January 09, 2008 by Rebecca Day
Having a large, open space for a potential home theater is like getting a fresh canvas with shiny new paints. But when that open space is saturated with sunlight, the project takes a decidedly different turn.
“The real trick was transforming the room from a wide open, very bright space to one that became completely dark for home theater viewing,” says Charley Dearmin, systems designer for MHS Technologies in Newland, NC. Dearmin’s challenge was to block out light coming from a sweeping curved staircase at the rear of the room, a large double sliding door and a skylight.
Dearmin turned to Solar Shading motorized curtains and shades for the job, designing a double-layer system with blackout shades using the company’s commercial-grade products. “Conventional motorized drapes couldn’t have handled this job because the drapes were so large,” he says, “so we went with Solar Shading models that we knew were quiet and dependable.”
One button sets the scene when it’s time to watch TV or start a movie. The owners hit the showtime button on their AMX touchpanel, and the lift lowers the projector from the ceiling, drapes glide across the windows, and another drape motors across the front of the curved staircase where it meets a straight curtain to seal the room. The drapes covering the movie screen slide open, and the show begins.
Lighting is key to the installation as well. Lights go dark when the showtime button is hit, except for the track lighting at the base of the risers that stays dimly lit for safety. The intermission setting brings lights to a comfortable level at the bar area and doors during mid-show breaks. Cleanup mode brings all lights full bright.
“They love the classics,” says Dearmin of the owners. Now they have a theater to match.
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