June 09, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
What do you do when there’s no space inside your house for a home theater? Look outside. Pining for a place where the whole family could hang out, the owners of this prize-winning pad turned their three-car garage into an 850-square-foot home theater.
Getting the area into shape would test the design skills of the crew at Pompton Plains, N.J.-based 1 Sound Choice, as they first had to level the concrete floor, add insulation to the walls, replace the three garage doors with Anderson sliders, and install a heater.
New electrical wiring, outlets and lighting were also added, and soundproof walls were built around an existing central vacuum receptacle to hide the beast and prevent noise from interfering with the movie presentation. “There was a lot more to do than I expected to get the area ready,” recalls company president Ryan Herd.
Despite being an unconventional choice as a home theater, the space had some very good elements going for it. Due to its large size, 1 Sound Choice was able to stagger the floor to create three distinct levels. On the upper platform the family placed a table for playing board games and cards. The next level encompasses a seating area, followed by the lower platform where a 119-inch Screen Innovations display stands front and center.
As an added bonus, the ceiling and many of the existing walls consisted of fire-rated double Sheetrock. “This type of construction provided us with huge acoustic benefits by preventing sound from the theater from seeping into the house,” Herd explains. With a large portion of the garage already soundproofed, 1 Sound Choice custom-designed acoustical paneling for the interior walls. Covered in a dark blue fabric chosen by the homeowners and trimmed in gold, the treatments add visual impact to the space while enhancing the audio reproduction of the room’s beefy Denon 7.4 surround-sound system.
Providing well-balanced, even audio coverage is always a concern in large rooms, so 1 Sound Choice packed in nine Boston Acoustic speakers and four Boston Acoustic subwoofers, all of which are either built into the walls or ceiling. A ceiling-mounted Sony 1080p projector handles the video end of the experience, transmitting images from a DVD player or satellite receiver that resides inside a specially constructed closet. The homeowners can fire up the entire system, plus control the lights, from a handheld Control4 remote. With so much technology in one spot, you’d never guess this room was once used as a place to park the family sedan.
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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.