May 01, 2006
| by EH Staff
No, it’s not your average home theater experience. And that’s just what the owners of this contemporary space wanted. “They didn’t want a theater that looked like a movie theater,” says Sean Weiner of Baltimore-area custom electronics company Starr Systems Design. “They wanted no frilly curtains, no simulated movie theater look, no popcorn machine. They just wanted a comfortable, contemporary space to enjoy movies, television and sporting events.”
The other criteria for Starr Systems was to keep the cost of the home theater system in the $70,000 range—and to finish it in time for the Super Bowl. “It’s a boys’ room for watching football as well as movies,” says Weiner. The homeowners have two children, so the system had to be designed for the entire family. However, one of the eight Acoustic Innovations recliners is special: It has massage and heat functions and is reserved for Dad.
Starr Systems worked with interior designer Kelly Dodd to create the clean look of light walls and cherry wood bisected with horizontal strips. The dark wood in the bar areas and surrounding the 123-inch Stewart screen is repeated in the ceiling to outline the soffits and segment the room into front and back sections.
Because speaker holes might mar the look of the striking wood finish on the front wall, an acoustically transparent screen with thousands of microperforations was used to allow audio from three B&W front speakers and two subwoofers to sound through. Four Triad in-wall speakers are used for the surrounds in the wall and ceiling of this 7.1-channel setup. A Rotel processor and DVD player, among other components, are recessed in the wall and are easily accessible from the counter area in the back. “The Rotel components and B&W speakers gave us a good system at a good value,” says Weiner. He likes the B&W speakers because they’re “very dynamic, and they do a good job for movies and music.”
In addition, the rack at the back counter isn’t littered with a confusing array of components that the family will never use. “In order to provide adequate ventilation and to keep the rack smaller, we located the Rotel power amplifiers in an adjacent storage room,” Weiner explains.
An RTI T2 touchscreen remote control operates the home theater system and the lighting. “We like to keep it simple. When the movie pauses, the lights come up, but we don’t show page after page of buttons on the touchscreen,” Weiner says. And that’s in keeping with this theater’s clean, contemporary look.