You won't believe Darrell's DIY football-themed home theater

Show Us Yours: Some people hire home installers. Darrell from Illinois hired himself to build his sports-tastic home-theater room. The results are pretty astounding.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
David Carnoy
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This is Darrell, also known as "Hoop," who lives in a suburb of Chicago. He built himself one of the more awesome basement home-theater setups we've seen.

Just in time for the Super Bowl, it features a football theme, complete with a gridiron backdrop for the TV.

"I'm not a professional by any means," he said of his DIY efforts. "I try to make things work with a little bit of logic and imagination."  

Hoop's showcase is part of CNET's Show Us Yours series, in which we feature home theaters and other tech-heavy spaces submitted by readers. If you're interesting in seeing more, we've got plenty right here. If you want to submit your own setup, head over here.

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Here's the finished room, washed in blue LED lighting effects.

Equipment includes: LG 55-inch TV, Onkyo receiver, MB Quart speakers, PlayStation 4, cable box and modem, volume meter towers. 

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Before we get into the details, let's start at the beginning of Darrell's project.

This is what the room looked like at the start. 

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Next Darrell added molding to create a frame and painted everything white. 

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One of the first things he built was a set of custom LED light towers, patterned after volume (VU) indicators. "It was an organized mess," he says.

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Darrell went with a white, black and silver theme. 

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Someone was throwing away a set of "egg-like" patio chairs that Darrell scooped up for free. 

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Test cut and fit for the acrylic blocks. He used half-inch thick blocks, 6 by 6 inches wide and long. 

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The towers required 10 slots each for the acrylic light blocks.

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The MB Quart tower speakers were painted white to match the color theme of the room. Darrell says he's had the speakers for 10 years.

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Here's the base built and painted white.

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Acrylic blocks were glued into their slots with LEDs seated and ready for power.

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He next built the frame for the marquee lights around the seating area and painted it white (with black trim) to keep the color theme going.

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Here's a test before making the U shape. This LED strip kit comes with more than 100 settings, Darrell says.

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The wall near the stairs was painted chalkboard black. Think family games, kids' art, autographs and logos. 

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The centerpiece is Darrell's TV backdrop, designed to look like an overhead view of a football field. The black end zones here are ready for neon lettering.

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Next Darrell added the field lines, letters and numbers.

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He also made a basketball court table with backboards and lines, using a clear gloss so the chalk wouldn't rub off.

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Here's the same chalkboard finish as the stairs, on a long wall with added middle detail: his model car garage. 

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It's basically parking for model cars, created with liquid chalk and battery-operated LED lighting. After the markings were done, Darrell again sprayed the surface with a clear low gloss to prevent rub off. 

He designed it to hold models of exotic or sport cars that he wouldn't mind having in real life. 

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Here's Darrell's first test run, with the lights syncing to music tones. 

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Darrell says: "The VU power meter is peaked out here. I used used 5mm flat-face LEDs and my own color combo, and the kit came with red and green domed LEDs."

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Darrell painted the chairs white and made new covers for the cushions.

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The futon couch was the only thing that was store-bought and not constructed in some way.

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Here's the room with the lights set to purple. Darrell says: "Neon shows up OK, but it looks better with light blue lighting." 

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Light blue really makes the neon green behind that TV mount pop.

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One of Darrell's mantras: "Try to keep the physical representation of things you hope to obtain or experience."

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Another view of the blue light on, as seen from the base of the stairs.

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Or perhaps you prefer the purple?

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The floor went in next. Darrell says: "Peel and stick vinyl. Inexpensive, easy to install and durable."

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He added a wooden stage truss over the TV and molding around the car garage and parking spots.

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He even made a sound diffuser made out of randomly placed blocks. "I know there's an equation," Darrell says, "but this isn't that."

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The finished room with the sound diffuser up on the wall behind the couch is pretty impressive. 

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Ready to chill.

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Finally we get to see the room in action, watching ESPN. 

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Darrell never stops. Now he's making frames for two movie posters.

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Here are the posters in their homemade frames.

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The posters are up!

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Darrell is planning on adding more model cars (all in white, obv), including a Nissan GT-R, Corvette, Lamborghini Murciélago and maybe a Mustang.

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And that's a wrap, folks. Thanks for checking out this installment of Show Us Yours. If you're interesting in seeing more showcases, we've got plenty more here.

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