Theater, Wine Cellar Share Basement Space


BRONZE WINNER: Best Home Theater $25K-$50K

Installers rise to the challenge of redesigning a theater for a shorter than expected space.

May. 15, 2009 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

An unfinished basement is an installer’s dream space for a home theater. Like painting on a blank canvas, he can incorporate just about anything into the room, and build it to the perfect dimensions.

For this home theater project, the homeowners had allocated a space 25 feet long by 14 feet wide. “It was the perfect size,” says P.J. Aucoin of Home Concepts in Calgary, Alberta. “We would have enough room for a few tiers of seating and a couple of subwoofers.”

Those plans were tossed aside when the owners decided to build a wine cellar in the back of the room. It was a decision that shortened the space by nearly 10 feet, making the dimensions almost square. “A terrible shape for acoustics,” says Aucoin. Now limited on real estate, Home Concepts went with a flat floor instead of tiers and cut back to one subwoofer.

Although the dimensions of the room were less than ideal, its small size turned out to be a blessing. “Because we were working in such a small space, it was far easier to calibrate the 6.1 surround-sound system than had we been in a larger room,” explains Aucoin. The stone wall and pillars the owners had planned for the room also presented a concern. “At first we were worried that those surfaces would be too reflective, but after talking with an acoustician, we learned that they would help diffuse the sound—a real benefit to the acoustics,” says Aucoin.

In addition to dealing with the room’s sonic imperfections, Home Concepts was faced with the challenge of concealing much of the equipment within the tight confines of the theater. A 119-inch acoustically transparent screen from Da-Lite Screen Company was selected so that the front three Klipsch speakers could be hidden behind it. The remaining speakers were installed flush with the walls.

A Panasonic 1080p video projector, meanwhile, was installed inside the wall above the doorway into the theater. To prevent the unit from overheating, Home Concepts added a ventilation and a cooling system.

Home Concepts freed up even more space by locating the source equipment, including a Panasonic Blu-ray player, high-def cable box and Denon receiver, in an equipment rack in the next room. The blank canvas got a little smudged, but this theater still came out picture perfect. 

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Systems Design and Installation
Home Concepts
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

N of 1
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Panasonic PT-AE2000 projector
Da-Lite Screen 119-inch HC Cinema Perf screen with Pro Trim
Panasonic BD30 Blu-ray player
Denon AVR-2808CI receiver

Klipsch KL-7800 THX in-wall speakers (4)
Klipsch KS-7800 THX dipole in-wall speakers (2)
Sunfire HRS12 subwoofer

Power Management
Panamax M4300 power conditioner
Panamax MIW Power Pro power conditioner

Liberty Wire & Cable speaker wiring
WireWorld HDMI cable

RTI T3V universal touchscreen remote
Lutron Spacer lighting control system
Elan IRE1 IR emitters (4)

Fortress seats (4)
Middle Atlantic Comp-Cool fan

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