Versatile Theater Balances Form, Function
Collaboration between electronics pros and interior designer nets a good-looking, great-performing theater.
BRONZE WINNER: Best Home Theater $50K-$100K
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May 03, 2010 by Lisa Montgomery

When designing a home theater, custom electronics professionals usually focus on the selection and installation of the audio and video equipment.

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Interior designers, on the other hand, concentrate on the colors, fabrics, and non-electronic aspects for the space.

Sometimes, one part of the equation must be compromised for the other. Not in this 21-by-16-foot lower-level theater, though. The custom electronics professionals at Chicago–based Procom Enterprises collaborated with interior designer Ingrid Baltasi every step of the way to ensure neither the room’s A/V performance nor its aesthetics would suffer.

Take the 106-inch Da-Lite screen. It definitely dominates the room visually. But when the owners press a button on a T4 RTI remote, motorized draperies slide over it, allowing the decorative aspects of the room to take over.

And there’s a lot in this area to appreciate. Three-dimensional fiber optic lighting, for example, transforms the ceiling into a star-studded night sky. Adding a personal flair to the space are the backs of the eight leather Continental chairs that bear the family insignia.

Then there are the decorative panels on the walls. The nine Auralex Sonic Print panels were covered in a printed fabric chosen by the interior designer. Mounted one inch off the wall and lit from behind, the panels function both as wall art and acoustical treatments that enhance the sonic properties of the room.

Procom installed other types of acoustic treatments throughout the space, although most were tucked behind the walls during the construction. A vinyl sound barrier and two layers of drywall, for example, effectively isolate the theater from the hearth room above. This way, the owner can play movies as loudly as he wants without disturbing the rest of the family upstairs. And loud is something this room can do really well, says Procom’s Jacek Zaworski, as it’s fueled by a Klipsch THX system including a 1,000 watt amp, seven in-wall speakers and two subwoofers.

The high-octane audio is complemented by a Sony 1080p projector, a Vantage lighting control system and an RTI remote that can ready the room for a movie in seconds. “They hit play and the projector starts, the drapes open, the lights dim,” says Zaworski. From there the family can select from a high-def satellite receiver, LG Blu-ray player, Escient movie server or Sony PS3, all of which are hidden in a separate equipment room.

The only aesthetic choice that didn’t sit right with Procom: the two wooden doors that flank the screen. They may set off the display nicely, but “as A/V experts, we would have rather had people enter the theater from the back of the room,” Zaworski explains. But as in life, when designing a theater, sometimes you’ve got to give a little to take a little. Procom and the owners were willing to give up a back-door entrance to have high-end A/V equipment, easy controls and sensational lighting effects.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

Installer/Equipment List

Systems Design and Installation
Procom Enterprises
Chicago, Ill.

Interior Design
Ingrid Baltasi Design
Chicago, Ill.

Auralex Sheetbock Plus (5)
Auralex 3D Sky Ceiling
Auralex Sonic Print acoustical panels with LED lighting (9)
Auralex Subdude subwoofer acoustic pads (2)
Klipsch KW-120-THX floor subwoofers (2)
Klipsch KA-1000-THX power amplifier
Klispsch KL-7800-THX in-wall speakers (7)
Sony SXRD VPLVW60 HD 1080p projector
Peerless projector mount
Da-Lite Screen Cinema Contour 106-inch screen
Integra home theater DTR-7.9
LG BD370 Blu-ray player
Sony Playstation 3
DISH Network HD satellite receiver
DISH HD DVR receivers (2)
Continental Seating home theater power recliners (8)
RTI T4 remote
RTI RM433 RF module
Somfy direct-drive drapery motor
Somfy RS-232 universal RTS interface
Vantage RS-232 Q-RS232 station
Monster Cable wiring
Control4 C4-16-AMP-3 amplifiers (2)
Control4 C4-16S2-E-B A/V switch - AUDIO MATRIX SWITCH - 16
Control4 C4-CVB1 A1 video baluns (4)
Control4 C4-CVS12ES-B-A A/V switch
Control4 HC-1000 home control server
Control4 HC-300 home automation controllers (4)
Denon 5308CI receiver
Fusion Studio hard drive movie server
Sony CDPCX777ES 400 disc DVD changer
Panasonic DMPBD-80K
Monster HTS3600 power centers (3)
Omnimount equipment racks (3)
Panamax M1500-UPS-PFP uninterruptible power supplies (2)
Acesonic KOD-800 Karaoke on-demand jukebox system
Shure PG288/PG58 wireless (4)
Shure SCM810 8-channel microphone mixer
Control4 C4-TSM10-G-B 10.5-inch wireless touchscreen
James Loudspeakers 62CA-6 ceiling speakers (4)
James Loudspeakers 83-SDX in-wall speakers (3) 
Runco RS1100 video projector
Velodyne DLS-5000R subwoofers (2)

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