DIYer Spends 3 Years Researching Theater
Steve Caesare didn't want to throw something together in his basement; he wanted things to be perfect.
Steve Caesare spent three years researching how to best complete his basement theater.
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November 13, 2009 by Rachel Cericola

This time around, Steve didn’t want any trial and error. “We actually went into it with very limited set of drawings,” he says. “They weren’t much more than glorified sketches, to be honest about it.” Other than that, Steve discussed the framing and the soffit with his friend Marty, a contractor that he hired to handle the Sheetrock and cabinetry work.

“From there, most of the time, it was simply in my head.” Steve must have a photographic memory because he says the project actually turned out exactly how he envisioned it.

Part of that blueprint called for excellent sound isolation. Steve went into the project with two goals in mind: Keep sound away from the rest of the house and create killer sound within the room.

“We did the framing to isolate the walls in the basement from the rest of the framing of the house. This minimizes the sound transmission to the rest of the house,” he says. “Then, we selected fabric with insulation and cotton batting and put it key locations to make the soundfield in the primary seating locations as good as possible.”

Steve also didn’t skimp on the design. Instead of using a soffit to stuff away his room’s biggest flaws, Steve put a one around the entire room as a design element. It wasn’t easy though. “There’s an I-beam in the middle of the room, there’s ductwork at the back of the room, and there’s some piping at the side of the room, all with soffits to cover them,” he says. “Then we built other dummy soffits around the perimeters of the rest of the room to make it symmetrical. The result of all of that is there’s a lot of soffit work to do and Sheetrocking all of that was a bit of a chore.”

At some point, Steve says that he might upgrade. For now, though, his years of research seem to be paying off. “Most of the newer stuff that I’ve looked at doesn’t provide enough additional bang for the buck that I think it’s really worthwhile,” he says. “I’m very pleased with how it turned out.”

To see why Steve is so pleased, check out his entire basement in our slideshow.

Quick Hits
Location: Ashburn, Va.
Year Completed: 2006
Room Size: 25 x 15 feet
Length of Project: 9 months
Total Cost: $60,000 (entire basement level)

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

Equipment List

Da-Lite HiPower 133-inch Screen
Dish Network 722 HD Satellite Receiver/DVR
Gyration Wireless Keyboard & Air Mouse
Insteon Lighting Controllers (11 zones/6 scenes)
JBL HTi-5 Center-Channel Speaker
JBL HTi-8 Speakers (4)
JBL Northridge E-Series Speakers (2)
Logitech Harmony 720 Remote
Microsoft Windows Media Center PC
Microsoft Xbox 360
Monoprice Cables
Pioneer TXSi-84 A/V Receiver
Samsung BDP-1500 Blu-ray player
Sony PVM-14 Monitor
Sony VPL-VW50 Video Projector
SVS PB10 Powered Subwoofers (2)
Toshiba HD-A30 HD DVD Player
Viewsonic 19-inch LCD Monitor
Yamaha MX12/4 Mixer & Microphones

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