Rain Man would have loved to watch some Jeopardy and People’s Court in this home theater.
Physically, it’s the same space that would have had guests like Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman over while director Barry Levinson (The Natural, Rain Man) screened movies on a then-state-of-the-art projection system featuring dual Runco CRT models.
But more recently, under new ownership, it was time to give this Hollywood hangout room located in Northern California’s affluent Marin County a makeover. After all, the old projectors beamed onto a 4:3 screen, and now’s the age of CinemaScope 2.35:1 home viewing.
Local custom electronics pro Rolling Thunder Group of San Rafael, Calif., was tasked with doing the theater transformation, along with some more rooms in the multimillion-dollar home.
“We originally were contracted to redo the family room system, kids room system and replace the backyard speakers. Of course, we couldn’t wait to get out hands on a redo of the dedicated theater,” says Rolling Thunder’s Jeff Symonds. “The system had stopped functioning and was unusable. With dual Runco CRT projectors, 4:3 fixed screen, a ton of weird interface gear and an original Crestron controller the size of a 22” TV we began discussions to make it a fun room for the owner and her two kids to enjoy.”
With the owner being female, the space could not become the typical mancave type of wall-rattling theater. Symonds and the homeowner worked on the idea of turning the room into a Buddha Bar, and using the carved out space among the existing cabinetry that housed the 4:3 screen and putting artwork there.
That’s how the big head came into play, and it gets covered by a 116-inch custom Da-Lite screen on movie nights. As for the sound system, the front speaker locations that originally went behind a perforated 4:3 screen were moved to below where the Da-Lite screen drops down, as cabinet drawers were replaced to house SpeakerCraft front-channel speakers and two powerful JL Audio subwoofers behind custom grills.
Other pieces of the theater puzzle were moved as well. “The primary gear from the old system was previously in an unfinished closet under the stairs. Two Middle Atlantic racks of other gear from the previous system were exposed in the cabinetry in the back of the room,” says Symonds. “We decided to relocate all the gear for the new system into the cabinetry and fab new matching cabinet doors to hide it all. This now leaves access to the closet’s radiant heat, lighting, electrical and other systems that were previously inaccessible.” All part of the new zen-like atmosphere in here.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.