September 24, 2012
by Lisa Montgomery
Golf season may be nearing an end in the Mid-west, but the owners of this award-winning fun room can play year-round, thanks to a high-tech golf simulation system the custom electronics (CE) pros at Audio Video Interiors in Middleburg Heights,Ohio,installed during a massive home renovation.The owner had originally planned on including a putting green, but “when he saw the Virtual Sports Simulator at our showroom, it was something he just had to have,” says Audio Video Interiors president Michael Pope.
Unfortunately, realistic golf requires a full swing of a club, and the ceiling in the planned indoor golfing range was too short to accommodate. Thus began a complete redo of the basement, which started by excavating the floor. “Per our specifications, the contractor had to dig down about 3 feet to create a 10-foot-tall ceiling,” says Pope.
Only after the demo and rebuild were finished could Audio Video Interiors install the A/V gear, which would include a dedicated system for the golfing area and another for the theater portion of the basement. A squarish 4:3 tensioned screen able to withstand full contact from a golf ball went into the golf area. A touchscreen that came with the Virtual Sports Simulator system lets the owners pick from 10 golf courses, expandable to more than 100, and select the conditions—windy, sunny or rainy, for instance. The system automatically adjusts to the level of difficulty.
The 106-inch-wide Stewart Filmscreen CinemaScope screen in the theater is better suited for displaying sports by providing a wide view of the action. This section of the basement also required some serious revamping. A structural column that ran down the center of the room was repositioned, with the blessing of a structural engineer, to make room for two tiers of seating. A water meter that had once stuck out like a sore thumb was covered with specialty cabinetry that doubles as a hiding spot for a Bowers &Wilkins center-channel speaker and subwoofer. Covered with acoustically transparent material, the cabinet allows the sound from the speaker and sub to filter through undistorted.
Video and audio are only as fun as they are easy to control, though, and for this reason Audio Video Interiors tied all of the A/V equipment, as well as a Honeywell security system, to a Control4 processor. Programmed by Audio Video Interiors, the processor automates certain aspects of the lower level. For example, when someone rings the doorbell, the audio mutes temporarily so the owners can hear the bell. And should sensors detect moisture on the floor, the owners receive notification by email or text. The Control4 system also extends the fun to other areas of the house by enabling the owners, through a handheld remote, to direct audio and video from a variety of components located in a closet next to the theater to every TV and set of speakers in the house.
Acoustical treatments for home theaters aren’t cheap. The Showcase Theater Package from Acoustic Innovations that was installed in this award-winning theater retails for around $20,000. The owners, however, were able to get it for 55 percent off, plus installation, by purchasing a package that had been used in the showroom of Audio Video Interiors. “We had packed all the pieces of the package in boxes until we found a project to use it for,” says Audio Video Interiors president Michael Pope. Lesson learned: Used equipment and materials can help save big bucks on a home theater project.
SYSTEMS & EQUIPMENT Control: Control4 Projector: Epson Screen: Stewart Filmscreen Speakers: B&W Receiver: Denon
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Howard Tucker
SYSTEMS DESIGN & INSTALLATION: Audio Video Interiors, Middleburg Heights, Ohio
BUILDER: Environments By Design
ARCHITECT: Illes Architects, Medina, Ohio
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.