illumination.

Sod's law I finally found a video of someone using the GU10s in a somewhat similar situation and saw that while they'd be fine for general lounge light, they didn't look like they were going to reach the extra step I'd need, so I'm going to have to get the electrician to re-quote based on my original lighting plan of two main lights plus down lights above key areas.
 

cerebros

Active Member
It's taken me pretty much all my commuting time and lunch time all week (apart from this morning as apparently I'd not plugged the laptop in properly overnight) but I finally managed to get a revised spec plus a few further questions off to the electrician.

For the update I've updated my Sketchup model to add in some of the possible positions of sockets and switches. As I've now figured out how to get the Layers section up in the sidebar in Sketchup I've been able to set up a number of layers so that I can show or hide, for example, the old and new sockets, or the position of the furniture (to help me judge whether the model looks correct), which is a lot more convenient that moving items in and out of the lounge to get them out of the way for taking screen shots.

This is my revised lighting plan with the three down lights in key areas plus the two E27 Hue bulbs (although the missus and I need to decide whether we want them as downlights as well or in a more traditional fitting and shade. The wife and I are planning to go to B&Q tomorrow to try and pick out the paint for the walls, so we're planning to take in the lighting section as well.

Ligjhting 3 downlights.jpg


This is a view of the wall where the two alcoves are, the TV alcove on the left and the computing alcove on the right. The yellow sections are a guide as to roughly where the TV and speakers will be mounted (I've decided to put the left/right speakers closer to the corners of the alcove to leave plenty of room for a larger TV if I get a bigger set next time I need a new one)

I've dropped in a load of sockets just to get an idea of how busy the wall is going to be - while the computing alcove doesn't look too bad, the TV alcove (where I'll have switch for hooking everything together and into the broadband router) looks like it'll end up quite busy

Party Wall - With socket positions.jpg


This is the opposite wall. Again the position of the speakers is marked in yellow, then there's three double sockets with USB ports.

Hallway Wall - With socket positions.jpg


So far it's looking like the electrical work is going to suck up the majority of the remaining budget which might be a bit of a pain as we've decided that we're going to get someone in to put the wall paper up to try and get that done quicker than I would, so I can save my annual leave for the job of doing the painting.

I'm still struggling on the furniture side of things. I took a quick look earlier this week but need time for a deeper dive on what Ikea have to offer to see if there's anything that fits in with what I want, especially seeing as I want to get furniture in the TV corner that will match colour-wise with the desk surface and shelves in the computing corner, plus whatever we replace the current bookcase with.
 

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