Flooded Basement Becomes Disco Theater
GOLD WINNER: Home Theater $50K-$100K
Family turns water and mold removal into CinemaScope movies and dance floor.
Instead of drowning their sorrows in the wake of a flooded basement, these homeowners made it a reason to initiate a full remodel. It just so happened that the project’s cleanup and renovation was a function of the firm, 1 Sound Choice, whose main gig is home theater design.
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With Dad as an electronics buff, not much arm-twisting was needed to stretch talk of water and mold removal into CinemaScope movies and surround sound. The only catch, according to 1 Sound Choice’s Ryan Herd, was that the homeowners requested a finished room in time for their daughter’s birthday party less than two months away.
“They had a little entertainment system in the family room, but the owner always wanted a theater,” says Herd. “We ended up gutting that room. They’d already ripped out the carpets after they had flooding, but water also got into the Sheetrock. Doing a theater is such a radical change, it was just easier and quicker to gut it, and then make everything look nice, symmetrical and organized.”
The custom electronics pros started by taking apart the bottom four feet of Sheetrock to alleviate the mold and mildew, changing electrical outlets to accommodate the theater gear, and insulating the walls and drop ceiling. Then 1 Sound Choice brought in materials such as acoustic panels, fiber-optic ceiling panels, molding to trim the ceiling and acoustic panels, and columns that would conceal the in-wall speakers and subwoofers.
Herd worked closely with key manufacturers Runco, Stewart Filmscreen and Triad to ensure that the projector, screen and speakers would be ready for installation as the construction progressed. The homeowners didn’t know about goodies such as a curved 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen for CinemaScope-type movie viewing, but flipped over it after seeing demos. “It’s one thing to do great sound immersion, but to put a huge cinematic screen in there really sucks you into the movie,” Herd says.
The 132-inch screen also manages to hide the three front-channel speakers behind its acoustically transparent material. Two more pairs of speakers are concealed in columns on the side walls, while three rear surround speakers are in the back wall. Four subwoofers smoothly and loudly reproduce bass frequencies: Two are below the screen and two are in the rear columns.
One request, given that the homeowners wanted the room for social entertainment, was a small dance floor. So the seating plan was tweaked to leave room in the front for a removable 10-by-10-foot dance floor, and nearby electrical outlets were installed to plug in temporary disco lights.
Along with darkening the drop ceiling panels, 1 Sound Choice created visual appeal from above by installing a fiber-optic star ceiling that hangs below the ceiling with decorative rope lighting shining out. The look evokes a floating, 3D-like starfield that gives the room a greater sense of depth. Rich red and gold colors provided the finishing touches in turning the water-logging into a distant memory.
Upstairs & Downstairs
Despite the expenses (around $100K worth) that went into this theater, one of the homeowners’ favorite features resulted from a simple and inexpensive device: a VGA splitter.
As with many theaters it designs, 1 Sound Choice tried to personalize this room based on talks with the homeowners. They really enjoy watching their heritage’s popular Bollywood movies, and they stream them via a Netflix-like online rental service, says Herd. So Herd installed a laptop in the theater’s equipment rack to stream web video and wired it to the Runco projector.
Then Herd noticed that the family’s 50-inch TV upstairs had a VGA input, and he figured the homeowners would love to watch movies on that screen, too. Using the splitter, he created a way for the IBM laptop to be shared. A wireless mouse and keyboard allow the owners to click and view all the Bollywood they can handle. The theater’s Blu-ray player also received an HDMI splitter to be routed to the family room.
“We take little things like that for granted because we’re technology guys and they’re easy enough to incorporate,” says Herd, “but to the homeowners it’s like creating a whole other home theater room.”
System Design and Installation
1 Sound Choice
Pompton Plains, N.J.
30 x 14.75 feet
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Runco RS900 Reflection Series Projector with Cinewide Auto scope (Rainier lens small lens)
Precision Gear projector mount 50lbs capacity
Stewart Film screen 130” 2:35 Cine-W curved screen
10 Triad InWall Silver 6 LCR
4 Triad InWall Bronze 6 Subwoofer
AVR-4308CI Advanced 7.1 CH/5.1+2 CH/ 3.1+2+2 CH A/V Home Theater/Multimedia Multi-Source/Zone Receiver with Networking and WiFi
Russound 2 channel amp for 3rd set of rear speakers
Denon DBP1610 Blu-ray DVD/CD player
Control 4 7” Portable, WiFi Touch Screen
Control 4 home controller HC-500
Control 4 iPod dock station
Middle Atlantic Rack 44 rack space
Middle Atlantic Plexiglas door for ERK, MRK racks
8 Custom rack face shelves for equipment
Custom wiring for rack including Compost, Component, Digital coax, Stereo RCA, HDMI
Sliding rack shelf 50 pound capacity (for laptop in rack)
APC Power Conditioning with Battery Backup (Black)
15 Meter HDMI cable
15 meter Component cable for video