Who knew there was a jungle in the middle of America? OK, so maybe it’s only a jungle-themed theater, but it has given its owners a reason to go on frequent sightseeing trips to the lower level of their suburban Indianapolis home.
Huge bamboo canes sprout from urns in the front of the theater, monkey sconces adorn the rear wall, a faux-painted jungle skyline covers part of the ceiling, and a Lutron Grafik Eye system lets the owners set the mood with convenient lighting control. It’s not quite something out of National Geographic, but it’s not something people see every day, either.
The idea was hatched by interior designer Robert Orr and the in-house design team of electronics installation firm TriPhase Technologies based in Carmel, IN. “We like adding aesthetic value, and we liked what Robert brought in,” says TriPhase system designer Tom Wilburn. “When we have people in our showroom, part of the fun is letting people flip through a picture book of our installations, and everyone always stops at this one.”
Orr’s father custom built the home, but with the rest of the home receiving a six-figure installation of automation and electronics, an expensive theater was considered a future project. The homeowners were going to use the area for storage.
But the owners were willing to listen to Wilburn and Orr about adding the theater. Also, instead of devoting their entertainment budget to a family room system whose performance might be slightly impeded by a spiral staircase there, the owners could move some of the expense toward a dedicated theater room on the lower level and be assured of optimum audio and video quality.
“The husband wasn’t looking for some $100,000 home theater,” Wilburn says. “In our showroom, we have four home theater systems, from about $6,000 to $285,000, each with a couple of different projectors. We put some options together, and they came in and explored. This ended up being one of our favorite theaters.”
A bulkhead in the back of the roughly 16-by-20-foot room houses a built-in Sony VPL-VW60 SXRD projector, which fires 1080p-resolution video onto a 100-inch Stewart Filmscreen FireHawk screen. Audio design became a little tricky, as Wilburn adjusted to plans that included placing two large urns on each side of the screen, plus the monkey sconces that served as inspiration for the room’s design. Triad InWall Gold/4 Omni speakers were built into the walls and painted to match them, with front right, left and center channels placed under the screen and side and rear surrounds placed between columns on the other three walls. A Triad InRoom Bronze PowerSub subwoofer hides behind the left urn.
“We set it up as close as we could get it with audio calibration and didn’t do any acoustical treatments because we kind of let the aesthetics win, and the homeowners were floored by how it sounded,” Wilburn says.
Simple operation of the system comes via an RTI T2-C remote that lets the owners tap into an Escient FireBall DVD/CD management system when they want to cue up a movie, something that quickly became a favorite activity for these empty nesters. “They love it,” says Wilburn. “They say they use the home theater ten times as often as they thought they would.”
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.