Thursday, January 20, 2011

11. Removing the Braces

After the slabs over the basement had cured for about 60 days, it was time to remove all the bracing that had been holding them up. The entire basement was a dense maze, which you could barely crawl through.

Luckily, my daughter was home from college and available to help dismantle the bracing. With walls every two feet, this was really a tremendous amount of lumber, and took over a month to remove. Everything was fastened together with screws. We stacked the best of the boards for later use, and hauled the rest to BioMass, a local electrical plant that burns scrap lumber in a state-of-the-art furnace to make clean electricity.

The three pictures at left were all taken from the same position before, during and after lumber removal.The carpenters had built a false floor in the theater, so that the temporary bracing walls would all be the same size. The structure of this floor consisted of 12" engineered wooden I-beams which would be used permanently later for the upper floors of the house.  It was great to finally see the true dimensions of the theater. There are three heights of stadium-seating, with 24" separation of height for each section. The entrance is at the left rear, with steps running down the left side of the room. Some day this room will be outfitted in full 1930s Art Deco movie-palace styling.

Here's the view from the opposite direction once all the debris was hosed out, looking towards the back of the theater. It's designed for 17 seats, plus (maybe) a balcony on the right side with two smaller seats.

The main part of the basement is the game room. This will contain a pool table, air-hockey board, foosball table, dart board, card table, area for board games, ice-cream bar, and more. The game room will be oufitted in Jules-Verne style, like the interior of the Nautilus from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". There's even an underwater window. This Victorian-mechanical motif is becoming popular, and even has its own name - "Steam Punk".
The opening is just roughed-in now, but some day this
 window will look out into the deep end of the pool.


  1. Hail Jim! I wondered how things were going with you and found this blog tonight. WOW! I am looking forward to your progress. I am back in Highland and that made me think of you. Later! :)

    Rick Adams

  2. Hi, Rick - Yeah, this is my latest little project. I'm actually a lot farther along now, and will adding some more chapters in the next few days.

  3. awesome , great work ! i wish i could visit and help..

  4. Jim,

    FYI: the 5th photo has incorrect link ( it points to ClearingTheater3.jpg, it should be ClearingTheater2.jpg ).

    Awesome stuff, excellent documentation. I know a real programmer when I see one ;-)

  5. Thanks for the heads-up. Link fixed.