Can’t decide between a family room or guest bedroom? How about having both in one?
In this household, the husband wanted a home theater space, while the lady of the house wished to keep their guest bedroom. It also had to be tasteful and exacting, as the neurosurgeon husband is very detail oriented.
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Accommodating the multiple demands was left to custom electronics company ForresterTech of Springfield, Mo., which teamed with the contractor and cabinetmaker, Rhoads Design and Construction. The result is a tasteful space with a wall-to-wall cabinet to house the 60-inch Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma screen and Artcoustic flat-panel speakers, which are complete with pleasing designs printed on their grilles.
The couple already had Artcoustic’s thin speakers downstairs, and wanted them used again in the media room/guest room. “The planning was very important,” says Thad Forrester of ForresterTech, “because in this case the choice of audio/video gear really drove the project.”
Forrester worked closely with Rhoads, giving the contractor the dimensions of the front and rear Artcoustic speakers, as well as the Pioneer plasma, so Rhoads could build the floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall custom cabinet that tastefully recessed the electronics. Careful consideration was given to providing enough space around the plasma TV for proper ventilation and to provide an Artcoustic center-channel speaker below the TV. LED light strips highlight the recesses and the equipment/artwork.
Smaller Artcoustic Diablo speakers are used for surround channels in back of the room and are similarly recessed. Forrester also used a custom-built, in-ceiling 12-inch subwoofer that fires down in the back of the room.
And where do the guests sleep, you might ask? A Murphy bed folds out from a side wall, and the guests can shut down the lights via a 5-button keypad and the one-room Vantage Inspire lighting system solution.
The audio/video equipment is stored in a closet off to the left side. That houses a B&K Reference 70 processor, a B&K amp, Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player, DirecTV HD receiver and Apple TV. The family also uses a Wii for gaming.
The room prep and electronics installation wasn’t as easy as waiting for the custom cabinetry to be built. The family did not want any drywall disturbed, and some of the interior walls contained spray foam insulation, Forrester recalls. So wires from the front to the back of the room had to be run up to an attic space above and dropped down.
Plan for Cabinetry
You have to plan very carefully when having custom cabinetry built to house your electronics—especially if you are recessing them to exacting degrees, as this homeowner wanted.
First, ForresterTech selected the 60-inch Pioneer TV and Artcoustic speakers and provide cabinetmaker Rhoads Design Construction their exact measurements. But something happened during after the cabinet had been constructed. The 60-inch TV was changed to the latest model, which was almost one inch thinner. To meet the exact recesses the homeowner wanted, Forrester simply “blocked” the TV and its mount so it would be recessed at the perfect spot.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates