DIYer Meets Modern Art Deco
This stylish home theater keeps the costs low and the fun meter high.
December 06, 2010 by Rachel Cericola

Chad Halvorson may not have one of the biggest home theater setups, but it is one of the most beautiful.

At only 12 feet wide, Chad had some difficulties fitting everything into the room—most notably, the seating. However, he made it work. In fact, he made it work really well.

“We ended up taking advantage of the 42-foot length to space out seating,” he says. “We built a riser for a row of three and then placed two single seats in front of the riser. Finally, in the very front, we placed two Love Sacs for up-close viewing and gaming.”

However, having room for seven to sit comfortably isn’t the most impressive thing about this basement theater. Just look at it. Gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe the design and the detail of the Granada Cinema, which is named after Chad’s street.

It didn’t happen overnight. Although Chad says the actual job only took five months, that was spread over two years. “I didn’t work on the project every day,” he explains. “The majority of the project came together in the last four months.”

Taking your time has its advantages. For about $25,000, Chad made the Granada look like a million bucks by meshing art deco with high-tech engineering. Aside from the two-tone seating, the room also features a 1080p projector, a 120-inch screen, and a home theater PC, which houses 5 terabytes of media to keep the house entertained. Of course, everything is fully networked, for remote management, as well as a video game or two on the fly.

Sound comes from a complete Onkyo 7.1 speaker package, driven by an Onkyo receiver. A false wall supporting the acoustically transparent screen allows the speakers and subwoofer to be hidden behind the screen.

The back of the room features a custom-built concession stand complete with popcorn maker, refrigerator and candy display case. Lighting runs along the concession stand, riser and stage, to provide a real cinematic touch.

Chad also uses wireless Z-Wave technology to control other lighting aspects, for movies, video games, TV watching, and more. “I wanted a system that I could control with infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF),” Chad explains. “The Harmony remote uses RF, but isn’t compatible with lighting systems such as Z-Wave. So I wanted a lighting system that I could control from the Media PC and the IR blaster of the Harmony remote.” In the end, he went with the Z-Wave-enabled Vizia RF + family from Leviton.

Yes, the theater took Chad some time to complete, but the result was well worth the wait. The only professional help he cites was for carpet and drywall. “It also helps to have a great girlfriend, friends and a family to help out,” he says. “Just once it’s finished, you had better treat them to unlimited movies and popcorn!”

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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

Quick Hits
State: Minnesota
Room Size: 42 x 12 x 8 feet
Year Completed: 2009
Time to Complete: 5 months
Total Cost: $25,000

Equipment List Custom Theater Seats (5)
Elite 120-inch Acoustically Transparent Screen
Logitech Harmony 900
Love Sac Custom Theater Seats (2)
MythTV DVR/HTPC (Ubuntu)
Nintendo Wii
Onkyo HT-S9100THX 7.1 Home Theater Package
Panasonic PT-AE3000U Projector
Sony PlayStation 3
Ubuntu 5TB Media Server

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