Find custom electronics installers who provide home theater systems, lighting, home automation, A/V and more. Locate an installer today!
The inspiration for an extreme home theater design can come from just about anywhere, so it seems appropriate that the concept for this luxury room would come from the homeowner’s other favorite luxury item—his collection of Ferraris.
This homeowner wasn’t new to the extreme home theater concept when he started working with Murray Kunis of Future Home in Los Angeles, Calif. Kunis had worked with the owner previously on another house, so when the owner was planning to build a new 25,000-square-foot home, the first thing on his wish list was a dedicated theater. In fact, the owner brought in Kunis even before the home was designed, and he then essentially had the architect design the rest of the home around the theater room.
“We had a great space, and we were working with a client for whom performance was critical,” says Kunis. The approximately 600-square-foot area called for some serious gear. The 16-foot screen from Stewart Filmscreen dominates the front of the room with a THX-specified 40-degree field of view from the sweet spot. Thanks to the tiered seating, with enough room for 16 guests, even people seated in the back row are assured of a great view of the picture.
A Moving Target
Home theater designer Murray Kunis of Future Home says that this was one of those dream projects in which every high-performance idea he presented to the client was met with enthusiasm, but such projects still come with their challenges. In this case, the challenge was an ever-shrinking equipment room. There are two sets of three racks of gear (for both the theater and the rest of the home’s automation, networking and entertainment systems). As the home’s design evolved, space for the gear room went from 9 feet, to 8 feet and finally 7 feet. Kunis jokes that it’s not a room for a large technician. He’s still not sure how he squeezed in all of the equipment.
To fill up the huge screen, Kunis recommended a Christie 2K commercial digital cinema projector—the same kind found in many huge Cineplexes across the country. This is a seriously bright projector (10K lumens), and its performance and color standards exceed that of average consumer 1080p projectors. It also features a built-in intelligent zoom, which means no anamorphic lens and motorized sled are required to switch the image from a 16:9 aspect ratio to a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
The audio is supplied by JBL Synthesis SK900 speakers in the front plus eight JBL S4A surrounds (a set for each row of seating plus two for the rear channels) and three 18-inch S1S-EX subwoofers. All of the speakers are mounted behind acoustically transparent fabric (the three front speakers sit behind the microperforated Stewart Filmscreen screen). JBL Synthesis S820 and S7165 amplifiers provide the power to drive the speakers, and the whole system is timbre-matched for high performance.
With such high-performance audio gear, it’s important to make sure the room is acoustically prepared to match. The room is fully outfitted with hidden acoustical treatments. The main front speakers are built into a THX-specified baffle wall. To help keep the sound inside the room and not disturb the rest of the house, Kunis constructed the area with double-framed side walls and a ceiling suspended below the main floor’s concrete slab. Finally, to optimize the audio, the room received a full calibration with JBL’s SDEC digital equalizer. “We designed this room to perform to reference standards,” says Kunis.
When top-shelf audio and video gear is a given, you can assume that top design is going to go with it. This is where the Ferraris come in. The owner likes those high-end sports cars, and owns several, so he asked that the Ferrari insignia be incorporated into the room. Kunis used this as inspiration for a dramatic LED ceiling concept. “The ceiling is three-dimensional, so it’s an acoustic break as well as a visual break,” says Kunis.
The Ferrari shield designs give the ceiling a sculptured look. Each of the 10 segments is illuminated with LED lighting that changes colors based on inputs from the Crestron control system. Of course, one of the available colors is Ferrari red, which matches the red leather seats and leather accents on the walls.
More home theater ideas here:
Front Projection Basics: Your Ticket to Home Theater Nirvana
Great Basement Home Theaters
Home Theater Design: Let Your Imagination Run Loose
Follow Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.