June 18, 2009
by Rachel Cericola
This theater room is pretty fly — for a Best Buy guy. Sure, we all have our gripes about past retail experiences. However, Jeff Jergerian is the type of guy we’d want to run into when seeking out electronics. He knows his stuff, and isn’t afraid to test some of that knowledge. About five years ago, he took his work experience to task, and turned out a killer basement theater.
Jeff currently works in Best Buy’s customer research and development area. “I actually work on a project dedicated to helping ‘eradicate customer technology issues,’” he says. “This is a perfect role for me, because I want all of these toys to be easy to use and accessible for everyone. People shouldn’t miss out on a great experience because they’re intimidated by technology, whether it’s home theater, digital imaging, home networking, etc.”
This isn’t just part of Jeff’s job, it’s his way of life. He went into the project with absolutely no construction experience. He had been a home theater fan since the mid-90s. So when he and wife, Patti, decided to build their current house, a major consideration was whether or not the basement could accommodate Jeff’s dream theater. “I spent a year drawing and designing pieces of the theater, reading construction how-to books and websites to learn how to do the work, and then planning each phase of it until I felt ready to begin the work,” he says.
Jeff had originally wanted the room to have a classic feel, with a few art deco elements thrown in. He wanted to have burgundy and gold as the primary base colors. “I looked through many pictures in magazines and books — especially those by Theo Kalomirakis — for inspiration.” Eventually, Jeff had legal pads filled with measurements, elevations and other calculations. “Each wall, each column, the stage, the riser, the electrical plans, etc., each had pages of drawings and plans until I created a blueprint that could allow me to do the actual work,” he says. “By the time I actually built out each element of the room, I had done the work in my head 20 times.”
Of course, his day job helped iron out his thought process. Jeff was involved in organizing and developing training programs for Best Buy’s home theater installers. He could train right along with them. It was during this time that he learned to program Universal Remote Control’s MX-3000, terminate various cables, and other wire management tricks. When it came time to do his own work, Jeff was more than ready.
Jeff’s job also came in handy when it came to choosing equipment. Aside from chatting up vendors, he also tapped into some of the experts at Magnolia. “They made suggestions based on what I wanted to accomplish — and my budget, of course. I wasn’t let down in the least.” Also, like most home theater buffs, he scoured the web as well as every major home theater magazine.
Still, being an inside man didn’t exactly make the job easy. “What took me a year to complete would have been finished by a professional contractor in two or three weeks,” Jeff says. “The biggest sense of relief I felt was when I turned on the electricity for the first time after wiring the basement, and finding every outlet working (and grounded) properly, every light switch working, etc.” He also cites passing his local inspections as a major milestone for the install.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.