Newbie garage conversion

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Hi all,

I've been a long time reader and admirer of the home cinemas on this site and I've finally been given permission by the wife to build my own.
A bit about me...

Been into home cinema since the 1990s when I realised that the only way I could own my favourite film in full widescreen was laserdisc.
So I invested in a player and pro logic amp, and a widescreen tv.
Then bought Ghostbusters on LD (£90 Criterion version from the US!) and finally had it in widescreen.
Upgraded all my equipment over the years, got a student loan to get a Chipped US DVD player when they were first released and I've never looked back.
I've recently got into the 4K world with the Samsung UHD player and a 65imch LG TVs. Made sure it was one of the top ones with Dolby vision support as well for future proofing.

So a few months back I started reading up on Dolby Atmos and decided that I wanted to get involved.
I'm currently limited to a 5.1 setup "wife friendly" in the living room so has to think about it.
We have an integral garage that we don't use for car parking and it's full of junk. Casually remarked to the wife a few weeks back that I'd love to make it into a home cinema and to my surprise she said yes!
What's more she gave me carte Blanche on it, the only proviso being that we could ask let the kids use it to watch TV if they wanted. No problem I said , we can just get a second Sky Q mini box and hook it up in there. Job done (also, that means I can watch the football in there too!, it I didn't mention it was a plan along!) she also doesn't mind speakers on the walls or wherever they need to be, unlike the living room.

So we went down to Richer Sounds in Maidstone a few weeks back and asked for a demo of Dolby Atmos. We watched a clip of John Wick and a trailer and I have to say I was extremely underwhelmed. But they did only have a 5.1.2 set up.
Around the corner is Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, and having bought from them before we booked a demo with them.
They have 7.1.4 and it absolutely blew me away! And it takes a lot to do that now. What's more it also seriously impressed the wife.
So it's full steam ahead on the garage conversion.
But... now we come to the potential sticking point. Our house was a new build in a cul de sac and we are sure that the planning permission for it had conditions that stipulate it must have space for 3 cars. Two on the drive and a garage. We spoke to the council last week to start the planning application to brick up the garage and put a window and they couldn't find the original planning permission document so could be very helpful. So we are just going to have to put it in and hope it goes through.

The garage itself isn't big, 5.5x3m and at the back we have the boiler and the other end the fuse box.
My plan is to build a partition wall so we have a small utility room and a home cinema. This obviously cuts the size of the room to 4x3m.
I've measured up for a projection screen and think I can get a 110 inch screen in, and because I was underwhelmed by 5.1.2 I am going to go for full 7.1.4.
I hope the room is big enough for it and not overwhelmed by the front soundstage.

So hopefully the planning will go through and I can get started, will probably be looking on here for advice as there's lots to consider, projector with the right throw, distance etc.
But I'm very excited, especially to get a sounds system that most cinemas don't have!!
 

wl1

Well-known Member
Council should be fine, my garage conversion to playroom went through as "change of use" only, and a Building Regs, not planning. IIRC.

Best of luck. BTW, I can recommend you go to see the likes of Ricky from Kalibrate for a demo of what is possible, he can help you as much or little as you like, advice and equipment choice. Based in Kent.
 

CableGuy

Active Member
Hi there.
Sounds like an exciting project. Your room sounds similar in size to mine, which also had wife approval for a garage to Cinema conversion. Here's a link to my build thread, just in case anything might come in handy; My home cinema (where the car used to live)

My home cinema (where the car used to live)
We also had to house the boiler and gas/electric meters etc. I integrated he meters and consumer units into self-built cupboards so no one would even realise they were in there. We partitioned the back of the room to feature a utility room which doubles up as the equipment/projection room. Two birds with one stone.
Not that I'm exactly an expert but, let me know if you have any questions that might help with your build. :)
Dan
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies, (had to change accounts as couldn't post messages on my old one!)

Will speak to Kalibrate when the time is right.

Cable guy - yours I very similar to what I want to do, and it looks great.
I am also using the B&W M1's in my living room at the moment, as they they are small and wife friendly.
I was thinking of moving them to the converted room when done and using them as the 4 surrounds.
Then buying a pair of floor standing B&W's and a similar centre. I think B&W also do ceiling speakers as well, so I'll look into that too.
I think the projector will be the pain to sort out.
I need one that can produce a 110inch image from approx 3.5m away.
I can't afford a 4k one yet, so will just be regular HD. Shame really as most of the UHD's that are released have the atmos tracks.
I suppose I'll have to hook up my Samsung and watch a downconverted image:(
 

wl1

Well-known Member
Have you thought about Acoustically Transparent screen, hide your speakers behind it? Very immersive when you can't see the speakers, and it stops kids messing with them too. Hugh WAF.
 

CableGuy

Active Member
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies, (had to change accounts as couldn't post messages on my old one!)

Will speak to Kalibrate when the time is right.

Cable guy - yours I very similar to what I want to do, and it looks great.
I am also using the B&W M1's in my living room at the moment, as they they are small and wife friendly.
I was thinking of moving them to the converted room when done and using them as the 4 surrounds.
Then buying a pair of floor standing B&W's and a similar centre. I think B&W also do ceiling speakers as well, so I'll look into that too.
I think the projector will be the pain to sort out.
I need one that can produce a 110inch image from approx 3.5m away.
I can't afford a 4k one yet, so will just be regular HD. Shame really as most of the UHD's that are released have the atmos tracks.
I suppose I'll have to hook up my Samsung and watch a downconverted image:(
Hi there.
Thanks for the nice comments.
I don't think you'll struggle too much with the throw distance. My Epson 7200 will get a 110" picture from 3m (according to the book). I'm sure plenty of others will too. Good old 1080p still has a lot to offer. Personally, I'd prioritise ATMOS over 4K.
Funny that you mention the speakers. Only today I've been chatting with a forum member about possibly changing my speakers. If I do put my B&W 684 and HTM62 in the classifieds I'll let you know, (in case they might be what you're looking for).
I look forward to seeing more of your plans and progress. :)
Dan
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Yes I was toying with an accoutically transparent screen, although I've read mixed reviews about them, in so much as some people think they still muffle the sound.
I do like the fact that I can see the speakers, as some floor standing speakers look really nice, but if it's a case of they obstruct the screen in anyway then, behind they would go.
I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Cableguy - thanks for the insight on the projectors throw, that's good too know. For the moment, I will be concentrating on Atmos, 4K can wait in there until, projectors come down in price.
Thanks for the speaker update. I'll keep an eye out as and when. Funny enough I just remembered I have some old KEF speakers in the loft, a centre and two others. At least they can be put into use if I can't afford floor slanders straightaway!

Once planning permission comes through, I'll start adding some photos.
 

wl1

Well-known Member
Floor Standing speakers are traditionally for music - will that form a big part of your listening? With room correction these days, cross overs usually mean floor standees don't make use of the low frequency drivers as much. In other words, if mostly for cinema, look at one or two subs, with bookshelf size, speakers at the many positions around the room to suit your room. Just food for thought.....
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Probably not to be honest, got a sonos network over the house for whenever I listen to music.
I must admit I was impressed by the floor standing speakers in my Atmos demo, so thought that would be the way I would go. I used to have a cheap pair that I used for front left and right before I left home, and I loved them.
Think I might have to demo a lot of speakers when ready.....
 

Thug

Moderator
Will look forward to watching this as I am doing a similar thing.
We have extended the garage to be 8m long so we still have a small garage for my motorbike.
The rear of it will have a arch/door into the dining room and will be a snug/cinema room about 3.5mtr in length.
I intend to mount the projector into the wall (like Cableguy has) to give a little more distance, something like this...


My only worry is the screen. I want a ceiling recessed one, but the largest I can fit is around 100cm which has a housing length of about 2.3m which is cutting it fine.
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Planning permission submitted 15 mins ago. Fingers crossed now.

The attach image is what I want to do so building a partition wall to split the garage into 2 rooms.
 

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SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Thanks ste7en, will keep an eye on yours as well.

I know lots about the av side of this, but nothing about the diy side! Will be asking lots of questions!

Update on my last post, plans came back for being incorrect and for not having stuff that they never told me about, so got really annoyed at it all and we are getting an architect in.
Measuring on Monday so hopefully plans submitted very soon.
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Small update,
Plans should be back this week and submitted to the council soon after.

Having been unable to wait, I convinced the wife to let me go out and buy a projector last weekend.
Managed to get the benq w1070 from Richer sounds for £400 (£100 off allegedly) and then a king size white sheet which I pegged over the curtain in the living room on Sunday afternoon to test out and watch the football on. (!)
As we walked into Sainsbury's to buy the sheet I said to the wife, "what happens if the plans are rejected?"
Immediately she said the projector goes back!
After 15 mins of it up in the living room she changed her tune, and even let me buy a 100" portable screen so we can use it in the living room before the garage is done!!
Haha!!
 

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SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
And finally... nearly a year after the las5 post, work begins tomorrow!
To be fair we have had a back extension done, and this has gone on the back burner, but am now chomping at the bit.
I have practically everything I need for the room as throughout last year I was purchas8ng during sales events.
Managed to snag some B&W 683s and the matching centre for £1200, denon x4400 amp and a couple of stereo amps, and some very thick deep carpet, a 3 people reclining settee whilst on sale. I just need to work out the screen size I can fit, which I’ll do tomorrow and then when work begins I can buy a screen.
Need to pop to richer sounds as well and purchase myself some cable for the surrounds and Ceiling speakers so once again I can measure that out and get that done in the next week. Am very very excited.
We have been saving any new 4k discs I have bought to watch in the cinema when it’s done, so I think first film will be MI: Fallout, in,was the kids want to watch any of the Harry potters. But with Atmos/dts x I’m happy with either. I even bought pixels on BD when it wa cheap as that has Auro 3d. But I am not sure if I can access that sound track as my speaker won’t have the correct layout, but hey ho, first world problems!
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
After a false start last week due to sickness, work started today.
First up was investigating where we can move the fuse box and it’s going to affect screen length where it is. Thankfully we can move it about 2ft to the right and bury it with an accessible hatch on the right hand wall, so had to drill holes for cables and stuff before I get my sparky in to move it. Then it was a case of working out speaker placements at the back in the new stud wall so that we can work out where to put the door, so that I can have a shelf for the projecter if possible. If not will be a bracket from the ceiling.
 

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SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Update if anyone is reading,
Stud walls are up, and fuse box has been moved so it’s recessed into the stud wall.
In it’s original position it was where the edge of the screen would be, so reducing the width of the screen I could get.
Got a ceiling guy coming tomorrow morning to put up the metal framework for the lowered ceiling, and on Friday I have a sparky coming in for electrics and to help me with the cabling.
Today was exciting as I went out and bought the new projector screen and cable for the surrounds and ceiling speakers.
I also bought two lengths of Philips Hue strip lighting from Argos at the weekend, Argos have a deal until Feb 15, if you buy the 2m box U get a free 1m extension cable, so Ive got 6 metres of led lighting for the room.
Photos below show the room with my old floorstanding screen up where I was checking out the projector image size.
It’s a bit more intimate than I initially thought, but I’m really happy with it.
My only issue is the side surrounds, I will have to avoid the left hand one, when I get up and leave the room, as there’s only about 40cm of space between the settee and wall on one side... I’m thinking of moving it forward/back and angling it towards the MLP to overcome having to walk past it, but this means it’s almost underneath the front Atmos speakers... decisions, decisions...
 

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SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Electrician round today and we did first fix electrics. This involved cabling for 7 double plugs for the av equipment, ceiling sockets for the screen and projector, along with 4 more doubles around the sides of the room and some cabling the other side of the stud wall. Also had two lights removed and made safe and one pendant light in the utility room.
We then set up the cables for all my speakers ready for the tacking and plastering on Monday...
 

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SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Ceiling painted black yesterday and a quick second coat applied this morning already.
Hopefully skirts will arrive today so can be primed and painted this afternoon. Wallpapering also starting tomorrow afternoon.

As a treat though I’m going to install the ceiling speakers later this afternoon, as I see that as the first step towards completion!

Edit - well I’ll try to install them but the wire cutters I have are rubbish, so stripping the wires might be a chore!
 

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SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
I went to ikea and designed an av stand from the besta range.
£210 for the large frame, glass on top for tv, 2 doors and some three shelves.
I will have my centre speaker in the centre on the top shelf and the amp underneath, but I will have to cut out some of the back part to fit the amp though as it’s not deep enough.
 

SpuddybabyUK

Active Member
Atmos speakers in. Took longer than I expected as the hoody’s were a bit fiddly to work with and install. I’d tap a nail in one side and then stretch the other side to fit and the original nail would come out!

Then it was a ball ache having to call the wife to hold the speaker clips open so I could hold the speaker and fit the wire in. Then it’s arm ache holding the speaker in place whilst trying to screw them in so the locks clamp down.

But finally done it and am now priming the skirting board. One question though - anyone got any tips on how to remove the magnetic covers once u put them on? There’s no easy way to grip them!
 

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