Pool area theater addition underway!

Checking the theater at the indoor pool cabin "Skinny Dippin"

Testing the theater at the indoor pool room of “Skinny Dippin” prior to the theater screen being built.

When we first purchased the cabin, Skinny Dippin, I had envisioned something different and unique in comparison to the other indoor pool cabins in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. Sure, a pool is fun to play in, but I thought it would be even more fun with a massive theater located adjacent to the pool.

My goal with the theater was to make it located in an area that ensured someone could view the screen no matter what angle or location they were located in the pool area. That was achieved by placing it on the side wall (opposite of the staircase going down into the pool area). I also wanted to make it large enough that it could easily be viewed from anywhere within the room. I may have went a little overboard on the size of the screen. Currently it is approximately 12.5′ wide and 7′ tall (a whopping 150″x84″ creating a 16:9 aspect ratio that HD is filmed). With the HD projector being hung 22 feet from the screen, it is right at the correct size to maintain the brightness and image quality desired.

Currently, we are only at the initial stages, but it should be completed within the next couple days. The projector was temporarily setup so we could verify the screen size from the location the projector was to be hung. After hooking up the Sony Blu-Ray player and streaming Netflix from the Blu-Ray to the projector I could finally start to see my vision coming together. The 2×4 base frame for the theater screen has been built and hung to the wall. Next we will have to stretch out the theater screen material I purchased to get any slight wrinkles out of it before attaching it to the frame. Then comes one of the more difficult tasks, running the surround sound wire.

I ordered 300′ of 16 gauge speaker wire for the Monoprice Indoor/Outdoor speakers. The Pioneer VSX1123-K receiver is a 7.2 multi-zone system (which could allow up to as many as seven surround sound speakers and 2 subwoofers. Along with being able to setup different zones for the speakers. For instance, there are also speakers out near the hot tub. The difficulty with running the speaker wire is doing a very clean and hidden job running the wire. Most of the walls in the lower level pool area where the speakers go are poured concrete block walls. It is also on a slab, so there is no going underneath into a crawl space or basement. That left two options. Going into the ceiling between the floor trusses and trying to fish the speaker wire about 30 feet through the floor trusses in various locations. All while dealing with heating/air duct work. I would definitely need to lose about 20 pounds to have a fighting chance to fit in those tight quarters. Luckily, Elk Springs Resort has an excellent maintenance guy that will fit, or at least sweat like crazy trying!

Testing the theater at the indoor pool room of "Skinny Dippin"

Testing the projector and theater at the indoor pool cabin “Skinny Dippin” with the indoor pool light turned on.

The other option if he can’t squeeze between the floor trusses and fish the speaker wire is to run it at the ceiling behind wood trim. This doesn’t create as neat and clean of a look, but we will have to go to it as a last resort. Following the running of the speaker wire, I am going to run a Cat 6 Ethernet Cable from the Comcast Modem to both the receiver and the blu-ray player. Both already have built in wireless capability (and the blu-ray players streamed Netflix just fine). However, I would rather have it hard wired with Cat 6 in order to make sure there was a fallback plan and more reliable and steady connection established if the wireless would fail for some reason.

From there it is pretty smooth sailing. Simply adding an electric receptacle, hooking up the speakers to the receiver (using banana plugs), HDMI cables from the components to the receiver, adding a coaxial line so it can be connected to a Comcast HD box. painting and putting 1×4 trim around the theater screen, and building a custom box to house the electronic equipment.

With an indoor pool there is inevitably going to be higher moisture levels. With the electronic components such as the receiver, blu-ray player, cable box, and even HDMI cables exposed to the high moisture environment I felt the life of these items would be substantially shortened. In order to try to combat this, I am designing a box that has composite sides (with a Plexiglas front in order to still operate the components via remote control), sealed as tight as possible, along with built in fans to try to keep the components cooled down and air circulating.

If all goes well and as planned, guests can begin enjoying the new theater in the indoor pool room by the end of this week! The system, when completed, should offer quite the media selection including:

  • Comcast HD Television
  • Watch movies on the Blu-Ray Player with 3D Capability on all three components: Projector, Receiver, and Blu-Ray Player (bring your own glasses)
  • Netflix streaming on both the receiver and Blu-Ray Player
  • Vimeo on the Blu-Ray Player
  • YouTube on the Blu-Ray Player and receiver
  • Pandora (Music) with 1,000′s of songs available on both the Blu-Ray Player & receiver
  • app where you can watch baseball games live (and recorded from previous games)
  • Surf the internet on the huge 12 foot wide screen
  • A variety of other apps on both the Blu-Ray Player & Receiver
  • 7 channel surround sound theater system with massive subwoofer

Visit here to rent our Pigeon Forge indoor pool cabin located near Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains



New Alpine Coaster Attractions

Fradd's & McNamara's at the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

Brooke Fradd, Claire McNamara, Kelly McNamara, Jay Fradd, Charlie McNamara, and a fun Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster employee photo bombing us!

There is a lot of dirt stirring occurring in Sevier County over the past few months. After the success of the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster located off Wears Valley Road, another businessman has embraced the idea. Currently there are two additional alpine coasters being built in the area.

One is located in close proximity to the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster off Wears Valley Road near “Goats on the Roof”. Heavy equipment and their drivers have been tirelessly working to cut in the grade for the tracks up the mountain. It appears to be quite the endeavor as I’ve seen some pretty massive boulders being taken out of the mountain during the excavation.

The other location is in the North Gatlinburg area off the Parkway (on your left if you are heading South into Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge). This alpine coaster is located near the Dudley Creek bypass. I haven’t kept up as much with the construction of this coaster, but it appears to be challenging as well – just to get enough space for parking!

I can say that Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster was a fun adventure. You have the option of pulling the hand brake to slow yourself down or “go wide open”. I went wide open the entire ride and it was fun. It gets up to a little over 20 MPH if I remember correctly. Which doesn’t sound like much, but when you are in a little cart on tracks and whizzing down the mountain it is enough to get your attention – especially as you whip around the curves! The lines can get quite backed up due to heavy demand by visitors, but the employees we encountered were are very nice and made the short wait enjoyable. Hopefully the new alpine coasters being built are as exciting as the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster.

Believe it or not, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster isn’t the first alpine coaster in the area. Actually far from it, Ober Gatlinburg has has an somewhat similar alpine coaster that is decades older!

The Justus, Fradd, and McNamara families outside the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster off Wears Valley Road. Only a few minutes away from our cabin “Skinny Dippin”.



Quick Renovation Update – Fireplace Photos

One of the easiest areas to see an identifiable difference in the cabin between when we first purchased the property and the remodel is the fireplace and living room area.

Some of the changes included:

* Replacing stucco stone with stacked stone on fireplace
* New fireplace mantel and located at a different height for TV
* Changed hearth dimensions/size and added stacked stone
* All new wiring for High Definition TV
* Replaced old carpet with wood laminate
* Replaced old subfloor with brand new subfloor
* Added custom cabinet area to right of fireplace to hold audio/video components
* All new faux wood blinds
* Painted brass on fireplace black
* Leather sleeper sofa, leather love seat, end tables, coffee table, lamps, decorations
* 42″ HD Flat Screen TV with Direct TV HD satellite. Includes custom surround sound with subwoofer, Blu-Ray Player, DVD Player, Nintendo Wii, IPod docking station for playing MP3′s through surround sound, and a 100+ DVD library collection.

For a little bit of a visual idea of the difference below is a “before and after” photo. The after isn’t the fully completed version of our cabin, but hopefully it gives a good idea.

Fireplace and living room renovation for Gatlinburg rental cabin

Before and After photo of fireplace



Renovations to our Gatlinburg Cabin Rental are Underway!

We purchased the cabin in April 2011 as a foreclosure. When I say it needed some updates and renovations, that is certainly an understatement. Going in to the purchase, we had realized we were likely to dish out quite a bit of money making it the optimal rental cabin here in the Smoky Mountains. To give an idea what we started out with below are a few photos:

Cabin's original family room and fireplace

Cabin's original family room and fireplace. We will be adding stacked stone to the fireplace and new flooring.

Gatlinburg Cabin's kitchen

The old cabinets had seen their fair share of wear and tear. The flooring appeared to be original with the cabin when it was built. We had custom cabinets made, stainless steel appliances, and replaced the flooring. Additional updates include new blinds, new lighting, and added a stackable washer and dryer where the hot water heater used to be located (not able to be seen in the photo).

Cabinet doors

These are the cabinet doors that we had custom made. A glimpse of what is to come when the kitchen cabinets are completed and installed!


Rotten Chimney

The chimney had a lot of rotten wood from where it didn't have proper flashing on the roof. We had the chimney reframed, placed OSB over it and will add stucco stone. Also, the old shingle roof is being replaced by a new green metal roof.

Original subfloor was rotten

The original subfloor was rotten (especially under the ancient Jacuzzi tub) and uneven in many places. So, we replaced it all with brand new subflooring (pictured).

Old shingled roof

The old shingled roof had definitely seen better days. Around the chimney some of the OSB was also rotten, which was replaced. The cabin now has a brand new green metal roof.

New metal roof

The roof has new 30lb felt paper down and the new metal roof is being installed.

Original first floor bath

As much as I love the heart shaped mirrors and the blue Jacuzzi tub, it had to go. Currently, there is a stud wall built (with pocket door), a new Jacuzzi tub (rotated 90 degrees from the photo), the wall to the left of the Jacuzzi pictured has been removed and that spot will be taken up by a new custom shower with travertine.

What Gatlinburg cabin rental is complete without a hot tub? Of course, the foreclosure cabin didn’t already have one, so what did we do? We bought one from another cabin and had to move it with a ……CRANE!

Moving the hot tub with a crane

Moving the hot tub from the back deck with a crane. Then transporting it from Wears Valley to Gatlinburg.

There are many other updates and renovations on the way to our Gatlinburg cabin. Future posts will show more of the “before and after” photos along with some of the other renovations made on the way to having the picture perfect Gatlinburg cabin rental!

Stay tuned, it may be a bumpy ride!

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