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BAND ROOM: Drumming Up a Very Quiet Layer


Tom Barr is a drummer with a passion for music that no neighbors could ever stifle. So when he and wife Robbie started remodeling their Erie basement the day after they moved into their house on Madison Drive, Tom’s hand-drawn plans included a soundproof band room.

The first place the Barrs lead you during a tour is the dimly lit room in the corner. Upon walking into the large space, you would find a musician’s paradise—the perfect studio, fully equipped with dW acoustic and Yamaha electric drums, a synthesizer, a Fender Stratocaster, and a Fender Jazz bass. The amps behind the door are the final sign that Tom Barr is serious about his music. The next thing they would likely do is demonstrate the beauty of soundproofing. “It’s easier on the family, even if you really like the music,” Robbie says. “I can sit in the next room and watch TV while they’re practicing.”

And when Robbie is watching movies on their 65-inch projection television, Tom and his band, which practice once a week, can play earth-shattering tunes to their hearts’ content knowing they won’t be receiving noise complaints from the wife or the neighbors.

The Barrs, who are down in the basement a few times a day, say they could not imagine life without their comfortable underground. Tom, a psychologist, and Robbie, a private judge, say the former concrete room without walls wasn’t laid out well for their needs and used contractor Rick Holien to upgrade their basement.

“We knew what we wanted to do here, so it worked out well that it was not finished,” Tom says. “We had a lot of exercise equipment, so we knew we wanted a workout room, and we knew we wanted a pool table.”

Robbie, who says she and Tom compromised over certain aspects of the $30,000-project, wanted built-in bookshelves, a bedroom and a bathroom for visitors.

She also wanted carpet matching the upstairs, and as she showed off the bathroom, pointed out that the tile matches as well. The many customized details are what make their basement unique.

For example, a sign next to the pool table reads, “Barr’s Pool Room: Keep your beer and butts off the felt!”

Then there’s the mini stainless steel refrigerator in the loaded workout room.

“It had beer in it when the band was practicing here more,” says Robbie.

Another great feature are the French doors the Barrs had installed separating the exercise room from the movie area while allowing a person sweating on the elliptical to watch a movie.

Still, the band room is Tom Barr’s pride and joy, and while Robbie describes the spare room, Tom mentions how the guitar player from the band FireFall rocked out with his group in the soundproof asylum.

“He really liked the room,” says Tom.

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