Introduction: Home Theater / Diner

The vision of what I wanted to do. We have a 26' x 26" space over the garage that has been earmarked for something great for years. I came up with a design in Google Sketchup. This family theater / 50's diner.


  • Lots of wood!
  • Chop saw
  • Drill
  • scroll saw
  • jig saw
  • sanders, palm and belt
  • glue
  • screws
  • contact cement
  • aluminum flat stock, angle
  • seem filler
  • furniture tacks
  • Paint, paint & paint
  • Laminate

Step 1: Art Deco Diner Theater. the Blank Canvas!

The room was sheet rocked 2 years ago and since I have been planning and designing. As you can see it is truly a blank slate with 2"x 12" collar ties right in the middle of the ceiling. The peak is 17' high.

Step 2: Platform Riser

Already having the 4 recliners I opted to build a riser platform that is 1' off the ground with a 6" step in the front. The back wall will have electrical outlets for power to the chairs and on the other side for whatever you may need. The back wall of the platform will double as the support for the diner counter. I used 2" x 12" and 2" x 6"'s for the floor and 2" x 4"'s for the back wall. finished in 1/4" pre-primed luan, and 1/2" ply with a finished side.

Step 3: Disguising the Wood Collar Tie Beams to Look Like Steel I-Beams

There are 7 collar tie beams running through the room.They are made from 2"x 12" Douglas Fur, to disguise them and to keep with the Art Deco feel I decided to disguise them as steel "I" beams. I used 3/8" inch plywood for the top and bottom of the beams to look like "I" beams.

Step 4: Art Deco Beam Details

To create the detailed steel look, I created a pattern from cardboard then made all the pieces out of 1/4" luan. I made a jig to make these easily since I needed to make 28 of these total. I used furniture tack for the look of rivets them primed everything with Rust-Oleum grey primer.

Step 5: Nuts and Bolts

To make the look of heavy nuts and bolts I ran a 2"x4" threw the table saw at the 33 degree angle to then cut into 3/4" pieces then sanded the edges for the rounded steel look. I then glued a 3/4" round dowel cut into small pieces to half of them to look like the screw head. Then primed grey.

Step 6: Putting the I-Beams All Together

I then took all these separate pieces and added them together caulked all the seams with black caulk and gave the whole beam a coat of Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron Grey.

Step 7: Prepping and Painting the Floor

On the diner, platform and entrance I used a 1/2" MDO (Medium Density Overlay) board it is very smooth and sturdy. I wanted a painted checker floor and cost wise it was most affordable option to do what i wanted to to do. The sheets are glued down to the sub floor with liquid nail construction adhesive screwed and the seams filled with Zinsser Ready Patch filler. Primed with Zinsser Bulls eye primer.

Step 8: Painting the Checker Board Pattern

After two coats of floor greyI let dry 48 hours. I then cut out a 24"squre piece of cardboard and used that with a 4' straight edge to lay out my design using Frog tape. Once the design was done I rolled on two coats of the dark grey floor paint. after 24 hours I pealed off all the tape and then put 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic semi gloss over the whole floor.

Step 9: Diner Counter

The diner counter also acts as the back side of the chair platform. I trimmed it out with 1"x4" pre-primed Winsor One pine and trim then painted a semi gloss of the same Benjamin Moore wall color. To create the counter top I used 2 layers of 3/4" Industrial Particle Board as it is rock hard and super smooth. I bought Formica Brand Laminate 48-in x 96-in Charcoal Boomerang Matte Laminate Kitchen Counter top Sheet from Lowes for $60 and contact cement. I layed it all out in my work shop and cut to size using a new carbide blade in my table saw and a sheet metal nibbler. Once the contact cement was rolled on both surfaces you wait 15 minutes then take a lot of thin scrap sticks and lay then on the counter top to keep the laminate from making contact until you are positioned correctly. Once they touch they are stuck together for good. One at a time remove the sticks and use a heavy laminate roller to get out any bubbles they may occur. once the whole laminate is down and rolled use a router with a laminate edge bit to cut the laminate against the wood surface. I used 2" flat bar aluminum to finish the edge. I picked it up at a local steel yard. Much cheaper than Lowes or a big box store. I used aluminum car polish to clean it up then drilled holes and counter sunk the the holes a bit for the stainless steel screw heads.

Step 10: Re-upholstering the Diner Stools and Polishing Chrome

The diner stools I bought of Ebay 20 years ago and have been waiting in the attic since. I removed the 4 screws that held the top on and took off the multiple layers of old fabric and cushion. I bought new upholstery cushion and teal vinyl at Jo-Ann fabrics. Wait for a coupon and you could get for 50% off! I polished all the chrome and created new mounting hardware so they could be attached solidly to the floor.

Step 11: Concession Stand

Every theater needs a concession stand. Using furniture grade 3/4" Birch plywood and primed pine I built this corner cabinet that will have a storage space, a place for the rerto mini fridge and of course candy displayed! I primed and painted with Rust-Oleum silver. I created another counter top the same way as before and added a 1/4" piece of shelf glass. The candy is for show so there will always be candy. I took the boxes and filled with a piece of wood, glued them closed and poured a two part epoxy over them called Enviro-Tex Lite. They are glued into place on the shelves.

Step 12: Hires Root Beer Soda Fountain Restoration

I found this at an antique store years ago. I took it apart repainted the Hires name plates and polished it up. It is just for looks. It is mounted on the concession stand counter.

Step 13: Mini Tables

In between the chairs I made these mini tables with boat cup holders I bought on Amazon for $10. The tables are also made the same as the counter. The chrome pipe was bought at Lowes.

Step 14: Star Wars Mural

I found this Star Wars wallpaper Mural on sale on Amazon

I wanted this to ba focal point as you walked up the stairs to the theater. I had to set up scaffolding to put it up. I matched the background color and painted the entire wall.

Step 15: Entrance Now Showing Frame

Every theater needs a movie sign. I designed mine to look like it was out of an old Art Deco theater. It has hinges to access the frame so the image can be changed. I had some fun with it and recreated the Trains, Planes and Automobiles poster with my kids.

Step 16: Stair Case Entrance to the Theater

The Entry was painted to stand out from the rest of the hallway. I made frames to mount movie posters. The Over doorway theater sign was made from Plexi glass that is frosted on the back side and lit with color changing LEDs. It is wired along with the lights so it turns on and off with them.

Step 17: First Thing You See Inside the Theater

The entrance is designed for that Art Deco theater experience as soon as you walk in. The molding are all hand made in my work shop from pine. The wall paper was purchased from Ebay for $28

Step 18: Theater Carpet

I purchased the carpet from Georgia and had it delivered. It cost $1000, about $1700 cheaper than having Lowes install it with their "Free" install! I installed myself. I bought the seam iron and the carpet roller and saved myself a ton of money. Wasn't hard to do.

Step 19: Decorating the Beams

I bought old movie projectors and cameras at garage sales and Ebay and up lit the beams with color changing LED lights.

Step 20: Details

The main door has the Art Deco door knob set from Vandykes Restorers for $60.

The phone I bought on Ebay and rewired to work on a modern phone line.

The ceiling fans are from Amazon and are a simple steel look. $800 each.

Step 21: Hanging the TV and Entertainment Shelf

I made a simple shelf for under the TV to hold the surround sound and 4K Blu ray player and SAT box . The TV is a 75" ( all I can afford at the moment but plenty of room to upgrade in the future.

Step 22: The Finished Theater

The finished theater came out great and has been a fun family place. The Jukebox is a 1967 SS 160 Stereo Showcase. Same one you see in Rocky in the Lucky 7 Tavern.

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