High-Tech Touch for Country Farmhouse


A Control4 system operates the audio and video components over a web-based IP (Internet Protocol) network—and at a reasonable price.

Even those who enjoy the simple life can make use of a $50,000 home theater room.

Oct. 26, 2007 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The Andrews family has it made: They moved from Nashville to the Tennessee countryside a few years ago to run a hobby farm with crops and horses. Parents Lep and Tami and their three teenagers can breathe in the fresh air and go for horseback rides. The kids even put all computers, TVs and iPods aside for a day each week to enjoy the outdoors. They’ve simplified their lives.

But Lep and Tami also wanted a place where their three teens could entertain friends for weekend visits, as well as place where they could all gather at times. They had a basement room with a rear-projection TV, but as the homeowners admit, the space wasn’t very inviting.

The Andrews decided to install a home theater with comfortable seating and make the room feel cozy and warm. Enter Jim Anderson and his crew at Allied Home Technologies of Nashville. The Andrews thought they’d put a big screen near a fireplace, but there wasn’t enough room. Allied thought to use an opposite wall and build custom cabinetry (a service the company also provides). Moving the theater area to other side of the L-shaped space also allowed room for a pool table.

The Andrews’ budget was $30,000 for the equipment and $50,000 for the complete job—including cabinetry and millwork, acoustical treatments, electrical and the theater chairs—and Anderson used the money wisely. “They wanted middle- to upper-middle [performance], but they didn’t want to go crazy,” Anderson says. “Lep was aware there was a price curve in this and a sweet spot right before prices got steep for not very much improvement, so we went with pieces like the Denon [AVR-3806] receiver and the Sim2 [D35 720p single-chip DLP projector] that were a good value.

“Even though it’s a dedicated theater, they didn’t want to see the equipment,” says Anderson. So they chose a 119-inch fixed Draper screen perforated with tiny holes that allow three Polk tower speakers to be hidden behind it and sound through the screen. Four Polk surround speakers are mounted on the sides and in the back wall to complete the 7.1 system. And two custom-made 12-inch subwoofers, also crafted by Allied, fire from behind the grilles beneath the screen. Each subwoofer contains its own 500-watt amplifier. “We found that we could provide a better value than prebought subwoofers, and we can custom build them to size and even make them look like coffee tables and end tables,” Anderson says. The equipment rack is located behind doors to the right of the screen.

Value was also found in a Control4 system that operates all the components via a touchscreen remote and that was extended to the rest of the house. The Control4 system operates over IP (for Internet Protocol) much like a computer network, an arrangement that often costs half as much as other proprietary control systems. The 10.5-inch wireless touchpanel is tied to a 400-disc Sony changer, so the family members can go to the touchpanel and browse their DVDs and CDs.

The result? When they’re not enjoying life on the farm, the Andrews are spending a lot more time in their basement entertainment area. “We won’t even go to the theater anymore,” says Tami. “Friends and family come up for get-togethers. And the kids use it much more. Their friends from Nashville come out for the entire weekend. The best part is, I can go to the theater in my pajamas.”

No doubt about it: The Andrews truly have the best of both worlds.

Check out these other home theaters on a budget:

-Basement Gets A/V Makeover ($10,500)
-Mini Home Theater with Tropical Flair ($15,000)
-Isolated Home Theater Still Roars ($70,000)
-Five-in-One Home Theater ($100,000)


  • Sim2 D35 DLP projector
  • Draper 119-inch Fixed Perforated Wall Screen
  • Speakers
  • Allied custom 12-inch subwoofers (2)
  • Polk RTi12B tower speakers (3)
  • Polk FXi5 side surround speakers (2)
  • Polk RC85i in-wall rear surround speakers (2)
  • Audio/Video Components
  • Control4 Media Controller w/80-MB hard drive
  • Denon AVR-3806 Dolby Digital receiver
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 video game console
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD player
  • Monster Power  HTS-3500MKII power conditioner
  • Motorola/Comcast HDTV DVR
  • Sony DVP-CX777ES 400-disc DVD/CD/SACD player
  • Accessories
  • Allied custom-built acoustic panels
  • Berkline 099 Series theater recliners (8)
  • Middle Atlantic rack
  • Control & Lighting
  • Control4 10.5-inch wireless touchscreen
  • Control4 ZigBee light dimmers (4)

System Design & Installation
Allied Home Technologies
Nashville, TN

Interior Design
Sara Gillum Interiors
Nashville, TN

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