What will your home movie theater look like?
by: VERN UYETAKE The basement of this Lake Oswego home was transformed from an unused basement to a tiered movie theater – complete with a wine cellar and wet bar in about two months. Designer Sheila Carlson with MRC Builders said that transitions like this are perfect for fall weather – and just in time for the holidays.

With cooler weather and the holidays just around the corner, many locals are preparing to cocoon for the season. Cue the hot tea, UGG boots, Snuggies - oh admit it, you have one - and cozy, family movie nights.

Lake Oswego resident and business owner Sheila Carlson with MRC Builders recently set up one Lake Oswego family with a dramatic theater experience this fall, setting the stage in their unfinished basement by installing raised, stadium seating for viewing a big-screen TV - all next to a wine cellar and wet bar.

'Before,' Carlson said, the space 'was just a big storage unit. This was a perfect use of the space.'

And because the homeowners decorated their home with monochromatic colors and minimalist style, the sleek lines achieved with the glass fireplace, mirrored bar and rope lighting tucked into the crown molding blends seamlessly with the established environment.

'For a theater, you want it dark and with dim lighting,' Carlson said. 'Everything feels kind of smoky, like going to a movie theater.'

The project took less than two months, Carlson said, and the project is a bit of a blank canvas. Want a big-screen TV built into the wall? Go for it, or leave the TV and speakers exposed like these homeowners chose to do. Surround sound? Windows? Red velvet curtains? Candy from a glass case? Massage chairs? A butler? The complete DVD box set of Frasier? A seat for your dog?

Carlson said the project could be as dramatic or animated as your movie tastes and for many different budgets.

'The homeowners ended up buying those leather chairs from Costco with cup holders,' Carlson said. 'And they recline. You can set yourself down there and never move.'

For more convenience, this basement was already pre-wired for plumbing and had a bathroom downstairs, so adding the wet bar - complete with a dishwasher - was easy. And instead of soda machines, on entering this space, choose a beverage from the wine cellar.

'(The homeowner) had taken beautiful photos from Italy, just lovely Tuscan photographs, and had them blown up,' Carlson said. 'They look great.'

By utilizing a basement for a theater experience, Carlson said, 'the acoustics are great and, since the room is a bit underground, you can turn the sound up.'

And since the concrete room 'tended to be a bit cool,' Carlson said the new rectangular gas fireplace provides some warmth to the space with Brazilian cherry floors and carpeted steps. Add movie posters, a concessions stand, lettering to announce what films are on tap and be sure to invite your friends and family for a special viewing this fall. Now, charging admission is totally up to you.

For more information about MRC Builders, a design and build firm, visit

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