May 17, 2007
| by Lisa Montgomery
Some people derive inspiration for their theaters from hobbies and pastimes. Others create the space to remember a favorite vacation spot. The owners of this lower-level redo, Robert and Rhonda Seebold, looked no further than their backyard for ideas for their entertainment destination. Featuring a multitiered award-winning water garden with a bubbling stream and two waterfalls, the home’s outdoor area flows through to the design of the one-of-a-kind space created by Futureview TV Services of Elysburg, PA. “Right away, my concept was to bring that earthy feel inside,” says company founder and CEO Al DeGaetano.
He started by pushing out the back wall four feet to elongate the room. “Rectangular-shaped rooms are acoustically better than square-shaped rooms,” DeGaetano explains. The build-out required removing a load-bearing wall, so Futureview added new support columns to shore up the space. The columns could have easily detracted from the design, but Futureview used them to create three cozy seating nooks, a feature that’s now become one of the company’s most popular client requests. The nooks can be illuminated independent of the rest of the room, and Futureview positioned the fixtures so that even when these lights are on, they won’t interfere with the picture on the screen. Completing this unique bench-style viewing area is an outlet where the family can plug a Sony Xbox console or a laptop computer into the system for a big-screen gaming experience.
Also tucked into the walls are the audio and video components, including a Denon audio/video receiver and DVD player. The wooden cabinets feature adjustable shelving and easy access to the backs of the equipment from a closet in an adjacent home office. A 95-by-54-inch Stewart Luxus screen was fitted between walls composed of natural stone, and a Runco VX-1000ci projector was stationed inside a specially constructed “hush box” within the copper-glazed tray ceiling. Futureview ran heating and cooling ducts and installed ventilation fans within the space above the slanted ceiling to prevent the projector from overheating and to minimize the noise from the machine. Custom-made double doors help isolate the theater from the rest of the lower level, which also houses a kitchenette and bar. To preclude interruptions, a waterfall mounted next to the doors indicates when a show is in progress by shutting off. When the waterfall is running, guests know it okay to enter.
The waterfall receives its signal from a iPronto remote. Futureview programmed the remote so that the homeowners only need to press one button to fire up the system. The WATCH button pulls up a screen that lets them select either DVD or cable. Depending on which source they choose, the iPronto signals the appropriate gear to activate. Meanwhile, the lights set themselves to the proper levels—very dim if the family will be watching a movie but a little brighter if they’ll be viewing a cable TV program. Other lighting scenes that can be engaged from the iPronto include one for entering the theater and another for post-movie clean up. But no matter what kind of entertainment the family decides to enjoy or how they choose to set the lights, this theater will always feel well-connected with nature.
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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.