WINNER - Home Theaters $10,000–$25,000
May 01, 2008 | by Steven Castle
Bland Basement Transformed into Family Theater
This design team overcomes several acoustical challenges to make this boring basement a fun, family-style theater.
It started as a basement. There was a low suspended ceiling, concrete walls and a fireplace made from blast rubble. And the owners wanted a simple home entertainment system. Oh, and they wanted a tin ceiling and tile floors.
92-inch Draper Screen - A new wall was built to house the 92-inch Draper screen and the three speakers and a subwoofer that sound from behind it.
Let's see: low tin ceiling, tile floor, concrete walls, blast rubble fireplace. That could create an acoustical nightmare. Or shall we say night … night … night … mare … mare? Not only would the room reflect too much sound, the systems contractors at Harmony Interiors had to find a place to put a fixed screen and a projector.
Epson LCD Projector - An Epson LCD projector shines from inside a false ceiling beam onto the Draper screen.
The solution was to build a new wall in the corner to house a 92-inch Draper screen that was acoustically transparent so the three front Tannoy speakers and a Velodyne subwoofer could be placed behind it and sound through. The Epson 1080p LCD projector was concealed in a false ceiling beam that stretches diagonally into the room, allowing for routing of the projector cables as well as ventilation for the projector through a long tube. The fan was placed in the nearby equipment room.
Equipment Rack - An equipment rack flush mounted in a hallway by the stairs houses the Denon receiver and DVD player, and more.
To address acoustical concerns, Harmony added sound absorption panels, seen as decorative rectangles on the walls, and encouraged interior designer Kathryn Long of Ambiance Interiors to use padded couches with lots of throw pillows. A thick carpet was custom made to absorb the sound, and drapes in the back of the room were added to help diffuse the sound as well. For aesthetic purposes, the fireplace was refinished with polished concrete.
Tannoy In-ceiling Speakers - Tannoy in-ceiling speakers peek out of the theater’s tin ceiling.
The two surround speakers are Tannoy Dual Concentric ceiling units that peek out from the ceiling like eyelids. The dual drivers in the speakers can be positioned to point sound in any direction, and the units were painted to blend with the tin ceiling tiles. An equipment rack flush mounted in a hallway by the stairs houses the Denon receiver and DVD player, and a Universal Remote Control MX-3000 operates the system. "They were just looking for a very simple system," says Harmony's Scott Varn.
Universal Remote Control - A Universal Remote Control MX-3000 operates the system. "They were just looking for a very simple system," says Harmony's Scott Varn.
One value-added feature is a jack next to the leather seat so the man of the house can plug in his digital camera and view the pictures on the big screen. "He can sit there and scan through the photos on his digital camera, deleting the ones he doesn't want. They go through their pictures more, and it really brings back the family experience," says Varn.
A VGA jack also allows the owner to plug in a computer, and Harmony fitted him with a Bluetooth-enabled wireless keyboard so he can surf the web on the big screen.
One of the biggest benefits of this room, though, is its warm and casual style. Even though it's a dedicated theater, it has a family-style feel to it. "We've lost the family environment in some theaters," says Varn. "The most fun you can have is in a space you want to live in, which also happens to be a great place to watch movies.
Theater Bar - A full-function bar at the rear of the theater makes for the perfect concession stand.
- Universal Remote Control MX-3000 universal remote
Systems Design & Installation