The Room

My family doesn't live in a large house. It's about 1900 sq.feet and the bulk of that is in one room; the living room. The room is about 24' x 15' and has a vaulted ceiling that peaks at 15' in the center, and slopes to 10' high where is meets the sidewalls. Besides building an addition to the house, this is the only space I have for a Home Theater. Since the room will remain multi-purpose, technically I should call this project a "media room". But that lacks the pizzazz of "Home Theater" and usually only conjures an image of a large screen TV and a stereo system. I'm after the bigger picture, literally, of a front projector, 100" screen and full 5.1 surround sound (maybe 6.1 or 7.1 someday).

The biggest problem I've had to face in order to make this dream a reality has been the location of the projector. Ideally, the projector should be mounted about 8' up from the floor, upside down, to project on a screen. For my desired screen size and the throw distance of most front projectors, it should also be about 13' feet from the screen. Due the various windows and doors, and the traffic pattern of the room, I decided to put the screen on one end of the room, on the 10' high wall. The projector, therefore, needs to be mounted in the approximate center of the room.

This is a rough drawing of the room with a top-down view. The screen is against the east wall, and the projector is just west of the center line of the room.

This is a rough cross section of the room. It's clear from this picture that the projector needs to hang from the center of the room to get it to the correct height.

This is a picture of the ceiling. It's finished in stained tongue and groove knotty pine. The ceiling fan in the center of the ceiling will have to be moved to accommodate the whatever holds the projector in position. In fact, I'll be installing 2 new fans to balance the room.

Here's another picture of the ceiling from a different angle.

After deliberating over this problem for many weeks, I decided to build a projector lift.

Another problem with the room, not directly related to making it a Home Theater, is the lighting. My wife and I are not happy with the current lighting (or lack of it) in this room. As long as I'm doing ceiling work, I'll be adding 48' of track lighting in 4 12' runs, controlled by 3 X-10 dimmers, which will be controlled by the HTPC during movies. You can read more about the lighting and related wiring here.