DIYer Gets Fabulous with Fabric
Greg Powers didn't just build a new structure to seal in the sounds of his theater; he ensconced it in stylish fabric.
Greg Powers added a personal touch by creating his own fabric wall frames.
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April 06, 2009 by Rachel Cericola

Some people will give anything for a home theater. For Greg Powers, that anything included a bit of his property.

Greg didn’t have a basement or other area he could spare, but he did have land. So Greg built a freestanding, dedicated structure behind the pool area. “We live on a half acre,” he says about sacrificing the space. “Besides it was for a home theater—not hard at all to allocate dirt for its construction.”

The foundation was poured in May 2000. After that, the project sat for about three years. The building alone cost about $40,000, but Greg wasn’t just saving and scheming; he had a life, which included two daughters’ weddings. Both of those costs could be part of why he didn’t jump right into the next step or maybe even hire a home theater designer. Instead, he planned out his own project and put some of his savings back into the theater. “I could get 80 percent of what I wanted by learning as much as I could and copying what others did,” Greg says. “The AVS Forum was a big part of the education process.” Shortly after the New Year in 2004, new plans were drawn, permits were issued, and the plan was back on track.

The changes included another five feet to the foundation and four feet to the entryway, which was moved towards the pool area. “The backyard is two levels. The first plan was to enter the theater from the level lower then the pool,” Greg says. “The changes moved the entry up to the same level as the pool.” It also provided easy access to the office, which Greg added with leftover funds. That office area was completed about one year after the theater.

However, it wasn’t just the project’s length or new construction that makes Greg’s theater unique, but the addition of fabric wall frames. Greg didn’t like the current method of applying GOM fabric, and track manufacturers just weren’t serving the DIY crowds at the time. He could have gone for acoustic panels, but that would have pumped up the price.

Then, during a trip to Disney’s California Adventure Park, he had an epiphany during the film Golden Dreams. “I always liked the look of the wall in that theater,” he says. “But never knew how they were made or how they created the look. This time I waited for the audience to leave, and I checked out the wall. Seeing it up close, I thought to myself, ‘I can do that!’”

So that trip gave birth to his new solution. Now all he had to do was build the panels. Fabric was expensive, and Greg’s woodworking skills were “limited.” To make things slightly easier and less expensive, he decided to make all of the frames close to the same size. “At one time I was researching the possibility of just cutting the 45-degree edge into the compressed fiberglass panel and sealing it with fiberglass resin,” he says. “I didn’t think I would get the results I wanted using this process, so I chose to use wood frames.”

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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