July 24, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
Basement theaters have a lot going for them. Like a large, blank canvas, a basement theater allows you to design it however you want.
Getting your creative ideas to stick to that canvas can get tricky.
Just ask the owners of this 220-square-foot entertainment room. A strangely constructed foundation floor and walls, plus awkwardly shaped niches and cubbies had them rethinking the original plans for the space.
“They had envisioned the area as a small rectangle where a second row of seats would occupy the cubby in the back of the room,” says custom electronic professional Brain Duggan of Union Place, Excelsior, Minn. Given the type of equipment they wanted, orienting the theater this way “would have been like fitting a square peg into a round hole.”
Duggan’s solution: rotate the layout 90 degrees and utilize the utility room as an entryway to the theater. The shift netted the owners can extra 5 feet at the back of the room—enough space to comfortably accommodate a 115-inch CinemaScope (2.35:1) Da-Lite screen and eight seats split into two rows (every chair was fitted with a tactile transducer so that the seat shakes along with the movie action).
Although the owners gained more square footage, space was still a little tight. To maximize it, the SIM2 1080p projector was tucked into a cabinet at the back of the room and two racks of A/V gear were built into the new Sheetrock wall to the right of the seats and covered with a sheath of fabric.
The screen was given a flush appearance, too. “One of our trademark installation techniques is to install the screen first then build the walls around it,” says Duggan.
A proscenium and motorized draperies enhance the built-in appearance. Union Place also likes to match the colors of the touchscreen to the home theater decor. In this case, browns and reds were incorporated onto the buttons and menus of the RTI T4 handheld remote.
Here’s something else the homeowners never imagined for their theater: When the phone rings upstairs, the theater alerts them by flickering the cove lights.
Click here to view additional photos.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.