Basement Goes from Playroom to Palatial Home Theater
Transformation involves altering windows and walls, adding starfield ceiling and high-performance gear.
September 18, 2013 by Lisa Montgomery

When the kids grow up, it’s time to put the toys away and do something more mature with a playroom. The natural inclination for a family of movie lovers: Transform it into a dedicated home theater that all ages can appreciate. That’s exactly what the owners of this remarkable space accomplished recently, with the help of the custom electronics (CE) professionals at Admit One Cinema, Edina, Minn.

The conversion of the large lower level would require some alterations of the existing structure, but since it measured approximately 17 feet wide by 34 feet long, there was plenty of room to work with. Admit One Cinema started by shortening the length to 24 feet by constructing a new wall at the front of the room. The new proportions would work better design- and performance-wise, says company president Lance Anderson. It would offer a surface in which to recess the front three JBL speakers and subwoofers, plus section off a portion for a dance studio.

Another big part of the renovation was framing in three existing windows on a side wall. Blocking out all light was crucial in this theater because it was being designed expressly for watching movies in a dark environment.

The spaciousness of the spot also enabled the CE pros to integrate lots of speakers, a huge screen and a “star-gazing window” on the ceiling. A 12-foot-wide, curved CinemaScope screen from Stewart Filmscreen had no problem fitting in, as did the seven speakers and four subwoofers of the JBL Synthesis surround-sound system.

System Design & Installation
Admit One Cinema, Edina, Minn.
www.admitonecinema.com
Interior Design
Home Design by Annie, Minneapolis, Minn.
www.homedesignbyannie.com
Cabinetry
Designed & Made, Minneapolis, Minn.
www.designedandmade.com
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Ordinarily, a ceiling-suspended video projector can eat up headroom in a basement theater; that wasn’t the case in this room, thanks to its higher-than-normal ceiling. Admit One Cinema built a hushbox around the Runco LS10i 1080p projector to prevent sound from the fan and exhaust from interfering with the movie audio. The hot air from the projector is vented to an existing mechanical room, which also provides access to the back of a well-stocked equipment rack.

The most visually impressive application of technology, though, is a starfield of LED lighting on the ceiling. Blue LED lighting borders the oval, observatory-like galaxy, the illusion that the ceiling is higher than it actually is.

The finished result is a definite departure from the playroom that used to occupy the area, and although the entertainment may be a lot more grown up, Admit One Cinema made sure to add fun toys like a specially programmed T2-C+ handheld touchscreen remote control from RTI that invites the owners to turn groups of lights off an on for effect, alter the shape of the screen and choose from a big library of video content.

Here’s an in-depth look at this home theater transformation, with commentary from Admit One Cinema custom electronics pro Lance Anderson and Home Design By Annie interior designer Annie Tropple:

Putting Bad Spots to Good Use

Basements can be a bear to work with when building a home theater. There’s the duct work on the ceiling to work around, drains on the floor to contend with, pillars to work into the layout, and the list goes on. These unaccommodating elements can actually work to your advantage, though, if you think about them creatively. For example, pillars can add visual punch when boxed in and lined with LED lights. If there are structural issues with the floor, why not build a platform over them to create stadium-style seating? Just be sure to add a trap door so you can reach the important stuff below. As for the HVAC ducts? By framing them in, they can become an architectural element of your home theater.

Also Check Out:
Time to Tune Up Your Home Theater?
Understanding Home Theater Screen Selection
Smart LED Bulbs: The Future of Lighting Control?

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

Systems and Equipment

Control: RTI
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen
Video Projector: Runco
Audio System: JBL
Lighting Control: Lutron
Seating: Acoustic Innovations

Full Equipment List

Runco LS10i 1080p Projector
Panamorph 2.35:1 Lens Lens
Chief RPA-U Elite Mounting Bracket
Stewart Masking Curved FireHawk G3
Acoustical Perforation of Screen
JBL Synthesis SAM3VA fronts (3)
JBL Synthesis S4AIH speakers (4)
JBL Synthesis S2S-H 15” Passive THX (4)
JBL Synthesis AV2 Pre-amp
JBL Synthesis S7150 watts
JBL Synthesis (2) S800 subwoofer amp
JBL SDEC 4000P/X
Iscan Edge video upconvertor/switcher
Oppo BDP 95 Universal Bluray Player
HD DVR Cable Receiver - by Client
Apple TV Package w/ IT Configuration
RTI T2C+ Touchscreen Handheld Remote
XP-6 Central Control Processor
RM-433 RF Receiver Module
IR Communications Emitter for Component
Middle Atlantic Rack & Custom face
Furman Elite-20PFi Filter and Surge Power
Custom Oval Star field ceiling by Kinetic noise control
Acoustic Innovations Seating
HDMI & Audio Connect Package for Sources
7.1 Silver+ AudioQuest Surround Package
40FT Premier HDMI 1.4 1080p Cable
Low Voltage Wiring for LED Panel System
Electronic Control from Rack to Screen
TEC Jack to Rack for Internet / Cable
Oval Fiber Optic Star Ceiling Detail
Right Side of Wall for LED Lighting (per ft)
Left Side of Wall for LED (per ft)
LED Driver for Cinema Columns
LED Step Lights
Inside of Oval for LED (per ft)
LED Driver for Oval and Steps
Lutron Grafix Eye 6 Zone System W/Acc Dim
1” Fabric for Ceiling outside Oval (218SqFt)
1” Fabric for Right wall (90SqFt)
1” Fabric for Left wall (71SqFt)
1” Fabric for Rear wall (80SqFt)


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