Attic Makes Room for Theater, Pool Table
These cozy confines are no barrier to home theater fun.
SILVER WINNER: Best Home Theater $25K–$50K
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May 15, 2009 by Steven Castle

Step from an adjoining hallway into this space, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Despite the sloped ceilings, this attic space houses an entire and inviting-looking home theater. There’s a 92-inch Draper screen, a JVC 1080p D-ILA (Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) projector, a 5.1-channel surround-sound system, Blu-ray and Apple TV capability, plus some kick-back seating options.

“It’s not super high-end, but it’s really nice,” says Kevin Hourihan, a custom electronics installer from Cyber Home Networks of Stormville, N.Y. Also in the attic is a billiards area, so the home theater was limited to a space of about 22 feet long and 18 feet wide, with sloped ceilings and knee walls. “Due to the size of the space we had to work with, we had to be quite creative,” says Hourihan.

The space for the screen was limited, but Cyber Home found enough room on the gable wall to house a 92-incher from Draper. Cyber Home also chose an acoustically transparent screen so that three in-wall SpeakerCraft Tantra speakers for the front left, center and right channels could be mounted behind it, saving more room. “[The homeowner] didn’t want to see any speakers in a room that was already tight for space,” Hourihan explains. A 12-inch SpeakerCraft Tantra subwoofer is also mounted in the wall beneath the screen, and two in-ceiling Tantra speakers provide the surround sound.

Something also had to be done about containing and controlling the acoustics in a room like this, as sloped walls can reflect sound in unpleasant ways. So the walls were lined with acoustical absorption panels that actually make it seem like a warmer, cozier environment. Thick rubber carpet padding and a ¼-inch-thick sound barrier on the floors and walls prevent sound leakage to other rooms and the master bedroom below.

A Denon AVR-3808ci receiver provides the necessary punch. That, and a Samsung Blu-ray player, an Apple TV hard drive, and a Furman power conditioner, are housed in an equipment rack in a knee wall near the entrance. With heat in the attic being a concern, a vent was installed for the equipment rack.

A Universal Remote Control MX-3000 remote operates the system and a one-switch Lutron lighting control system, saving the investment of a larger home control system. Hourihan reports that it was also easy to program macros, or a series of remote control commands, onto the remote.

One of the homeowners’ favorite toys is the Apple TV set top box, which allows them to download movies and watch them on the big screen, as well as to sync their digital music collections with their computers. Sweet.

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
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.

Installers/Equipment List

  Find an Installer
  Find custom electronics installers who provide home theater systems,
  lighting, home automation, A/V and more! Click here to get started.

Systems Design and Installation
Cyber Home Networks
Stormville, N.Y.

Millbrook Architects
Millbrook, NY


JVC DLARS2U D-ILA projector
Draper 92-inch fixed screen
Samsung BDP-1500 Blu-ray Player
Apple TV

SpeakerCraft Tantra 6-inch in-wall front channels (3)
SpeakerCraft Tantra 8-inch in-ceiling surrounds (2)
SpeakerCraft Tantra 12-inch in-wall Subwofer Denon AVR-3808ci Receiver
Impact Barrier acoustical treatment

Universal Remote Control MX-3000
Furman Elite 15 Power Conditioner

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