May 19, 2009
by Arlen Schweiger
Home theater designer Rob Roessler loves when homeowners add personal touches to a room, but he was a little surprised when he found the additions to this Illinois theater staring back at him. The architectural toppings to the room’s rich woodwork are four hand-carved corbel “guardians” perched above the sconces.
“I had been out of the room for a while, and when I came back one day I saw she had put hand-carved faces in there,” says Roessler, whose Columbia, Ill.–based Audio Video Concepts outfitted the room. “I thought they were really slick and perfect for the room. They’re not creepy, but they’re always looking right at you.”
The corbels are the cherry on top of the room’s extensive woodwork, which itself was designed to complement the rest of the home. The wife played a larger role in the design than most homeowners do, says Roessler, and he worked with Dugans Woodworking to incorporate her aesthetic wishes. From the cabinetry that surrounds the 92-inch screen to the ceiling soffit to the columns and outlining panels, there’s plenty of wood grain to go around.
Of course, with all of those wood surfaces, sound reflections can go haywire and leave a theater with subpar audio. Roessler reduced the reflections with soft carpeting and theater chairs, as well as Guilford of Maine fabric stretched over select areas.
With a limited budget, Roessler turned to a favorite combination of Yamaha electronics and Paradigm speakers—three Cinema 220 front channels hide inside cabinets, two ADP surrounds are wall-mounted just behind the first seating row, and two more ADPs are in back.
“The reflections are really tough, but we pinpointed the front speakers as much as possible,” Roessler says. “We’ve found the Yamaha and Paradigm combination sounds great, and you can get them at a pretty nice price.” A Paradigm Ultracube10 subwoofer sits in the lower right front cabinet, while the opposite lower cabinet houses the equipment.
A 1080p Sanyo projector stays virtually hidden within the soffit, and delivers video from the Yamaha upscaling DVD player or high-def DirecTV box. Roessler programmed simple macro scenes into a Universal Remote MX-900 remote control, so hitting the DVD button powers the player and projector and sets the receiver to the proper input.
“They hadn’t had a media room or anything like this before, so we had to make sure it was easy to use,” Roessler says. “The biggest problem is that she can’t get [her husband] out of the room.”
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.