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

February 17th, 2009:
As the basement project continues, the bug to build an arcade cabinet returns.

I’ve wanted to build a M.A.M.E. cabinet since the first time I downloaded the premier arcade emulation package. I just never had anywhere to put one, but thanks to my brother, Christian’s, help, we’re looking forward to a warm and functional basement space. Our new basement will be divided into 3 rooms, plus utility closets and storage: a dedicated projection theater, a walk-up bar, and a small arcade/air hockey area. George shares my excitement and we’ve been plotting our home-built arcade shrines in-between projects at work. We’ll be visiting Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum for a little recon soon. Perhaps we can learn something from his years of arcade and coin-op attraction restoration.

- Duane

February 9th, 2009:
Basement project continues. Wife demands that I do hard labor.

My brother and master builder, Christian, came over last friday to survey the electrical work we need done in the basement. He gave us a list of the stuff we needed to buy and are edging closer to completing the basement. We tried to pick up as much as possible from Home Depot yesterday, but came up short in the specialty lighting department.

I’m just kidding about the demanding part. Though I admit I was pretty cranky when the time came to hang out insulated curtains in our family room. Perhaps the only chore that I dislike more than hanging curtains is painting. It went well none-the-less and we got Austin remodeling contractors to install a pet door to let our cats get to the basement without leaving the door open as well as finally fixing the broken trim on our kitchen stairs.

- Duane

February 2nd, 2009:
Theater Project Update

My brother, Christian, has been working on the complicated framing in our basement for our game room, bar, and theater. It has progressed a great deal in the past few weeks and I must say that I am rather impressed and intimidated by the amount of work that has gone into something nobody will ever see once the drywall is in place. You really get a feel for the layout of the rooms now that the framing is nearing completion. I can wait to get things wired (which is coming next).

In related news, we have a rather nice interim home entertainment solution in our den: a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD screen, THX-certified mini-surround speakers, Vista Media Center, and a Sony PS3. The PS3 has especially worked out well. It’s features, ease-of-use, and aesthetics make it an obvious choice for the basement theater when it’s complete. I even watched the Super Bowl this year (something I’ve never done before). In the dozen-or-so pro football games that I’ve watched in my life, this was by far the most exciting. Seeing the whole thing in 1080i (limited HD due to broadcast quality) made it even nicer. I just might do it again next year!

- Duane