Family Friendly Home Theater
A cathedral ceiling, mahogany woodwork, and hand-painted Parisian street scenes makes this home theater feel like a modern country manor.
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The room’s 65-inch Panasonic plasma wows friends, family, and even the occasional client.
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January 03, 2008 by EH Staff

The first thing you notice is the decor. There’s the soaring cedar cathedral ceiling supported by exposed beams, the rich mahogany woodwork all around, the hardwood floors. Lining one side are four built-in wine cabinets, and on the other side are colorful hand-painted Parisian street scenes. It’s an instantly inviting space, warmly lit by two iron chandeliers, recessed ceiling cans, table lamps and wall sconces. The woodwork, warm tones and old-world elegance evoke the simple pleasures of a refined country manor. But this 18-by-34-foot home theater and bar area in Upper Westchester, NY, conjures up some modernist entertainment as well.

A 65-inch Panasonic plasma TV with “Full HD” resolution and a 7.1-channel surround-sound system fire up big-screen entertainment to the tune of 100 watts per channel. That suits homeowners Ira and Cheryl Bernstein and their growing list of friends just fine.

“We wanted to make sure we had the largest big screen we could have in there,” says Cheryl. “My husband is in the entertainment business and brings back clients, and we have to wow them. That room really has to run like clockwork. It has to sound great and be simple to use, and he had to be able to work the remote.”

Home systems contractor Audio Video Excellence of Thornwood, NY, made it user-friendly with a wireless Crestron touchpanel and control system that operates the audio/video, lighting and even the motorized shading for each window. In fact, every lighting circuit and shade can be independently controlled, but many scenes are on macros that can dim the lights, lower the shades and start the home theater system at the touch of a button or two. Ira’s clients are suitably wowed, and his television show distribution company, Debmar-Mercury Entertainment, is looking good.

The room also serves as a showpiece of sorts for Cheryl’s company, Murals & Faux Finish of Bedford Corners, NY. Cheryl hand painted the murals and applied the Venetian plaster in the room. The murals cover doors for storage closets, and the mural nearest the TV houses the pullout and swiveling audio/video rack.

The rack contains a Marantz SR-7001 audio/video receiver, as well as a Marantz DVD player, 5-disc CD carousel, Crestron electronics and Panamax power protection.

Installer Frank Palazzetti likes the Marantz receiver because it upconverts everything, including VCR and iPod video, to high definition. “And it sounds nice, with a lot of headroom,” he says.

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