August 05, 2009
by Arlen Schweiger
You’d expect a big multipurpose room to have a cozy, beautiful fireplace. But a dedicated home theater room?
Yeah, it threw custom electronics firm AcousticSmart of Merrick, NY, for a bit of a loop as well. “Upon arrival at the client’s home, we walked into an open basement with a pre-existing large stone fireplace. After much discussion with the client a decision was made to incorporate the fireplace into the design,” says AcousticSmart’s Greg Milligan, who notes that designer Mark Sorin figured out during the planning stages what to do with the fireplace area.
Unlike many family media rooms, there would be no TV installed above it—instead the fireplace would be part of one of the theater’s side walls. In that aspect, Milligan says, Sorin noticed that “we had two recesses in the walls on either side of the fireplace. Mark saw these two spaces as a perfect place to create cabinets with granite tops to store DVDs and other accessories.”
While electronics firm ACS of Colts Neck, NJ, worked to provide the A/V gear—including a Marantz projector, 120-inch Stewart Filmscreen screen, and James Loudspeaker surround-sound speakers—AcousticSmart dealt with the acoustics. That included tackling the homeowner’s concerns about sound leakage, which the company solved with its custom panels, soundproofing materials and more.
“We installed our noise barrier treatment on all four walls and the ceiling. We also floated all the walls with a resilient channel every 24 inches to prevent vibration of the low frequencies traveling through the stud walls,” Milligan says. “Special gasketing was installed on all doors to prevent sound from escaping.”
Along with the fireplace treatment, AcousticSmart also worked in challenging architectural features the homeowner requested, such as heavy wood detail, wainscoting, coffered ceiling, fiber optics, and custom sculpted molding around the screen area. Also a chandelier for further theatrical flair (though the star ceiling adds plenty of drama in its own right).
“We added a center opening motorized theater curtain with two rows of trim and one row of bullion fringe and a pronounced stage to add to the dramatic feel of an authentic proscenium detail without being too over the top,” Milligan says.
AcousticSmart also created a closet with HVAC routed to the rack area to suck all of the hot air out and bring cool air in on a constant basis so the equipment rack could be properly ventilated. Once the A/V equipment provided by ACS was installed, the eight AcousticSmart cinema loungers with dual motor mechanisms to operate the footrest and back were brought in. Perfect coziness to complement the warmth of this unique theater.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.