The Littlest Home Theater Grows Up
Gary Ngo has upgraded his space to accommodate his growing family and AV habit.
July 30, 2013 by Rachel Cericola

A few years back, we profiled Gary Ngo and his townhouse home theater. At 12-by-15-by-8 feet, the room was a small one. That said, it certainly packed enough of a punch for Gary’s AV needs.

Since then, those needs have grown—and so has Gary’s family. In October 2011, he and wife Yolanda broke ground on a new 5,300-square-foot home. By March, the family was able to move in and Gary was able to start planning another home theater. This time, however, he didn’t need to cram everything into a small space.

In July 2012, Gary starting cutting a drywall hole for the equipment rack. The theater was up and running by March 2013. This is a pretty short wait, considering the years that some people pour into their AV rooms. That said, this was far from a quickie install.

Having that space for a home theater was a major factor when Gary and Yolanda were looking for a home. Sure, he made the last one work in a smaller area, but this time he wanted seating for friends and a growing family. “When I first looked at a floor plan, the first thing I’d look at is the basement floor plan to see if it would offer a useable space as a home theater,” he says.

While most people dream of that perfect AV space, Gary says that the task was daunting. During the house’s pre-building phase, Gary spent countless hours working on the design. “The measurement, the rack area, the riser, the pre-wiring, the lighting, and even something as simple as which direction should we face; it was really hard to imagine everything from an empty floor plan on a piece of paper to exactly what you need now and in the future, too,” he says.

However, since the couple was having the builder finish the space to spec, everything had to be perfect.

“You know, the last thing I wanted to do was tear down the brand-new drywall just to re-run some new wire,” Gary says. “Of course, I still ended up doing that on the ceiling to relocate conduit for the projector, due to the final bigger screen size and the throw distance that’s required. And I totally had to redo all the ceiling lights, too.”

That said, the space was pretty perfect. Located in the basement, the room measures about 20-by-15-by-9 feet. It also has a 12-inch riser, with about seven feet from the back wall. The room could accommodate all of the seating that Gary wanted. Even more importantly, it was also the good size for adding all of the acoustic treatments he had heard and read so much about.

“I’ve heard a few acoustic engineers/designers state, ‘I’d rather to have a well treated room with HTIB (home theater in a box) speakers, than some expensive speakers in a square room with bare drywall.’ And I totally believe it,” Gary says. “After all, it’s not good when you hear the sound that should be coming from the front speakers coming from behind you or you are having way too much bass energy.”

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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