Best Buy Guy Creates Classic Home Theater

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Jeff Jergerian built this classic theater from scratch, with virtually no construction experience.

Jeff Jergerian used a bit of bravery and some of his work experience to create a classic, killer theater room.


Jun. 18, 2009 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This theater room is pretty fly — for a Best Buy guy. Sure, we all have our gripes about past retail experiences. However, Jeff Jergerian is the type of guy we’d want to run into when seeking out electronics. He knows his stuff, and isn’t afraid to test some of that knowledge. About five years ago, he took his work experience to task, and turned out a killer basement theater.

Jeff currently works in Best Buy’s customer research and development area. “I actually work on a project dedicated to helping ‘eradicate customer technology issues,’” he says. “This is a perfect role for me, because I want all of these toys to be easy to use and accessible for everyone. People shouldn’t miss out on a great experience because they’re intimidated by technology, whether it’s home theater, digital imaging, home networking, etc.”

This isn’t just part of Jeff’s job, it’s his way of life. He went into the project with absolutely no construction experience. He had been a home theater fan since the mid-90s. So when he and wife, Patti, decided to build their current house, a major consideration was whether or not the basement could accommodate Jeff’s dream theater. “I spent a year drawing and designing pieces of the theater, reading construction how-to books and websites to learn how to do the work, and then planning each phase of it until I felt ready to begin the work,” he says.

Jeff had originally wanted the room to have a classic feel, with a few art deco elements thrown in. He wanted to have burgundy and gold as the primary base colors. “I looked through many pictures in magazines and books — especially those by Theo Kalomirakis — for inspiration.” Eventually, Jeff had legal pads filled with measurements, elevations and other calculations. “Each wall, each column, the stage, the riser, the electrical plans, etc., each had pages of drawings and plans until I created a blueprint that could allow me to do the actual work,” he says. “By the time I actually built out each element of the room, I had done the work in my head 20 times.”

Of course, his day job helped iron out his thought process. Jeff was involved in organizing and developing training programs for Best Buy’s home theater installers. He could train right along with them. It was during this time that he learned to program Universal Remote Control’s MX-3000, terminate various cables, and other wire management tricks. When it came time to do his own work, Jeff was more than ready.

Jeff’s job also came in handy when it came to choosing equipment. Aside from chatting up vendors, he also tapped into some of the experts at Magnolia. “They made suggestions based on what I wanted to accomplish — and my budget, of course. I wasn’t let down in the least.” Also, like most home theater buffs, he scoured the web as well as every major home theater magazine.

Still, being an inside man didn’t exactly make the job easy. “What took me a year to complete would have been finished by a professional contractor in two or three weeks,” Jeff says. “The biggest sense of relief I felt was when I turned on the electricity for the first time after wiring the basement, and finding every outlet working (and grounded) properly, every light switch working, etc.” He also cites passing his local inspections as a major milestone for the install.

Another important part of the process was acoustic treatments. He’s got columns to help to break up the room and hide the speakers. He received a lot of tips from the AVS Forum, but there were still concerns. “While I have excellent THX speakers and a THX receiver, the sound can still be negatively impacted if the room itself isn’t properly treated,” Jeff says. “There is a noticeable difference in the way the theater room ‘sounds’ when the system is off. There is also no unwanted echo/reflection with familiar noises like conversation, clapping, etc. This reassures me that the sound I’m hearing when the system is on is accurate and true, and minimally affected by the room environment itself.”

Of course, there were a lot of little touches as well. Jeff advises other DIYers to take the same approach he did: “Start with the carpet and build the color palette around that.” When it came to the curtains, Jeff had a little help — from Patti. “The curtain is my favorite part of the theater, because it got my wife involved — and because she did such a good job making it.” In fact, she did such nice work that some of the AVS Forumites have asked her to make their curtains as well.

Over the past year, Jeff says, “The upgrade bug is constantly biting.” He traded up his projector (to 1080p), his receiver, and added an HD DVD player, PlayStation 3, Slingbox and VUDU. “The technology is constantly changing, and I don’t want any part of the experience to be less than state of the art.”

Want a peek at more of Jeff’s theater? Check out every angle in our slideshow.

Quick Hits
Location: Rosemount, MN
Year Completed: 2007
Room Size: 21 x 14 x 8 feet
Length of Project: 12 months
Total Cost: $30,000


Audio
M&K MX-350THX Subwoofer
M&K S-150THX Front L/R Speakers (2)
M&K SS-150 Surround Speakers (4)
M&K SW-150THX In-Wall Center Speaker
Pioneer Elite SC-05 Receiver

Video
Delvcam Pro56 5.6-inch LCD Rack Monitor
DirecTV HR10-250 TiVo
DirecTV HR21-700 DVR
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector
Monoprice 5x1 HDMI Switcher
Pioneer CLD-D704 Laserdisc Player
Sling Media SB240-100 Slingbox AV
Sony DVP-CX995V 400-disc DVD Changer
Sony PlayStation 3
Stewart FireHawk 16x9 106-inch Screen
Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player
VUDU Box

Accessories/Other
Berkline Motorized Seats w/ Built-in ButtKicker Transducer (7)
BTX Motordrape 1000 Motorized Curtain Track
ButtKicker BK-QCP Quick Connect Kit (2)
ButtKicker BKA1000-4 Amplifiers (2)
Dynex 8-port Network Switch
Liberty 12AWG THX-certified Speaker Wire
Lutron Grafik Eye 3606 Lighting Control
Middle Atlantic Slim5 43-space Rack
Numinus LLC Fiber-Optic Star Panels (2)
Panamax Max 5500-EX Surge Suppressor/Line Conditioner
Universal Remote Control MRF-300 RF Base Station
Universal Remote Control Universal Remote Control MX-3000
Custom Screen Curtains & Seat Pillows



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