DIY Home Theaters
DIYer Takes Classic Theater Across Country
Australian Rob McIntosh took his love for old-time A/V around the world, creating home theaters on two coasts.
Rob McIntosh Home Theater
Rob McIntosh paid homage to the past with his basement’s 1920s-themed theater. 
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July 16, 2009 by Rachel Cericola

Rob McIntosh loves old-school home theater. He loves it so much that he created his own — not once, but twice.

About four years ago, Rob lived in Seattle with his wife, Stefanie. That first home theater included an InFocus projector, a 110-inch Da-Lite screen and a few pieces to give the room the classic feel of the theaters Rob remembered from his youth.

Rob loved going to the movies as a kid. Who didn’t? The big difference here is that his Sydney neighborhood gave him a slightly different experience than the typical drive-in and/or double feature.

“There was a movie theater where I lived that was sort of that grandiose old architecture 1900’s type,” he says. “At the beginning of the movie, the guy would come out of the stage floor and play the organ before the movie and you had all of these architectural details. I was so enthralled by it, that it’s always stuck with me.”

It not only stuck, it moved in with him. Of course, he’s not housing any organ men in his 5,000-square-foot home, but he has brought a lot of the design elements from those theaters. He incorporated some of the elements into his first home theater.

Home Theater Goes Across Country

When Rob’s job moved him across the country, the theater bug came with him. Sadly, he had to leave the projector, screen and chairs behind for the new homeowners. Four speakers, a subwoofer and his remote made the trip, though, and created a pretty solid foundation for his new project.

The new theater took Rob and Stefanie about a year to complete. Even Stefanie was heavily involved, choosing some of the decor and helping to paint. “I think it was easier to convince her because she did the first one,” Rob says. “She got excited and said, ‘Oh I’d love to do another one. That was fun.’ “

Stefanie’s enthusiasm could be one of the reasons Rob named the theater after her — or at least her nickname — BubbyMac. He thought it was cute and different and, of course, loved pleasing the missus. “It definitely helps … if she looks at it and says, ‘$35,000, oh my God.’ Then I can say, ‘It’s named after you, honey.’”

They did ask for a tiny bit of outside help to wire the lighting and calibrate the projector and screen. For the latter, Rob tapped local installation company Evolution Home Theater, who had sold him both units.

“It was just too hard for me to get into the calibration and the correct throw distances,” he says. “After spending all that time on the AVS Forums, that was the one thing I knew that could make a big difference in the quality of picture. So, I didn’t even want to touch it.”

Tweaking Columns, Setup

There were plenty of other items that needed Rob’s attention anyway. For instance, the columns from his previous theater needed a bit of tweaking.

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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 www.rachelcericola.com.

Equipment List

Berkline Home Theater Chairs (8)
Denon AVR-5803CI Receiver
Denon DVD-3800BDCI Blu-ray Player
DirectTV HD DVR
HP Media Center Extenders (2)
HP Pavilion PC
Marantz VP-15S1 DLP Projector
Microsoft Xbox 360
Panamax M5100-EX Power Conditioner
Paradigm CC-290 Center Speaker
Paradigm Reference Monitor 7 Front Speakers (2)
Paradigm Studio ADP-390 Speakers (2)
Paradigm Studio ADP-590 Speakers (2)
Philips Pronto Pro TSU7000 Touchscreen Remote
Polk Audio DSW Pro500 Subwoofer
Polk Audio PSW125 Subwoofer
Sony PlayStation 3
Stewart Filmscreen Firehawk G3 120-inch Screen


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