June 09, 2014 by Lisa Montgomery
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Many owners of home theaters draw inspiration for the room’s design from a favorite movie. For this owner, that flick was The Matrix. “However, he didn’t want to go too overboard with the theme,” says interior designer Bethany Johnson of Gramophone, Timonium, Md. “He just wanted to incorporate subtle Matrix-like touches, nothing too outrageous.” The walls of the 1,125-square-foot space reflect the mood of the popular sci-fi thriller, as does the innovative use of colored LED lighting that creates the illusion of stepping into a tunnel.
The tunnel effect also helps draw viewers’ eyes to a 110-inch screen from Stewart Filmscreen. Designed as part of the room architecture and fed content by a Runco Q750 LED projector, the 16:9-format screen sinks into the millwork. This is an adequate viewing material for now, but the screen lacks the visual punch of a wider CinemaScope-format (2.35:1) screen, which the homeowner plans to eventually incorporate. “The 16:9 screen came from the theater in the owner’s previous house,” explains Gramophone systems designer Lee Kirby Smith. “By repurposing it, we were able to curb costs a bit and apply the budget to other areas, namely, to the audio system.”
Theater Changes with the Seasons
When the owners of this custom theater aren’t settled in for a movie, they often use the space to host parties, and the room’s colored LED lighting helps set the mood. Using a URC MX-980 handheld remote, the owners can set the lights to one particular color, or choose a different hue for each of the room’s four columns. For example, during the holidays, the columns can glow in green and red, or for football games, Baltimore Ravens’ purple and gold can take over. Overhead, a controllable star ceiling twinkles during most occasions.
“The owner enjoys concert videos just as much as he does movies,” continues Smith. “So it was important to him that the audio be powerful.” A suite of Bowers & Wilkins speakers and a Velodyne SC-15 subwoofer does the job, but without overpowering the room visually. The three front speakers and subwoofer are hidden within the millwork. The remaining speakers of the 7.1 arrangement are tucked into the ceiling.
For music without video, the owner can use the theater’s URC MX-980 handheld remote to summon tunes from a Sonos music system, which along with an Oppo Blu-ray player and Sony 400-disc Blu-ray changer (also repurposed from the previous theater), was installed by Gramophone in a large closet near the theater. Without the visual distraction of components and speakers, the design of the room and the performance of the equipment raise this home theater to a new dimension of entertainment excellence.
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
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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