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JanZoo 8th August 2019 11:28 AM

New Room (dimension, options etc...)
 
Hello guys,

You helped me tremendously treating my bedroom, but now I'm getting a dedicated room. And I have few questions.

The room is roughly (I'll have a drawn model soon) 33 m2, 8.6m long, and 4.1m wide, and 2.63m tall. Thre are some drywalls making 3 small rooms out of the space, but they will be taken down. And then I'll do measuring of the bare walls room with REW

My questions are regarding dimensions and little bit regarding treatment.

Ideally, I would like to hire a pro acoustic engineer to do the math and project, but we don't have a big budget, just buying the required material will be a stretch...

I added the numbers into amroc room mode calculator, and saw that dimensions I have are falling way out of "bolt-area". For that height, reducing the length to 5.3 m and width to 3.94 are making "the results" to fall exactly in the center of the bolt area. So I was thinking making a big 40-50cm (1.5 feet) top to bottom absorbent wall filled with rockwoll or glasswall at 5.3 meters length mark, with some slat design on top of it to act as backwall. And add very thick absortion on the side walls. Do I think right ? Does it make sense ? Or just to disregard ratios and get the back wall heavily treated ?

I read some posts in the board that these ratios are only for large halls etc... So judging by that, I should disregard it, but this 8.6 - 4.1 is close to 2:1 ratio, I'm kinda afraid of that.

As far the other treatment, I thought of covering all the side walls and ceiling (except maybe front?) with trapping like ~30 cm (one foot thick) if possible rockwoll (703 or 705 equivalent, or fluffy ?) (like in a pic I attached by our member Tollak Friestad). and filling all the corners with fluffy, both corners between side and front-rear walls like superchunks, and corners between side,front and rear walls with ceiling, eliminating most of them and adding some slat design on top of everything to recover some liveness. Does it make sense to slightly angle the absorbent walls, like making them slightly thicker towards the front of the room or no if the width is not big enough for that?

Does it make sense to make the ceiling trapping slightly angling down towards the front of the room ?

If I do some binary slats across all the sidewalls (again like in the pic), does it make sense to put them on first reflection points as well ?

Something like this:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/atta...ffusorber1.jpg

Thanks

EDIT: I updated the exact room dimensions.

JanZoo 12th August 2019 03:42 PM

Nothing ? freshflowe

I'm mostly concerned about this dividing wall I mentioned, by reading the board and various information sources on the web I guess dividing should be necessary since the with is ~4m and the length ~8m.

My two biggest concerns are, should a double drywall or drywall-rockwoll-drywall sandwich be enough ?

Soundman2020 31st August 2019 12:55 AM

Maybe I'm a little late, but it seems nobody else saw your thread, so I'll reply... hopefully not too late!

Quote:

The room is roughly (I'll have a drawn model soon) 33 m2, 8.6m long, and 4.1m wide, and 2.63m tall.
I assume that this is going to be a control room, right? For mixing/mastering, correct?

That's a very nice size for a control room. Yes, the ceiling is a little low, and the dimensions aren't fantastic when you look on a room ratio calculator, but the room is big enough to make a great control room, if treated carefully. If you did want to make it smaller to get a better ratio, then bringing the length down to 7.45m will get a usable ratio.

Quote:

Thre are some drywalls making 3 small rooms out of the space, but they will be taken down. And then I'll do measuring of the bare walls room with REW
Definitely do that! Here's how to setup REW and use it: How to calibrate and use REW to test and tune your room acoustics

Quote:

Ideally, I would like to hire a pro acoustic engineer to do the math and project,
So this is not going to be a professional studio? A commercial mixing room for making money? It's just going to be a hobby studio, for playing around, having fun, impressing friends? Is that correct? Because if it is going to be a professional, commercial facility you should probably give serious consideration to getting professional acoustic advice. Of course, if it's just for having fun, then there's no need for that: you don't need great acoustics in a hobby studio. But you do need good acoustics in a pro studio.

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I added the numbers into amroc room mode calculator, and saw that dimensions I have are falling way out of "bolt-area".
Yes, but the Bolt Area does not define all possible "good" ratios: it just shows the central set of the best ratios. There are also other issues, apart from the ratio, that can make a room good, or not so good. You have a nice sized room, and in general a bigger room is better for acoustics, and allows you to relax some of the constraints that limit a smaller studio.

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For that height, reducing the length to 5.3 m and width to 3.94 are making "the results" to fall exactly in the center of the bolt area.
I often say this to people who are trying to design their first studio: don't go crazy about the ratio! It really isn't the most important aspect of a room, for studio design. It's useful, yes, but is just one of many parameters that you will need to look at, while you balance and trade off each of them against the other. Way too many first-time studio builders find out about "room ratios", and then think that this is an extremely important aspect of the design: it is not. On occasions I have deliberately designed studios with "bad" ratios, because I knew what I would be doing to deal with that. For example, I have designed "square" studios, where the width and length are exactly the same... but I compensated for that in other ways. Normally you will read that a square room like that is a really bad idea, but sometimes there is no other choice.... so a good studio designer will just deal with that, and do other things to the room to make it work. There is NO need to try to get a ratio in the middle of the bolt area. It is NOT necessary. There are ways of dealing with unfavorable ratios.

One thing that is much more important than getting a god ration, is having good air volume in the room: as much volume as possible, within reason. You have nearly TWICE the minimum recommended volume, so your room can be great.
Quote:

So I was thinking making a big 40-50cm (1.5 feet) top to bottom absorbent wall filled with rockwoll or glasswall at 5.3 meters length mark, with some slat design on top of it to act as backwall.
That would not change your room ratio: it would still be the same. The ratio refers to the dimensions of the hard, solid, rigidi, massive boundaries of the room, not the treatment you put inside the room. What you are describing would make a nice bass trap, yes, but it does not make the room shorter: it is still the same length, and just has some absorption at one end. The absorption does not make the room shorter. In fact the absorption makes the room seem a bit LONGER, for the sound waves: sound moves a bit slower inside absorbers than it does in air, so the total length of the room seems to be a bit higher. What you described would make the room appear about 10cm longer, in fact. So the axial modes in that direction would be slightly lower in frequency.

Quote:

And add very thick absortion on the side walls. Do I think right ? Does it make sense ?
Same as above: That's just treatment inside the room, and does not make it smaller.


Quote:

Or just to disregard ratios and get the back wall heavily treated ?
Basically, yes. There are also other things you could do in a room that big to make it seem shorter, and have a better ratio. Or if you needed storage space, then you could build a wall across the room 1m in, to make the room 7.45m long, and use that meter of space for storage (for example). I'm not saying you SHOULD do that, but it is one possibility. There are other possibilities too...

Quote:

I read some posts in the board that these ratios are only for large halls etc... So judging by that, I should disregard it, but this 8.6 - 4.1 is close to 2:1 ratio, I'm kinda afraid of that.
Ratios are more applicable to small rooms than large rooms. Once you get bigger than a certain size, the ratio is not that important any more, because there are enough modes at all frequencies to get a smoother response.

Yes, your 8.6 is close to double your 4.1, but that can be dealt with. All that it means is that you would have one set of axial modes at 40 Hz, 80 Hz, 120, 160, 200, etc. (lengthwise modes), and another set at 42 Hz, 84 Hz, 126, 168, 210, etc (widthwise modes). They are close to each other, yes, but your room is plenty large enough that you could have some very deep, very serious, very effective bass trapping down to very low frequencies, that would do a great job of dealing with such modes. That's the advantage of a large room: plenty of space for deep treatment.

Quote:

filling all the corners with fluffy, both corners between side and front-rear walls like superchunks, and corners between side,front and rear walls with ceiling, eliminating most of them
Putting absorption in corners is one way of making bass traps, but it doe NOT eliminate the corners! Here to, the boundaries of the room are still the hard, solid, rigid, massive wall, floor, and ceiling surfaces behind the absorption. The absorption does not change the boundaries of the room.


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Does it make sense to make the ceiling trapping slightly angling down towards the front of the room ?
Do not slope the ceiling itself, as that would make it even lower, and it is already low. Rather, hang an acoustic cloud over the mix position, and hang it at an angle.

That's a really good sized room: it could become an excellent control room, with good acoustic response, at a similar level to many professional studios. But if you want that, it will need careful design.



- Stuart -

JanZoo 31st August 2019 01:24 PM

Quote:

Maybe I'm a little late, but it seems nobody else saw your thread, so I'll reply... hopefully not too late!

I assume that this is going to be a control room, right? For mixing/mastering, correct?

That's a very nice size for a control room. Yes, the ceiling is a little low, and the dimensions aren't fantastic when you look on a room ratio calculator, but the room is big enough to make a great control room, if treated carefully. If you did want to make it smaller to get a better ratio, then bringing the length down to 7.45m will get a usable ratio.

Definitely do that! Here's how to setup REW and use it: How to calibrate and use REW to test and tune your room acoustics


Hello, and yes, this will be a mixing room.

Thanks, I've been using REW, and I know how to use it, and how to look at FR, waterfall plots, spectograms etc...


Quote:


So this is not going to be a professional studio? A commercial mixing room for making money? It's just going to be a hobby studio, for playing around, having fun, impressing friends? Is that correct? Because if it is going to be a professional, commercial facility you should probably give serious consideration to getting professional acoustic advice. Of course, if it's just for having fun, then there's no need for that: you don't need great acoustics in a hobby studio. But you do need good acoustics in a pro studio.

It's not my budget, and I don't know how much money I'll be able to spend. This is a production crew, I'm the only mixing guy. They are hard to persuade into importance of acoustic treatment, for them it's just foam and decoration, buying an "acoustic treatment kit" at the best, they simply don't understand the importance of acoustics, nore do they care since they made a lot of money without it so far. So I don't know if they gonna allow me enough budget so I can even treat it myself. I wanted to make a suggestion of hiring a pro acousticians to make the design, and tell them something like "Look guys, this pro acoustican would charge us this much for the design...", and see if they are down for that, but none of the guys I contacted wanted to give me an approximate design price without me kinda telling them the budget first, even though I explained everyone the dimensions and the requirements, however I do have one "second hand" price, and it's too much IMO, I mean it's not too much if the guy guarantees the results, and I'm not sure he does. And hence the question should I ask an accoustician if he guarantees the results? When a client is not satifsied with my work I give them their money back, the "only" thing they and I invested was time, with an accoustician that doesn't guarantee the results we will have to pay a lot of construction and material money beside the spent time. When a client approaches me, I tell them an approximate price for a mix, and an exact price when I get the project, I don't ask what's their budget first so I can calculate how much I would charge... I don't like that, it smells like snake oil.

Quote:

Yes, but the Bolt Area does not define all possible "good" ratios: it just shows the central set of the best ratios. There are also other issues, apart from the ratio, that can make a room good, or not so good. You have a nice sized room, and in general a bigger room is better for acoustics, and allows you to relax some of the constraints that limit a smaller studio.

I often say this to people who are trying to design their first studio: don't go crazy about the ratio! It really isn't the most important aspect of a room, for studio design. It's useful, yes, but is just one of many parameters that you will need to look at, while you balance and trade off each of them against the other. Way too many first-time studio builders find out about "room ratios", and then think that this is an extremely important aspect of the design: it is not. On occasions I have deliberately designed studios with "bad" ratios, because I knew what I would be doing to deal with that. For example, I have designed "square" studios, where the width and length are exactly the same... but I compensated for that in other ways. Normally you will read that a square room like that is a really bad idea, but sometimes there is no other choice.... so a good studio designer will just deal with that, and do other things to the room to make it work. There is NO need to try to get a ratio in the middle of the bolt area. It is NOT necessary. There are ways of dealing with unfavorable ratios.

One thing that is much more important than getting a god ration, is having good air volume in the room: as much volume as possible, within reason. You have nearly TWICE the minimum recommended volume, so your room can be great.
That would not change your room ratio: it would still be the same. The ratio refers to the dimensions of the hard, solid, rigidi, massive boundaries of the room, not the treatment you put inside the room. What you are describing would make a nice bass trap, yes, but it does not make the room shorter: it is still the same length, and just has some absorption at one end. The absorption does not make the room shorter. In fact the absorption makes the room seem a bit LONGER, for the sound waves: sound moves a bit slower inside absorbers than it does in air, so the total length of the room seems to be a bit higher. What you described would make the room appear about 10cm longer, in fact. So the axial modes in that direction would be slightly lower in frequency.

Same as above: That's just treatment inside the room, and does not make it smaller.


Basically, yes. There are also other things you could do in a room that big to make it seem shorter, and have a better ratio. Or if you needed storage space, then you could build a wall across the room 1m in, to make the room 7.45m long, and use that meter of space for storage (for example). I'm not saying you SHOULD do that, but it is one possibility. There are other possibilities too...

Yes, I realized later that "absorbant" wall is not a way to shorten the room, I did realize that I need a massive boundary later.


Quote:

Ratios are more applicable to small rooms than large rooms. Once you get bigger than a certain size, the ratio is not that important any more, because there are enough modes at all frequencies to get a smoother response.


That's interesting ! I guess you could make an argument with other acoustician guys here on the boards, I read a lot of the actually opposite statements by other respected members here, everything I saw was they saying that ratios are not applicable for small rooms but for big halls. Really interesting. I would like to see other opinions, I could quote like dozens of respected members saying the opposite thing.

Please, these are only letters, I'm not trying to be ironic here or something, I'm really not experienced in that field, I would like to know why other acousticians were saying the opposite thing.

Quote:

Yes, your 8.6 is close to double your 4.1, but that can be dealt with. All that it means is that you would have one set of axial modes at 40 Hz, 80 Hz, 120, 160, 200, etc. (lengthwise modes), and another set at 42 Hz, 84 Hz, 126, 168, 210, etc (widthwise modes). They are close to each other, yes, but your room is plenty large enough that you could have some very deep, very serious, very effective bass trapping down to very low frequencies, that would do a great job of dealing with such modes. That's the advantage of a large room: plenty of space for deep treatment.

Putting absorption in corners is one way of making bass traps, but it doe NOT eliminate the corners! Here to, the boundaries of the room are still the hard, solid, rigid, massive wall, floor, and ceiling surfaces behind the absorption. The absorption does not change the boundaries of the room.

That was my plan if I'm gonna do it myself... Trap every wall with at least 1 foot deep bass traps first.

Quote:


Do not slope the ceiling itself, as that would make it even lower, and it is already low. Rather, hang an acoustic cloud over the mix position, and hang it at an angle.

Yes, thanks, that's why I asked, I was aware that it's low. Although, I still don't know what's there on 2.6m mark, it's maybe just a drywall so maybe the ceiling is extending even further up, I'll see.


Quote:

That's a really good sized room: it could become an excellent control room, with good acoustic response, at a similar level to many professional studios. But if you want that, it will need careful design.

I guess it is, and more than anything I would love to have it designed by a pro.


Thanks for your response Stuart !


Jan

Soundman2020 31st August 2019 10:36 PM

Quote:

They are hard to persuade into importance of Acoustic Treatment, for them it's just foam and decoration, buying an "Acoustic Treatment kit" at the best, they simply don't understand the importance of acoustics, nore do they care since they made a lot of money without it so far.
I hear you for sure! I see that every now and then: The one guy in the project who really understands the importance of acoustics, doesn't control the money and has a hard time convincing the less knowledgeable guys who DO control the money, of just how important it is. That's a shame, but it happens... way too often, actually! You are in a tough spot, unfortunately.

One thing you might be able to do there, is to contact some people who have tried both ways (lousy treated studio, and also properly treated studio) and let them tell their story. There's a few out there who have done just that: first tried their own DIY treatment for their studios, then hired someone to get it done properly. If you get some of the others in your project to talk to those guys, that might help convince them that they need to invest here.

Also, ask the drummer in your group why he uses only Zildjian / Paiste / Sabian when he could be using trash can lids and empty kitchen pots instead (so much cheaper! After all, they "sound similar".... :) ), or ask the guitarist why he wants a Fender or Gibson, when a wooden stick glued to a cardboard box with some fishing line on it is "just as good"... :).

But seriously, try contacting some studio owners that have done this before, to get their first-hand opinion.

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I wanted to make a suggestion of hiring a pro acousticians to make the design, and tell them something like "Look guys, this pro acoustican would charge us this much for the design...", and see if they are down for that, but none of the guys I contacted wanted to give me an approximate design price without me kinda telling them the budget first, even though I explained everyone the dimensions and the requirements
Hmmmm.... that sounds a bit suspicious. The design should not depend a lot on how much money the studio has for the build. That can be a factor in later decisions in the design process, certainly, to refine the numbers (eg. substituting less expensive materials, or reducing the design goals a little in some aspect), but it should not be an obstacle to coming up with an approximate range of the design cost. Especially when it's already clear that its going to be a low-budget design: a good designer should just give you a range, saying "Between X dollars and Y dollars", explaining what both extremes would mean, then you can decide if that's within your possibilities or not, and if you do decide to hire him, then he can do a more accurate price, based on your feedback. Asking for the budget up front is valid, certainly, as it helps guide the designer in possible paths he can take, but where it's clear that the budget is low, and there aren't many possibilities, there's no reason why the designer shouldn't be able to give you a ballpark figure without knowing the budget.

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however I do have one "second hand" price, and it's too much IMO,
What do you mean by "second hand"?

Quote:

I mean it's not too much if the guy guarantees the results, and I'm not sure he does. And hence the question should I ask an accoustician if he guarantees the results?
A good studio designer should guarantee his work in one way or another, and that will usually be based on measurable parameters. It won't just be based on "it sounds bad" or "it sounds good" or "I don't like it", or "I love it!". Rather, it will be based on meeting one of the internationally accepted specifications for such rooms, such as ITU BS-1116.3, or EBU Tech.3276. Meeting those specs would be expensive, of course, because that's meant for high-end rooms, but the agreement you reach with your designer could be that the room would meet a reduced version of the same specs. For example, relax the very tight frequency response specifications by a few dB, or relax the time-domain specifications (decay times) somewhat. The specifications should be agreed on in advance, of course, then measured at several points during the construction, so the designer can make any modifications that might be needed along the way. Good designers do guarantee their work, and sometimes in the form of a final fee that is only payable if the design does meet the spec.

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When a client is not satifsied with my work I give them their money back,
Music is subjective: acoustics is objective. You can't really measure a mix and say that it "meets the specifications for Rock and Roll", or Rap, or Jazz, or whatever. You can't specify that the bass must be 27.83 units of something, or the electric guitar must produce 1295 "strings" or more.... You can't put a measure on music the way you can on acoustics. So whether or not the client likes your mix is his personal opinion, and also your personal opinion: and nobody else has the right to step in and say that the mix meets the specs, or doesn't. So it's understandable that the only real remedy you have is to give the guy his money back. But a studio design is different: you can set specifications, and you can measure compliance with those specs. It's not a subjective opinion at all: either the design meets the specs, or it does not. There's also the issue of time. I think you'll find that a good studio designer spends a lot more time on designing your studio than you do on mixing a song. That's not meant to denigrate your work as a mix engineer! It's just simple fact. It takes a lot longer to design a studio than it does to mix a song. There's a whole bunch of math involved, in predicting acoustic responses in the room, predicting how that will change with different types of treatment, analyzing, testing, looking at interactions between the parts of the room and the speakers and the treatment devices, etc. Once again, it is objective mathematical work about measurable parameters, rather than subjective decisions about whether the female vocal might sound better with a bit of cathedral reverb, or not... that's subjective.

The designer also has no control over how well you build what he designed (unless you want to pay him a hell of a lot more to actually be there all the time, supervising!). So the designer is not going to return all of the fee if it doesn't meet the specs exactly. He will probably just waive part of the fee. You won't have to pay that part if the spec isn't met. That's fair.

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I don't ask what's their budget first so I can calculate how much I would charge... I don't like that, it smells like snake oil.
I agree! As I said above: the build budget can be a factor in setting the goals for the design, but should not be much of a factor in the design process itself. In essence, the designer is charging you a fee for his time in doing the design, that's all. If you want higher specifications, then it will take more of his time to do that, and it will probably cost you more to build it, but the construction costs should not be involved in figuring out how much he charges per hour of his time. If he's any good as a designer, he should be able to estimate both cases: for a simple, basic, minimal design that only meets a low spec, he will need about X number of hours, and for a complex, advanced, high spec design he will need Y number of hours. He should then be able to give you those two numbers. The fee usually depends on room area, room volume, and desired results. That's all. A good designer can take that into account and should be able to estimate his time for doing the job, in a broad range.

Quote:

That's interesting ! I guess you could make an argument with other acoustician guys here on the boards, I read a lot of the actually opposite statements by other respected members here, everything I saw was they saying that ratios are not applicable for small rooms but for big halls.
I think you might be confusing room ratios with other acoustic concepts, such as reverb time, or diffuse fields, or critical distances, or coefficients of absorption! For small rooms, room ratios are very valid, and very useful: I always check the ratio when I'm designing a small room. But for small rooms it is NOT valid to talk about reverb times, or the reverberant field, or diffusion, or having a diffuse field, and other similar things: Those are invalid concepts for small rooms, because there is no diffuse field in a small room: no reverberant field, no critical distance, etc., and the Sabine equation is not valid for small rooms either (not the Eyring equations, or others toot). Those concepts only apply to large rooms, or only above the Schroeder frequency in small rooms (to a certain extent... debatable...) But there's nothing at all wrong with using room ratios to predict the response of a small room! Designers do that all the time. That is totally valid, and totally correct. Using the results of such predictions to help decide on the dimensions of the room is also perfectly valid. We do that all the time for small rooms. It can help avoid situations where the natural room response would be very bad, for example. Or it can show that a specific type of treatment is going to be needed... or perhaps that it is NOT going to be needed. On the other hand, for large halls the ratio is not really that important at all, because small room acoustics does not apply any more, and now you CAN use concepts such as RT60, critical distance, diffuse field, Sabine equations. Room ratios are all about modal behavior, and it's only in small rooms that modes are a problem, because small rooms do not have enough modal support for low frequencies. Large rooms do have modal support across the entire spectrum (in other words, the Schroeder frequency, or transition frequency, is so low that it doesn't matter), so ratios aren't very useful for predicting the response of large rooms. RT60 and the Sabine or Eyring equations are far more useful, and applicable, because there really is a true diffuse reverberant field. It's easy to confuse these concepts and how they relate to large rooms or small rooms, so my guess is that's what happened here.

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I could quote like dozens of respected members saying the opposite thing.
If you do have quotes from respected acousticians saying that room ratios are only applicable to concert halls, never to control rooms, I would be very interesting in seeing those links.

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Please, these are only letters, I'm not trying to be ironic here or something, I'm really not experienced in that field, I would like to know why other acousticians were saying the opposite thing.
I don't think they are saying the opposite! I think that maybe you saw room ratios and diffuse fields discussed in the same post, where an expert say that one is relevant to acoustically small rooms and the other is relevant to acoustically large rooms, but you simply confused the two. It's easy to do. Ratios are more relevant to small rooms than large. Diffuse fields, RT60, critical distance, etc. are more relevant to large rooms, but NOT to small rooms, since small rooms do not have a statistical diffuse/reverberant field. Only large rooms do. Large rooms do not have low end modal resonances: small rooms do, an that's what room ratios are all about: getting a good, smooth modal spread in small rooms.

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That was my plan if I'm gonna do it myself... Trap every wall with at least 1 foot deep Bass Traps first.
Not every wall the same! That would not be a good idea. It would make the room very dead and unpleasant, and it would mean that you would be trapping the exact same way on all walls: same frequencies all trapped to the same level. Rather, you should put the deep bass treatment where it is needed most: on the rear wall, always. Then just enough treatment on the side walls to deal with the first order reflections and flutter echo. Then probably only a little on the front wall, but that will be decided by the design concept that you choose for the room (there are many). And some on the ceiling, as needed for dealing with both modal issues and reflections. Each wall needs its own specific treatment, designed to deal with the problems that affect it. Every room is different, and every room needs it's own specific treatment. I sometimes get clients who didn't realize that until they tried to treat their room the way some website told them to do it, generically. and it didn't work. But when we re-do it the right way, they understand that it's important to design the treatment for the room. There's quite a few of those!

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Although, I still don't know what's there on 2.6m mark, it's maybe just a drywall so maybe the ceiling is extending even further up, I'll see.
That would be great! If you have more space up there, then that could make the room even better!


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I guess it is, and more than anything I would love to have it designed by a pro. Thanks for your response Stuart !
kfhkh You are welcome! I love it when I see people with rooms that have great potential, like yours... I sure do hope you can convince the guys that manage the money about how important it is to have your room done right!


- Stuart -