June 30th, 2011:
Theater Project: Close, Yet Far…

The major construction on our basement remodel is complete… And it looks amazing. My brother’s custom building company, Degen Development, really transformed the unfinished space into somewhere I would like to spend a lot of time. The basement is now divided into 5 spaces with several closets for equipment and utilities. There is a game room with arcade and air hockey, a bar (not completely finished yet, due to the cost of cabinets and countertops), and dedicated theater room. We’re at the point when we should be buying all of the equipment for the theater, but due to tsunami damage in Japan’s manufacturing plants, our projector is no longer available. So, our consultant at AVIO have recommended a different model (given our requirements) that will be available in August. Everything else is ordered and available. So, come August, we will be enjoying big screen goodness in our home theater.

- Duane

November 2nd, 2010:
Return to the Basement Project

After a brief hiatus from our basement project to work on larger projects for clients, Christian is going to squeeze some time in to work on hanging the ceiling and install the trim and doors in our basement. Once this is complete, we’ll be able to apply the final coats of paint, install the overhead can lighting, and get the carpet installed. If each remaining part of the project takes a week (or weekend), we should be able to schedule our projector and screen installation by the end of the year! (Pics of the project here.)

Basement Floorplan

- Duane

September 7th, 2010:
Racing, Theater Progress, and Detroit…

We’ve been exceptionally busy this summer. Somehow, we’ve managed to mix weddings, racing, home improvements into our already hectic work schedules to make updating my blog (or even posting to Twitter) a luxury. My race season has ended with 4 events in the bag (plus a practice session). I learned a lot about my new race car as well as myself. With some maintenance on the car and a little more seat time, I’m hoping to have an exciting season next year.

In other racing news, Glenn (my father-in-law) had a spectacular “racing incident” last weekend at Mid-Ohio. Another driver spun just ahead of him in a blind uphill corner. Without enough time to avoid the collision, Glenn hit the side of the other car between 60 and 80 mph, casing significant damage to his car, but no injuries (apart from a little soreness). We were very relieved to see him climb out of his car once the corner workers had gotten the remaining cars on track under control.

Christian (my brother) and his drywall crew finished the walls in our basement a few months ago. Since then, we’ve put a coat of paint on the walls (to make it easier to paint after the trim is installed), finished the remaining electrical wiring, routed and installed speaker connections, consulted with Eric at AVIO, tested the speaker locations (awesome) and built our 2nd-row riser. We’re on-track to have our theater finished by the end of the year!

Our company moved to downtown Detroit about 3 weeks ago, doubling my daily drive time. The good news is, that’s my only complaint. Detroit is great… and that’s coming from somebody that gave up on the D when the currently imprisoned mayor was re-elected. I went to school here and grew up on the edges of the city, so it’s nice to re-connect with my hometown. There’s hundreds of restaurants to visit at lunch, traffic in the city itself isn’t bad (compared to Chicago, NYC, etc.), and our new building is simply awesome. Our founder, Dan Gilbert, is trying to get more innovators and entrepreneurs downtown. If that happens, it’s only going to get better down here.

- Duane