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. 
Slideshow and Related Content
View Slideshow

July 16, 2009 by Rachel Cericola

“Oh! That was a challenge,” he says. Although they conveyed the look that Rob was going for, they didn’t have the height to be placed in the new room. Instead of building new columns from scratch, Rob says they “sort of faux finished the two top and bottom parts of the column.”

The original columns were handmade out of plaster-type landscaping material. To add the extra height, he created boxes out of plywood, 2x4s, Sheetrock and a bit of insulation. Then he added the boxes to the top and bottom of the original columns, until they achieved the correct height from the pony wall all the way up to the ceiling. All of the detail was then hand-painted. “People come in and think it’s all one column,” Rob says. “It’s actually two boxes with the column attached in the middle.”

Rob also boosted the setup to 7.1. Even though the equipment had a special place in his heart, he wanted an equally special place in his basement. “I wanted it to sort of blend in,” he said. However, in the last theater, having the equipment in the room made things a bit hot. Instead of installing fans and other noisy equipment in the room, he took everything out into what used to be the corridor. Now that area is closed off with Sheetrock, which Rob cut holes into to show off the various components.

Behind the wall is a homemade rack, which has a pullout drawer for the family’s gaming needs, that slides all of the A/V into the wall nicely. “I just thought visually, when you come down the hallway, you’ve got this continuation of the same color walls and then the equipment is just that flush; it doesn’t jet out in any way, shape or form,” he says.

Antiques Abound

The columns and equipment are just one of the room’s many little touches. To capture the time period, Rob picked up a lot of showpieces from various antique stores. Looking around the room you’d think he was an avid book collector.

“I just went to an antique store and said that I wanted to buy $50 in books, but told them that I wanted to spend no more than $1 a book,” Rob says. From there, they picked out books with interesting spines. “It was just more that I wanted to keep the architectural elements reasonably in keeping with the room, so I looked for a lot of spines that would give that sort of design feel.

“I haven’t read any of them,” he admits. “Who has time to read books when you’ve got a home theater?”

For a blast from the past and a peek at Rob’s theater, check out our slideshow.

Quick Hits
Location: Atlanta, GA
Year Completed: 2009
Room Size: 19 x 18 feet
Length of Project: 12 months
Total Cost: $35,000

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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

Equipment List

Berkline Home Theater Chairs (8)
Denon AVR-5803CI Receiver
Denon DVD-3800BDCI Blu-ray Player
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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